Florida Bees, Help Me Plan Honeymoon

posted 2 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 2
Member
3105 posts
Sugar bee

What time of year? That will impact pricing and options tremendously.

Post # 3
Member
3105 posts
Sugar bee

p.s. Portofino Bay is not cheap so you’ll have a nice budget to work with. How many nights did she offer to gift you?

Post # 4
Member
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

What bout St.Augustine? A lot of history there. Like other bees have mentioned, depends on what time of the year. 

Post # 5
Member
306 posts
Helper bee

justwaiting1230 : ohhh I 100% agree about St. Augustine. It is very charming and there are many quaint little B&Bs in the historic area. I would also look on AirBnB for accommodations. To me, it’s the perfect Florida getaway for a 3-4 day trip, particularly if you are uninterested in the beach. 

 Edited to add: since your aunt mentioned Portofino Bay, check out the Bayfront Marin House in St. Augustine. It’s very highly rated and includes breakfast and late afternoon drinks and appetizers. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34599-d603280-Reviews-Bayfront_Marin_House_Historic_Inn-St_Augustine_Florida.html

Post # 6
Member
348 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

patchm :  St. Augustine is my favorite! It’s obly about an hour-ish from Central Florida and I love it! We always stay at the same AirBnB and it’s INCREDIBLE – AirBnB is the way to go there because it’s white expensive if not. Prices fluctuate greatly depending on time of year, and the apartment we stay has two other beautiful units in it as well! 

https://abnb.me/EVmg/rySkHgR8IJ

Post # 7
Member
5978 posts
Bee Keeper

patchm :  Portofino Bay is probably THE most expensive of the Loews Universal properties (I’m a Canadian Bee, not a Florida native, but have traveled here- including these hotels- several times). Compare prices amongst the other Loews hotels, including what is offered for each. My own personal choice is the Sapphire hotel. All of the Universal hotels except Cabana Bay have water taxi service included (I LOVE the water taxis! short scenic boat rides from the dock of your hotel to Universal City (a restaurant complex right outside the Universal studios entrance). Cabana Bay, however, has a cute 1950s vintage theme and an AMAZING affordable food court and is right across the street from the Sapphire. Each of the hotels: 

Portofino Bay- has a lovely little ice cream & gelato shop. Scenic (looks like Venice according to my Italian DH). BUT the most expensive property and the most expensive restaurants (fine dining) and a rather plain pool (but you say pools aren’t an interest for you). Includes Universal tickets (double check this is still true!)

Hard Rock Cafe- the closest to Universal Studios entrance, rock memorabilia, great restaurants. But not the ambiance you may want? (pretty sure this one included Universal tickets too, but again, double check)

Loew’s Royal- lovely hotel, sushi bar, Hawaiian luau themed dining, great pool area

Loew’s Sapphire- my own favourite, Carribean themed, great pool area, tiki bar, most comfortable beds of any hotel I’ve ever been in! 

Cabana Bay (already covered above), does not have water taxis though (water taxis a big consideration for me- they have very lovely ambiance and a HUGE money saver having all our transportation included- we stayed for a week and didn’t even need to rent a car) Charming hotel though, great inexpensive food court. 

But be careful when pricing out hotels- some have Universal tickets included and some you have to purchase separately (Sapphire doesn’t have them, but still cheaper to stay here and buy our own), but all these hotels have early entrance admission etc (at no extra cost) when you do purchase tickets. 

As for food, I found it actually cheaper to buy our own- hotel room has mini fridge big enough to keep water/ pop/ fresh fruit/ snacks etc and Universal Citywalk has TONS of restaurants in all price ranges- everything from to-go pizza by the slice to Emeril’s. And if you plan to do a day or two or 3 at Universal Studios, there’s surprisingly reasonably priced options in the theme park – but pack your own water/ pop etc these add up! 

Hope you have an awesome time, whatever you decide 🙂

Post # 8
Member
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

 I agree with St. Augustine also. That’s where we are getting married. It’s such a romantic little town. There’s plenty to do depending on budget. It’s my favorite close weekend getaway. The distillery offers a free tour with enough samples to give you a buzz if you’re into that. The winery is also nice. There are a lot of tours (ghost, food, pub, carriage, trolly, sailing, etc.) My favorite was actually a haunted pub crawl for like $7 on groupon. There’s also a lot of tourist attractions like the Alligator farm, Ripley’s and historical sites like the lighthouse and Castillo. And of course restaurants out the wazoo. Enough to keep you entertained during your stay for sure.

Post # 9
Member
636 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

I believe Disney offers the only all-inclusive resorts (room + dining plan + transportation) in Orlando. I’ve never heard of another, at least. My favorite Disney hotel is Port Orleans, it’s one of the more affordable ones and the grounds are wonderful for just hanging out and enjoying the sunshine :). Cabana Bay and Art of Animation are two other less expensive options that seem like they’d be really fun to stay in. 

I second the recommendation to buy your own food at the nearest Publix when you land, then bring it to your hotel. Gas and groceries are sneakily marked up the closer you get to resort properties… 

Citywalk and Disney Springs are fun to check out anytime of day, you can enjoy for free but you’ll have to be choosy about where you eat. I don’t go without expecting to shell out for meals. I Drive has cool places to go out at night (Mango’s, Cuba Libre, TopGolf) but again, they’re priced for tourists. 

If you want to experience the local scene, some fun places to look into:
– Wekiva Springs park and Wekiva Island – kayaking and lounging in spring-fed water. Bring towels and a picnic lunch. Would not recommend kayaking in the summer months, it’s blood sucking paradise for mosquitos!
– Winter Park boat tour and Park Ave – romantic, historic district. Shops and dining are pricey, but worth the money. Great date night options. 
– Mount Dora – if you’re into antiquing and little boutiques, this is a great place to stay for a night. I love the British pub and lakeside restaurant. Lakeside Inn is Southern charm perfected, and pretty cheap. It is a hike from the airport, though.  
– Lakeridge Winery – I personally think they’re blends are too sweet, but it’s a pretty place and fun way to spend the day.
– Downtown Orlando has much better food and shopping options than the tourist corridor, and plenty of quirky neighborhoods to check out if you’re into exploring.

Post # 11
Member
306 posts
Helper bee

The lowest room rate at Portofino Bay hovers around $300/night (might be more in May) and goes WAY up from there. Parking is also pricey…I think around $30/night. Higher end hotels often charge big bucks for incidentals (wifi, parking, etc.)

I’d book a cute AirBnB in St Augustine (or whichever locale you choose!) and make that budget go much further than two nights at a resort hotel. 

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