This week saw the grand opening of Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, and while it is considered a Moderate resort, you would never know it by the look of the exterior, and even less so once you’re inside. This gorgeous hotel doesn’t just raise the game, it changes the game.
The ambiance is one of refined elegance, but designers haven’t forgotten where you are, and they’ve ‘hidden’ images of Mickey Mouse throughout the resort in subtle, tasteful details that act as gentle reminders you ARE at a Walt Disney World resort. Look for him in the artwork and carpeting on each floor, find his image in various places in your guest room (including one adorable semi-hidden Mickey you may not notice right away, but will be delighted when you do!), and don’t miss what may be the best ‘hidden Mickey,’ in the stained glass backdrop of Barcelona Lounge.
Speaking of lounges, let’s get straight to the dining choices before we head into a guest room, because the ideal away to ensure a restful night is to fully enjoy good food and drink during the day. Situated in the lower lobby, Barcelona Lounge definitely starts the day off right, with a superb menu of interesting Spanish coffee drinks, plus baked goods, fresh fruit and granola and yoghurt parfaits.
The coffee menu alone features 15 varieties, including the big hit during our media preview, Café Bombon, made from espresso and sweetened condensed milk. Add Licor 43 (a fruity, herby liqueur made in Cartagena, Spain) and it becomes the Barraquito, an alcohol-laced evening sipper. The lounge menu also changes in the evening, and features nibbles including mixed olives and artisanal cheese boards, and because the bar is extra-long, and there are plenty of convivial gathering areas throughout the lower lobby area, you won’t struggle to find a comfy seat to relax and enjoy your drinks.
Looking for something a bit more substantial for pre-dinner snacking? Dahlia Lounge, on the 16th floor, offers Latin-influenced tapas such as chilled marinated mussels with saffron aȈoli, and olive oil-poached tuna with lemon, as well as plated dishes including calamari, head-on prawns and savoury churros with romesco (roasted tomato and garlic). Try their signature Gran Gin Tonic, hand-crafted with Tanqueray gin and house-made saffron-orange tonic, and make sure you call it a gin-tonic rather than a gin and tonic, because a) that’s its name and b) it’s the Spanish way of saying it.
This may be a good time to mention the resort’s backstory, by way of explaining both Dahlia Lounge and, in fact, Gran Destino. Back in 1945 Walt Disney and artist Salvador Dali began a collaboration on a short film, titled Destino. It was finished posthumously and debuted at the 2003 New York Film Festival, and it tells the story of the pretty mortal Dahlia and her love for immortal Chronos (the personification of ‘time’). Their struggle and her ultimate transformation is shown in the 6-minute short on screens in the reception area and on your guest room television. You’ll see references to Dahlia throughout the resort, especially in her namesake lounge but also in a nearly 2-storey panel in the lower lobby (directly across from Dahlia’s panel is a twin panel with a reference to Walt Disney himself, along with Mickey Mouse. We’ll leave you to discover this wonderfully sentimental homage on your own).
Toledo—Tapas, Steak and Seafood restaurant, also on the 16th floor, doesn’t refer to the short film, though. Instead, it is a reference to Toledo, Spain, the culinary inspiration for this lovely rooftop dining spot’s food and drink menu. Its creative dishes also take their cue from ‘surrealist art and the 1930s avant-garde’ as evidenced by beautifully presented starters, sides and main courses including charred octopus, herbed goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers, delicate scallops with fava hummus and harissa vinaigrette, and a truly delectable (and convincing!) Plant-Based Seafood entrée of ‘crab cakes, scallops and calamari,’ all of them completely vegan.
It would be hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, and we sampled items as varied as the vegan crab cake (made with mushrooms and hearts of palm; a true delight!), scrummy blistered shishito peppers, tender hanger steak, smokey-salty jamón, traditional ‘Bravas’ potatoes and the aforementioned mixed olives, each a palate-pleasing sensation.
A good meal deserves a great dessert, and you’re spoilt for choice with Chocolate-Avocado Mousse, classic Crema Catalan, or ‘Café con Leche’ Choux, but we recommend the funky Toledo Tapas Bar, a fun chocolate-bar style dessert featuring five consecutively placed flavours (cheesecake, coffee, chocolate, raspberry and lemon) so that you get a ‘different’ dessert with each bite. We told you it’s creative!
Balmy days and evenings beg for al fresco dining, and even rainy-day lunches or dinners can be enjoyed at superb Three Bridges Bar & Grill, an ‘island’ of sorts in the resort’s Lago Dorado lagoon, connected by (of course!) three bridges. The food is outstanding, with highlights including Curry-lentil Hummus, Crispy Chicken Biscuit Sliders with paprika fries, Harissa lamb chops and the yummiest Warm Churro with chocolate dipping sauce you’re ever likely to taste. Try the Tinto Sangria. Heavenly!
Full-up, it’s time to head to a guest room, and the experience starts with the elevator. No buttons inside the lifts for this hotel! Instead, guests tap their desired floor number on a screen outside the lifts, and are immediately directed to the lift that will take them there—from lift A, B, C, D, E and F.
Guest rooms are large and bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows featuring a direct or indirect view of Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, depending on which side of the building you’re on. Convenient touches in King or double Queen rooms include a Keurig coffee maker, mini-fridge, a large desk area, plenty of plug points and USB ports, an ample bathroom with sink and shower area separated by a door to the W/C, and a comfy chair and side table. Glass-fronted showers are large, with both a rain-shower style head and a hand-held, and, of course, toiletries are Disney’s own H2O+ brand.
All the amenities at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort are within easy walking distance from the tower, and we highly recommend you take an evening stroll around the lake. You’ll be rewarded with a playful lighting design on the tower that reminds you a stay at Walt Disney World Resort’s newest hotel is all about making magical memories.
We thoroughly enjoyed our sneak peek at Gran Destino Tower, but one of the best parts came as we made our departure: the resort’s first guests were just arriving, and it was lovely to see their faces as they took in the initial view and began their own explorations.
Find out more about staying at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort right here.
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