The view is about the only thing that hasn’t changed at Hemisphere, the restaurant at the top of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The space, which had been closed for renovations, has been back to serving guests quietly and has its official reopening Thursday.
The $3 million redo pretty much gutted the two-level dining room on the ninth and tenth floors of the hotel inside the airport’s main terminal. I had a chance to see the new decor at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday. Hyatt Regency management and officials from the airport all oohed and aahed over the renovations. Frankly, I found it to be austere and cold.
Mind you, this is not a review of the restaurant — I’ve not yet dined at the new Hemisphere and sampled the menu from executive chef Jeffrey Powell and Jason Moltz, the chef de cuisine. I am looking forward to having dinner there — I’ve liked Hemisphere in the past and considered it one of those local gems, not so much hidden as in full view.
And speaking of views, the two-story glass windows still afford commanding vistas of the runways of MCO. But the space now makes me think of CDG.
Specifically, the Air France lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. It’s not a space I have fond memories of. Every time I visit Paris I’m struck with how unfair it is that the French have a reputation for being rude; that’s never been my experience. And then I head for the Air France lounge before flying home and the staff there tries its best to perpetuate the stereotype.
But it wasn’t the staff at Hemisphere that made me think of the lounge — I’m sure they’re all warm and welcoming — it was the ambience. There are a lot of hard surfaces and I can’t imagine what the noise level will be with a full house.