CELEBRATION, Fla. -- Travel agents booked almost 25% of the guests
at the boutique-style, 115-room Celebration Hotel since the
lakefront property opened here last November, according to Tony
Kraus, director of sales and marketing.
A major reason might be the 15% commission that was applicable
on and off and is now reinstated through Sept. 30, he added.
"We've been working closely with the travel agent community,"
That effort included mailings to agents in markets such as
Atlanta, the Carolinas and the Northeast Corridor.
Kraus said the hotel was created as a quiet, upscale getaway for
guests who want proximity to Walt Disney World but also a
"We see it as a real niche in the market. We're a small,
boutique hotel with a lot of personal touches," he said. "We're
near Disney, but we're a quiet retreat away from the hustle and
The hotel itself has upscale services including a concierge
check-in area, a lobby piano bar and a public Jacuzzi noted for its
An attraction unto itself is the small city of Celebration.
Owned and designed by Disney, it is populated by some 2,700
residents, with old-fashioned alleyways and homes designed so that
those who walk out their front doors often meet their
The design was an attempt to re-create Disney's version of
friendly, small-town America.
Guests at Celebration can walk to 20 shops and an AMC
Celebration 2 Theatre.
The hotel's lone restaurant, the Plantation Room, is open only
for breakfast, but there are four restaurants within a short
The hotel's decor reflects 1920s Florida with its wood frame
design with clapboard siding, tabby stucco, shutters, awnings,
large tin roofs, low eaves and dormers. Its lighthouse tower is
visible from all parts of the town.
The Celebration Hotel features 109 double, queen or king rooms
and six deluxe king suites. Most units offer a lakeside view, for
which there is a $20 to $30 surcharge.
A highlight is a milelong, lighted walkway with a bird sanctuary
located adjacent to the hotel.
The hotel has its own small exercise room with modern equipment,
but many guests find it is worth the $10 to visit the nearby
60,000-square-foot City of Celebration Health Fitness Center, which
boasts, among other amenities, a rock- climbing wall.
Celebration guests can be driven there in hotel-owned vintage
cars, such as a restored 1954 Cadillac sedan.
Rates start at $165 per night for retreat accommodations,
described as "great for a romantic getaway." Suites range from $360
to $470. The latter boast separate living areas and have an
apartment feel to them.
Almost all rooms have four-poster beds, two-line speakerphones,
data ports, large business desks and high-speed Internet
The hotel also has 5,000 square feet of meeting space.
Celebration Hotel can handle conventions of up to 125 people,
Kraus said, but often hosts two or more smaller groups at the same
The ratio of group to FIT sales has been about 45 to 55%, which
Kraus said was expected when the hotel opened.
The focus now is to increase independent travel, he said.
A popular amenity for guests is the nearby Celebration Golf
Course designed by Robert Trent Jones and Robert Trent Jones Jr. It
offers five sets of tees on every hole.
There also is a three-hole junior golf course nearby for
children and beginners.
The Celebration Hotel is one of Richard Kessler's Grand Theme
Hotels, a portfolio of facilities with individual architecture and
The town of Celebration will eventually have up to 15,000
residents. Kessler has options to build two more hotels here,
although there are no plans for any new facilities.
Celebration is located south of downtown Orlando, just off U.S.
192 and east of I-4. The town is about five minutes from the
entrance to Walt Disney World.
The Celebration Hotel
Phone: (888) 499-3800