A Few Minutes with Fred Sawyers, General Manager, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel on the new $125-million renovation.
Q: What can we expect with the new renovation?
A: We are undergoing a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign that will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel. Each room will be completely reimagined and include all new furniture, the latest technology, and a serene and sophisticated atmosphere inspired by our water-themed architecture. All the rooms in the Swan are scheduled to be completed in 2015 and in the Dolphin in 2017.There are also plans to refresh much of our public and meetings space, the details of which we will reveal soon.
Q: What does this renovation mean for future meetings to the Swan and Dolphin?
A: This renovation represents the next chapter for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. We can now offer meeting planners an ideal location, 25 years of industry experience, and now the very best and newest room product. We expect more groups and a greater variety of groups will be eager to host their meetings with us. The hotel and all of our public and meeting space will remain fully operational.
Q: What sets these hotels apart from other meeting hotels?
A: There are several advantages that set the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin apart. First is our location. We are located right in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, within walking distance of two theme parks, more than 40 restaurants, Disney's Boardwalk Entertainment District, mini-golf and much more. Secondly, our unique position as a Starwood property partnered with Disney allows our guests to experience the best both have to offer. They can earn SPG points and sleep on a Westin Heavenly Bed while also reserving attraction times through the new MyMagic+ system up to 60 days in advance.
Our guests can visit the theme parks during exclusive Extra Magic Hours, and use the complimentary Disney transportation system to travel throughout the property. Groups can take advantage of unique programming offered through the Disney Institute. Another major differentiator is our food and beverage program. Our team is consistently recognized as an industry leader, and whether it is through our banquets and catering team or at our award-winning venues like Todd English's bluezoo and Shula's Steak House, our guests consistently are wowed by their dining experience. Last, but certainly not least, is our service. With 25 years of experience as a convention hotel, we know how to take care of our corporate and association clients and go beyond their expectations. It's the reason that many of the same groups have come back year after year for more than two decades, and that our hotel consistently ranks among the very top meeting hotels within Starwood.
Q: How does this latest renovation change the look and feel from the hotel's current design and the original concept 25 years ago?
A: We've come a long way from the original,whimsical nature of the hotel when it was first opened in 1989. Obviously styles have dramatically changed since then, and we have continued to change our look as well. This latest redesign offers a modern atmosphere that can be appreciated by meeting attendees as well as our leisure guests. Although we are located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, we realize that the hotel is a place where our clients are conducting significant business. It was our intention to create an environment that balances the fun and the serious.