The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Orlando
Your Italian Villa in Orlando

A stately fountain frames the Ritz-Carlton

Sunlight fills the gracious Lobby Lounge

The golf course casually surrounds the majestic Ritz

The warm and rustic colors of Italy in the bedrooms
The elegant and large pool overlooks a lake and the golf course
Every detail is a delight and well finished

Story by Corinia Williams
Photography by David L. Taylor

At the magnificent new Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, a new level of sophistication has come to this thriving business and tourism destination. Located near the major attractions and the Orlando airport, Grande Lakes Orlando is set amidst 500 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and surrounded by stunning natural environs. Upon arrival at the majestic Ritz-Carlton or the JW Marriott that comprises Grande LakesOrlando, guests glimpse the spectacular18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course, grand fountains and tropically landscaped gardens as they make their way up the winding drive to the entrance. With its Italian-inspired architecture and intimately appointed furnishing, the luxury and grandeur of The Ritz-Carlton is evident and promises more beauty to follow. The décor in the lobby and the plush light-filled Lobby Lounge overlooking the grand swimming pool and one of the several lakes is delightful and solidly Italian in essence. A superbly curated art collection depicting Florida’s natural beauty complements the design. A warm welcome – spoken in English - from the ever attentive Ritz-Carlton staff was my only reminder that I was not at a exclusive villa in the Tuscan countryside.

The décor in the 584 rooms, including 66 suites and 92 club rooms, is also plush, refined and bright. The very spacious well-appointed bathrooms, each with separate marble shower and bathtub (complete with rubber duck and soothing both salts!) and marble vanities with two sinks evoke a felling of being pampered. More pampering is experienced in the impressive Ritz-Carlton Spa, which offers an extensive array of specialty spa treatments, a 6,000 square-foot fitness center, a picture perfect lap-pool, retail center, Spa Café, full service Carita hair and nail salon and much more. The spa is serious business here, and the level of professionalism and wide range of treatments, work-out and educational programs and specialty features are nearly unparalleled at resort spas. Personal trainers, technicians, aesthetician and the general staff go out of their way to welcome, educate and provide personalized service to each guest. Adhering to The Ritz-Carlton Spa philosophy of sanitas per aqua (“health through water”) many treatments honor century-old water therapies. The spa also offers many modern and interesting treatments for both men and women. The Ritz-Carlton Spa at Grande Lakes Orlando is surely to become a coveted retreat for spa lovers just as the Greg Norman championship golf course will be sought after by devotees of this sport.

Notable for many reasons, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Grande Lakes Orlando provides golfers with a luxurious golfing experience, excellent service, pristine grounds and unique challenges. Innovative and European in design, the Greg Norman course rivals the best private courses in the area. A “zero defects” policy and flawless course conditions extend The Ritz-Carlton hotel’s high standards to the golf course. The Caddie-Concierge program assigns a knowledgeable helpful attendant to each group to further enhance the experience. Golfers will also be drawn to the clubhouse for after-game dining, indoors or on the Mediterranean-style courtyard, and for libations at the lounge.

There are numerous other special features at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes that make a visit even more enticing. The Ritz Kids® program with dedicated swimming pool and recreational area for children engages the children and allows parents to fully enjoy the resort. Guests on The Ritz-Carlton Club® level receive distinct amenities including five daily complimentary food and beverage presentations in a separate lounge, access to a DVD library, and a dedicated concierge staff. Dining is also a pleasure at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, be it poolside or at the casual yet refined Vineyard Grill or at the one of the two celebrity chef, fine dining restaurants. At Norman’s, Chef Norman Van Aken, opened his second eponymous restaurant and brings to it the culinary mastery that made the first Norman’s one of the most popular restaurants in the Miami area. Chef Melissa Kelly, a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award, has brought her “home-grown” concept to the gorgeous, open kitchen, intimate, “Italian-flair” Primo restaurant at the JW Marriott. Chef Kelly oversees organic gardening at Grande Lakes and works with the Florida Organic Growers Association to ensure the freshest ingredients for her cuisine. She performs innovative alchemy blending the freshest flavors with unexpected compliments using the freshest seafood, meats and organic ingredients. Yes, luxury abounds at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and so do many simple pleasures…not the least of which is strolling along the wonderfully landscapes grounds and having the sensation of being in Italy.

www.grandelakes.com