7400 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
CoCo Key Hotel Overview
There is little denying that Orlando is Hotel Capital, USA (or at least very close). There are few locations on Earth with as many options for hotels as our fair city, so it's hard to get excited when a new one opens. That is, unless they stick a 54,000 square foot water park right in the middle of one. That’s exactly what they did with Coco Key, a recent addition to the hotel offerings on International Drive.
While the hotel itself is new, the building is not – in fact this hotel was one of the first built on International Drive.
The hotel has a storied history, not the least of which includes being used as a training site for cast members of the Contemporary Hotel before its opening in 1971.
However, even though this hotel has been around, the new owners took it off line for nearly a year and spent more than $19 million renovating the entire property. This includes completely gutting and redesigning every one of the 391 guest rooms (and building a massive water park in the middle of it). The result? Surprising large and very comfortable rooms. The guest rooms are well appointed, with ultra-comfortable pillow top mattresses, 37” flat screen TV’s, personal coffee makers, granite shower and sinks in the bathrooms, in-room WiFi access (complimentary) and the coldest air conditioning known to man (each room has its own AC unit – let me repeat that - EACH ROOM has its OWN AC unit on the roof). If you’re like me and prefer air conditioning that would allow you to hang meat in your room, you’ll be amazed at how cold one of these rooms can get (I routinely keep my house at 68 degrees during the summer). Of course, you can turn up the thermostat if you like it a little warmer than that, but the option is there.
What impressed me the most about these rooms was how comfortable they were, especially given the resort's more-than-reasonable price point. Beds and bedding were definitely up-scale, the room's contemporary design and colors were fun without being garish, and then there’s that water park…..
If you’re traveling with kids, especially younger ones, I’m going to warn you now – you will have trouble getting them to go to theme parks once they experience the hotel's ‘pool’. Yes – there is a quiet pool (called Coco Beach) with publicly available cabanas and a nice hot tub, but the water park is something that needs to be seen to be believed. More than half of it is under canopy (the part that’s most appropriate for younger kids), so if your kids like to spend hours playing in the pool, there’s not a great deal of worry about over-exposure to the sun.
The water park area is divided up into three sections: Minnow Lagoon is geared toward younger kids and features a zero depth entry pool, a variety of water features, and several slides. Parrot's Perch is an interactive 'play island' that also has slides and water canons, but the area's centerpiece is a 400-gallon dump bucket that dumps its water every 30 minutes throughout the day. Coral Reef Cove is the 'teens' area that features the Cyclone slide (48" height requirement) as well as an area for 'water volleyball'.
In addition to all this, there are three 'signature' water slides which include Boomerango (a two person tube ride - 48" height requirement), Over the Falls, a high speed body ride (40" height requirement) and Surfer Splash, a 1 or 2 person tube ride (42" height requirement).
Of course, if you're not interested in slides, dump buckets and water canons, the hotel also has a beautiful 'quiet pool' for sun bathing and relaxing. The area has several cabanas (available for everyone, not an extra charge), as well as a hot tub and tiki bar for the adults.
The water park area is also home to the resort's 6,500 sq. ft. Key West arcade. The arcade has several state-of-the-art video games (like Dance Dance Extreme and Guitar Hero) as well as two mini-bowling lanes, air hockey and several games for younger kids as well. Games are paid for with a reloadable game card.
The hotel also has several options for dining. The resort's table service restaurant, Tradewinds, serves a buffet breakfast in the morning for only $11.95/adults and one child eats free with each paying adult! This restaurant features an a la carte menu at night. There is also a quick service location, Callaloo Grill, which serves standard fare like burgers, fries, hot dogs, wraps, etc., from 6:00 am to midnight. In addition there is a Pizza Hut Express location here that offers a 'make your own' pizza option.
Overall, Coco Key is a great option for families looking for something extra to add to their vacation outside the theme parks. This is especially true for families with younger kids, as the water park is clearly a huge draw.
One thing we suggest is that you avoid the pool-side rooms. While they are lovely, the chlorine necessary to maintain the pool tends to permeate these rooms and was noticeable during our inspection of the property.
Rates at Coco Key range from $99 to $149 per night depending on season. A resort fee of $19 per room per night is added at check-in. The resort fee includes unlimited access to the water park for up to four people per room.
Hotel rooms include:
The hotel offers a few dining options including Tradewinds - a full service restaurant that serves a breakfast buffet from 6:30-10:30 each morning and dinner from 5:00 to 10:00pm. Cost is $11.95/adult and one child eats free with each paying adult.
There is also a quick-serve restaurant available on site as well that’s open from 6 am to midnight. This is also the location of the Pizza Hut Express that allows you to create your own pizzas.
Room service is also available from 5 pm to midnight.
Complimentary scheduled transportation to Universal Orlando, Sea World, Aquatica and Wet n Wild are provided. Transportation to Walt Disney World is available at a cost of $18 per person (round trip)
The resort is located 12 miles from Orlando International Airport. Universal Orlando and Sea World is five minutes away by car. Walt Disney World is approximately 10 minutes away by car.
Coco Key is also on the I-Drive Trolley route located at Marker #13 on the Red Line South.