To wrap up my series on Universal Orlando, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share about my February stay at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. This luxury property is part of my Virtuoso resort collection and is located just minutes from the Orlando theme park magic, but feels miles from the madness. While I recommend Four Seasons Orlando for Walt Disney World luxury accommodations, Ritz Grande Lakes is my go-to for luxury clients looking to hit Universal, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove. This is also a fabulous choice for a long weekend, resort getaway or post theme park stay.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes delights in creating life-long memories. Surrender yourself to our oasis-like spa, indulge in fine dining and test your skills on the championship-level golf course designed by Greg Norman. Guests benefit from impeccable service, luxury hotel rooms and suites, sophisticated event venues and exceptional resort amenities, including our lazy river pool, 24-hour fitness center and the Ritz Kids program.
Arriving at Grande Lakes, you know you are in for a treat. I mean, just look at this warm welcome from the canine ambassador, Birdie!
Stunning Resort Property
Inspired by the grand palazzos of Italy, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is a true luxury resort which calls America’s playground home. When I said “miles from the madness”, I meant it!
A true getaway is about what you do and those you join you on the journey. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes in Florida partners with the neighboring JW Marriott to offer activities for children and adults, giving you access to all of the amenities at both resorts.
We enjoyed spending a day under the sun in the outdoor heated hotel pool, which was lovely enough to enjoy in February. The construction fences are now all gone and the brand new spa and pool area is complete!
Poolside cabanas are available to rent in sizes to accommodate a variety of group sizes. These are also newly renovated and I love the sleek, luxurious design.
Guests may also enjoy the adult only, outdoor, heated lap pool at The Ritz-Carlton Spa (day pass or treatment reservation required). We spent a heavenly afternoon in a large cabana enjoying sun, girl talk, bubbles and chair massages!
Grande Lakes Sports comprises all of the resort’s outdoor activities, from kayak eco-tours and safaris to the mountain bike trail. I always, always schedule the incredible guided (by Florida Master Naturalists) eco-tour of Shingle Creek, the Headwaters to the Florida Everglades, for my clients.
As mentioned, the JW is just steps away, linked by a walking path from the Ritz. Guests of the Ritz can enjoy their pool, lazy river and additional dining options so that you never have to leave the luxury bubble if you don’t want to!
Bright and serene, guest rooms offer spacious layouts with balconies, work areas, marble bathrooms with dual vanities and views of the garden, pool, golf course or lake. On top of that, the rooms are all pristine and newly renovated!
Of course, our amazing Grande Lakes partners and friends welcomed us with a fabulous treat! They treat my clients with the same level of attention. <3
The executive suite is another great option for families and with even more space! These newly renovated accommodations feature a living room, bedroom, two balconies and a luxurious bathroom. There is an option to add a connecting room for even more space.
Both regular guest rooms and suites are eligible to upgrade for club level access. This is yet another stunning, newly renovated space.
The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level redefines the luxury hotel experience; combining intimacy, comfort and exclusivity with the personalized service and attention to detail that are the hallmarks of The Ritz-Carlton. This oasis is often referred to as a hotel within a hotel, where a dedicated concierge attends to individual needs in a well-appointed, relaxed lounge environment.
There are enough amazing dining options to enjoy during your stay!
Blue is where you take a break from the sun to dine al fresco. Dress is casual, swimwear is encouraged and the fish tacos are on point!
The Lobby Lounge
I didn’t have time to personally enjoy the Lobby Lounge, but I did ogle the gorgeous decor and incredible views called “sunroom chic”.
Knife & Spoon
Knife & Spoon is a gold star of central Florida dining! This new signature steak & seafood restaurant was conceived and led by award-winning Chef John Tesar. Not only is the presentation absolutely stunning, but every bite that entered my mouth was pure bliss.
John Tesar was called “the single most talented cook I ever worked with” by Anthony Bourdain. Tesar also enjoys the pseudonym Jimmy Sears in Bourdain’s bestselling memoir KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL and in MEDIUM RAW. Tesar remains a fixture of Dallas’s restaurant scene and a true “chef’s chef.” He has garnered praise from Food & Wine and The New York Times, has appeared on The Today Show and The Early Show, and is a two-time contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Highball & Harvest
When you book with me, you will enjoy complimentary breakfast at Highball & Harvest!
In a past era, conductors would “highball” trains to ensure harvests from central Florida would move quickly from field to table. Today, that legacy lives on in Orlando restaurants such as Highball & Harvest. The restaurant combines rustic authenticity with Ritz-Carlton refinement to feature interactive dining, a novel railroad-inspired design, handcrafted cocktail classes and a creative menu. Indulge in innovative Southern-inspired dishes and cocktails featuring seasonal fruits and fresh herbs.
The Kitchen is located steps away at the JW. It is another great dinner option that feels like an experience.
A desire to bring our on-site farm experience to guests brought Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen and The Brewery to life. The restaurant features farm inspired comfort food and craft beers from the on-site nano-brewery. Sample menu items include flatbreads, small sandwiches, snacks and small plates all showcasing produce from Whisper Creek Farm (onsite) and local farmers. Full bar and seasonal craft beers available. Located at the adjacent JW Marriott.
Fairways Pub was a great, casual lunch option, with picture perfect views of the 18th hole and resort. If you don’t wish to dine in, there is a to-go menu for the golfers!
Ritz Carlton Residences
During our stay, we were treated to a sneak peek of the brand new Ritz Carlton Residences!
There are thirty-seven spacious, elegantly appointed, 3-4 bedroom residences with pools that offer the comforts of a private home with the splendor of an estate. Ideally located in a tranquil, gated enclave with easy access to downtown, Winter Park, International Drive, Orlando International Airport and world-renowned theme parks and attractions. The homes exude a modern organic style, with a mingling of textures and top-of-the-line appliances, and can be rented through ME for YOUR central Florida vacation experience.
I absolutely LOVED touring two of the residences. The decor was amazing and like being on a real tour of homes.
The Residences include a private, owners (and renters) only Clubhouse as well as resort amenities.
When you book your stay at Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes with me, you get special perks!!
- $100 USD Resort Credit, once per stay
- Complimentary breakfast for 2 guests daily at Highball & Harvest
- Complimentary early arrival, upon availability
- Complimentary room view upgrade, upon availability
- Complimentary late departure, upon availability
Let’s Travel & My Services
As a Premier Level Advisor with Glass Slipper Concierge, I am recognized for providing the highest level of customer service, experience, and knowledge in the industry. I use my personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft bespoke trips for the most discerning clients. On top of that, family vacations are expensive and I know how to get the best value for your time and money. Remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020? Resort accommodations across the USA are the shortage of 2021! Travel is back and now is the time to plan!
As a Virtuoso affiliated travel adviser, I have global connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies, and I secure exclusive amenities for my luxury clients. I have recently refocused my travel business primarily on Disney destinations, but am always happy to book and consult on destinations I have personally visited, as well as other Virtuoso resorts and all major cruise lines. Contact me to learn more and start designing your dream vacation today!