Grande Lakes Orlando, the largest non-gaming hotel project to open in the United States this year, was officially dedicated today at ceremonies presided over by Marriott International Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr. and Governor “Jeb” Bush. More than 500 VIP guests, including local dignitaries and tourism officials, attended the event, which included the unveiling of two plaques celebrating Orlando’s first Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels. On behalf of the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Mr. Marriott also announced a $100,000 endowment to the University of Central Florida, Rosen School of Hospitality Management.
At a cost of nearly $600 million, the 500-acre estate features a 584-room Ritz-Carlton and a 1,000-room JW Marriott. The property created 1,200 new jobs in the Orlando area and is owned by Thayer Lodging Group and managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., and Marriott Hotels & Resorts.
“This is an exciting day for Marriott and Orlando as we officially dedicate this one-of-kind resort,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO, Marriott International, Inc. “This area continues to attract millions of visitors from around the world and the addition of a luxury property like Grande Lakes will draw a whole new group of travelers eager to experience this wonderful destination.”
“I’m very happy to be a part of today’s celebrations,” said Governor Bush. “This is clearly one of the country’s most exciting new resorts and what better place to be than in Orlando, a city that offers attractions and activities that few other destinations can match. I want to thank Marriott and Thayer Lodging Group for their commitment to this city and the State of Florida.”
Inspired by the 1920s architect Addison Mizner, The Ritz-Carlton, designed to feel like an Italian palazzo, offers guests a residential ambiance. At the JW Marriott, the grand lobby atrium with fountain and obelisk gives guests a sense of arrival. Designed with Spanish and Moorish influences, bold colors of the Mediterranean are incorporated throughout the hotel. Complementing these two grand structures is an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and a 40,000-square-foot spa, both managed by The Ritz-Carlton.
“We wanted to celebrate the resort’s success and acknowledge the dedication of our outstanding staff on this special day,” said Marc Hoffman, vice president and managing director of Grande Lakes Orlando. “Our desire to be ‘the heart’ of the Orlando community is well underway. Grande Lakes Orlando is already a top choice of guests and residents for social events,” he added.
Distinguishing Grande Lakes Orlando from the crowd are a number of industry “firsts.” It is the first resort to combine these two outstanding brands, the first golf resort in the U.S. to offer an innovative Golf Caddie-Concierge Program; the first resort in the nation to offer a Golf FORE Kids Etiquette Class; and the first resort in the world to have its own Citrus Consultant, an expert on all things citrus.
Grande Lakes Orlando offers 12 different lounge and dining choices, including two signature dining venues. Norman’s, located in The Ritz-Carlton, is a culinary collaboration with celebrated chef Norman Van Aken. At the JW Marriott, the highlight is chef Melissa Kelly’s Primo restaurant. Both of these acclaimed chefs are recipients of the James Beard Foundation Awards and establish Grande Lakes Orlando as an outstanding dining destination for the community.
Meeting space is extensive with 33,000 square feet at The Ritz-Carlton, including two ballrooms and 14 meeting rooms. The JW Marriott features over 72,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms, 23 conference rooms and two elegantly appointed boardrooms. Wireless high-speed internet access is available in all meetings rooms and public spaces.
Signature touches at Grande Lakes Orlando include enhanced children’s programs and specialty concierges at The Ritz-Carlton, and a 24,000 square-foot, winding lazy river pool (which holds 672,000 gallons of water) with floating tubes at the JW Marriott.
Grande Lakes offers complimentary shuttle transportation to Orlando theme parks, including Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove. The resort is located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, five minutes from the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center, and minutes from all the major theme parks.
For reservations, call The Ritz-Carlton Orlando at (800) 576-5760 or the JW Marriott Orlando at (800) 576-5750. For more information about Grande Lakes Orlando, visit www.grandelakes.com.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, a winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992 and 1999, operates 54 luxury hotels throughout the world. For information or reservations, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts cater to discerning upscale travelers seeking a lodging experience of high comfort and prestige. The JW Marriott portfolio includes 30 hotels in 15 countries. For more information or reservations, call (800) 228-9290 or visit www.jwmarriotthotels.com.
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading worldwide hospitality company with over 2,600 lodging properties in the United States and 68 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Ramada International brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club International, Horizons, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Marriott Grand Residence Club brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has approximately 128,000 employees, and was ranked as the lodging industry`s most admired company and one of the best places to work for by FORTUNE®. For more information or reservations, please visit the web site at www.marriott.com.