On October 1, 2009, exactly 78 years to the day that the original legendary Waldorg=Astoria New York opened its doors, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando (FL) welcomed its first guests. As the first Waldorf Astoria outside of New York City, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando fuses the Jazz Age elegance of New York’s Art Deco Waldorf with the vibrant ambience of a Florida landscape. Situated on 482 acres in Bonnet Creek and surrounded on three sides by the Walt Disney World Resort, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando boasts 498 deluxe guest rooms and suites, a Rees Jones-designed championship golf course, 28,000-square-feet of meeting space, and a Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain.
The 24,000-square-foot spa is situated on two levels overlooking the hotel’s signature pool and golf club. Whether guests opt for a treatment in one of the 21 indoor treatment rooms or in one of the six private outdoor treatment areas, each service is designed based on the needs and desires of the individual guest. “We follow the same protocol for each guest, but no two guests’ experiences will ever be the same,” says spa director Valarie Maloff. “Our therapists are booked with a 15-minute window allowing them to really connect with their clients, drilling down to discover their clear expectations, and then offering a genuinely customized service.”
It is this personalized service that the spa’s mostly affluent and spa-savvy guests have come to expect from the Guerlain brand. “Our client base is well-traveled, and they know what they’re looking for,” says Maloff. These guests appreciate the spa’s simple, yet elegant, decor, which features black-and-white artwork of retro French fashion on brown- and taupe-colored walls; soft pink-colored doors; plush chairs in the spa’s men’s and women’s relaxation areas; and separate men’s and women’s steam rooms, saunas, and Jacuzzi pools, which allow guests to relax pre- and post-treatment.
Simple is a word that also describes the spa’s menu of services. Focusing on quality rather than quantity, the results-oriented menu features skincare services, massage, waxing, hair services, makeup application, and men’s treatments. “Massage is still the number-one driver, but most guests are booking multiple treatments,” says Maloff. “Our spa-goers are not interested in the trend-of-the-moment but are focused on the level of personalization.”
Exclusive Guerlain treatments are also popular among guests. The Guerlain Impériale Massage ($180, 60 minutes; $270, 90 minutes), which is designed to relax the body and stimulate circulation, is highly requested. In addition, the Exceptional Orchidée Impériale Treatment ($420, 2 hours), which relies on the anti-aging benefits of the Guerlain Exceptional Complete Care range to detoxify and invigorate the skin, is also a popular service. “Our Exceptional Orchidée Impériale Treatment is a facial that combines so many additional treats, such as a paraffin hand treatment, a lower leg massage and exfoliation, a scalp treatment, and a facial waxing, plus four masks and a facial massage,” says Maloff. “It’s the ultimate in luxury services, and our guests find it hard to turn down.”
The team of 22 full-time and 20 part-time employees works hard to ensure guests of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the adjoining Hilton Bonnet Creek hotel, as well as local residents, feel pampered during their visit to the spa. While guests can expect to receive the same first-class service as its Manhattan counterpart, the Orlando resort and spa’s distinctive atmosphere, offerings, and amenities help set it apart. In other words, comparing the Waldorf=Astoria New York to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is like comparing apples to oranges.