The Nick Hotel - Another Kid Friendly Orlando Hotel
Apr 8, 2007 (Updated Apr 8, 2007)
Review by Deena Feldherr
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Kids love the characters, kids love the pool, kids love getting SLIMED!
The Bottom Line: This is a great hotel for kids. Great rooms, great pool! However, it is very expensive so going more than once may not be worth it.
Back in 2002, we vacationed in Florida and stayed at a fabulous Holiday Inn that catered specifically to families. It was such a wonderful hotel that I felt that I couldnt say enough about it (as seen here). I recommended it to all my friends visiting the Orlando area. To my surprise they remodeled this very hotel (back in mid to late 2004) into a themed hotel, now called the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn. We stayed there this year and while many things are different, much has stayed the same.
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The Nick Hotel (its nickname) is so close to the area parks, making it an ideal location when you want to visit the whole area. It is just a mile or so away from the Disney parks and minutes away from the Universal parks. It is actually a resort unto itself, given that its theme is Nickelodeon. And I might add that it is COMPLETELY Nicked out, if you will. And wisely so, given that many kids tend to outgrow Disney at some age; Nickelodeon cashes in on elementary aged kids. Slime has done for Nick what mouse ears have done for Disney. Every kids wants to be slimed! And at the Nick Hotel, your childs guaranteed a sliming. And they WILL like it!
While not much has changed structurally from the previously named Holiday Inn Family Suites, the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn is fundamentally different in decor and in cost.
The check-in area is rather small and located completely off to one side of the vast hotel. Parking to check in is a bit complicated but once in, it is clear where to go. At the check in area, there is a wall sized mural of Bikini Bottom (if you dont know what that is, youll be completely overwhelmed at this hotel!) and your kids can pose there and look like they are at Spongebobs house! Cute.
The check in process is simple and straightforward. Each person is given a wristband, color-coded based on age, that needs to be worn for the entire stay. It ensures pool access.
Once you are given your room number, you are given directions on how to get there. Pay attention as this property is huge and separated into many buildings. There is ample parking at each building but you WILL need a map to get there! I believe there are 12 buildings that house the rooms and they all encircle the courtyard-style pool grounds. They are all connected by covered walkways between the buildings. Its easy to move from building to building but hopefully you get a room close to the lobby and close to the courtyard pool.
One thing that has NOT changed from the former hotel is their style room. They are called KIDSUITES and they are the a big reason you stay at the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn. These are not standard single hotel rooms. They are suites with kitchens and separate bedrooms for you and the kids! The standard Kidsuite is a two-bedroom themed suite. The master bedroom is amply sized with a dressing table, closet, and television. We had a king sized bed so it was fabulous. The kids room was Spongebob themed and had bunk beds. And a little known secret of the rooms with bunk beds: (and dont tell anyone I told you this) the rooms with bunk beds have a HIDDEN pull out/down Murphy-type bed (just in case your child is afraid of heights). This little known fact sort of allows you to add an extra kid into the 2 bedroom kidsuite.
The kids room also has a table and chairs (kid sized), their own television, and a phone. The kids room does not have a closeable door but rather a curtain. This ensures their false sense of privacy while you can eavesdrop (I mean listen) to them as they play together in there. The master bedroom has a regular door. The bathroom is beautiful and big. The kitchenette is ample.
The rooms also have a living room area, complete with pull out couch, lounge chair, and kitchen/dining table & chairs. The living room also has a television.
The Resort/ Pool
The Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn has Nickelodeon characters walking around the main building so at any time you will be able to pose with Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick, Squidward, and others. This was awesome but I must write that they are in no way as nice or polite as Disney characters. Squidward actually chased me and was actually frightening me! He kept lunging at me to try to scare me! It was sort of funny, at first, but he didnt stop and it became somewhat inappropriate. It could easily have scared the kids.
Other resort amenities include:
The Mall (fancy name for the former lobby) its where the main restaurant is, the Food Court, and a small but interesting gift shop.
Kids Spa, pampering your kids with manicures, hair wraps, and temporary tattoos (I did not see this)
The Arcade, which is a 3,000 square-foot game room this is nothing more than a large room with video games. The arcade is not free.
Studio Nick where there are shows nightly that allow audience members to perform silly actions on stage with their kids. This was super fun!
Netted basketball court
Mini golf course
The Interactive Pools
The interactive Nick pool areas are the main reason you fork over all the money for the Kidsuites. It is truly a fun pool experience. There are zero depth entry areas for the littlest swimmers, sprouting water fountains, and individual play areas. Oh, and of course, there is the ultra big, ultra cool slide complex! There are water slides and rope climbs on this big multi-story climbing apparatus! Check out the pictures at http://nickhotel.com/the_pool/ to see for yourself. And sporadically, a giant 400 gallon water tank spills water on you. And once a day the tank fills with GREEN water (AKA slime) and pours out over hundreds of kids standing beneath it. Its quite a sight. The kids all wait for this. We only visited the larger of the two pool areas and it was quite sufficient and tiring for our kids. And there are daily Slime Time Live type games run poolside by Nick Hotel staff. This was also fun to watch.
The one biggest change, other than the renovation to Nick-only themes, is the cost of staying here. What was once an affordable option to staying on a Disney property or staying at the Universal Parks is now a hefty price unto itself. School vacation rates (notably April/Spring break) can top off at the high $500s PER NIGHT!! This is absolutely not worth that cost. When we went, the rate we were originally quoted (for January) was $229 a night but we went with our cousins, who are Florida residents, so we paid a discounted rate ($189). But what really is different is that the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn charges an ADDITIONAL $20 per person for the use of the resort (the pool area). I believe this to be highway robbery because the pool is what makes the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn a truly great experience, one in which you are willing to pay $200 - $500 a night for, the pool should be included! And whats more is that you have no choice but to pay this. It is required
. So I find it senseless. Why is it not simply built into the room rate?
Back in 2002, the rates were $109 and included breakfast. That is the second difference
breakfast is not included anymore. Only the youngest of children eat for free.
Heres another big change from the former Holiday Inn Kidsuites: previously breakfast was free for everyone staying onsite. Now, the Nick Hotel has a kids eat free program but it is only for kids aged 5 and under and there are restrictions! And they can tell how old your child is (no more shes big for her age excuses) by the colored wristband your child received upon checking in! Anyway, what was once a nice perk is no longer a perk at all.
The lunch buffet at the Nicktoons Café (the full service restaurant) was a disappointment. They have character breakfasts, but I dont believe them to be worth the time (especially when they have posing times throughout the day). The buffet consisted of hamburgers and hotdogs, salad and sandwich meats, mac-n-cheese, and french fries. There was nothing original or even slightly gourmet
standard kids fare with no alternative for the adults.
Additionally, there is a Food Court next door to the restaurant, as well as a bar area. Both areas have ample seating amid the lobby-like area.
Some Things Remain the Same
I again recommend that you try to stay on a lower floor as the elevators did not see any improvement with this renovation. And the stairs are always easier to use when you are on a lower floor!
The walk from the outer buildings (we stayed in building 11) to the main Mall is a few minutes. Its a pain if you need to run back to your room for anything. Try to get a building closer to the Mall if you plan on having your kids spend time in the arcade or in the food court. Its also a shorter walk at the end of the night, after youve seen the last Nick Show in the theater.
Unless the room was under $199 a night, I cant see staying here again. There are so many Orlando area resort-type hotels that this one is not worth the dramatically exorbitant rates for a SECOND time. For a one shot deal, however, it was a fun place.
For our money, wed prefer staying at Universal Studios hotels (The Hard Rock Hotel and The Portofino Bay Hotel) so that the price of our hotel room includes Ride Line privileges in the Universal Studios parks (this is a special perk that provides hotel guests with a separate line for the rides
SOOOO worth it!) The Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn is not connected to the Universal Studios parks so there are no added perks to staying here.
Still, the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn is a great place for kids.
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