The hokey architecture of the Doubletree Castle (8629 International Dr., 407/345-1511, from $150 d) fits right in with the overblown atmosphere of International Drive . Although a stay here probably won’t make anyone feel like royalty, the Renaissance-era styling and mass-market luxury touches make it one of the better values on the tourist strip.
Enclave Suites (6165 Carrier Dr., 407/351-1155, from $79 d) is a pretty basic hotel, with decent—if slightly worn—guest rooms. About half of the guest rooms are regular hotel accommodations, the rest are kitchen-equipped suites in studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom sizes. There are four pools on the property, as well as a tennis court, game room, and playground.
For true budget travelers, the motel-style Metropolitan Express (6323 International Dr., 407/351-4430, from $60 d) is a good option. Although the guest rooms aren’t going to win any awards for spaciousness or style, they’ve got all the basics, and the hotel has a free continental breakfast buffet and complimentary shuttles to the Disney parks.
The Point Orlando Resort (7385 Universal Blvd., 407/956-2000, studio suites from $109) is surprisingly quiet considering its location in the thick of the I-Drive action. The relatively new, all-suite property has studio, one-, and two-bedroom “condotel” accommodations, all of which have full kitchens, flat-screen televisions and laundry facilities. Guest rooms and public areas are clean and contemporary.
Those looking to escape the masses of budget travelers should head for the JW Marriott (407/206-2300, from $219 d) or the Ritz-Carlton (407/206-2400, from $239 d), both of which are located a few miles away at Grande Lakes Orlando (4040 Central Florida Pkwy., www.grandelakes.com ), a 500-acre golf and convention resort set on a nature preserve. The combined amenities of the two five-star hotels include eleven restaurants, a spa, meeting facilities, a fly-fishing school, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, three tennis courts, bocce ball, carriage rides, three pools…yeah, you won’t need to leave the property. It goes without saying that the guest rooms and suites are up to the high standards set by each of the top-shelf chains.