The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #202


A reader nails it:

I got it! I got it! Finally, I know one.

It’s a golf course.

Another sleuth:

Those fluffy white things in the large, otherwise empty blue expanse in the top half of the photo were a dead giveaway. I literally can see some of those exact same things outside MY window right now, and I’m in Albuquerque. Therefore, this photo was taken from my room at the Midtown Days Inn in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Another moves in the right direction:

Corpus Christi, Texas. That’s a wild punt. If I knew the proper golfing analogy, I’d use that instead.

A hail birdy? You’re asking the wrong blog. Another spots a key clue:

The cars don’t have license plates on the front, so this golf course is probably in Florida.

Another reader elaborates on the Florida-ness:

First-time player, since I’m not nearly the traveler that most Dishheads are. Roads, golf course, neighborhood designs and manmade ponds all scream South Florida – and the powerlines on the horizon clinch it; that’s the Everglades. It’s not Broward County, or I’d recognize it, so I’m going to guess Palm Beach County, specifically, Boca Raton. If I make it past the readon,

I’ll count that as a moral victory.

Another also goes for Boca:

Palm trees, SUVs, cookie-cutter houses, flat terrain as far as the eye can see. This is America at its most boring. Boca Raton it is.

Ouch. That reader probably didn’t spend an hour looking at golf courses then:

I spent an hour looking at golf courses. Naples, Florida. That’s all I got.

A former winner isn’t calling his travel agent:

Meh. Looks like somewhere I’d probably have no fun and complain about the humidity. I am going to go with Idon’tcare, Florida. Or somewhere down south (palm trees) that doesn’t require front license plates (mostly down south, anyway). I think that’s the county seat of Ialreadywon County.

This is probably the only US location we’ve ever featured that hasn’t elicited a single contestant’s praise or fond memories:

Florida.  That’s all I’ve got for you.  A subdivision of one-story houses, a golf course, and lush-looking trees (including palm trees!) on land as flat as a pancake. Whereabouts in Florida? I’ll let the more diligent Dish readers answer that one.

A more diligent reader almost gets the right city:

Kissimmee, Florida? It looks like the view from one of the many hotels in the area that host business conventions and cater to Disney-hungry tourists.

Along those lines, the view’s submitter checks in:

So excited that you used my picture this week. Will a photo from a major tourist city in the continental US be too easy?

Definitely not – only 27 readers participated this week, and only a handful got the right city, including this one:

After living in central Florida for several years, my first thought was Orlando: completely flat land, golf, palm trees, and the one towering building in the distance that looks like the Champions Gate Resort. After spending time on Google Maps, though, I couldn’t narrow it down – there are just too many golf courses in that area of the country.



For a map with less dots, below is this week’s OpenHeatMap of reader guesses (zoom in by double-clicking an area of interest (in Florida), or drag your cursor up and down the slide):

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This reader doesn’t need to guess:

Well! This is the first time I’ve ever been struck with recognition at a VFYW contest – more than just, “Oh, I recognize the city” but “I’ve been in that hotel!”

The landscape is inescapably Orlando – flatness, golf courses, those radio towers – and an Orlando I recognize from my stay at the Ritz-Calrton Orlando, Grande Lakes a couple years ago. After checking out a satellite image, I realized the room is on the other side of the hotel from where I stayed, but it appears to be a room directly above the porte-cochere/entrance, facing northeast:


As for the floor and the room number – you have got to be kidding me. I leave that to people with time on their hands to call the hotel and ask themselves.

Or we can just ask the view’s submitter!

Did I mention how much time I saved this weekend by not competing in the VFYW Contest? That was until you asked me to try to find a picture and identify the window of a hotel room in which I stayed almost a year ago from the outside of the building.


In the pictures, the Ritz-Carlton in the hefty building with the two wings and two cupolas. The JW Marriott is the narrower long building with the single cupola.  There is a low double (Ritz and JW Marriott) conference center in between the two hotels.

My room was on the not yet floor in the Ritz-Carlton in the rear in the wing that was nearer to the JW Marriott.  It faced outward toward the golf course – not inward toward the other Ritz-Carlton wing nor outward toward the conference center/Marriott. If you need a picture with a drawing, I suggest you contact the hotel directly. Nothing personal – I plan to enjoy my free time this weekend.

Another guns for the right window:

sand-trapsFlat, full of golf courses, palm trees, lakes, and tracts of dreary, identical, single-story housing. Can’t be anywhere but Florida. The state only has 1,481 golf courses so it was just a matter of looking at them all in Google Earth. I started working from south to north but luckily my wife looked at the picture and suggested the Orlando area. Only took me about 10 tries before I found the water hazard with the two distinctively shaped sand traps beside the fairway, on the course at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes Resort.

The view is from a room at the front, not very high up, maybe 3rd floor, so judging by how the row of palm trees lines up I am guessing the marked window:


Other contestants got closer. Here’s a husband and wife team that has played (and guessed correctly) in every contest this month:

Our guess is that the photograph was taken from the Ritz-Carlton Orlando “Grande Lakes” Hotel, located at 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, Florida. It was taken from a guest room window in the front the of the hotel, several floors over the main entrance/lobby, with the photographer facing northeast. We spent some time working out the angles to determine the correct hotel window, but with so many to choose between, the window selection is at best a semi-educated guess, so we’re crossing our fingers for luck:


The landscape of the contest photograph made us both think immediately of Florida, although neither of us has been there. My wife picked out several buildings in the distance that appeared to be hotels – including one really large one. The concentration of hotels outside of an obvious urban area suggested Orlando, because it brings in tourists for Disney World and various other attractions. My wife tentatively identified the large hotel in the far distance to the left of the contest photograph as the “Florida Hotel & Conference Center” in Orlando, and so we studied large hotels with golf courses in that area. It was my wife that found the Ritz-Carlton.

What first caught her eye was that in the paved parking lot in the contest photograph the parking spots are numbered, and all the cars are parked “backed-in.” (Likely meaning a valet-parking area). She saw an identical parking lot at the Ritz-Carlton, and from there we were able to confirm that everything else matched too.

Great entry. Another:


The photo this week was taken from the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes in Florida (4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837). My guess as to window is in the attached picture. I am guessing the photo was taken from the 8th floor in an even numbered room (It appears the odd numbered rooms fact the pool rather than the front drive?)

I figure every one of these I guess correctly gets me closer to the prize. After a dozen or so contest entries, mostly correct, I got a mention in last week’s contest for my Cook pine strategy and it made my day! I still look forward to this every week, though it can be infuriating at times (there are way too many hotels on golf courses).

Succeeding in difficult contests like this one gives you leg up in future tie-breakers. Meanwhile, it appears Chini got a head start this week:

I suppose it helps to have a little advance training. A few weeks ago, an old college friend sent me a view from a building in Florida, and tracking that one down made this contest a cinch. This week’s view comes from Orlando, Florida and looks almost exactly northeast along a heading of 46.69 degrees. The picture was taken from a room on, oh, let’s say the 7th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes:


Per the view’s submitter, the room number was 1033. No one even guessed the tenth floor by name, but two readers guessed it correctly via window circling. Since the hotel has 14 floors, the fifth from the top is the correct one. That means Chini nailed it, as did this week’s winner, who is a 20-contest veteran:

The photo is taken from the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando. I’m going to guess it’s from the 8th floor – the room is marked here:


This one was an odd one – seemed impossible at first, going from the lack of major landmarks in the photo. But then there were a few quick bits of deduction: It’s a state with palm trees, and no front license plates – Florida. And it’s clearly from a hotel overlooking a golf course. With that to go on, my partner and I started looking at Google Earth views of Florida hotels with golf courses attached and pretty quickly hit on the Ritz-Carlton. The balcony railing matched the balcony railings in traveler photos from the hotel, and then the clincher: Finding the building in the back left of the photo on Google Street View:


Picking the room was the toughest part. I’m guessing it’s above the hotel’s driveway, and between the lines of palm trees (since it’s facing to the left, and only one of the lines is visible in the photo). From rough guesses about positioning, I’m going with the eighth floor, just to the right of the center of the hotel. To guess a room number, maybe 811?

Congrats! And in case you wanted to know the identity of that matching building, the winner of Contest #166 has got you covered:

This week’s contest photo was snapped at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes at 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, Florida 32837. I’ll guess the window is on the 8th floor on the east side of the building:

Ritz Orlando overhead

Ordinarily I would write something interesting about the city or the structures in the picture, but we’re dealing with Orlando. So I’ll just note that from the Ritz-Carlton, you can see a CubeSmart self-storage facility:

contest photo a label

See everyone for the next view on Saturday. No more golf courses, promise.

(Archive: Text|Gallery)