7600 International Dr.
Price We Found: $59.95 (Travelocity).
The Red Horse Inn's Southwestern motif includes a saddle in the lobby.
(Anne Mcdonough -- The Washington Post)
Details: A guard with a pleasant smile waved us into this two-pool, 728-room complex that's right off the highway. Near the lobby are a luggage room, large convenience store, two e-mail kiosks and -- a nod to the mostly British clientele -- the aptly named Apothecary Restaurant. The standard rooms at this pet-friendly location include a microwave, fridge and the all-important coffeemaker -- but really it's all about the Topsy Turvey Cafe, where chairs hang from the ceiling and the karaoke can go until 2 a.m.
Info: 800-825-7600, www.orlandoqualityinn.com.
16 QUALITY INN KISSIMMEE
2930 Polynesian Isle Blvd.
Price We Found: $49.95 (Travelweb).
Details: Removed from the ruckus of the highway, the 119-room hotel feels pastoral -- almost. A large grassy area, adorned with trellises and flower beds, makes for a nice spot to relax after park mania, as does the sizable gated pool with enough deck space to fit all those Brits who come via a British Airways package. The breakfast room is small (only four tables) but feels larger thanks to large bolts of sunshine. However, if you want to eat in your room (cozy table and chairs, tall windows, nice iron lamps), remember to ask for a fridge and microwave, available upon request and for a nominal fee.
Info: 407-396-2199, www.qualityinn.com.
17 QUALITY INN MAINGATE WEST
7785 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy.
Price We Found: $38 (Hotels.com) to $49.87 (Travelocity).
Details: From the outside, it was a pink nightmare too close to the highway. On closer look, though, we were taken by the large, clean rooms, the gratis continental breakfast and the outdoor heated pool sitting on the edge of a pretty little lake -- for $38, an excellent deal. We'd ask for a room toward the back of the property though, just to avoid staring at cars whizzing by.
Info: 407-396-1828, www.qualityinnorlando.com.
18 RADISSON BARCELO HOTEL
8444 International Dr.
Price We Found: From $50 (Expedia) to $58.50 (Hotels.com).
Details: Perhaps the grandest of the hotels on our list, with a restaurant, well-stocked gift shop and premium coffee at the Cargo Bay Cafe right in the busy lobby. Guests at this 523-room hotel have privileges at the on-site YMCA Aquatic Center, perfect for working off those nachos from Ripples Pool Bar. There's also a heated outdoor pool, bocce, horseshoes and tennis (the desk has racquets). The yellow-stuccoed rooms have spacious bathrooms and surprisingly tasteful (for Orlando) flower-print wall decorations. Free shuttles to Universal and SeaWorld, but you're on your own if you want to visit Disney.
Info: 407-345-0505, www.radisson-orlando.com.
19 RAMADA PLAZA HOTEL
& INN GATEWAY
7470 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy.
Price We Found: $46 (Expedia) to $46.20 (Hotels.com).
Details: This is two hotels in one. The Plaza is a glittery high-rise, with 147 airy, pastel-infused rooms containing bleached-pine furniture, large windows, a nifty micro/fridge/sink area and a 12-cup coffeemaker. A huge, sunny lobby -- with copious seating, a lounge and a restaurant -- opens out onto an oh-so-inviting pool area, with palm trees, umbrella'd tables and lounge chairs. Surrounding the pool is the two-story Inn, whose 353 tired rooms are pleasant but a notch below those in the Plaza. Plus, they have smaller fridges and no microwaves. Plaza rooms are about $10 more a night (and worth it), but you could do far worse than the Inn.
Info: 407-396-4400, www.ramadagateway.com.
20 RED HORSE INN