With the COVID pandemic still looming throughout the world, Steve (DOS) and I are staying closer to home and traveling domestically this year. The European River cruise, trip to the Holy Land, and others we had booked will have to wait at least until 2022. That’s fine with us, as even though we are fully vaccinated, we don’t want to have to quarantine, have constant COVID testing etc, as COVID requirements are constantly changing in different countries.
Instead, this is the summer of Stay-Cations! A stay-cation, at least defined by us is an overnight trip fairly close to home (an hour or two drive) with one or more nights in a hotel, B &B, or Inn etc.
Our first summer stay-cation was an overnight stay at the Orlando Hyatt Regency Convention Center, for the “Generous Pour” Event at the Capital Grill.
The Capital Grill has run this Generous Pour Wine special for several years during the off business travel months of of July and August, and for $28, you can sample their featured seven wines with your meal (at regular prices.). Considering a glass of vino is $15 or more, with the equivalent of two glasses even, you’ve broken even! Each year there is a different wine theme and selection, and this year it’s from the Wagner Family.
This year there are 3 whites and 4 reds, ranging from a Rose to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and an outstanding Bordeaux from the St. Emillon region. With your meal you’re free to try and and all of the wines, so it’s quite a great deal for the wine lover. For safety and convenience stake, we aways stay at the Hyatt Orlando Convention Center, as it’s only a couple blocks walk to the Capital Grill!)
We missed going to the Generous Pour last year as it was canceled due to COVID and indoor dining restrictions, not to mention the temporary closure of the huge Hyatt Hotel as well, so we were excited to be going back to the Hyatt this year.
As Globalist Hyatt members, we got a nice upgrade to a huge suite on the 29th floor, which overlooked the pool, Convention Center, and even Disney World’s Contemporary Resort which was several miles away.
The Hyatt’s Concierge Lounge was still closed due to COVID, but the staff offered us a complimentary breakfast at the B-Line diner in the morning.
One of the simple but enjoyable things we like about staying at this Hyatt is taking long walks inside the huge property and adjacent and connected Convention Center. This Hyatt is the second largest property in the Hyatt chain, and is a huge convention hotel among others in the immediate area on International Drive. There are two towers, including the original one which was formerly the Peabody Hotel.
From the photo below you can get an idea of the size of the hotel’s convention facilities in the foreground, which connects via walkway to the mammoth convention center (second in size only to Las Vegas’s), and in the far right distance it connects to the Hilton Hotel as well. This is a fun and scenic walk, alternating between enormous air conditioned facilities and brief outdoor (but covered) walkways with moving sidewalks connecting the buildings.
The hotels, restaurants, attractions and Convention Center have all suffered greatly over the last year due to COVID, as conventions large and small were all canceled due to travel and public gathering restrictions. On our walk were glad to see some of the conventions at the Hyatt were starting to come back, such as this teen dance competition we passed by, and snapped a couple photos with some of their props!
The dance photos above were all taken in the Hyatt’s Convention Center facilities, while the next photo shows the huge, but empty walkway of the main Convention Center building. I can’t imagine what it costs just to air condition this huge amount of space, but in Florida it’s definitely a necessity.
After our walk we headed back to the hotel and relaxed a bit before showering and getting ready for our night out at The Capital Grille, which was just down the street from the hotel.
Upon arrival at The Capital Grille, we were promptly seated, and enjoyed a pre-dinner Rose from the Generous Pour selection. DOS and I both love sharing multiple appetizers, and the Generous Pour is a great way to create your own customized wine pairing dinner with them. We went a bit out of sequence wine-wise with our first appetizer of a thick-bacon dish which was twice as big as we were expecting! It could have fed four people, but we managed the large portion size with a Pinot Noir.
Next we requested an entree size portion of the Ahi Tuna, as there wasn’t an appetizer portion on the menu. We do this sometimes as an alternative to the published appetizers, and our Capital Grille servers had it sliced up for us as an appetizer dish. For this course we switched to the Chardonnay, which paired with the tuna very nicely.
Next up was a Garden salad which paired nicely with a nice Sauvignon Blanc.
We then had a bit of a break from the meal (per our request) as we ordered the bone in ribeye to share between us. As we had had quite a bit of food already at this point, we had the server split the ribeye for the two of us, knowing how from previous visits how big it was. While we were waiting on the steak, we had time to sample the two top reds.
Freemark Abbey was the featured Cabernet Sauvignon, which happens to be one of our favorite red wines! A nice surprise for us, however, was the Château Lassègue Bordeaux wine that was also featured. The Château Lassègue is from the Saint-Emillon region, and was smooth, and delicious! While we are knowledgeable on various wines and regions of the world from our travels, we are definitely novices on French wines. We had hoped to become more knowledgeable about the Bordeaux wines with our trip to France and Spain in late July, but unfortunately with COVID we had to cancel our Bordeaux river cruise this year.
The Ribeye was more than enough for the two of us, and was nicely sliced for us to easily share. Coupled with a family size order of mashed potatoes, and more of the Château Lassègue wine, our main course was outstanding!
While we normally have a shared dessert, we were quite full, and finished up our meal with a bit more of the Château Lassègue before heading out. As always, we thoroughly enjoyed our night of dining at the Capital Grille, and look forward to going back again for another Generous Pour dinner later this summer.
On the way back to our hotel, we stopped for a nightcap at the Rosen Plaza Hotel which was across the street. I had a brewski out by the pool, while DOS had an ice cream cone before we headed back to our Hyatt hotel for the night.
While only one night, we had a wonderful stay-cation an look forward to taking our next stay-cation trip soon!