When I think of Orlando, the Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse immediately come to mind.

A great thought for the truly young at heart thrill seeker who enjoys costume characters and amusement park rides. But, honestly, not a pretty picture for a single professional woman who wants a little R&R poolside with a bit of shopping and a spa indulgence. The thought of spending a day in earshot of screaming toddlers and tweens sends rollercoaster-size shivers up my spine.

Do I dare go out of my comfort zone?

A good friend in the travel industry and an Orlando resident set me straight in no time.

She explained that Orlando is a dynamic and diverse destination offering something for everyone including a discerning travel diva like me.

I set the bar high with my priorities, – designer discount shopping, eclectic dining and a unique pampered resort experience.  With research and a needed nudge from my friend, I uncovered an incredible find and a true fantasyland, The Villas of Grand Cypress.

The resort is a hidden haven, located only minutes from top Orlando attractions yet seemingly a million miles from the crowds, traffic, commercialism and the tourist chaos.

Cinderella would call the Villas of Grand Cypress her new home if she could only ditch Disney!

And, she would have no trouble convincing Prince Charming to tag along.

The Jack Nicklaus 45 hole signature-designed golf course, a state-of-the-art Golf Academy with PGA Class A certified instructors and the resort’s onsite TaylorMade Performance Lab would make even a King give up his throne.

The Villas of Grand Cypress Resort is set on 1,500 pristine acres offering spectacular scenery – stately palm trees, lush green grass, tranquil lakes and flowered nature trails.

Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Resort has been a Four Diamond AAA Award Winner consecutively since 1993. 

The newly renovated accommodations range from club suites to 4 bedroom villas; all offer golf course fairway or lake views. The larger two story villas, 2800 square feet, are ideal for extended families and groups who want the additional privacy of separate levels. Floor plans vary; but each villa comes with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a common living room, dining room, fully equipped kitchen and an outside patio. And, there are three queen sleeper sofas if more friends want to tag along. Some villas feature a cozy fireplace to warm those cool winter nights.

I stayed in a Club Suite with two beds. I was giddy the moment walked in. It was love at first sight. The guest room, a spacious 650 square feet, showed like big city luxury apartment. It was huge! The artful interior design elements and furniture choices only added to the appeal.

Amazing!  The resort management definitely did not hold back ($14 Million); this was no ordinary renovation.

The room put my New York friend’s Chelsea chic pad to shame on every level.

Modern nature-inspired décor is the dominating theme. The walls are covered in a hip Zebrano wood and natural Shabui stacked stone with a pleasing palate of cream and chocolate color accents. The carpeting is custom, quality originals by Axminister of England. Each woven masterpiece integrates a creative topographic map of the golf course and resort grounds in its design.  The beds are stylish and inviting featuring beautifully upholstered headboards, 300 count linens, plush pillows and ingenious bedside ambient lighting that ensures your safety if you need to get up in the middle of the night.

The master bath is embodiment of pampered perfection. A deep soaking tub set on a stone platform with an overhead skylight was my wow-factor. Add in… an enclosed European shower tower with massaging water jets, an elegant quartz countertop vanity with double sinks and an oversized illuminated mirror rigged with a built-in bonus – a 19” high definition television screen…and a bathroom break takes on a whole new meaning.

Reminder…this is the starting booking category. It only gets better with each upgrade.

The Villas of Grand Cypress also boasts the latest in technology. Every guest is made to feel safe and secure 24/7. Each suite/villa is equipped with sensor-activated service lights that replace outdated paper door hangers and buzzers.

It is also important to note that the resort does shares some nice amenities with the neighboring Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.  The Hyatt’s half-acre outdoor pool with 12 waterfalls, two whirlpools, and a waterslide tower and the property’s lakefront white sand beach only add to the fun and heightens the overall guest experience. Regular shuttle service is offered at no charge.

Finding this Central Florida sanctuary has been my saving grace and softened my original opinion. I am actually looking forward to my next visit to Orlando. Who knows…I may be even brave and bold enough to enter the wonderful world of Disney and snag my very own pair of souvenir Mickey Mouse ears.  Better late than never!

Location: Villas of Grand Cypress

One North Jacaranda; Orlando, FL 32836

(407) 239-4700/ (877) 330-7370

Directions: Interstate 95 to Interstate 4; Exit #68 (Lake Buena Vista) to County Route 535 North

20 minutes/19 miles from Orlando International Airport

Less than 15 minutes to: Walt Disney World®, Universal Orlando®, SeaWorld Orlando®


146 Villas/ 73 Club Suites

$175 to  $425 per bedroom (Seasonal).

Daily Resort Fee of $22 covers amenities.

  • Daily paper
  • Welcome Drink/Beverage Bar at Check-in
  • Fishing equipment
  • Bike fleet
  • Seasonal Kids Activities
  • Fitness Center
  • Concierge Service
  • Access to Hyatt Pool Area and Lake Windsong
    • Paddle Boats/ Kayaks
    • Waterslide
    • Rock Climbing Wall
    • Fitness Center
    • Sand Volleyball
    • Pitch and Putt Golf

  ” A Room with The Million Dollar Magical View”:

If you want to catch Disney World’s famous nightly fireworks from your balcony, be sure to book one of a cluster of about 18 rooms between courts 4 and 5; specifically, 4061-2, 4071-2, 4081-4, 4091-4, 5041-2, 5061-2, and 5111-12. 

Resort/ Guest Room Highlights:

  • Complimentary local and toll-free calls
  • Desk with data port
  • Keurig Coffee/Tea Maker
  • In-room Safe
  • In-Room Spa Services
  • High-speed wireless Internet service in all rooms
  • Flat Panel Television with Premium cable channels, including HBO®
  • Complimentary Parking
  • Pre-scheduled shuttle transportation to Walt Disney World®, Sea World Orlando® and Universal Orlando®
  • On-Site Transportation Services
  • Grand Cypress Golf Club
  • Grand Cypress Academy of Golf
  • Two Pools featuring waterfalls and waterslides
  • 24′ Rock Climbing Wall, Jogging, Biking, and Fitness Trails
  • Health Club and Fitness Center
  • Pet-Friendly
  • Babysitting Services/ Kid Camps (Seasonal)
  • Full Kitchens (Villas Only)
  • Washer/Dryer (Villas Only)
  • Microwaves, Mini-Fridge and Roll-Away Beds upon Request (fees apply)
  • Fine Dining Restaurant – Nine 18 (Dinner Only/Tuesday-Saturday)
  • Casual Dining on the Green – The Club (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • 24 Hour Room Service


Best Bet for Frugal Fashionistas: 150 Designer Outlet Stores Less than 15 minutes Away!

Orlando Premium Outlets-Vineland Ave

8200 Vineland Avenue; Orlando, FL 32821

(407) 238-7787

For more information on Orlando’s theme parks, attractions, dining options and a calendar of events, check out Visit Orlando or call 800-643-9492.