Free Wi-Fi and shuttles to theme parks (included in daily resort fee)
Daily resort fee
Daily parking fee
Room decor is slightly generic
Not affiliated with any theme parks (a pro for some)
An upscale resort that seamlessly blends business savvy with family-friendliness, the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes is a solid option for all kinds of Orlando travelers. Located midway between Disney World and Universal Studios, the JW Marriott appeals to families, and its massive lazy river pool is great for kids. With over 100,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel also attracts business travelers, and is a popular spot for conventions. The nearly 1,000 guest rooms are tastefully decorated and include mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs. Varied dining options, Starbucks, a lovely spa, and an 18-hole golf course are other standout features, and guests are welcome to use all amenities at the adjoining Ritz Carlton. Expect to pay a resort fee and extra for parking. The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is located within Walt Disney World, and offers Disney related perks, but rooms aren’t as upscale.
An upscale chain resort that appeals to a variety of travelers
The JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes is located in the prestigious Grande Lakes resort community, which also consists of sister properties The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes and Marriott’s Lakeshore Reserve. The JW Marriott and its sisters appeal to travelers who want to be within close proximity of Orlando amenities, but want space to escape from themed restaurants and character-inspired decor. Outside, the grounds are well-tended and include palm trees, large lawns, and an artificial lake. There’s no hint of Mickey in the JW Marriott’s sophisticated lobby, which feels like an Italian palazzo with its central fountain, tuscan columns, and gold lantern chandeliers. The lobby is always bustling with travelers, from families with kids, to vacationing couples, to corporate types in suits.
In prestigious Grande Lakes, about a 20-minute drive from most theme parks
The JW Marriott is located in Grande Lakes, a sprawling resort community home to prestigious names like The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott’s Lakeshore Reserve. The JW Marriott is connected to its sister properties via a winding foot path, so guests can walk between all three hotels within 10 to 15 minutes. Within Orlando, Grande Lakes is convenient to most attractions. The JW Marriott is a 10-minute drive from Sea World, a 15-minute drive from the Orange County Convention Center, and about a 20-minute drive from Disney World, Universal Studios, and Orlando International Airport.
Rooms at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes are standard Marriott fare with a few upscale touches. Decor is somewhat generic with beige walls, white bedding, and hotel-issue furniture and artwork -- but iPod docks, single-cup coffeemakers, and 65-inch internet-ready smart TVs are nice upgrades. Bright pops of turquoise in the headboards, throw pillows, and even the window frames, pull rooms from their beige-ness. Bathrooms are pretty boring, with brown speckled granite and taupe wallpaper. Vanities have single sinks and a nice assortment of toiletries, and there are separate tubs and shower stalls. Some rooms have outdoor balconies, others do not. The JW Marriott’s standard rooms overlook the parking lot or the pool and lakes. Travelers looking for larger rooms can upgrade to one of the JW Marriott’s studio or one-bedroom suites. Starting at 840 square feet, suites are twice the size of standard rooms and most offer separate living and sleeping areas. Turndown service is available upon request.
There are a bevy of great amenities at the JW Marriott, but guests should be warned that the hotel charges a daily resort fee. The resort fee covers “extras,” like Wi-Fi, fitness center access, shuttles to theme parks, and inner tubes for the lazy river. The resort fee doesn’t cover daily parking, which incurs an extra daily charge. JW Marriott guests are entitled to use all of the amenities at neighboring sister properties: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and Marriott’s Lakeshore Reserve. The Ritz has additional pools, several restaurants, a kids' club (extra fee), and technically claims ownership over the on-site golf course. Lakeshore Reserve has a pool with a waterslide and several tennis courts.
A massive outdoor pool that's great for kids and adults
The JW Marriott’s massive 900,000 gallon pool is its standout amenity. The pool appeals to all kinds of guests, with its lazy river, zero-entry point, and multiple jetted whirlpool hot tubs. With room for up to 1,500 swimmers, the pool has enough space for everyone to find their own aquatic bliss. Several towel huts supply towels and inner tubes for the lazy river, and sell other pool-related items like goggles and water toys. The pool is surrounded by hundreds of lounge chairs and umbrellas, though it’s rarely too crowded, as the majority of guests spend their days off property.
At the JW Marriott, dining options run the gamut, from upscale eateries to grab-and-go cafes. Whisper Creek Kitchen is the hotel’s signature restaurant -- a farm-to-table small plates concept with an open kitchen, communal seating, and an awesome outdoor patio. Whisper Creek Kitchen sources most of its ingredients from the nearby Whisper Creek Farm, and serves a variety of local craft beers and cocktails. Other dining options include Primo, an upscale Italian eatery; Citron, Am American Brasserie, which serves buffet and a la carte breakfast; and Quench Poolside Bar & Grill, a casual open-air spot that serves burgers, salads, and sandwiches at lunch. The lobby lounge sells drinks throughout the day, and transforms into a sushi bar at night. Guests looking for quick bites can stop by Cafe Bodega or the on-site Starbucks. The JW Marriott also offers 24-hour room service. Additional dining options can be found at the adjoining Ritz-Carlton.
A modern spa and fitness center, shared with the Ritz-Carlton
The JW Marriott shares a spa with the Ritz Carlton. The spa is a modern wellness oasis, with a private outdoor pool, a health-conscious cafe, and a top-of-the-line fitness center. The spa’s signature treatment, the Grande Hammock Experience, is a massage that takes place in a hammock on the spa’s rooftop garden. The fitness center is a standout as well, with modern TechnoGym cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights. Additionally, the fitness center has personal trainers and group exercise classes (for additional fees). Access to the fitness center is covered in the resort fee.
Though it technically belongs to the Ritz, the on-site Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course is open to JW Marriott guests as well. The course is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, so golfers are bound to spot local Florida wildlife somewhere on the greens. Guests are entitled to free access of the course’s driving range and putting green. There’s also an on-site golf pro for anyone interested in lessons.
With 116,000 square feet of meeting space and 40 event and breakout rooms, the JW Marriott is one of the most popular hotels for business events and large functions in the Orlando area. The hotel always seems to be hosting conventions or conferences -- we’d estimate that business travelers account for half of the hotel’s clientele at any given time. Additionally, the Ritz has 47,000 square feet of its own meeting space and the two areas are connected by a long corridor.
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