Orlando is well known for its theme parks and appeal to families, but this vacation destination is not for kids alone. I embarked on a search for a luxurious and romantic getaway in Central Florida, and I found it.
Grab the hand of that someone special as you escape to a perfect resort to get married, enjoy your honeymoon, celebrate an anniversary or just because. The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes is my pick for one of the most romantic luxury resorts in Orlando.
Home to Largest Suite in the Ritz-Carlton Collection
First things first: Book the best room in the house. The 4,293-square-foot Royal Suite is Central Florida’s largest luxury suite and the biggest of its kind in the entire collection of 40 Ritz-Carlton hotels in the United States.
For $12,000 a night you can lay your head where celebrities, athletes and world leaders kick back in lavishness beyond compare. There are seven high-definition televisions plus a 60-inch HD TV in the media room. Take your pick of the four bedrooms, or four-and-a-half baths, one including a $6,000 heated toilet with an integrated bidet and remote control system that automatically opens as you approach it.
You even get your own 24-hour butler. It’s like having your own personal concierge for anything and everything you might need. From unpacking and organizing your suitcase to stocking the kitchen to assisting in planning activities – you can say the butler did it all.
Decadence on the Club Level
If the price tag for the Royal Suite is a little hefty, perhaps you’d rather book a Club Level suite. The Ritz has 56 Club Level guest rooms that offer spectacular views of Orlando, the golf course, lakes and gardens.
Guests receive an unsurpassed level of attention and personal service, including a concierge and five daily food presentations. That’s right; you could eat all your meals all day in the Club Level.
The Ritz-Carlton is the gold standard in guest experiences and customer service.
"The staff on the Club Level will anticipate your needs and know your preferences and dislikes better than you will," said Danielle Leitch, a regular guest to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. "We first came to this property when we really were in need of some couple time. Our visit was so memorable we keep returning."
Escape at the Spa With a Couples Massage
One of Danielle’s favorite ways to relax with her husband while on vacation at the Ritz is to visit the spa. Comprising more than 40,000 square feet, the spa is secluded and surrounded by lush gardens, a peaceful lake and Spanish-Moorish architecture.
"With three floors, a private pool, restaurant and beautiful facilities, it is really hard to imagine how someone wouldn’t fall into a total state of relaxation here," Danielle said.
She and her husband recently celebrated their anniversary with a rose petal bath and a couples massage, followed by champagne and strawberries.
"The memories we have here will last a lifetime," she said.
Unparalleled Wedding Venue
A wedding at The Ritz-Carlton sets a new standard in romantic elegance. Staff members dedicate themselves to designing a customized and exceptional celebration. Gloria and Craig Mackinnon recently said "I do" at the beautiful open-air gazebo on the property. Facing the west, situated between The Ritz-Carlton Spa’s private pool and Golf Club, it offers stunning sunset views and the sparkling blue lake as a backdrop.
"After the ceremony, our guests were escorted to the Citrus Garden for the cocktail hour," said the bride. Located on the east side of the property, the Citrus Garden offers a secluded feel and is completely shaded in the late afternoon and evening.
"Our reception was held in the Plaza Ballroom and we enjoyed a delicious plated meal. We danced the night away afterward," she said. "It was truly amazing!"
Amazing it is. The Plaza Ballroom, with silk wall coverings, light sconces, gold embellished mirrors and nine chandeliers, is both luxurious and intimate.
I asked Gloria what made her decide to pick the Ritz in Orlando for her big day.
"We fell in love with the property and felt it would be a wonderful location for our guests," she said. "We have traveled a lot and have seen some amazing places, but Florida is where we found each other."
Now you, too, should find this amazing place.
If You Go
What: Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Where: 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando
Cost: Club Level rooms start at $469 per night during the low season.
Reservations: Book online or call 407-206-2400.
- Dine at Primo, located at the adjacent JW Marriott property. Chef Melissa Kelly uses the freshest local ingredients from the resort’s on-site organic garden. Call 407-393-4444 for reservations.
- Play a game of golf at the Grande Lakes Golf Course designed by two-time British Open Champion Greg Norman. Book a tee time by calling 407-393-4900.
- Experience a taste of Florida’s nature and enjoy a kayak eco-tour of Shingle Creek, the headwaters to the Florida Everglades. To book your tour, call the Grande Lakes Adventure Experience desk at 407-393-4007.