Reviews

REVIEW: Historic Edgewater Hotel, Winter Garden

The three-story, red-brick Historic Edgewater Hotel, a “Bed and Breakfast Style Inn,” looms large in the center of downtown Winter Garden, west of Orlando, appearing much the same as when it opened in 1927.

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Two rooms at the Edgewater are furnished with barber chairs.

After a restoration that added modern conveniences, the inn offers guests a choice of nearly two dozen one- and two-bedroom suites on the second floor. Three rooms have king-sized beds and one is an efficiency.

On my recent visit, I rode up to my room in the original 1927 Otis elevator. A staff member is required to operate the elevator; therefore, I would not recommend the Edgewater for travelers who cannot manage stairs.

I stayed in Room 212, a corner room with a wrought iron king bed, a love seat (rather worn), two dressers, an antique sink in the bedroom and four big windows providing a pleasant view of downtown. The bed was so comfy I overslept an hour!

I splurged this time around to get a view and a larger room, but the cost was still only $126, plus tax. Weekday rates at the Edgewater range from $89, for a small room with a double bed and shower only, to $150, for a two-bedroom efficiency. Weekend rates are $94-$156. So, there’s a price point to suit every budget.

Upon taking a tour of the second floor, I found my favorite room, 215, the Honeymoon/Anniversary Suite. The room is light and bright, with a king-sized bed covered in a white bedspread, a lovely sitting area, armoire, vanity dresser and large mirror (and no sink in the bedroom). The name certainly befits the room, which is tailor-made for anyone celebrating an occasion.

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A charming loveseat in the Honeymoon/Anniversary Suite.

The Sunday I stayed at the Edgewater, the lobby and the long empty hallway felt a bit spooky, especially at night. I never saw another soul, except the staff. (The following Saturday, the website showed, the Edgewater was nearly 100 percent booked.)

After sleeping in, I walked a few steps from my room to the second floor dining room, where guests eat breakfast around a long communal table, an arrangement ideal for socializing. I discovered that a nice couple from Ohio had also stayed the night, but their room was in the other wing, too far away to hear. I learned that they had just visited friends in my hometown, Sarasota.

Guests get to pick what time they want to eat and order their breakfast from a menu with many choices – two perks that I would encourage other B&Bs to adopt.

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The wide, paved West Orange Trail runs through downtown Winter Garden.

After consuming my breakfast to order – a fried egg over easy, bacon and a bagel – I was fortified for a morning exploring downtown Winter Garden, one of the most walkable and charming small towns I have encountered.

A main attraction, at least for nature lovers and the athletic, is the West Orange Trail – an extra-wide, paved path that runs through the center of downtown, bringing bicyclists past the restaurants and the shops selling high-end clothing, olive oil and quilts, and renting and selling bikes. The popular trail is 22 miles long, about one mile of which travels down two-lane Plant Street in Winter Garden.

In the middle of the trail is a huge fountain, surrounded by metal porch swings and benches, where visitors can “take a load off” and watch the bikers go by.

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Visitors and residents like to gather around a downtown fountain.

When it’s time for lunch, Edgewater guests may opt to return to the inn, where three restaurants occupy the first floor. I chose the Thai Blossom, and was glad I did; the mixed vegetables with pork was delicious. An old-fashioned ice cream shop and a barbershop are also located on the first floor.

Another downtown attraction is the Mediterranean Revival-style Garden Theatre. Built on Plant Street in 1935, the theater reopened in 2008 after a restoration. It now hosts live plays, concerts and movies.

You may want to plan your visit to Winter Garden during an event. The biggest is Spring Fever in the Garden, a two-day flower and garden show held downtown every April. In addition to plants and flowers for sale, you can expect live entertainment and an art auction.

Winter Garden offers a welcome break from the hubbub – a spot to relax and recharge – but if you require more activity, Orlando and all its restaurants, malls and theme parks, including Disney World, are within a 30-minute drive.

Julie Blomquist

(Note: As always, I accepted no compensation in exchange for writing this review, and did not reveal my intentions to the innkeepers.)

Winter Garden Visitor Information

Historic Edgewater Hotel

Photo Gallery of Historic Edgewater Hotel and Winter Garden

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