With a focus on art, technology, and wellness, Lake Nona Wave Hotel opened its doors in December 2021 — its 17 floors towering over a growing planned community in Orlando, just a 10-minute drive from Orlando International Airport. A welcome alternative to area 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, modern guest rooms with innovative amenities, and the opportunity to stay fit while on vacation.
I spent a couple of nights at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel on a hosted media visit — one night with a girlfriend who lives in Orlando and the other night on my own — and found the property both refreshing and surprising, with features and offerings I’d never seen before at a moderately priced city hotel. Here are a few of the reasons why I enjoyed my quick visit — and why I’d recommend Lake Nona Wave if you’re looking for a stylish retreat far from Orlando’s theme-park crowds.
About Those Smart Toilets And Clever Windows In Guest Rooms
When my friend and I were shown to our room, one of the first things our luggage attendant did was tell us to walk into the water closet. And sure enough, as soon as one of us got close to the Toto Neorest Smart Toilet, the lid magically opened by itself.
This sleek and tech-savvy line of toilets, whose retail price starts at $6,400, delivers all sorts of bells and whistles in addition to the automatically opening and closing toilet lid. Via a control panel on the wall, we could choose from eco or full flushes, opt for a front or back pulsating wash (à la bidet), and whether we wanted our bottoms to be blown dry (à la hair dryer). Using the toilet at the Wave Hotel was entertaining, for sure.
Guest rooms are also outfitted with floor-to-ceiling View Smart Windows, which automatically tint (or untint) as needed throughout the day — as the weather becomes sunnier or brighter, cloudier or darker — to block 99 percent of UV rays. This technology is not only energy efficient, but it’s said to help guests sleep better. We honestly didn’t even notice the windows tinting throughout the day, but if it’s a tech amenity that’s good for the environment and can help me adjust to time-zone changes, I’m all for it!
Other Tech-Savvy Amenities At Lake Nona Wave Hotel
It’s easy to order room service, make housekeeping requests (for example, having extra towels or a bucket of ice delivered), check out restaurant menus, and learn about things to do in the Lake Nona area on the iPad that’s docked on the dresser in every guest room. This iPad is also where we could control the temperature and lighting in the room, and we could close or open curtains.
Downloading the mobile app is also key to having 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 swiping my phone in front of the keypad. The mobile app has some of the same services as the in-room iPad, so even if you’re out and about in Orlando, you can easily chat with a hotel representative via text as needed — or even order room service to be delivered by the time you’re back at your room.
Of course, if you’re a technophobe and have zero interest in ever downloading a mobile app or touching an iPad on vacation, that’s okay! There are wall-based room controls to take care of your comfort while sleeping, and you can easily pick up the phone to make room-service requests, as well.
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 color, the eclectic array of seemingly random items displayed on the shelves and walls, and the playful furniture. It was fun to spend time in the Living Room lobby just to study a new object d’art each time we’d rest there.
We also enjoyed strolling through the outdoor sculpture garden that is dotted with impressive large pieces of art, some of which are from the private Lewis Collection. (Billionaire Joe Lewis is the founder of the Tavistock Group, developers of the Wave Hotel.) Amid towering palm trees, you’ll see one of the Charging Bull sculptures by Arturo Di Modica (his most well-known version is in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan).
I was struck by the large geometric chrome figures in various thought-provoking poses as well as a threesome composing the Cloister Conspiracy that reminded me of the handmaids in The Handmaid’s Tale.
Wellness Amenities Include Access To A World-Class Fitness Center
While Lake Nona Wave Hotel has its own impressive fitness center featuring Technogym strength-training and cardio equipment — not to mention an outdoor pool with chaise lounges and cabanas — I chose to get my workout and relaxation time in at the Lake Nona Performance Club, which is off of the hotel property but completely free for Lake Nona Wave Hotel guests to use.
This state-of-the-art fitness, sports, and integrative health center is about 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. I did just that, kicking off my exercise for the day with the “scenic route” to the Performance Club, taking a leisurely hour to cycle my way through the local suburban neighborhoods and along some paved recreation trails.
Once at the Performance Club, I was blown away by its offerings: a rock climbing wall, basketball court, indoor running track, plus a vast array of cardio and strength-training Technogym equipment. I took my workout to the lap pool — which is adjacent to a family pool, a shallow water-spray area for the youngest guests, and a hot tub.
Afterward, I relaxed in the spacious locker room’s steam room and fully enjoyed a leisurely hot shower. What a treat to pamper myself after some busy days of travel and activity. If only there had been a massage appointment available at the Performance Club’s Deepak Chopra Mind-Body Zone & Spa — next time!
Excellent Dining Options At Lake Nona Wave Hotel
I was incredibly impressed with our Saturday evening meal at the on-site Bacán, whose menu focuses on “flavors of the Americas,” with plenty of influence from Latin American countries. Underneath a colorful and evocative mural, just steps away from an open kitchen, we fully appreciated being seated in the midst of a lively weekend crowd — seemingly made up of not only hotel guests but plenty of locals out for a night on the town, as well.
Our favorite dishes included grilled street corn ribs with adobo mayonnaise and cojito cheese; lobster and burrata tostadas with passion fruit, pickled tomato, and toasted pepitas; and grilled short ribs in tequila sauce. Our desserts: chocolate fondant cake with mole sauce and strawberry ice cream, as well as pavlova with coconut ice cream, caramelized pineapple, lime crema, and coconut streusel. Truly delish.
For my solo meal, I sat at a hightop near the bar at the more casual and quiet (for a Sunday night, anyway) Haven Kitchen. Here, since I’d earlier had a filling brunch at Lake Nona’s Chroma restaurant just a couple blocks away, I opted for a small plate of burrata (yes, more burrata!) with crispy ciabatta, heirloom tomato, blood orange salsa, arugula pesto, and speck ham. It was the perfect small dish to enjoy with a glass of red wine to top off a lovely stay at this new cosmopolitan hotel in Orlando.