With a focus on art, technology and wellness, the Lake Nona Wave Hotel opened in December 2021 – its 17 floors towering over a growing planned community in Orlando, just a 10-minute drive away from Orlando International Airport. A welcome alternative to the area’s theme park hotels, this high-rise hotel is both sophisticated and whimsical — it doesn’t take itself too seriously while rolling out the red carpet for guests who appreciate fine dining, rooms modern with innovative equipment and the opportunity to stay in shape while on vacation.
I spent a few nights at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel while on an organized media tour – one night with a girlfriend who lives in Orlando and the other night alone – and found the property to be both refreshing and surprising, with features and offerings I’d never seen before in a moderately priced city hotel. Here are some of the reasons I enjoyed my quick visit – and why I’d recommend Lake Nona Wave if you’re looking for a stylish retreat from the crowds of Orlando’s theme parks.
About those smart toilets and nifty bedroom windows
When my friend and I were shown to our room, one of the first things our baggage handler did was tell us to go into the washroom. And of course, as soon as one of us approached the Toto Neorest smart toilet, the lid magically opened.
This line of sleek, state-of-the-art toilets, with retail prices starting at $6,400, offers all sorts of bells and whistles in addition to the self-opening and closing toilet lid. Via a control panel on the wall, we could choose between eco or full flushes, opt for a front or rear pulse wash (at the bidet), and whether we wanted our butts dried (at the dryer- hair). Using the Wave Hotel restroom was fun, that’s for sure.
Rooms also feature floor-to-ceiling View smart windows, which automatically tint (or not) as needed throughout the day – when the weather gets sunnier or brighter, cloudier or darker – to block 99 % of UV rays. This technology is not only energy efficient, but is said to help customers sleep better. Honestly we didn’t even notice the windows getting tinted throughout the day but if it’s tech gear that’s good for the environment and can help me adapt to time zone changes , I completely agree !
Other tech-savvy amenities at Lake Nona Wave Hotel
It’s easy to order room service, make housekeeping requests (like having extra towels or a bucket of ice delivered), check restaurant menus, and find out about things to do. to do in the Lake Nona area on the iPad that’s docked on the dresser in each guest bedroom. This iPad is also where we could control the temperature and lighting in the room, and we could close or open the curtains.
Downloading the mobile app is also essential to have full access to the advanced technology used in the hotel. When my phone was paired with my room, I was able to open my room door by sliding my phone in front of the keypad. The mobile app offers some of the same services as the in-room iPad, so even if you’re on the go in Orlando, you can easily chat with a hotel representative via text if needed – or even order room service to be delivered by the time you are back in your room.
Of course, if you’re a technophobe and have no interest in downloading a mobile app or touching an iPad on vacation, that’s okay! There are wall-mounted room controls to take care of your comfort while you sleep, and you can also easily pick up the phone to make room service requests.
Artistic accents throughout the property
Upon entering the modern lobby of this high-rise property, my friend and I were immediately struck by the kaleidoscope of colors, the eclectic array of seemingly random objects displayed on the shelves and walls, and the playful furnishings. It was fun to hang out in the lobby of the Living Room just to study a new piece of art each time we rested there.
We also enjoyed strolling through the outdoor sculpture garden which is dotted with impressive large works of art, some of which are from the Lewis private collection. (Billionaire Joe Lewis is the founder of the Tavistock Group, developers of the Wave Hotel.) Amidst towering palm trees, you’ll see one of charging bull sculptures by Arturo Di Modica (his best-known version is in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District).
I was struck by the large chrome geometric figures in various stimulating poses as well as a trio making up the Cloister plot who reminded me of the maids in The Handmaid’s Tale.
Wellness amenities include access to a world-class fitness center
While the Lake Nona Wave Hotel has its own impressive fitness center with Technogym weight-training and cardio equipment — not to mention an outdoor pool with lounge chairs and cabanas — I opted to go for it. exercise and relax at the Lake Nona Performance Club, which is off hotel property but completely free for Lake Nona Wave Hotel guests.
This state of the art fitness, sports and integrative health center is approximately a 10 minute walk or 3 minute bike ride away. And Wave Hotel guests can borrow a cruiser bike from a fleet of about a dozen to get there. That’s exactly what I did, starting my exercise for the day with the “scenic drive” to the Performance Club, taking a leisurely hour to roam local suburban neighborhoods and along recreational trails pavers.
Once at the Performance Club, I was blown away by its offerings: a rock-climbing wall, basketball court, indoor running track, plus a huge array of Technogym cardio and strength-training equipment. I took my workout to the lap pool — which is adjacent to a family pool, a shallow water spray area for younger guests, and a hot tub.
Afterwards, I relaxed in the spacious hammam in the locker room and took full advantage of a leisurely hot shower. What a pleasure to be pampered after a few busy days of travel and activities. If only there had been a massage appointment available at the Deepak Chopra Mind-Body Zone & Spa at the Performance Club – next time!
Excellent dining options at Lake Nona Wave Hotel
I was incredibly impressed with our Saturday night meal at the on-site Bacán, whose menu focuses on “flavors of the Americas,” with lots of influence from Latin American countries. Beneath a colorful and evocative mural, a few steps from an open kitchen, we fully enjoyed being seated amidst a bustling weekend crowd – apparently made up not just of hotel guests but of many locals for a night on the town, as well.
Our favorite dishes included grilled street corn ribs with adobo mayonnaise and cojito cheese; lobster tostadas and burrata with passion fruit, marinated tomatoes and grilled pumpkin seeds; and grilled ribs with tequila sauce. Our desserts: chocolate fondant with mole sauce and strawberry ice cream, as well as pavlova with coconut ice cream, caramelized pineapple, lime cream and coconut streusel. Really delicious.
For my solo meal, I sat on a hightop near the bar in the more laid-back and quiet Haven Kitchen (for a Sunday night, anyway). Here, since I had previously had a hearty brunch at Chroma Restaurant at Lake Nona a few blocks away, I opted for a small plate of burrata (yes, more burrata!) with crispy ciabatta, heirloom tomato, salsa with blood orange, arugula pesto, and speck ham. It was the perfect little dish to enjoy with a glass of red wine to cap off an enjoyable stay at this new cosmopolitan Orlando hotel.