A non-theme destination resort in Orlando, Fla., sounds like an oxymoron, but the new Grande Lakes Orlando pulls it off flawlessly. The nearly $600 million upscale property offers no hint of the theme parks that are mere minutes away.
The Grande Lakes complex includes two separate hotels, the 1,000-room JW Marriott and the 584-room Ritz-Carlton. Both hotels are top-drawer, but the Ritz-Carlton has added opulence with trademark features such as silk and damask upholstery, oversized marble bathrooms with separate tubs, and a private balcony in every guest room. Because both are Marriott brands, the revenue is managed as one property, allowing planners to negotiate a blended rate if using both. Depending on the season, the Ritz-Carlton will accommodate up to 400 for groups, and the Marriott up to 900.
The two hotels are connected by a 40,000-square-foot spa surrounded by gardens. The spa has 40 treatment rooms, a 6,000-square-foot fitness center, and an outdoor lap pool.
The 18-hole, Greg Norman — designed golf course offers caddie concierge services for every group and other group amenities.
Meeting space at Grande Lakes includes two ballrooms, two boardrooms, and 23 meeting rooms at the JW Marriott that total 72,000 square feet, plus 62,000 square feet of outdoor function space. The Ritz-Carlton has 33,500 square feet of meeting space that includes two ballrooms, one boardroom, and 13 meeting rooms, plus 52,000 square feet of outdoor event space.
Scheduled to open this summer is a 27,000-square-foot exhibit hall. www.grandelakes.com