From Jason Garcia at the Orlando Sentinel:
Walt Disney World has dropped plans to convert a floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort into “health and wellness” suites that would have included amenities such as in-room exercise equipment and massage tables, a project company officials once hoped to use to tap into a growing market for healthy-lifestyle travel.
The suites, which Disney announced in April, were initially supposed to open last month.
A Disney spokesman said the resort still plans to renovate the 14th floor of the 40-year-old Contemporary, one of Disney World’s original hotels. But the improvements will be “in line” with conventional “high-end suite standards” at Disney’s other deluxe-priced hotels.
The renovations are now scheduled to begin in early 2013 to coincide with a planned rehab of the Contemporary’s roof. The roof-top California Grille is expected to undergo renovations at the same time. The refurbished suites are likely to reopen by the start of the summer.
Disney would not say why it decided to abandon the health-and-wellness theme. Resort executives had previously said they viewed the Contemporary project as a test that could be a precursor to more themed renovations in other deluxe hotel suites.
“We look at new ideas and concepts all of the time. It’s not unusual for changes to be made on major construction projects such as” the Contemporary suite renovations, said Disney World spokesman Bryan Malenius.
The health-and-wellness concept emerged from a broader initiative within Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to carve out more “specialty room” concepts appealing to targeted demographics. Disney World, which has approximately 22,000 hotel rooms, has already converted 384 rooms at the moderately priced Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort into pirate-themed rooms and is in the midst of remaking 512 rooms at the moderately priced Disney’s Port Orleans Resort into princess-themed “Royal Rooms.”
Disney said some of the design features from early renderings of the health suites, such as bamboo floors and low-allergen mattresses, are likely to remain a part of the 2013 renovations. But other touches, such as the in-room cardio equipment and a private yoga studio, will be jettisoned.
The original announcement of these rooms was made back in April 2011.