Tucked away from the busy Orlando hotel landscape lies the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grande Lakes resort and its sister property, the JW Marriott. Obviously, you expect a high service standard at this brand, but the Orlando, Grande Lakes property takes service to a level that is almost unparalleled. Rooms and public spaces are lovely and luxurious without being over-the-top fancy, but I swear to you that every single staff member goes out of his or her way to make you feel at home. The little things like ice cream on demand for the children from the front desk to a genuine “welcome back” for returning guests take the impersonal nature out of a hotel stay and make you feel like an old friend is welcoming you to their decked-out home.
In a town like Orlando, kids are king and the Ritz treats them as such, from a really great kids club (I seriously had to drag my girls out of there) to helping us find some spare pencils and a pencil sharpener when we were there for a few days during a school week and they needed to do some homework. And the pool; the pool is huge and kids love it, but you also have access to the JW’s pool area as part of your resort fee and that pool, my friends, is a kid’s dream come true. Enormous with a lazy river and inner tubes to borrow, this pool will keep your kids entertained for hours. My girls are strong swimmers, but I believe you can borrow life jackets if needed.
Dining options are outstanding at this property from the newly-incarnated Highball & Harvest and the legendary Norman’s (see reviews on this site) and the Lobby Lounge not only has a great wine and cocktail menu, they serve small plates as well (I highly recommend the Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese toast).
Hit the theme parks, or forget that they exist entirely, but make this a certain stop in your search for luxury in the city of the Mouse.