On Location: Lake Nona Wave Hotel

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Lake Nona Wave Hotel
The hotel’s Instagram-worthy sideways leather sofa.

Every now and then, a hotel comes along that smashes the status quo. Lake Nona Wave Hotel (or “The Wave,” as it is affectionately called) rises to the top of the Orlando hotel scene for just that reason.

Where does one begin? What about the exterior—a 16-story curved tower in the shape of a wave, simply stunning when the LED lights are illuminated at night. Or the bold lobby design (here, it’s called the Living Room)—a melange of brilliant colors and textures, with vivid abstract art, geometric rugs, and furnishings that are part mid-century modern, part futuristic. Stretching the entire length of this very large room are shelves packed with a curious assortment of decor, from oversized Ray Bans to a glossy red cherry that stands about a foot tall at the stem. A focal point is a tufted chocolate brown leather couch turned on the vertical so that the armrest is now the seat—one of this highly Instagrammable hotel’s most popular posts.

And then there’s the Sculpture Garden, a fabulous collection including works by Fernando Botero and Henry Moore, as well as Charging Bull by Arturo Di Modica—an icon of New York City’s Financial District. They share the space with 300 hand-selected palm trees, which were chosen for their unique features and arranged in (you guessed it) waves.

The master plan of the surrounding Lake Nona community is to use technology to enhance people’s health and productivity, and this 234-room hotel, which opened in December of 2021, does exactly that. It’s the largest in the world to feature floor-to-ceiling smart windows in every room, which use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust to the outdoor conditions, blocking 99 percent of UV light. And then there are the toilets—The Wave is the largest single-use facility of TOTO smart toilets. Guest rooms feature voice-automated in-room controls and everything, from the TV to the curtains to the temperature, can be adjusted on your own personal iPad.

Lake Nona Wave Hotel
Penthouse Master Bedroom

Wellness is The Wave’s other overarching mission, and guests have access to the first-ever Deepak Chopra Mind-Body Zone and Spa, as well as Lake Nona Performance Club, with hundreds of classes per day. The hotel’s Well+ech rooms are actually used as a revolving showcase for emerging innovations from selected wellness partners, such as Harvard and Apple’s jointly developed Sleepscore technology.

There’s more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 3,000-square-foot Wave Ballroom. And of course, meals and events can be held in the spectacular Sculpture Garden.

For meeting planners, it is unquestionably the creativity that
Director of Sales and Marketing James Tattersall and his team bring to the events that make The Wave a standout. For example, during Prevue’s Meet Well Summit, held there in August, we had planned a standard site inspection for our group of 30 meeting planners. But that’s not how they do it. Instead, they broke the group out into teams, all of which had to come up with the most original selfies while they explored the hotel—including some hilarious bathtub shots. Another highlight was the final night’s entertainment in the exclusive Haven Lounge, a spectacular ballerina in a fuchsia dress made entirely of mirror shards, followed by an unforgettable fire show by one very brave and talented bartender.

It’s that intersection of creativity, innovation, technology and wellness that defines this fresh, new property—and makes Lake Nona Wave Hotel one that attendees won’t soon forget.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.