Last May, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The luxury hotel, part of the Marriott chain is famous for top-notch service and luxury accommodations. This lavish European style property boasts some eye-popping amenities.
From the eleven different food venues to the 18-hole golf course and 40,000-square-foot spa this place spells luxury. Guests can choose to relax by the pool, hike the nearby trails or kayak the lakes. Moreover, it is placed strategically between the airport and different Orlando entertainment and shopping venues for easy access.
What works for families
- The large rooms with two queen sized beds can comfortably accommodate a family of four. Connecting rooms are available for larger parties.
- The double sinks and separate shower and bathtub are also ideal for families.
- The hotel has an educational fun camp for kids called Ritz kids. Activities include nature walks, a mini petting animal area, arts and crafts, and video games.
What does not work for families
- The Ritz-Carlton does not encourage rollaway beds in the rooms. This could create an issue for families of five or six where the children are not old enough to be in their room, without separating mom and dad up.
I knew I would be arriving in Orlando in the early evening tired after a flight from LA. I have a severe feather allergy which is noted in my Marriott profile.
Though the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes is part of the chain, I wanted to make sure housekeeping was aware of the situation. So a week before my stay I called the front desk and reiterated the fact I needed a feather free room.
Arriving via cab from MCO, my check-in process was seamless. There was virtually no wait, and I was greeted with a fruit-infused cold glass of water by the front desk staff. While I was getting my room keys,
I noticed the nearby room filled with toys for kids to play in a while their parents check in. It is those little extra touches that make the Ritz Carlton chain so special.
The decor of the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes plays a quintessential part in the luxury theme. The lobby area is elegantly decorated in hues of creams, beiges, and mint greens. Furnished with traditional furniture, gleaming chandeliers, and wrought iron accents give guests a feeling of going back in time to a bygone era. Completing the tranquil Great Gatsby ambiance are the large windows with views of the well-manicured grounds.
When I arrived in my room on the seventh floor, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful view of the golf course. My balcony sliding glass door was very tight on the tracks and harder to open than other hotels, but that was okay with me. As a mom to a son with autism, I liked the fact that I could hear the door opening or closing.
After admiring the golf course view, I took a good look at my room. The prominent colors were creams, mint green, and white much like the public areas. By the front door, there was a tiled entrance along with a beautiful mirror and shelf to place items such as room keys or the ice bucket.
The closets and storage space in the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes are just amazing. There is a full-size closet big enough to hang up a family’s clothes for the week.
They also provide a wall-mounted safe that is at chest level, and it is big enough to hold a laptop computer and any other personal items you want to be kept safe.
The curtains were double lined, and blackout style curtains, allowing me to have darkness in the morning while my body adjusted to Florida time. I also had my choice of two queen size beds that allowed me to sleep closer to the wall or the balcony.
Also, the nightstand between the beds was big enough to accommodate holding drinks and had multiple outlets to charge devices such as a cell phone and an iPod docking station.
The bathroom was a very nice size and even has a locking door from the rest of the room. There were double sinks, with plenty of storage areas for all my personal belongings. The Ritz-Carlton also has a stand-alone shower and a separate tub.
The only thing I would have changed in the shower was the shower handle. It was not moveable, which could be a problem with families who are showering young children. There is also a separate room for the commode, which is always a great thing. And did I mention that each marble bathroom is stocked with bathrobe and slippers?
Housekeeping was okay. As noted above, they did miss my feather allergy, so I had to wait over an hour for this issue to be resolved. While they were extremely apologetic, it was a bit of a small hassle.
Some of the best qualities of the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes are the room size, the decor, Executive Lounge, being able to use Marriot Points or SPG points for rooms and upgrades. There is a huge family friendly pool and shuttles available to the theme parks.
What is Free
If visitors are a Marriot member with high status, water and Wi-Fi are free. Occasionally upgrades to the Executive Lounge are available.
Located on the 14th floor, the Executive Lounge was phenomenal. Here I could watch the Disney fireworks. They also have a kid’s area with smaller tables and chairs, with DVD’s for the kids to watch while they eat. Please see my separate review.
Inside the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes, they have two restaurants. One is Normand’s, and the other is the HighBall and Harvest. The HighBall and Harvest specialize in delicious southern style entrees such as Chicken and Waffles. Known for Latin, Caribbean, and Asian flavored foods, Normand’s has something for all taste buds.
Both restaurants also pride themselves on using local fresh fruits and vegetables. Whisper Crisp Farm is a local farm owned by the Ritz-Carlton, which has over 7,000 acres of fruits and vegetables to use.
Additional dining options are the spa café serving salads and smoothies and the Lobby Lounge offering afternoon tea and unique cocktails.
The property features a lot of fun family activities. They include local fishing, eco-tours, tennis, golf, surrey bikes, pedal boats lake kayaking and a sunrise safari. Not to be missed is the all you can eat sweets bar offered in the lobby every weekend.
Ritz Carlton Kids
Ritz Kids boasts excellent programs for children. Kids can learn about local wildlife, and enjoy the hotel petting zoo.
For the older crowd, there’s a pay for play arcade with various games. The Ritz-Carlton does offer parents Kids nights out, which helps parents enjoy some much-needed relaxation time.
J W Marriott Next Door
The JW Marriott located next door shares the same grounds as the Ritz-Carlton. By sharing the same grounds, guests enjoy the amenities of both hotels. That includes the golf course, restaurants, the lazy river pool as well as volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts.
Autism Travel Tips
- The balcony door was tight and didn’t open easily which I thought was good for families with kids. But parents that are concerned about safety can request an additional lock to prevent children from opening it.
- Well-insulated rooms are a great asset that the Ritz-Carlton offers. Our son enjoyed a very quiet room without distractions from other rooms.
- The Executive Lounge is ideal for children. There is a separate area for children to eat and enjoy their meals while the parents can enjoy and relax too.
- The air conditioning unit does not blow directly on the beds. That allows the room to stay cool, but also not freezing guests out of bed at night.