Florida is a destination for sun, sea and thrill-seekers, all looking to soak up the wonderful weather whilst enjoying the world-class attractions on offer. Jutting out of the southeastern region of the United States, it is blessed by wonderful weather and a world-class coastline that makes the location a popular choice for visitors of all kinds, especially those looking to enjoy a luxury family holiday.
In this guide, we take you through some of the best restaurants, hotels, attractions and activities we think you should plan to visit on your upcoming luxury holiday, as well as some packing recommendations and top tips for those who are travelling to Florida for the first time.
Recommended hotels in Florida
Florida covers 65,758 square miles, so choosing the perfect hotel can be quite daunting. There are a few things you will want to consider before choosing a hotel. The first of those is where you want to be located. Do you want to be near your favourite theme parks, near the beach or a bit further away from the hustle and bustle? Do you want a hotel that has a swimming pool and lots of amazing facilities? Do you want to be close to great eateries? Be all-inclusive? Luckily for you, here at Elegant Resorts, we have a great selection of luxury hotels to choose from that we have hand-picked with luxury in mind.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando
hotel is situated at Walt Disney World® Resort and is perfect for visitors of all types, especially families. The proximity to some of the best attractions in Florida makes it a perfect base for exploration and relaxation after a busy day. You'll find it hard to tear the family away from the plethora of facilities on offer, which include a spa, 24-hour fitness centre, rooftop steakhouse and daily firework displays.
Disney's Grand Floridian Beach Resort
Disney's flagship hotel and a jewel of the Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Beach Resort
, is opulent in design and oozes Victorian elegance. Positioned on the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon, it offers spectacular views of Cinderella's Castle and the Magic Kingdom Park's fireworks display. Perfect for families and couples alike, it is a great option for those visiting Florida.
For both Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Beach Resort guests can enjoy even more time to experience WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort with 30 minutes Early Theme Park Entry* to any Theme Park of your choice daily.
1 Hotel South Beach, Miami
If you're looking for a hotel that offers more than just proximity to Florida's attractions but is still in a great location, then let us introduce 1 Hotel South Beach
. This boutique-style hotel offers breathtaking views out over the blue Atlantic Ocean as well as hosting a stunning rooftop pool deck. The seven bars and restaurants on-site mean you don't have to travel far for delicious and varying cuisines, many of which are caught and sourced locally for fresh flavours.
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
Situated in Miami, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne
is a AAA Five Diamond hotel in the heart of this world-class resort community's beautiful nature reserves, shopping and attractions. With wellness and relaxation at the heart of its ethos, its island location is what makes it extra special, with lush tropical gardens, stretch of golden sand and Atlantic Ocean views.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
at Universal Orlando offers the beauty and quaintness of Italy right in the heart of Orlando. The hotel is modelled after the famed Mediterranean seaside village of Portofino and comes complete with cobbled streets, alfresco dining spots and fine European elegance.
If you're planning to stay at Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel or Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando, then you'll also get the following park benefits and perks:
- FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access.
- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before the theme park opens.
- Complimentary transportation to all three theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
- Complimentary club access to select Universal CityWalk venues.
- Priority seating at select Universal Orlando restaurants.
Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando
Get a taste of that rock and roll lifestyle and stay at Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando
. With suite rooms perfect for families, the hotel is in a prime location for those wanting to visit Florida's famous parks and attractions. Dining is fabulous, and guests can choose from savouring divine steaks and seafood at Palm Restaurant or American dishes at rock-themed The Kitchen.
Recommended attractions in Florida
There is no denying that Florida is often considered one of the most entertaining places in the world due to the plethora of attractions and resorts found throughout the Sunshine State. Whether you consider yourself a child at heart or simply want to give your children the holiday of a lifetime, there is plenty to keep everyone busy and entertained during your trip.
Walt Disney World® Resort
Walt Disney World® Resort is home to some of the most iconic attractions in Florida and is one of the main reasons so many flock here on their holidays throughout the year. Opening in 1971, this resort has expanded over the last 50 years and has become a place where dreams really do come true. Everything from the food to the theming around the park has been thought through, right down to the tiniest detail, ensuring that every visitor has the most amazing time and is truly immersed during their visit.
The resort consists of four main theme parks, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, as well as the addition of two water parks, an array of sports and recreation activities, and, of course, shops and restaurants. It can be rather hard to comprehend how big the resort is but to give you an idea, it covers more than 25,000 acres, so it is basically its own city!
Magic Kingdom® Park
Home to the most iconic part of the resort, Cinderella's Castle, Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular parts of the resort, and it is easy to see why. At first glance, you may think that this park is catered to younger children, and whilst there are plenty of rides for a younger audience, there is something every part of the family can enjoy. Here, you will find rollercoasters, boat rides, shows and much more, and the reason why this park tends to be favoured is due to there almost being too much choice. Magic Kingdom has more rides than any other park in the Disney resort, and it will often take more than a day to see and ride everything.
Magic Kingdom is split into six different sections: Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Main Street U.S.A., and Tomorrowland and in these lands, you will find some of the most iconic rides such as Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.
Epcot is one of the more unique parts of the resort and has a more grown-up feel when compared to the rest of the resort, as it has a real focus on cultural appreciation, technology and innovation. It really is a place of discovery, imagination and fun, where you will discover something that amazes you at every turn.
With it being one of the largest parks in the resort, it will come as no surprise that there is so much to see, such as continents to uncover, a ride to Mars, the chance to explore land and sea adventures, technology, and so much more. The front of the park has three distinctive sections: World Nature, World Discovery and World Celebration. Then, beyond that, you will find the iconic World Showcase, which surrounds the stunning lagoon. The World Showcase is made up of 11 pavilions, which represent countries from all across the world, where you will be able to be immersed through the architecture, food, entertainment, merchandise and much more, all of which provide a unique opportunity to explore some incredible cultures.
Kennedy Space Centre
The Kennedy Space Centre stands as a pivotal hub among NASA's ten field centres, notably serving as the epicentre for crucial missions such as the iconic Apollo missions. Its rich legacy in space exploration has made it an invaluable asset, with ongoing contributions that shape the forefront of space exploration. Seize the opportunity to delve into the history of past triumphs and upcoming endeavours, engage in astronaut training through cutting-edge simulators, and marvel at authentic spacecraft in close proximity at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex.
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida, nestled in the vibrant heart of Orlando, is a cinematic haven that transports visitors into the dazzling world of movie magic. As you step beneath the iconic arches, you enter a realm where the lines between reality and fantasy blur. The streets, inspired by Hollywood's golden age, are a captivating tapestry of colours, lights, and sounds, setting the stage for an im
The park boasts a symphony of attractions that cater to every taste and age group, and thrill-seekers are invited to embark on roller coaster adventures like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit or delve into the mysteries of ancient Egypt on Revenge of the Mummy.
We spoke to Madeleine from the blog Simply Madeleine
, and she told us why she recommends families visit Universal Studios Florida when on their holiday:
"When visiting Florida, a trip to the theme parks in Orlando is a must-do! One of my personal favourites is the Universal Studios Florida theme park. Here, you can immerse yourself in thrilling rides and attractions primarily themed around movies and TV shows, such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, featuring exciting experiences like 'Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts'. Beyond the fun rides, the park offers the chance to meet characters from your favourite movies, watch captivating shows, enjoy various entertainment options, and savour delicious dining choices. Universal Studios isn't just a theme park-it's an unforgettable, imagination-filled journey for kids and adults alike. Be sure to include a visit to this theme park during your Florida holiday!"
Live entertainment takes centre stage, featuring Broadway-calibre shows, stunt spectaculars, and character meet-and-greets that bring beloved stories to life. Dining options are a gastronomic delight, offering everything from classic theme park fare to culinary wonders at establishments based around movies, which will only immerse you further. Universal Studios Florida is not just a theme park; it's a celebration of the art of storytelling and is a place where the magic of the silver screen transcends into an immersive and unforgettable experience for all of its visitors. Whether you're navigating the thrilling rides, savouring culinary delights, or basking in the enchantment of fictional worlds, Universal Studios Florida promises a cinematic adventure that lingers in the memory, inviting you to become a part of the stories that have shaped the film industry for generations.
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure, nestled adjacent to its sister park in Orlando, Florida, is a dazzling tapestry of adventure, fantasy, and innovation that beckons visitors to step into a realm where imagination knows no bounds. As you cross the park's iconic entryway, the vibrant Port of Entry welcomes you with a burst of colours and an air of excitement.
Islands of Adventure is an incredible example of the power of storytelling and is divided into intricately themed "islands," each a self-contained universe of thrills and wonders. Marvel Super Hero Island catapults you into the comic book realm, with iconic characters like Spider-Man and The Hulk leaping to life through cutting-edge attractions. The Lost Continent unveils a mystical world of gods and monsters, with the stunning architecture of Mythos Restaurant serving as a visual centrepiece. Seuss Landing, a whimsical homage to Dr. Seuss, enchants visitors of all ages with its playful design and family-friendly rides. Journey through Jurassic Park, where prehistoric creatures roam amidst lush landscapes, or set sail for the whimsical world of Toon Lagoon, a vibrant tribute to classic cartoons.
Beyond these fantastical realms, Islands of Adventure thrills with pulse-pounding rides like the Incredible Hulk Coaster, the Jurassic Park River Adventure, and the gravity-defying Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. With its seamless blend of cutting-edge technology, immersive theming, and a commitment to delivering unparalleled experiences, Universal's Islands of Adventure stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities of theme park entertainment, inviting guests to embark on an unforgettable journey where the magic of storytelling takes centre stage.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Nestled within the enchanting confines of Universal Orlando Resort, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a spellbinding homage to J.K. Rowling's iconic literary universe, a place where the magic of Hogwarts comes alive with unparalleled authenticity and awe-inspiring detail. Divided between two distinct sections across Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, you will find Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
In Hogsmeade, visitors traverse cobblestone streets beneath snow-capped rooftops, passing iconic landmarks like the Hogwarts Castle. Here, the groundbreaking ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, awaits, providing a breathtaking journey through the castle's corridors and beyond. The village is also home to the Three Broomsticks, where guests can savour authentic wizarding world fare. On the other side of the park, Diagon Alley unfolds within Universal Studios Florida, concealed behind a magical brick wall. This bustling hub of wizard commerce immerses visitors in the world of Gringotts Bank and Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
The main attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts combines cutting-edge technology and storytelling prowess to deliver a heart-pounding adventure. The Hogwarts Express, a fully immersive train ride, links the two lands, allowing visitors to experience the journey between Hogsmeade and London's King's Cross Station. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a testament to Universal's commitment to authenticity, with attention to detail that brings beloved characters and settings to life. From sipping Butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron to selecting a wand at Ollivanders, every corner of this magical realm is infused with the spirit of the Wizarding World, making it an absolute must-visit for fans and a captivating experience for all who step into its mystical embrace.
Other Florida attractions to consider:
- Universal CityWalk
- Everglades National Park
- Universal's Volcano Bay
Recommended cafes and restaurants in Florida
Whether you're looking to fuel up before a day at the parks or you need to indulge after a long day of walking and adrenalin-filled action, Florida is incomparable when it comes to food and dining, with some of the best restaurants in the world and a whole host of cuisine styles to choose from. Even if you've chosen an all-inclusive package, it is still nice to try some of the local restaurants while you're in Florida. From Disney-themed breakfast to traditional Italian pizzas and sweet treats, we've compiled a list of our favourites so you can sit back and enjoy tasty meals.
Disney Character Breakfast
If you're planning a family holiday to Florida, then a Disney character breakfast is a must! These Disney-themed breakfasts allow your little ones to meet their character idols whilst also enjoying some delicious food that'll fuel them for the day ahead. There are several wonderful character breakfasts your little ones can enjoy:
- Minnie & Friends - Breakfast in the park - Plaza Inn, Disneyland Park
- Mickey's Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet - Storytellers Café, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
- Disney Princess Breakfast adventures - Napa Rose, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel
- Goofy's Kitchen - Goofy's Kitchen, Disneyland Hotel
The Michelin-starred Capa Steakhouse is situated on the 17th floor of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort and is known for its outstanding Spanish-influenced cuisine. With the romantic rooftop as a backdrop, the restaurant serves fresh seafood caught off the coast of Florida, delectable small plates and expertly grilled cuts. It is also known for serving a great selection of wines.
With its name meaning 'love', Amare, located at Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, serves dishes inspired by the tastes and cultures of the Mediterranean. You can expect to enjoy dishes that highlight fresh and premium ingredients, including fresh seafood, pasta, citruses, olives and pitas. As well as amazing Mediterranean cuisine, there is an extensive wine list to enjoy, too, with wines from all across the region.
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Located within Disney's Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is a nostalgic haven that seamlessly combines old-fashioned charm with delectable treats. The atmosphere is a delightful blend of pastel colours, checkerboard floors, and retro furnishings, creating an inviting space reminiscent of a classic American soda shop. The menu offers a delectable selection of comfort food, including burgers, sandwiches, and classic diner classics. With its timeless appeal and mouthwatering menu, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is not just a dining destination; it's a nostalgic journey back in time, inviting guests to savour the simplicity and joy of classic American comfort food in a setting that's as charming as the treats on offer.
4 Rivers Smokehouse
4 Rivers Smokehouse, Orlando, stands as a barbecue mecca, immersing visitors into a world where the rich aroma of smoked meats and classic Southern cuisine. The menu is packed full of smoked delights and boasts signature dishes like the 18-hour smoked Angus brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, and pulled pork. Beyond the traditional barbecue fare, 4 Rivers offers innovative dishes like the "The Messy Pig" sandwich, an indulgent creation featuring pulled pork, coleslaw, jalapeños, and signature sauces. The sides, including baked cheese grits and macaroni and cheese, elevate the dining experience. In addition to its mouthwatering meats, 4 Rivers has expanded to include a sweet haven known as the Sweet Shop, featuring decadent desserts like the signature banana pudding.
Flippers Pizzeria, a Florida-based culinary gem, stands as a testament to the artistry of pizza-making. You will be able to see and taste the commitment to quality ingredients and a passion for perfecting the pizza experience are evident in every slice. The menu boasts an array of inventive and classic pizza options featuring premium cheeses, locally sourced vegetables, and savoury meats. The pizzeria's dedication to freshness extends to its salads, sandwiches, and Italian-inspired dishes, ensuring a diverse menu that caters to every palate. The inviting atmosphere of Flippers Pizzeria combines modern aesthetics with a casual and family-friendly vibe, making it an ideal destination to stop for a delicious bite to eat.
Embarking on a luxury holiday to Florida
is an enchanting experience that exceeds expectations, creating lifelong memories that will be fondly remembered for years to come. The allure of this Sunshine State extends far beyond its sun-kissed beaches and vibrant atmosphere, encompassing an array of attractions that cater to every age and interest. From the world-renowned theme parks like Walt Disney World® Resort and Universal Studios Florida to the mesmerising to the spectacular beaches, Florida unfolds as a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered. Florida guarantees a holiday filled with laughter, bonding, and the creation of cherished moments that will linger in the hearts of your family for years to come.
If you are looking for more travel inspiration, our luxury online travel blog
is full of detailed travel guides to help you plan your next trip wherever you want to explore next.