Orlando has always been a family travel hotspot, and though the city’s famous theme parks continue to be a huge draw, a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes offers a different vacation experience that delivers both in fun and uniqueness, as well as in service and sophistication. In short, it’s the perfect setting for the kind of family vacation we all deserve.
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel provides guests with exceptional views and access to beautiful terrain. Families will appreciate the spacious accommodations and lakefront views of the Executive Suite. The Presidential Suites, the Royal Suite, and Club Lounge also offer lake vistas in addition to west-facing scapes of the resort’s manicured gardens, lakes, golf course and trees that align Shingle Creek. But what really complement the aesthetics are the activities offered at the resort. Here are five ways to make this family getaway one to remember.
Take In Nature
Those who want to experience the natural preserves of Florida’s beautiful landscape and diverse animal life don’t need to venture too far from this luxurious hotel. The resort offers fishing excursions as well as kayaking and eco-tours that encourage guests to venture into nature with the assistance of a guide. The eco-tours offer guided canoe or kayak tours of Shingle Creek, the headwaters to the Florida Everglades, as well as bird watching excursions and birdhouse building activities.
Participate in a Cooking Class
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes’ Griffin Cooking School shares the resort grounds with The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Classes at the Griffin School are led by a diverse group of chefs that currently prepare the food at the resorts’ many restaurants. Guests enjoy hands-on instruction on many culinary techniques, from making pasta (July 13) to rolling sushi (August 10). The monthly classes fill up fast, so make sure to reserve your spot early.
The little ones who love putting on an apron and taking part in the kitchen can delight in classes at the Little Griffin School, where they too can watch and learn from professional chefs. The next Little Griffin class is scheduled for October 26; kids will pick a pumpkin from the resort’s patch, carve it, make pumpkin seed trail mix and savor warm apple cider.
Relax at The Spa
While the kids lounge around in the lazy river pool, take part in the daily kids activities or hang out at the Ritz Kids club, parents can treat themselves to a day at the Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Orlando, Grande Lakes.
Perhaps a Bourbon Bubbler Manicure & Pedicure will do the trick to relax? Or maybe a MoroccanOil Body Polish to bring out your natural glow is in order. The menu of spa services is to die for, but even more of a treat is the Eco Garden Scrub Bar, where you can design your own scrub from the various natural scents and ingredients offered (think lemongrass, peppermint and chamomile) and mix it all up, right on the spot, to take a piece of your spa experience home with you. The spa has 40 treatment rooms, a private 4,000-square-foot heated outdoor lap pool, a boutique and a café. This multilevel getaway is a retreat within a retreat.
The resort has an ongoing annual tradition of putting on one of the best fireworks displays in the area for guests to watch from their in-room balconies, the surrounding grounds or the Club Level, where complimentary champagne (as well as juice for the kids) and light snacks are also served. The fireworks displays take place every year on the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend in September.
For those looking for a night of true elegance, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes will host the Norman’s Black Tie Gala on August 24 in celebration of chef Norman Van Aken’s 10th anniversary at the resort. The chef has invited several celebrity cuisiniers (including Forbes Travel Guide Tastemakers Charlie Trotter and Dean Fearing) and six Master Sommeliers to elegantly pair wines with each course. Other special events include a Bleu Moon Party with Blue Moon Ale on August 31, and the Grande Lakes Orlando Labor Day BBQ on September 1.
Photos courtesy of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company LLC