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Review of Grosvenor Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard
by Jennifer Watson and Dave Marx, Authors of PassPorter Travel Guides

This past December we spent several nights at the Grosvenor Resort, on Walt Disney World’s Hotel Plaza Blvd. Although many of us don’t include the Grosevenor and its fellow Hotel Plaza Blvd. hotels in our lists of "Disney" resorts, all these hotels are on Disney property, and can offer a variety of Walt Disney World-related amenities not available to off-property hotels. We thought it was high time we gained some first-hand experience at these hotels, and we decided to start with the Grosvenor, as we received a great off-season discount. We booked a "standard" room at $79 per night through Walt Disney World Central Reservations. Not bad, if you consider that it’s a short stroll from Downtown Disney, and the rooms are as large as most on-property Deluxe resorts. 

The hotel has a main, high-rise tower, and two low-rise wings. Rooms in the tower are accessed from indoor hallways, like a traditional hotel, but the wings are motel-style rooms are accessed from outdoor walkways. Otherwise, rooms in the wings are comparable to rooms in the tower. We, as it turns out, got a ground floor room in one of the wings. The view of the large, grassy courtyard would have been delightful, if we could have opened the drapes. Unfortunately, as at Disney’s Value and Moderate resorts, fellow guests walk right past your window. 

Inside, the room was quite spacious and comfortable, but otherwise disappointing. It had two full beds, a desk, generous drawer space, and a medium-screen TV. At the far end of the room was a mirrored sliding door concealing a clothes bar (with too few hangers), a small refrigerator (at no extra charge), a small safe standing on a painted steel pedestal ($2 per night extra if you want to use it), and a single-sink vanity. A separate bathroom adjoined the vanity. The furnishings were nondescript, in a somewhat outdated style. In general, the room was clean and in good repair but worn-looking, but there was some rust around the base of the safe’s pedestal, the room’s heating/cooling system was noisy and lacked oomph, and the carpet by the door was wet from the rainwater seeping in. Later, hotel management took us on a tour of the hotel. The rooms we were shown in the tower looked to be in much better condition, although the styling was still the same. 

The lobby reminds us of a typical urban hotel lobby, with generous seating areas and a typical, dark brown Formica front desk area. Nearby is a Disney-run shop, selling the typical selection of Disney merchandise and theme park passes. A broad staircase lead up to the restaurants on the next floor, and one corner of the lobby had been converted into a 24-hour convenience store, offering refrigerated sandwiches, hot soup, and a variety of breakfast and snack items. Just outside the lobby is a very convenient waiting area for the buses to the theme parks. Altogether, this lobby (and the rest of the hotel) could have been anywhere else in the world, and didn’t feel a thing like Walt Disney World. 

Recreation facilities looked quite decent, but the weather and our schedule didn’t let us try them out. There’s a good-sized, un-themed outdoor pool, and an adjoining hot tub. Nearby are two tennis courts. These are set amidst lush lawns ornamented by statues of the hotel’s symbol, a gryphon. 

Dining on the floor above the lobby is convenient, but again, nondescript. The hotel’s owner's wife loves Sherlock Holmes, a theme that is carried-out in Moriarity’s, the hotel’s dark pub, and Baskerville’s, the buffet restaurant open for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. (Baskerville’s is the site for the Murder Watch Mystery Theater that we reviewed in a separate article.) Signs and displays in the anteroom between these establishments set the Baker Street theme, and an entire, glassed-in room displays Holmesian memorabilia. Alas, the execution of these themes isn’t quite up to Disney standards. We consumed an uninspired buffet dinner and an equally uninspired Sunday brunch at Baskerville’s. While the food was fresh, of good quality and reasonably prepared, no items were particularly noteworthy. Selection was good, though, with good roast beef, several fish selections, several pastas, a good selection of veggies, plus chicken and pork selections. Brunch was also predictable, with mostly average breakfast items. The eggs Benedict (one of my "test" items) was actually decently made, but again, no awards. Food service here and in the lobby was all several notches below what we expect of a Disney resort. With all the restaurants a short walk away at Downtown Disney, there’s little reason to dine here, other than convenience. 

All together, we can only give a conditional recommendation to this hotel. First, it has not a whit of the kind of vacation magic we look for. It’s not likely to enhance your visit to Walt Disney World--it simply provides a convenient place to rest your head. As such, it can provide substantial value if you can get the kind of price we did (lower than the rack rate at Disney’s Value resorts) or better (through places like Priceline.com). You also get a refrigerator (worth $12 per night at a Disney-owned resort), and the hot tub, health club, tennis courts and full-service restaurants Disney’s Value resorts lack. You’ll probably be happier in the Tower rooms, with their grand views, convenience to the lobby, and the indoor hallways. Avoid the wings if at all possible. Despite the value, when we transferred from the Grosvenor to one of Disney’s Value resorts (All-Star Music), we felt we were moving up, rather than down. You may also want to price your business meetings here. The hotel has a large grand ballroom (divisible as required), and a variety of suites configured perfectly for convention hospitality (sitting room with connecting guest rooms).
 

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Updated 11/21/03