ORLANDO – Two icons have come together here in to create one of the more memorable experiences – for golfers and non-golfers – in the Southeast U.S.
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge now is offering packages at its Tibet Bay Cottages. Located close to the Bay Hill clubhouse, the Tibet Bay Cottages also are known as the Disney Cottages. Yes, that Disney. Understand that in the mid-to-late 1960’s, Orlando wasn’t much more than a cow town, with few neighborhoods and fewer hotel rooms. So Roy Disney – Walt Disney’s brother who was overseeing the construction of his brother’s Central Florida theme park – purchased five cottages at Bay Hill for his executives when they were in Orlando.
Following Disney World’s October 1971 opening, Roy Disney (Walt Disney died in 1966) sold the cottages to Arnold Palmer, who used them for family friends, and business guests until his death in 2016. Each of the two-bedroom, two bath cottages were particularly popular with players during the PGA Tour’s annual Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Packages for each of the renovated cottages, which come complete with full kitchens, 55-inch TVs and patios, begin as low as $250 per night – an absolute bargain. That price, however, does not include golf, but does allow guests access to tee times. Only Cottage and Lodge guests, along with Bay Hill members, can play the course – my favorite in Orlando. One package even has offers weekend continental breakfast delivery to the Cottages from the clubhouse restaurant.
“We have the Cottages for anybody who wants to stay here,’’ said Josh Brownell, assistant general manager at Bay Hill. “They have a mid-century modern look, but they have homey ‘lodge’ feel, so you don’t lose that Bay Hill feeling. You’ll feel like it’s your home, only with much better service and a championship golf course in your backyard.’’