A Romantic Weekend Getaway

by Trish Utter

For a minute I thought I was in . . . Paris! But I was at the Park Plaza Hotel in Winter Park, which is close to downtown Orlando. Built in 1922 this charming vintage, boutique hotel is nestled between unique stores and cafes. Step inside this little jewel box and you are transported to a bygone era. The quaint dark wood and Tiffany lit entrance is very reminiscent of Europe, and even has an adorable 1920’s style elevator. Upon arrival guests are handed a beautiful brass room key. A grand staircase guides you up to the 28 rooms that are on the first floor. And yes, that is it, just 28 rooms so the personal service you get is incredible. Every room is oversized and the beds have luxurious, crisp white linens. Everything is historically preserved. The bathrooms have the original fixtures and tile, so you could say you are staying in a working museum that is an amazing treasure, and makes for a memorable experience. The guest rooms that overlook Park Avenue lead out to a large wrap around balcony where a continental breakfast tray, with fresh flowers, is brought up to you each morning. This is included in the cost of your room. Sitting on the balcony, over-looking the trendy street below is a lot like being in New Orleans, with its iron laced railings and lush palms, and the energy of Park Avenue below. I sat there enjoying my fresh brewed coffee and hot croissants and listened to the distant train that stops in Winter Park. What a time capsule of a place this is, very romantic and absolutely charming.

Park Avenue is packed to the brim with restaurants and cafes that have outdoor seating and lots of dog bowls. The area is very pet-friendly. One of a kind clothing stores and art galleries dot the long winding avenue and the sound of live music is in the air. One of my favorite spots is a restaurant called Luma on Park. This restaurant uses fresh, seasonal produce from local farmers. Luma is a hit with the locals so reservations are recommended.

Winter Park has many side streets to explore as well as museums. The area will have you coming back, time and time again.

The staff at the Park Plaza are extremely attentive and knowledgeable about Winter Park and its many attractions. The staff told me about the Scenic Boat Tour. This company started giving tours in 1938. The hour-long trip starts on Lake Osceola and takes you past some breathtaking private homes and through canals that link each lake together. This is a side of Winter Park you would never see in a car. The guide tells you the history and talks about the architecture of the properties that dot the lakes. Boats leave every hour, on the hour.

The Park Plaza Hotel has limited rooms so to avoid disappointment make sure you book well in advance. Just imagine having a glass of wine on that pretty balcony.
ParkPlazaHotel.com 407-647-1072
LumaOnPark.com 407-599-4111
ScenicBoatTours.com 407-644-4056