Located in a residential neighborhood, the Veranda Bed & Breakfast Inn (707 E. Washington St., 407/849-0321, www.theverandabandb.com , from $99 d) is spread out across four buildings, but with only 10 guest rooms, it never comes close to feeling like a hotel. Several of the guest rooms have private entrances, and the two guest rooms in the Keylime Cottage can be combined to make a two-bedroom two-bath home away from home, complete with a full kitchen. The spacious grounds include a quiet courtyard and swimming pool, and all of the guest rooms have private baths and televisions.
The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne (211 N. Lucerne Circle E., 407/648-5188, www.orlandohistoricinn.com , from $125 d) is another four-building accommodation set in a residential neighborhood. More traditional bed-and-breakfast-type guest rooms can be found among three beautifully restored early-20th-century buildings, but it’s the 15 stylish one-bedroom suites of the art deco Wellborn Suites building that set the Courtyard apart; though aimed at extended-stay business travelers (with desks, kitchenettes, and Wi-Fi), they’re comfortable enough for anyone planning a stay in the area of more than a day or so.
Overlooking Lake Eola and downtown Orlando , the Eo Inn & Urban Spa (227 N. Eola Dr., 407/481-8485, www.eoinn.com , from $129 d) is a modern European-style boutique hotel aimed directly at luxury travelers, but the rates are surprisingly affordable. The 17 guest rooms are Wi-Fi equipped and decked out with contemporary furnishings and supersoft beds with down comforters. With its relaxing rooftop Jacuzzi and a heavy emphasis on the various spa treatments available on-site, the Eo achieves a level of intimacy that’s somewhat incongruous with its close proximity to downtown.
Formerly an extraluxurious outpost of the Westin chain, the Grand Bohemian (325 S. Orange Ave., 407/313-9000, www.grandbohemianhotel.com , from $209 d) is now operated by the boutique-minded Kessler Collection (also the operators of the Casa Monica in St. Augustine ). With its 250 guest rooms spread over 15 floors in the heart of downtown, boutique isn’t quite the adjective I would use to describe the Grand Bohemian, but there’s a level of privacy and personal service here that’s completely unmatched by other local hotels of this size. From the dark wood furnishings and decadent velvet drapes to the same sort of soft beds that made the Westin famous, much of the luxury of the hotel’s former incarnation is intact. The bohemian vibe is maintained with an understated emphasis on art (there’s a curated gallery), plus the downstairs Bosendorfer Lounge features tasteful live music nightly, and the award-winning Bohème restaurant is best known for its Sunday jazz brunch.
A Best Western may not be the sort of lodging one would expect in an upper-crust village like Winter Park , and accordingly the Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn (110 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407/647-1166, from $135 d) isn’t your typical Best Western. Essentially a motel with guest rooms that face a parking lot, the guest rooms are clean, quiet, and exceedingly well-maintained, if not of the most recent vintage. Make sure that you pop into the on-site Red Fox Lounge for a drink and a listen to the Saturday Night Live–like husband-and-wife musical team Mark and Lorna.
Much more in keeping with Winter Park’s character is the Park Plaza Hotel (307 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407/647-1072, www.parkplazahotel.com , from $179 d), a 28-room “vintage boutique” hotel that overlooks all the activity on bustling Park Avenue and commands a price (and weekend waiting list) commensurate with its location. Brick-faced walls and antique furnishings give the tiny guest rooms at the Park Plaza a rustic lived-in feel, but the exceptional service and charming atmosphere evoke a sense of long-lost luxury.
The Thurston House (851 Lake Ave., Maitland, 407/539-1911, www.thurstonhouse.com , from $190 d) is an 1885 Queen Anne–style farmhouse set on a beautifully landscaped lot. There are only three guest rooms, all of which have free Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions and DVD players, and private baths; the best is the O’Heir Room, which has a fireplace, a sleigh bed, and an enormous bay window looking out onto Lake Eulalia.