Designer Jeffrey Bilhuber
|By Glenn Johnson
A stay at the Westin Grand Bohemian Hotel is a luxurious starting point from downtown Orlando for any vacation. The Grand Bohemian is a unique showcase of rare art, stunning architecture and classical music. A jewel in the upscale group of “Grand Theme Hotels,” the hotel has all the amenities you may be familiar with at a Westin property, but here they are displayed in an environment of superior elegance. The mood is one of timeless sophistication harkens back to the early splendor of European Bohemia.
As you enter the hotel, a majestic bronze “Black Horse” sculpture by artist Jiang Tiefeng greets you and sets a magnificent tone. The lobby, with its Intricate barrel-vaulted ceiling of imported Smalti tile was designed with a master touch to detail by artist Richard Moss. The black, white and red hues of the lobby set the room aglow and leave you with the impression of entering another era.
Sculpture and art abounds throughout the Grand Bohemian, there are in fact over 100 pieces throughout the hotel. The onsite gallery lends itself for contemplation and the unique ability to purchase a wide range of pieces. Art fuses with music in the Klimt Rotunda, named after the collection of art that hangs there. The centerpiece of this room, which connects the elegant Boheme Restaurant with the eclectic Bosendorfer Lounge, is the rare Imperial Grand Bosendorfer Piano; one of only two in the world.
The lounge is an excellent spot to enjoy the hotel, with a varied wine list and numerous cocktail tables at which to sit. The hotel is host to various local functions, and if you’re lucky enough, plan a trip around one of their monthly arts-cocktail events, they are a fun way to interact with a talented group of local painters, sculptors and musicians.
Dining here offers your palette a dance of classic and exotic flavors, all dressed in a European flare. The immensity of the restaurant begs the question of what was built here before; the answer is that the entire space was built to suit the imaginative designs of the owner. The Boheme Restaurant’s signature Jazz Brunch is a don’t-miss weekly affair of abundant dishes set to the charming accompaniment of the Bohemian’s musical director on the piano.
The Grand Bohemian offers a selection of 250 uniquely appointed guest rooms and suites with custom designed furnishings in dark wood tones with burnished accents. A signature of the hotel is the 6’6” iridescently upholstered headboards that add delightful accents to relaxing on the unique Westin “Heavenly Beds.” All rooms feature high-speed internet access, three phones (two with data-ports), interactive television and Nintendo! Ask about their unique Jacuzzi suites, a popular favorite for returning guests at the hotel.
An on site fitness room adjoins the outdoor heated pool with Jacuzzi. The patio area allows plenty of room to relax and enjoy the temperate climate in Orlando, and room service can even be ordered to one of the many tables there. The 15th floor concierge lounge allows guests additional luxurious opportunities to relax and enjoy the hotel, with a full guest bar and happy hour hors d’oeuvres to tempt your palette.
The Grand Bohemian is part of a spectacular group of six “Grand Theme Hotels,” in Florida, and they include the Casa Monica in St. Augustine and the Celebration Hotel in Orlando as well. While staying in Orlando, be sure to stop by the Celebration Hotel, located in the community of Celebration.
With downtown Orlando offering a myriad of shops, nightlife, galleries and museums you may choose to enjoy a different kind of holiday at the Westin Grand Bohemian. But whether you choose to stay for business or pleasure, the Grand Bohemian offers an excellent diversion from what is considered the normal hotel experience in this fine city. For more information, go to The Grand Bohemian Hotel. If you would like more information to the arts and culture in Down Town Orlando please visit the area’s informative website.
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