As you approach the JW Marriot with its flag flying high above Grande Lake, you know this trip will be unique. Perfectly manicured gardens line the approach to the front doors with colorful flowers and tropical plants. As you enter the lobby, gleaming marble tiled floors and a bubbling white fountain welcome you to paradise.
When the Grande Lakes Orlando resort opened on July 1, 2003, a new era in Florida lodging was born. Paired with the attached Ritz-Carlton, this resort boasts more amenities than most Florida hotels. The expansive grounds include 528 acres/213.6 hectares of lakes, a golf course, hiking/biking trails, and numerous wildlife encounters to delight guests. Soaring high above the lakes and forests, guests may select their room from 1,000 guest rooms and suites. Be sure and ask for a higher floor on the Disney World side if you want to watch the nightly fireworks from the Magic Kingdom from your room.
Luxurious room choices
All rooms and suites include a separate tub and shower, marble vanities, 24-hour room service, marble tiling, plush robes, and premium bath products. Room types to choose from are: guest room one king, guest room two queens, executive suite one king, grande suite one king + sofa sleeper, studio suite one king + sofa sleeper, or a presidential suite with one king bed, sofa sleeper, 1.5 bathrooms, and situated on a high floor.
Rates for the lower priced rooms range from a low of around 350 USD in the low season and a high of around 550 USD in the high season. July and November tend to be the low season, and during the rest of the year this vibrant resort is often full and buzzing with activity. The JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes offers a mind-boggling list of activities in-or-near the resort.
Tons of activities and dining choices
On-site, find a world-class golf course designed by Greg Norman that includes a driving range. Drop by the concierge for help in choosing a plethora of outdoor fun like guided fishing, kayaking, volleyball, jogging, mountain bike trails, naturalist-guided sunrise nature trips by all-terrain cart, or drifting on the 24,000 sq ft/2,229.6 sq m lazy river pool. For off-site activities, the resort can provide transportation to all of the nearby theme parks like Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, or Walt Disney World. Your 35 USD resort fee covers shuttle transportation to the theme parks, fitness classes, daily bike rental, two pool floats, and more.
With all these activities, you’ll work up an appetite and have several excellent choices in the JW Marriott. For light meals to enjoy in your room or outdoors, try Café Bodega. This convenient food shop has salads, sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks, wine, beer, and fresh baked goodies for a grab-and-go meal or snack during breakfast and lunch hours. Next door is a Starbucks for fans of the ubiquitous chain and its coffee fan base.
A grande spa
The spa is located near The Ritz-Carlton and is available to JW Marriott guests also. Find over 40,000 sq ft/3,716 sq m of spa, treatment rooms, full-service salon, barber shop, and fitness center in this massive relaxation palace. Be sure and book your spa treatments days or weeks before your arrival to get the time slot you desire. Another standout at the Grande Lakes Resort is the 150,000 sq ft/13,935 sq m of meeting/event space. Choose from indoor or outdoor venues that can cater to 10–1,000 guests in state-of-the-art facilities for a memorable event.
Casual or fine dining at its best
For serious dining, try Citron, An American Brasserie on the ground floor during breakfast or lunch. Quench Poolside Bar & Grill is an eco-friendly option for fresh and fast dining with sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. The upscale eatery on-site is Primo, a true gourmand’s delight. This famous restaurant started in Rockland Maine by James Beard best chef winner Melissa Kelly. Chef Melissa was wooed by the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes to open a second Primo. Enjoy Italian based menu items with much of the produce coming from the 7,000 sq ft/650 sq m Whisper Creek Farm and special Primo kitchen garden just on the edge of the hotel.
For a less formal dinner, try Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen where a short but flavor-packed menu brings the best of the farm to the table. No reservations are taken at this fun and hopping restaurant attached to the lobby. Dig into delicious ultra-fresh salads, fresh baked Parker House rolls, meat and cheese platters, flatbreads, craft beers, wines, and sweets made in the kitchen. The Lobby Lounge and Sushi Bar round out the dining and drinking options available to guests.
Walk the lake path
JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes shows how well a large resort can coexist with nature. Just walking the lakefront paths will expose you to the wide variety of birds and more. Signs warn of alligators and snakes along the lakeshore, but on my numerous walks I saw only birds, fish, and an inquisitive turtle. After your first stay at this Orlando Lakes Resort, you’ll no doubt want to return again to be immersed in luxury and nature by these sparkling lakes.