While exploring some of the family-friendly hotels in the Orlando area, I drove to the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes – just a few miles from the Gaylord Palms where I was staying. While one may not necessarily think of Central Florida as a luxury resort destination, the JW Marriott Orlando is exactly where I would stay for a luxurious Orlando vacation. It’s also a family-friendly resort, so it’s great for families looking for a luxe Orlando vacation.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal and activities during my day stay at the JW Marriott Orlando.
Location of the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes is co-located with the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes on 500 acres of gorgeous land. The resort is off of the Central Florida Parkway in Orlando. Guests at each hotel have access to amenities at both.
I started out at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes, but ended the day at the Ritz-Carlton. Upon arriving, I was immediately impressed with the friendly valet staff and the stunning hotel lobby. It feels very posh, and the decor of the hotel is deluxe, but accessible to families. I’d definitely feel comfortable staying there with my children.
Amenities at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
I had some time to visit the pool area at the JW Marriott Orlando before my first scheduled activity. I grabbed my Kindle and sat by the beautiful Lazy River Pool. It was a gorgeous day, but the pool was surprisingly quiet and relaxing. I could definitely imagine spending the day at this relaxing spot. Although the resort is located in the city, it’s such an oasis.
Recently, the resort has added the AquaCourse 360, a unique water obstacle course. This experience needs to be booked separately, but would be great for any family with water loving kids.
After about an hour of sitting by the pool complex, I headed to the lobby of the hotel to meet my Eco-Tour guide. The Grande Lakes resort sits on Shingle Creek, which is the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. There are several different eco-tour experiences that you can book, and I was booked on the two-hour guided canoe/kayak tour of Shingle Creek.
We took a golf cart through the Greg Norman designed golf course, to Shingle Creek. I settled into a kayak, and my guide led me through the creek where we saw beautiful birds and trees. It’s such a peaceful place to visit – and a great way to experience nature with kids who are old enough to participate. This paid tour is available to anyone who books it – both hotel guests and outside visitors.
There are other experiences at the resort in addition to the eco tours. These include falconry experiences, tennis, mountain biking trails, and fishing.
After our kayaking tour, I headed to the golf clubhouse, where I met Michelle, the Director of Public Relations for the two resorts. We dined at the Fairways Pub, where the service was excellent. Our server offered me lots of suggestions on what to order, and I chose the house salad with grilled fish. It was fabulous – but I did save room for dessert – samples of both the sticky toffee pudding and the Oreo cheesecake.
After lunch, I visited the Ritz-Carlton spa – a three-story temple of luxury and relaxation. Guests can book a day stay at the spa if they don’t want to have a treatment – I’d definitely recommend some sort of visit to the spa, because it’s fabulous. I got a signature massage, and followed it up with a trip to the sauna, steam room, and hot tub. The spa also offers an outdoor lap pool, which is exclusive to spa guests.
Rooms at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
I didn’t stay overnight at the resort, so I don’t have first-hand information about the rooms. The resort does offer a variety of room types, including rooms with a king bed, two queen beds, lake front rooms, and suites.
Food at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes
Although I only spent the day at the JW Marriott Orlando, there are so many other things to see and do. The resort offers so much more – surrey bike rentals and kids’ programming, along with lots of restaurants and shops. I’ll definitely have to return.
To learn more about the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, visit their website.