by Jackie Perrin
Presenting the most prestigious address in all of Orlando, along with extensive amenities for children as well as adults, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes offers a flawlessly luxurious central Florida family escape, just a short distance from area theme parks.
Opened in 2003, the luxury-laden Italian palazzo-inspired property features 582 rooms, including 63 suites and 56 Club Level accommodations. Standard Deluxe rooms are spacious by Orlando standards and feature over-sized marble bathrooms, luxurious linens, plush robes, balconies with a view and nightly turndown service. Club Level guests enjoy exclusive access to a VIP Lounge, featuring an in-house movie theater and five daily food and beverage presentations, including plenty of palate-pleasing options for the kids.
In 2011, a guestroom renovation was completed, adding new decor as well as a new ultra-modern 4,293-square-foot Royal Suite. Considered to be the largest luxury guest quarters in Orlando, the elite suite contains four bedrooms, eight balconies and views fit for a king or a queen.
However, you needn’t be a celebrity to enjoy the VIP treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Every guest, from infant on up, is treated to personalized and attentive service throughout their stay. From guestrooms custom-prepared for children prior to arrival (upon request) to complimentary cribs, step stools, high chairs and first-class concierge service, your family’s every need will be met with class and comfort.
Situated at the headwaters to the Everglades and sharing facilities and amenities with the neighboring JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes Resort, the property enjoys a prominent position overlooking 500 acres of scenic nature reserve, including greens, lakes, ponds and serene Shingle Creek. Families can enjoy an eco-kayak excursion, fly-fish with the pros or tee off on a lushly landscaped 18-hole, par-72 Greg Norman-designed golf course.
Activities at Ritz Kids, the resort’s supervised program for children age 5 to 12, include fun-filled offerings such as cookie decorating, fish feeding and holiday carnivals. At the highly rated Ritz-Carlton Spa, family members ages 2 and up can enjoy pampering services ranging from “Princess Fizzing Pedicures” to teen massages to sweet treatments utilizing honey from the resort’s onsite apiary.
Dining options for families range from poolside service at Bleu to lavish buffets with fresh fruit and instant kid-friendly food at The Vineyard Grill. In-room dining presents plenty of healthy choices for children, too, as well as to-go “Orlando Adventure Lunches,” convenient for a day of area exploration.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit Ritz-Carlton.
Our Editor Loves
- Luxurious accommodations close to theme parks
- Signature Ritz-Carlton service
- Ritz Kids program
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Spacious by Orlando standards, 480-square-foot Deluxe rooms are slightly larger than rooms at the adjacent JW Marriott and feature upscale appointments, from luxurious linens and over-sized marble bathrooms to closets stocked with padded hangers, plush terry robes and slippers as well as sweet-smelling sachets.
Renovated in 2010 and 2011, guestrooms offer an updated-design scheme highlighted by aqua tones with gold accents. Deluxe Rooms, which accommodate up to four guests, feature two double beds or a king-size bed and a sleeper sofa, along with a desk, a 32" flat-screen TV, an alarm clock with a docking station, a mini-bar, a coffee maker and a lounge chair. In-room plasma TVs have been enhanced with jack packs, which allow for on-screen viewing of multiple media sources, including personal MP3 players, laptops and CD/DVD players. Unlike the JW Marriott Orlando Resort next door, all rooms feature balconies.
In luxurious, over-sized marble bathrooms, guests will find a wide range of toiletries, from a signature shave kit to makeup and nail polish removers. There's even a Ritz-Carlton rubber duck for the kids. Additional Spa and Bulgari products can be purchased at The Ritz-Carlton Signature Shop.
Club Level Rooms
Club Level rooms offer the same bedding configurations as Deluxe rooms, but bring with them access to an exclusive Club Lounge. Along with five luxurious daily food and beverage presentations, the lounge features a dedicated concierge and a movie theater.
Lake Front Executive Suites
Lake Front Executive Suites (960-square-feet) feature a master bedroom with two double beds or one king bed, along with a living area with a sleeper sofa. This accommodation offers two private balconies, one-and-a-half baths and two 32" HD LCD TVs. Executive Suites are offered at both the traditional and "Club" levels.
Additional suite options range from Presidential to the newest 4,293-square-foot "Royal Suite." The latter features four bedrooms, eight balconies and views fit for a king or a queen.
With regard to location, upper-floor Lake Front accommodations enjoy premium views. Additional view-based booking options include "Garden View" and "Lake View." For families, an Executive Suite with a connecting Deluxe Room is an ideal set-up. This arrangement provides private spaces for parents and teens to relax after smaller children are tucked in for the night.
Special Touches for Kids
Upon request, staff will customize a guestroom with special bedding and stock it with toys and games in preparation for young guests' arrival. In addition to a POLO (Protect Our Little Ones) kit, which includes outlet covers, shampoo and conditioner, as well as rubber ducks, amenities for young children include cribs, Pack 'n Plays, high chairs and step stools. Kid-size robes are also available. Coloring books, crayons, playing cards and toys are available through Guest Relations. Rollaway beds (fee) and connecting rooms are available. Internet service is available for a daily fee.
I mean, I’m pretty easily bewitched by fancy hotels, but I can’t really find anything to complain about. I was there for a work conference, which was mostly at the JW Marriott, but I got to stay at the Ritz. The room is really nice, and there’s lots of nice toiletries and stuff huge tv with an hdmi cable so you can hook up your laptop. Housekeeping was great and all the employees I encountered were very nice. I went to Highball and Harvest which was very good as well.
by Enia E
Hi, short review because I am sorry to say I can’t remember all the names I’d like to thanks for their work, their smiles and helps... YOU GUYS made our stay incredible and I wish I could remember the names from the amazingly nice and helpful young woman when we checked in Thursday nite, to room service OUTSTANDING.. and anyone we had to ask a question or a way to get to some place... valet, porters... just Outdtanding!!! Wished I could remember names :0(...
the only but? The suite we were in needed to update the bathroom... can’t remember if it was 3434 or 3234 or 3432... beautiful views of the golf course and pool...
Spa service with a Colombian lady: AMAZING pedi and mani!!
I’ll be back before you know it!!!!!! Thank you!!!!
At Ritz Kids, The Ritz-Carlton's signature supervised program for children ages 5 to 12, kids can play Wii, computer or board games and participate in planned activities, from crafts and cookie design classes to fish-feeding. Regular hours are 12 to 6 p.m. daily. From 6 to 10 p.m. the center hosts a "Kids Night Out" program. Dinner is included in the evening program. Advance reservations are requested.
On select days, Ritz Kids offers special two-hour "Nature Rangers" programs. Activities include a surrey-bike ride, a scavenger hunt, a private fish-feeding session and ice cream making.
The Ritz-Carlton Pool
Large and serene, this immaculately maintained pool overlooks Grande Lake and the signature 18th hole of The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Golf Course. Depth ranges from 3'6" to 5'6". For children, gradual entry via stairs is available. Use of body-size swim floats is complimentary, and chair-side drink and dining service from Bleu is available. Lounge chairs are plentiful and lifeguards are on duty. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Splash Pad and Playground
Behind Ritz-Kids, a gated pirate-ship playground and a splash-pad with spraying fish provide a safe sanctuary for smaller children. Lounge chairs are nearby.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa and Salon
An oasis from the theme parks, or a well-earned break after a long day at a conference, the expansive 40,000-square-foot resort spa offers a variety of treatments for children, teens and adults, as well as facilities for fitness, pampering and relaxation. Try a "Bee Pampered" treatment, which incorporates honey from the resort's onsite apiary. Use of relaxation spaces, snacks and drinks is included for those enjoying a treatment. Be sure to allot some extra time to take advantage of this complimentary perk. For guests ages 16 and up who wish to use the facilities but are not enjoying a treatment, admission is available for a daily fee.
Behind The Ritz-Carlton Spa, a dedicated Spa pool is a serene spot to relax, thanks to an out-of-the way location and an adults-only policy. Use is complimentary for guests ages 16 and up who are enjoying a treatment.
Available at the main Ritz-Carlton pool as well as at the Spa Pool, luxury rental cabanas contain lounge chairs, a ceiling fan, a flat-screen TV, a safe and a mini-refrigerator. There is a food and beverage minimum. Advance booking is recommended during holiday periods.
Fish Feeding and Ladybug Releases
Join staff on the Lakeside Terrace for fish-feeding and ladybug-release programs. Fish species commonly seen in Grande Lake include Florida-spotted gar, bluegill and Florida-largemouth bass.
Additional Activities Near the Pool
Near the pool, rent a one or two bench surrey bike by the half-hour. Closed toe shoes are required. Ask a pool attendant or Bleu staff member for assistance. On the DaVinci Lawn, families will find a bocce-ball court. If you're a newcomer to the game, directions are posted nearby for your convenience. Bocce balls and other equipment, from soccer balls to wiffle balls, can be checked out at Ritz Kids.
Onsite options include eco-tours of Shingle Creek by kayak or canoe, nature hikes and fly-fishing or fin-fishing excursions. Expert-guided Shingle Creek tours are approximately two hours in duration and feature an overview of local eco-systems and wildlife, from alligators and barred owls to bald eagles and osprey. On this tour, the first junior (ages 5 to 16) is free with a paying adult. Guided flat-water kayaking on Grande Lake is also available. Guided nature hikes, recommended for adults and children ages 12 to 16, begin at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and follow a 2.5-mile loop around protected lands. Bird watching tours are also available. Advance reservations are recommended.
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club
At the 18-hole, par-72 Greg Norman-designed golf course, kids-play-free with a paying adult. In early 2011, a Golf Digest School debuted. Caddie Concierge Service is unique to the property and is required before 1:30 p.m.
Activities at J.W. Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
At the adjacent JW Marriott property, families can float their cares away on a magnetic meandering 24,000-square-foot lazy river pool, participate in organized pool games and activities, play tennis or stage a family sand volleyball tournament. Facilities include an arcade and an activity center. Parental supervision is requested for activities.
The resort is two miles from SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove and Aquatica; seven miles from Universal Orlando Resort parks; and twelve miles from Walt Disney World Resort. Complimentary transportation to all but Walt Disney World parks is provided. Contact the Concierge for reservations and a schedule. Families wishing to visit Walt Disney World Resort theme parks can contact the Concierge to arrange for Town Car service. Alternatively, a Hertz car rental desk is onsite on the JW Marriott Lobby Level.
At The Ritz-Carlton's poolside cafe, you can enjoy light bites and lunch favorites, from salads and sandwiches to flat-bread pizzas. Try the Blue Crab Salad. Reliable favorites on the kids' menu range from chicken tenders to PB&J. Kids' meals come with a drink and dessert. Pasta with sauce, grilled chicken and an apple, cheese-and-animal-cracker combo are healthy alternatives. Covered seating is available, or dine poolside, right in your lounge chair. Hours are 11 a.m. to dusk.
The Vineyard Grill
Sunday Champagne Brunch (12 to 2:30 p.m.), featuring live cooking stations and a changing menu theme, is a local tradition at this popular restaurant. Make advance reservations to secure a sitting. At lunch and dinner, the kids' menu features favorites like grilled cheese and burgers. At breakfast, order a la carte from the menu or else enjoy the buffet, featuring hot and cold specialties along with delicious pastries. High chairs are available. Dine indoors or enjoy your meal on the outdoor terrace. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Treat the kids to cookies-and-milk, or enjoy breakfast in bed at the beginning of an action-packed day of theme park touring. Kids' breakfast choices include mini-pancakes, oatmeal, or "Texas Breakfast" -- an egg-in-a-hole with hash browns and a choice of bacon or sausage. A to-go "Orlando Adventure Lunch" includes a sandwich, a side item, fruit, dessert and bottled water. Custom orders and 24-hour dining service are available.
Additional Dining Options
Fairways Pub, Vitale (Spa Cafe) and Norman's, a signature restaurant by James Beard award-winning celebrity chef Norman van Aken, provide additional options for resort dining. While these venues are mostly adult-oriented, they are suitable settings for supervised teens. Afternoon tea, appropriate for children, is served in the Lobby Lounge.
Featuring five daily food and beverage presentations, this VIP Lounge is open exclusively to guests booking Club category accommodations. A special "Kid's Corner" features kid-friendly foods presented fancifully, from perfectly trimmed PB&J sandwiches to fresh fruit and colorful cereal bars. Milk, juice and high chairs are available. In an adjoining room, there's an in-house "movie theater," along with kid-size bean bag chairs, rocking chairs and a selection of games and toys. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Every member of the family will feel like a VIP at this lavish property, where the staff prides itself upon doting and superior service. From a special check-in desk for kids in the front lobby to a topnotch children's program and a dedicated corner at The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge featuring kid-friendly foods like fresh fruit and perfectly trimmed PB&J sandwiches, children are truly pampered from time of arrival to departure.
If you're traveling with small children, the resort offers a cradle full of complimentary amenities upon request, from cribs, high chairs, Pack 'n Plays and step stools to pint-sized robes and a "Protect Our Little Ones" kit, complete with outlet covers, shampoo and conditioner, as well as Ritz-Carlton rubber ducks. Coloring books, crayons, playing cards and toys are available through Guest Relations. Upon request, the resort will customize a guestroom for young guests' arrival, with special bedding, toys and games. In guestroom corridors, visitors will enjoy displays of historic photographs on loan from the Florida State Archives.
At holiday times, the resort pulls out all the stops, with events ranging from carnivals and fireworks to family gingerbread-house decorating sessions. At check-in, children receive a tip sheet for a self-guided "Very Important Kids" resort scavenger hunt. Completed forms can be traded in for a bracelet, which may be redeemed for ice cream.
Offering the latest equipment (complimentary use for guests) along with regular classes (fee), the fitness center at The Ritz-Carlton Spa is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Alternatively, a mile-long path along Grande Lake offers a scenic route for walkers or runners.
Planning and Tips
Spa visits, Ritz Kids, cabana rentals, tee times, eco-tours and reservations for signature restaurants should be booked in advance for maximum success. Contact the Concierge for assistance.
Dress codes are in place at the Golf Club as well as in the Club Lounge and the Lobby Lounge after sundown. Resort casual is the preferred attire at these venues. Collared shirts and mid-length shorts or slacks are required at the Golf Club. For travel between your accommodation and pool areas, be sure to pack a few cover-ups.
For in-room babysitting, check with the Concierge for a list of local babysitters.
The Art of Smart Timing
Along with the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes Resort next door, the resort enjoys a healthy convention business, and occupancy may swell when there's a major event onsite. The resort pulls out all the stops during holidays; at these times, expect to find lavish buffets and kid-friendly events like special themed teas and carnivals. If your kids enjoy the water, summer is a great time to visit. For families traveling with children, September and November (before Thanksgiving) can be particularly appealing in terms of added elbowroom and pleasant temperatures.
The resort is 10 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO). By car, take 528 West (Beachline/toll road) to exit 3 (John Young Parkway). Turn right on Whisper Lakes Boulevard. The hotel main gate will be on your left. For assistance with transportation, contact the Concierge. For overnight guests, there is a daily fee for self- and valet parking.
For Mom and Dad
Check the kids into Ritz Kids and enjoy a night out at Norman's. Alternatively, enjoy a couples' treatment (try the signature East Indian Lime Body and Scalp Massage) at The Ritz-Carlton Spa.