Question: What does the Orlando area have more than anything else (other than theme parks)?
Answer: hotel rooms.
More than 30,000 hotel rooms on Disney property alone, and more than 143,000 hotel rooms in Orlando. That is not only the population of an entire medium-sized city but also ranks Orlando with about as many hotel rooms as you can find anywhere in the country (the area is generally neck and neck with Las Vegas for the city with the most hotel rooms in the US).
There’s one exception to the rule here, however.
There are not a lot of hostels.
As everyone or just about everyone knows these days, the main advantage of hostels is low price. The major disadvantage is often a lack of privacy found in individual hotel-motel rooms.
When you look up the word “hostel” on the internet, the word “youth” often accompanies it. But these days, hostels have spread their appeal out to various other age groups. And youth is not a term anywhere that applies only to hostels.
Some hostels do overcome the privacy issue by offering single hotel rooms. An intangible benefit is also social. That is, meeting other like-minded guests who often share tips, as well as the usually friendly hostel staff.
Actually, anyone looking for an inexpensive place to stay here will find more choices by searching for “inexpensive” or even just “cheap” hotels. A variety of them are available.
But there are times when simply finding a hostel is a good choice. And perhaps the best known of them here (and one of the closest you can get to the theme parks) is the Palm Lakefront Resort & Hostel. Rooms can be as low as $20 per person. In an area where $500 a night is far from unusual, that’s a bargain. But a warning: room nights are very competitive there, so booking early is not an option but a necessity.
But even if you don’t get a room there, the Palm illustrates perfectly the types of features and amenities that will be desirable if you book a hostel somewhere else in the area. This is the case because the old bare bones concept of hostels is more and more giving way to the type of amenities expected at higher-priced inns.
Start with location. Since you may not have a car, vitally important. The Palm is located just four miles from the main entrance to Walt Disney World. The public (cheap, $4.50 for unlimited fares) bus system of Lynx runs regularly with stops right here.
Internet? Sure. Wireless is free.
Security? The police come by every night to check (or so claims the Palm’s management).
Supermarkets/and or convenience stores? Publix and others are nearby.
Added amenities? You can buy discounted tickets nearby or rent bicycles.
Photogenic chances? Regal-looking Sand Hill Cranes live on the property, as well as ducks named Lazy and Dazy. There’s also a hostel dog.
The hostel also has the type of amenities you would want in any type of temporary shelter. These include air conditioning (very important in balmy Florida), cable TV, ceiling fans, free parking, a games room, a gym, washing machines and even such small creature comforts as hair dryers. There’s even meeting rooms and a job board (if you decide to hang around for a while).
Some caveats? Small, minor ones. The first night at the Palm is automatically charged when you make a reservation and won’t be refunded if the reservation is cancelled before arrival. House rules require anyone under 18 years of age to have a written parents’ authorization to stay here. Also note the price does not include the 13% tax (state and resort tax). And, of course, the popularity of the place.
Palm Lakefront Resort & Hostel
4840 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy 192
Kissimmee, Florida 34746, USA