During our time in Orlando, Florida, we stayed at a hotel that had come highly recommended from friends and family, however it turned out to be the worst hotel we’ve ever visited, and I felt like a total fool for booking a stay here. This is why I would never recommend staying at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, unless of course you want to be totally terrorized.
Hollywood Tower Hotel
Location: Orlando, Florida
Address: 351 S Studio Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
Rating: 5-Star Hotel
Staff Helpfulness & Friendliness: 1/5
Room size: ?
Room Amenities: 5/5
Room and Bed Comfort: ?
View from Room: 5/5
Golf Course: Nearby
Spa: Yes, Steam Baths
Proximity to Other Points of Interest: 5/5
Arrival at Hollywood Tower Hotel
Check-in took about an hour and a half, which was the slowest we’ve ever experienced. We had to wait in a socially distanced line under the hot Florida sun, and when we finally got into the hotel, the service was so poor that it felt like we were in a free fall of confusion throughout our stay, and we were left in the dark about where the amenities were located. We were never actually assigned a proper hotel room, we weren’t even given a room key, nor did anyone offer to take all of our luggage, and for what we paid for our stay, I thought this was outrageous and totally unacceptable.
After entering the hotel, we were left to wander alone in the dark, following strange, disembodied voices beckoning for us to “come right this way”, but whenever we followed them, they led us back to the same elevator, and we had the feeling that we were constantly being watched, which was totally creepy.
Ambience of Hollywood Tower Hotel
The hotel itself almost seemed as though it were frozen in time, and throughout the duration of our stay, the clocks never moved past 8:05pm, which was just the beginning of the strange occurrences we witnessed here. The elevator that was supposed to take us to our room, wherever that would have been, must have been out of order, because it behaved quite erratically.
I’m not one to shy away from exciting activities like skydiving, snorkeling, spelunking, and mountain climbing, but I’m pretty sure that it would have failed every safety test imaginable, and it certainly didn’t take us to the correct floor. In fact, this elevator made me feel like I was on an episode of the Twilight Zone, with how bizarrely this thing malfunctioned. They should probably fix that.
Our Room & Its Amenities
We never actually reached our room, and we spent most of our time trapped in the hotel’s only elevator. We did enjoy chatting with the other hotel guests though, which was pleasant. One said that this was her third visit to the hotel, and she still had never actually made it up to her room, but that she wanted to keep trying. Her husband mentioned that his favorite part of visiting the Hollywood Tower Hotel was the elevator ride, which I thought was odd, but I didn’t push him to explain why he found it so enjoyable when I simply wanted to get up to our room and freshen up. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
The History of the Hotel
Eventually, we finally found one of the hotel staff, a gloomy guy named Craig, I believe. He told us that back in 1939, lighting struck the outside of the hotel, and five hotel guests, who had been in the elevator at the time after enjoying an evening at the hotel’s top floor lounge, the Tip-Top Lounge, disappeared after plunging downward uncontrollably, never to be seen again. Some speculate that the five hotel guests didn’t simply vanish into thin air, they claim that the guests died on impact, and still haunt the hotel to this day, and that the hotel worked hard to cover up their deaths. You can read a news article about the death and the hotel’s alleged cover-up, here.
After this awful tragedy, the hotel was immediately evacuated and sat empty, languishing in the dark for more than 50 years. Under new management, the hotel was recently reopened and has been welcoming thousands of guests each day ever since, which I thought was very strange, because they couldn’t possibly have had more than a few hundred rooms. Where was everyone sleeping, and how could thousands of people fit in this building all at once? Something here wasn’t adding up.
When we asked this staff member how they accommodated so many hotel guests and how we could figure out which room we were supposed to stay in, he simply laughed and directed us to the elevator, as though that was the only draw for the hotel, which clearly wasn’t the case. I think the influx of clueless guests has something to do with the fact that you inexplicably can’t leave a Trip Advisor review on this hotel, which is pretty fishy if you ask me.
Final Thoughts on Hollywood Tower Hotel
Overall, our stay was pretty awful. The outside of the hotel was deceptively lovely, surrounded by beautiful bird of paradise and blooming azalea, but I was disappointed to find that the interior was outdated, and the amenities I’d seen signs for outside of the property were nowhere to be seen. The elevator obsessed concierge and staff were absolutely no help at all, and we never actually made it to our room.
Poorly lit and very loud, the hotel was difficult to navigate, and it seemed like the other hotel guests were just as confused as I was about where anything was located, and I couldn’t even find a bathroom inside, which has to be against like a dozen health codes. Save your money and stay at other, more legitimate hotels in the Orlando area, like the nearby Waldorf Astoria instead. Once we got out of the hotel, we were able to find a nice refreshment stand directly across the street, which was a lovely pick-me-up after being so let down by this hotel.
Ps. April fools!
The Hollywood Tower Hotel is the “official” name of the ride at Walt Disney World, called the Tower of Terror, and it’s not a real hotel. The backstory of the ride is what I mentioned in this post, and the ride is endorsed by the Twilight Zone. The narrator of the Twilight Zone TV show is the narrator of this ride, which takes guests on a massive elevator ride, and drops them down the tower several times, mainly in the dark.