The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
What We Love
- Private balconies with panoramic views of the lakes, pool and gardens
- Norman’s restaurant, one of the region’s top tables, with Florida-fresh and Caribbean-inflected fare
- 40,000-square-foot spa. ’Nuff said
What To Know
- The 11-mile taxi ride from Orlando International Airport takes 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic. Figure about $37 for a taxi or $63 for a hotel-organized transfer
- Free shuttle service to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and Sea World theme parks
- Valet parking is $25 per night (plus tax); high-speed Internet access is $10 per 24 hours
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Though it’s in the theme park capital of America, the Ritz-Carlton feels a world away from the tourist fray. In the lobby, timeless stone columns, mosaic floors, Italian furniture and wrought iron chandeliers elevate the family resort experience, while a giant pool shimmers just beyond. The Ritz-Carlton and neighboring JW Marriott tower above Orlando’s Grande Lakes neighborhood. Ritz-Carlton guests have access to the Marriott’s facilities.
Bed & Bath
The 582 rooms are furnished in the refined manner that defines the Ritz-Carlton brand: soothing hues (straw and light blue), twice-daily maid service and pillow chocolates in both milk and dark. Even the most basic rooms are spacious, at 480 square feet. Many have views of the pool, golf course, lake or Shingle Creek, headwaters of the Everglades. Marble bathrooms have two sinks, a separate shower and bathtub, and cushy terrycloth robes.
Of the 10 dining options shared between the Ritz and the JW Marriott, dinner at Norman’s is a must for elegantly presented Latin and Caribbean fare. The spa is astounding, with 40,000 square feet of treatments for all tastes (moms to be, kids, etc.), an envy-inducing fitness center and its own private pool. Fitness facilities are free for overnight guests, but there’s a $30 charge for steam, sauna and other wet facilities (included with treatments). Kids have a long list of activities, with nature outings, fish feeding and a lazy river.
In the Area
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club offers a Greg Norman–designed course and a caddie concierge program. Eco-tours, kayaking and fishing on and around nearby Shingle Creek can be organized through the hotel. Head to Orlando suburb Winter Park for chichi shops, swanky restaurants, local art and a lovely main street; downtown Orlando is developing into its own busy nightlife hub. Then there’s Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, of course. They’re all accessible via a free hotel shuttle.
How to Get There
This is a nice Ritz with excellent customer service and all the fine details you expect for their brand. We stayed here last year for a few days and really enjoyed our time there. The pool is relaxing and onsite dining is excellent.
My family and I stayed for five nights in a club level garden view room (14th floor). We transferred to the Ritz after a four night stay at a Disney resort. This was our post-Disney vacation. I checked in about two hours early, and the front desk graciously accommodated us with a room right away. The bellman quickly had our luggage to our room. The room was the right size for our family of three. It was clean and well appointed with all the Ritz goodies.
My favorite part of our stay was the terrific club lounge. We have enjoyed the club level at three other Ritz properties. Orlando's lounge is top notch. The staff is outstanding. Everyone was pleasant and professional. Special thanks to Katie, Pedro, and Jason for taking care of my family. The food and beverage selection is both tasty and well presented. We will miss hearing "of course" as the polite response to every request we made in the club lounge.
Besides the food at the club lounge, we dined at Norman's and Highball and Harvest. We received excellent service in both. Norman's is the signature restaurant, and a dress code is enforced. It is fine dining; however, they were very accommodating to our well behaved nine year old (they do have a kids menu). We listened to an awesome local musician in Highball and Harvest on Saturday night.
The pool is well kept and well attended. Special thanks to Jose at the pool for always making sure we were taken care of. We visited the pool at the JW next door. My son and I loved the lazy river. The pool was definitely more crowded and lively than the Ritz.
My wife and I both visited the spa. She received a great massage, and I needed a haircut. We both used the spa amenities (steam room, dry sauna, plunge pool, etc.). The facility is fantastic.
We ran into two problems during our stay. One was a billing issue which was efficiently handled by the front desk. The other was an issue with Grande Lakes Sports which is an on property program that handles all the resort's outdoor activities. My son and I wanted to book a guided fishing tour on the resort. About a week prior to our stay, we received a pre-arrival email asking if we needed help planning our stay. I asked that she book our dinner at Norman's and a 1.5 hour guided boat fishing tour. We received confirmation emails back for both reservations. We asked the lobby concierge where to meet. Our tour was scheduled to begin at 8, we showed up at 7:45 at the Grande Lakes Sports office. No one arrived at the office until 8:05. As the attendant began turning on the computer and shuffling through some papers, I could tell he wasn't prepared for us. He got on the phone, and our captain showed up in a golf cart to pick us up at about 8:15-8:20. For me this was no big deal. We start a little late, we still get our hour and a half. But, I was wrong. The boat was not prepared for us, that took time. My son is 9, and he has fished on several occasions; however, he's fished mostly with a junior rod with a closed faced reel. The only available rods had open faced spin cast reels. This service is marketed to kids -- why wouldn't they have a setup for kids who aren't experienced enough to use an open faced reel? Needless to say, he and our captain spent some time untangling his line. At about 9:15, we start making our way back to shore. At 9:30, we were back at the sports office where 5-6 people were waiting on our captain to take them on an ecotour. All in all, we may have been on the water for an hour. The attendant printed out and presented our ticket after showing it to the captain. The ticket billed me for 2 adult hours and 2 children hours. A total of $210 for less than an hour of fishing. I told him the ticket didn't look right, we booked for 1.5 hours, received one hour and are billed for 2? The attendant did make an adjustment which he said took it down to the 1.5 hour rate. Unfortunately, I didn't check his math and didn't realize until later that I was still overbilled (my fault).
Luxury hotels have to work hard to deliver excellence in service, rooms, dining, amenities, etc. The Ritz has a dedicated professional staff who strives to deliver excellence to its guests. Thank you to those who worked tirelessly to deliver an excellent vacation to my family. We hope to return.
We just spent a weekend at this Ritz and it was not the typical Ritz experience. Several details that typically are not a big deal but I expect more at a Ritz. We had to go back to the front desk several times because our keys didn’t work. I felt like we should’ve had someone accompany us after the second time. Pool restaurant service was just ok....had to ask for utensils, waters not refilled, food came out at different times and not great. Also hotel very crowded and had more of the crazy Disney hotel feel than the usual ritz upscale experience. Pool was so crowded we could only find one chair. After asking twice for a menu we finally got up and went to the restaurant. Also the construction going on obstructed our balconies and there are several blocked off areas in the hotel and covered windows in the lobby area. If you love staying at a ritz like I do I would recommend going to the Ritz Amelia island. We recently stayed there and it was amazing all around.
We recently stayed 5 nights at the Ritz in a Club level room.
The room, pool and all facilities were of the luxury standard you would expect from the Ritz.
What made the difference for us, was the excellence in customer service shown by every member of staff in the hotel. They genuinely wanted you to have the best time and couldn’t do enough to help.
A few special mentions for all the pool guys, who made the finding and setting up of sun beds a breeze.
We enjoyed 2 rounds of golf on the beautiful hotel course where again the staff could not have been nicer.
The outstanding level of service from the Club level staff was the other icing on the cake. Their food presentation, quality and choice were all 5 star. We would like to single out Pedro, Victoria and Jucara for their world class customer service, they really made us feel like friends just visiting. We asked if Jucara could come fly home to look after us 😀
We would recommend the Ritz to everyone and try to stretch the budget to experience the Club level, you won’t be disappointed.
We will be back next year for sure.
Thanks again for a lovely few days of luxury,
the Whitehurst Family.
Very nice hotel and service great. Hotel is a bit older and needs some renovation. It is a few miles from restaurants. Overall very good, but improvements can be made. Parks are fairly close. They do offer shuttle to parks, but need to reserve a day ahead.