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Dumping Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark for IHG Property in Cape Canaveral

Few months ago I wrote a post on redeeming points for Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark I’ve been intrigued by this place ever since my in-laws took my daughter there for a getaway, back when it was run by Nickelodeon. I just love the set-up of the suites: one king bed in a separate area, brightly decorated bunks and even a small living room. If you have two young kids, you know this is an ideal room arrangement for a family vacation. It’s as close to a condo as it gets.

Of course, the biggest draw of the hotel is the waterpark on premises. They also have various activities and even a small movie theater. And yet, I recently dumped this resort in favor of another IHG property. Specifically, Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral Beach Resort Let me tell you why. As always, my goal with this type of posts is to help you choose the right property for your next vacation.

So here is why I’ve changed my mind:

1) My husband hates Orlando, plus, I already plan to go there several times over the course of next year.

As I wrote in my previous post, my parents are supposed to come to Florida next March. I have plans to stay four nights in Orlando, preferably at a resort with a waterpark (separate post coming up). Additionally, I’m itching to burn my Hilton points on one night at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek resort.

It looks like such a fun property for a family vacation! The price isn’t dirt cheap: 30K-50K Hilton  points, depending on the season. But we would only be staying one night, so it would be a bit of a splurge. I’ve mentioned before that I plan on getting 4-day Florida resident passes for Disney in January of 2018, so we’ll be staying in that area a few times.

2) Recent reviews of Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark have seriously spooked me. 

As I’ve said in my post Can you trust TripAdvisor reviews?, you have to take everything you read online with a grain of salt. But the property appears to have some serious issues: lack of customer service, problems with rooms etc. Read this review and judge for yourself. Old rooms+ lack of cleaning spells disaster.

It wasn’t an isolated review either. I’ve seen many seemingly reasonable travelers use terms like “mediocre,” “dirty”, “lipstick on a pig,” and so on. I’m not a fancy type gal, but I do get concerned when I see fellow parents trying to warn me about a certain property.

Don’t get me wrong, for the right price I’m willing to overlook a LOT of flaws (aside from dirt and bed bugs). But this hotel isn’t exactly dirt cheap on points. I know several people who’ve stayed here and enjoyed it, so perhaps it’s a recent development. But those reviews…about a third are awful, and photos speak for themselves.

I wouldn’t say that all TripAdvisor reviews for Cape Canaveral property are 100% positive, but the consistent theme is that it’s a clean and decent resort for families. Plus, I’ve stayed there before and enjoyed it.

3) You can apparently book the hotel in Orlando via reasonable cash rate and just save your IHG points.  

The reviewer who trashed the hotel mentioned that she was able to get a special rate of $89 all-in through ReserveOrlando website. I’ve seen other reviewers mention getting a good deal by booking via third-party. IHG website charges as much as $160 per night, PLUS resort fee of $25, PLUS parking fee of $15. Speaking of…

4) The rate on points wasn’t cheap before and is now outrageous. 

Did you know that IHG raised award rate of this hotel to 35,000 points per night without any advance notice? Nope, it wasn’t mentioned in their official annual adjustment. I booked the hotel back when it cost 25,000 points, and I thought it was a bit steep considering the fact that Orlando hotel market is oversaturated. But now it’s completely insane. I also saw that some folks apparently were charged the resort fee while staying on points. Not everyone and in fact, my relatives didn’t have to pay it.

But who knows what the policy is like at the moment. The parking fee is not waived regardless of the type of rate you booked. But I would be extremely ticked off if I dropped 25,000 points per night and had to pay another $40 on top of it. That’s not much of  a bargain, really. Plus, I’ve seen many people complaining that the food is extremely expensive. By comparison, property in Cape Canaveral doesn’t have any resort or parking fees, and food is reasonably priced.

5) The resort in Orlando is basically a motel, while property in Cape Canaveral is a condo-type building with lots of amenities. 

Not to mention, it’s close to the beach and you can take a free trolley there. They also have a beachfront wing, so we may even get an upgrade due to Platinum status. Most importantly, the resort is packed with amazing family-friendly features like lazy river and a huge indoor playground. This is no motel.

We’ve stayed here 5 years ago, before it joined IHG brand, and it was so much fun! One of the best vacations we had as a family. And no airfare required for us Floridians.

Good times!

I have been wanting to go back, but things just never seem to line up. One of the problems is lack of award availability. It’s atrocious. I even spoke to the manager and he admitted that they only release one award room per day (out of 200) during peak season. So, the place gets booked up fairly quickly.

That’s why when I saw some award availability open up in July, I decided to pull the trigger right away. Note to readers: if you are stalking award availability in this or any other chain hotel, get a  free HotelHustle account and set an alert. It will save you time and effort.

Switching reservations

Honestly, I wasn’t crazy about going to Holiday Inn resort in Orlando and was only doing it for the kids. But this is what gave me pause. The resort in Cape Canaveral costs 35,000 points per night. My husband had about 7,000 IHG points left in his account. Even if I canceled the reservation in Orlando, I’d get  50,000 points redeposited, and would still be 13,000 points short. The only solution was to buy points or make a Cash+Points reservation.

Here is what I did:

I made two separate reservations. First, I redeemed 35,000 points and then did 20,000 points+$99 redemption for the second night. Obviously, I’m not happy about shelling out cash for my “free” night, but it is what it is. Plus, if they ended up charging us resort and parking fees at the other place, it would be a wash anyway.

If  I have to cancel the reservation for some reason, I’ll get all of my 70,000 points back. Refundable rate on my dates is $500 for two nights all-in, so I’m getting a significant discount. Or so I keep telling myself… Check out this short YouTube video with some photos of the resort:


I don’t think I’ll ever be redeeming 35,000 points on  Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark, that’s way too much for motel-type property. Like I said, Orlando has a ton of resorts and I hope to stay in several of them in 2018. But I’m really looking forward to going back to Holiday Inn Club Vacations Cape Canaveral Beach Resort and reviewing it for you guys. Ahh, our first vacation as a family! Will it be as nice as it was the last time? I’ll hopefully find out soon enough.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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10 thoughts on “Dumping Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark for IHG Property in Cape Canaveral

  1. Hi Leana,
    I’m glad you reviewed this place. I’m going to Orlando this coming Thursday due to last minute changes I had to book a hotel. I always crash at my friends house but her husband’s family decided last minute to come to FL (10 people – got it love Brazilians). So I had to find a hotel quick. I had some CSP points but I didn’t want to burned on HI. At the end I used AA miles for a 3 nights stay at the Hyatt Cypress combining Hyatt credit card free night. Unfortunately I can’t use my Explorist lounge certificates AND I have to pay resort fee. But there is plenty of cheap breakfast options in the area. I called the hotel and Hyatt call center with no luck. I’m going to call again and say how disappointed I am with Hyatt. Why offer free lounge certificates with so many restrictions? I got some Hyatt gift cards at discount last week to ease my pain. ???

    • @Tania LOL I think Brazilians are similar to my brethren. When I was visiting home, all of my relatives came the same day I arrived via plane. I was exhausted, but what can you do? They al stayed overnight, so it was more than a little crowded, hehe.
      On Explorist lounge access, I’ve heard many readers complain about lack of availability and general nuisance web trying to use it. Try again, though burning miles and free cert don’t technically qualify. You should definitely ask at check-in and maybe they will give it to you as a courtesy.

      • Keeping my fingers cross but the hotel emailed me offering to upgrade to Club room for 75 dollars. I called Hyatt again and spoke with a supervisor but no luck. I cried a little about having to pay for breakfast but the manager didn’t care 🙂 . So McDonalds ( my son’s favorite) here I come.

    • Tania, I wouldn’t pay an extra $75 for Club access, and we are a family of four! Last time my husband and kids didn’t even want the evening snacks, so I was the only one who took advantage of it. For just the two of you, it would be hardly worth the price.

      • No way in hell I am going to pay and extra $75 ! I have to pay for parking AND resort fee.

  2. I was looking into the Orlando Waterpark for a possible 4th of July quick getaway. But after reading the reviews, I agree it sounds really iffy. My parents took my kids here last year and they enjoyed it. I wonder if it’s gone downhill in the past few months. It seems the common thread is dirty and people can’t even get towels in their rooms. Sad. I really like the room with the bunks setup.

    • @Jennifer That’s what I thought too. Maybe it was OK last year, but there seem to be a lot of complaints recently. Plus, paying 35K points per night is a deal breaker. I still hope to try it out one of these days, but will be watching the paid rates as well as reviews.

  3. Glad you changed your Holiday Inn Orlando Resort reservation….I read the reviews on that place, and we will definitely not be staying there. I’m glad you found award availability for Cape Canaveral — it’s such a bummer knowing that you could have a room for free or nearly free if they would just be more generous with their award space. So frustrating!

    I just booked a Holiday Inn Express by JFK for 40,000 and a free night certificate for my in-laws. Not exactly my best redemption, but it’s a 5 hour flight arriving late at night, and with 2 kids and 2 seniors, I’m all about convenience, free parking, and free breakfast 🙂

    Keep me posted on the Orlando hotels…we’re definitely planning for Summer 2019.

    • @Stephanie I know I’m obsessive about researching hotels, but if I have to pack suitcases and drag my little hooligans out of the house, I want to have a decent place to stay! 🙂 I used to be more low key, but if so many people keep saying that a place is dirty, it’s prudent to listen to them.
      As far as using points on airport hotel, I’ve done it. Whatever reduces cash cost is a good redemption in my book. I’ve been happy with Holiday Inn Express brand, and NYC is an expensive market, so 40K points isn’t unreasonable.

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