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“Great Hotel... but not five stars...”

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The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Ranked #23 of 341 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 9 June 2009

Before I book anywhere I have started reading all the reviews for lodging and I have found more frequently than not that the most experienced travelers are the ones who know what to complain about in relation to the expectations set forth by star ratings and such. I have to say I agree with most of the positive ratings but also agree w/many of the negatives. First, the property is just phenomenally beautiful. The landscaping and decor, design, flow and function of the place are superb. It is immaculately kept. If I were reviewing just these factors, it would be TEN stars. It is both luxurious and friendly, romantic and suitable for families (who know how to behave, that is...). I stayed in a deluxe room with two small children (ages 4 and 6) and found it to be very comfortable for the three of us, and one night we had local guests and slept five with a rollaway squeezed in, had in-room dining twice, and we made it work. The room is very well equipped for a business traveler and is less comfy for children- no DVD player, lots of hook ups for business equipment., teeny fridge packed to the gills with the Ritz' "entertainment items" (read $8 water, etc) and I was barely able to squeeze in a few things I picked up for my diet-sensitive family. Big closet, generous hangers and valets. Not enough drawers for all of us. The room was mainly prepared as I'd asked. My son is sensitive to down and I'd asked for it to be removed entirely from one bed, and it was, but they had 4 foam pillows on one bed and only two down on the other bed. Kind of odd. We all got luscious robes (ask for robes in your children's sizes and don't forget the slippers) but for some reason my housekeeper (who was NOT tipped, read on there...) refused to leave me slippers all five days we were there.
As others noted the bathrooms are HUGE for hotel baths in any case. Elegant and well appointed.

We did not eat at the Grill or Norman's. We ate outdoors mainly at Bleu (food, great. Service, sketchy... the first time I ate there after I had to get my own adult menus. the waiter asked how we were and I responded I'd be better if I did not have to get my own menus... hmmmm... then it took ten minutes to get the kids' menu... which BTW is the same throughout the resort. Just memorize it day one and you'll have an easier time of it).
Bleu is only open mid-morning to 4:30 and I don't suggest trying it too close to closing time. Quench next door at the JW is a fine alternative... food is not as good but I found the staff. and bar staff to be friendlier and more service-oriented. I could care less how polite you are so long as I get my food, as ordered, and provide me with prompt and efficient service. Omne not so great experience was followed with one that was just great so I'd call it hit or miss.

Complaints about pool service are warranted. There was generally one person on staff for the entire pool... for towels, chair set up, refreshments, spontaneous fun stuff they include for kids/families like S'mores at the firepit near the pool, etc... so Glen who we saw most (and was GREAT!) had to tapdance quite a bit and I heard people grumbling about him, but he is only one person spread thin. The pool itself and seating, great. Towels soft and warm if you don't mind getting them yourself. The lazy river next door was great and while the floaties are overpriced for us it was worth the $14 to have them pre-blown up and my kids loved that we wrote all over them and we brought them home with us. The pool at the Ritz is not deep and just fine for the kids. They have nice adult size foam floats, big fountain spray was fun for them.

We booked on the kids-free program and it was well worth it. In fact we paid less overall. including food here at the Ritz than we did for Concierge-level service at a luxury Disney resort and I think the kids liked it just as much.

Now other service... the valets do a poor job of handling busy times and provide complete service. For the daily cost plus tips (still worth it if you will be in and out a lot, otherwise park with "the peasants" as a guest said...) I timed it so that I wasn't in or out at peak times, mostly, but that should not matter in a five star, ever. The bell staff mainly held the main central doors open. I did not find them particularly helpful other than taking bags to/from the room. Unlike others I did not find it took too long to get the car but I made a point of calling down for it ten minutes in advance.

I did have a maintenance issues that went unresolved that was quite annoying. The bathroom (lovely. well equipped. gross mouthwash tastes like the shower gel which does smell great... but lay off if you have sensitive skin as it is drying as other reviewers noted) water pressure is awesome and the showerhead feels like acupuncture, in a good way. However- that same pressure made the toilet that has (I say has., sure it still does) a slow leak the NOISIEST toilet in the UNIVERSE. No kidding, the re-fill on it woke me up at night with the AutoMystery Flushing. It would slowly leak just enough to flush itself and refill. I could not hear the leaking. I COULD hear the toilet refilling.Not just a little. I mean it sounded like a water cannon blasting the porcelain top tank. It was so bad my last night there I went to the bar and had two drinks (I am a lightweight) in the hope of sleeping all night and even over my snoring, it woke me. I called maintenance too many times for this issue which could have been easily resolved and was not, ever. It's a toilet, not rocket science.

I did share another negative experience that others ran in to with billing. I was supposed to present a voucher everywhere for the kids eat free program. That in and of itself is a silly annoyance. It is one child per paying adult so I should have been paying for one of my two children's meals. Every time for the first three days I had an issue. I heard "we'll fix that for you" frequently. We got in-room service a LOT and every time I'd have to call for a correction which did not happen. It was resolved to my benefit however in response to my other issues, and all the children's meals were taken off the bill.

Lastly I had an issue with housekeeping. No- a few issues. As other posters reported, sometimes you get turn down. Sometimes you don't. There was a glass in my bathroom that had a black icky thing in the bottom of it, so I put it at the edge of the counter to see if it would be washed the next day. It was not. Same thing the next day. And the next day. And the next day. The first day the coffee bar was not completely refreshed and since I'm a caffeine head, this was an issue. The maid took a soaked floor mat (still a mystery how it got that way...) and moved it instead of replacing it with a fresh one. The maids at Disney were more thorough and thoughtful.

It was not all bad by any means and in general we enjoyed many things about the property. Rent one of the Italian bikes and drive around the properties! There are bunnies everywhere that are not afraid and my kids loved that. Try to time it so there are no weddings to interrupt... and a lovely place for a weddind it is. Inm fact I'd say it's a better business property than anything else. Many locals visit the restaurants and the lobby bar which is very nice.The chef's garden and butterfly garden were delightful for my children. The children's play area was safe and fun for them. You will not be served food there from the outdoor grill but you CAN get room service there. Go figure.

Gratuities are included. Good if the service warrants it and I'd say it's up to you to be sure that you get your money's worth there. I found the meals there no pricier than at the Marriott and the Angus burgers were excellent. Breakfast was ok. Pastries - the danishes good, everything else just ok. Skip the bagels. The tomato basil flatbread at Bleu was huge and could feed two

In all the annoyances were **not** a deal-killer, but they do not at all equate to 5-star service. 5-star property with maybe 3.5 service at best. I am planning on going back twice this year because it is STILL better than what else you'll find out there no matter the cost.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled on business
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5  Thank higpaws12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,571 - 2,577 of 2,971 reviews

Reviewed 3 June 2009

Stayed here for just one night with my wife and daughter. This was at the start of our holiday. I let the hotel know when booking that it would be my birthday. On arrival we got upgraded to a suite with a pool view. Great attention to detail. Every member of staff we interacted with was helpful and seemed happy in their role. The room, although in need of a little updating - being really picky here! - was exceedingly comfortable. The pool and surroundings again were great. The only slight niggle I had was the cost of the meal we had in the Vineyard Grill, it did not deliver the quality expected. Lunch and breakfast were very good. We would stay at the Ritz again in Orlando without doubt.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank FroggyWestSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2009

We stayed on the Club level, in a One Bedroom Suite, for one week, May 19th - 26th. We have always stayed on Disney property when visiting Orlando, so this was a bit of an experiment. Boy, are we ever glad we took the chance!

The Ritz Carlton is far and above our usual choice of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World; which Disney imagines is a five star hotel, but is really only a four star wanna be.

The Ritz Carlton, as you might expect from a hotel from this chain, is elegant and stunning in every way possible. The staff is refined to the nth degree; they don't miss a beat. Everyone is friendly, and accommodating; a far cry from our disappointing week spent recently at the Grand Floridian. House keeping was exceptional, and boy were the housekeepers ever sweet. Lovely, lovely people. We had a few disappointing experiences with Valet parking (i.e. talking to girlfriends was more important than assisting guests), but in the scheme of things this wasn't terribly important.

We have to make special note of the Club Floor. It is worth every single penny, and more. The food offerings are staggering, and generous; not to mention exceedingly delicious. Wine, beer and alcohol, including one of our favourites, Prosecco, is included. The concierge staff are the best in our rather experienced travels; even better than the Four Season's Maui. You need not eat anywhere else if you don't want to; though we have to make special note of the amazing meals enjoyed in The Vineyard Grill. Ask for Michael as your server; you won't be disappointed. It tops our list of favourite restaurants anywhere.

If you have the time, and the money, the spa is a can't miss. We enjoyed numerous treatments in this magnificent facility. If you have the chance to enjoy the restaurant, we loved the seafood salad, and worthy-of-mention ice-cream cookie sandwiches. Brandon, the spa manager, has got it together and has created a uniquely beautiful and comforting environment, with superb staff and technicians. Of special note is therapist Celeste Holmes. She's a true talent, and worth the trip to Orlando alone; I'm not kidding. The work she did with me impacted me not only physically, but emotionally. She's an amazing human being. We were incorrectly billed for a few treatments, so take a moment to come down from the euphoria of it all, and check things before leaving the hotel.

There is no better place to relax, to set off to the parks from, and especially to come back to at night in Orlando. Truly, don't hesitate to book. We can't wait to go back. We're looking forward to trying the Ritz Carlton Cancun next!!!

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank jeffgauthier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2009

Was only here for 3 nights while my husband was attending a conference at the RItz, so my use of the facilities is not as extensive as others.

You really can't go wrong staying at this hotel - it is a beautiful resort. Nicely laid out, beautiful nature all around, easy walk to the JW Marriott and use of all of their facilities. The standard rooms are not overly big for a Ritz, but they are fine, nicely appointed overall. The service is typical Ritz, anything you could want will be done with a smile. Pool area is nice and quiet no screaming kids, the pool has lots of raft floaties which are nice, added bonus if you are traveling with kids is the use of the JW Marriott's fantastic lazy river pool. Maybe that's why the Ritz pool is so nice and quiet. Poolside drink/food service is pretty lame, had to flag someone down every time I needed something, but really this is the only criticism I can think of, so the Ritz is doing pretty good overall.

The gym is really nice, a bit of a walk from the rooms, but hey, you get your exercise getting there! I didn't use the spa, but my husband had a massage and said it was great - they are offering a lot of discounts right now on spa services so make sure to ask around before you book.

Restaurants are typical Ritz with delicious food - also recommend highly the Italian restaurant at the Marriott - delicious!

Valet parking is the only option, I believe it was $22 night. A rip off, but what are you going to do? No other option.

Overall very nice experience, and if you don't like this hotel you must be very hard to please!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank Kinsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2009

My husband and I stayed here for our first anniversary. The bed was the most comfortable I have ever slept in!! Service was exceptional- everything you could expect for the Ritz. I loved the Victorian-style furnishings (rivals Disney's Grand Floridian resort, which is the utmost in luxury!) and the bathroom was incredible with separate marble shower and tub. The only draw-back is the location is not desirable to Orlando attractions.
The hotel was beautiful and they made our first anniversary one to remember!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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Thank SBJ486
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2009

After much debate with my husband we decided to go to the USA for a holiday instead of Jumeriah Beach in Dubai. I am so glad we did. We stayed between the 10th and 17th of May 2009. It is a hotel which is about 15 minutes drive from the Disney Parks. What a fantastic hotel! The hotel is very beautiful and opulent. It has ample staff working there, 4 people to open the door for us and wish us a good day when leaving and entering! We had a hire car and used their valet parking facility $20 for the day plus tips. They were very friendly and always asked if we needed directions. Always gave bottles of water and helped with the luggage. You can be cheeky and just park in the Marriott car park but we didn't.

The rooms are really nice and big. Separate shower from the bath which is a nice touch. Tea and coffee making facilities, iron and ironing board. The rollaway bed was $15 a night and well worth it as we needed a good night sleep after the parks. The balcony was lovely as was the pool view. I didn't let the kids on the balcony on their own and I didn't think it was too safe (4 and 1 year old).

The breakfast was a buffet for $50 a day 2 adults including children (kids eat free). Alot of variety and it was very tasty. My daughter couldn't get enough pancakes and maple syrup! If you can sit outside for breakfast it had such a nice view and not many people out there.

The Ritz has 2 pools, the kids pool is quite nice with a adventure frame to play on and the main pool is great with an adjoining whirl pool. It wasn't too busy and the staff again were only too happy to lay some towels out for us with a sun shade. Just a 2 minute walk to the Marriott hotel means you can use their lazy river pool which was very nice too. Although alot of leafs and bits were in it. You have to buy a rubber ring for about $5 but it means you can keep it. We decided to leave ours as bringing back to the UK wasn't a sensible option! The Marriott also has a kids pool, volleyball court in sand and a pool table which are all again very good.

Back at the Ritz we hired a bike for $20 and rode around the grounds in the midday heat which wasn't a sensible thing to do but great fun! I have to warn you it gets tiring after 5 minutes but the views are lovely of the lake and golf course.

Lunch was always in the bar by the pool and it was just delicious, we had the beef burgers always! The chocolate mousse's and shakes went down very well with the kids and us.

The Ritz has a spa facilitty in the grounds which is just amazing. That again is highly recommended.

High speed internet was $10 for the day, it's all wireless so you can surf from anywhere.

Checking out has to be done by 11:00am but our flight was at 6:00pm so they allowed us to check out late at 3:00pm.

This is a very very nice hotel, the staff are all lovely, the grounds are beautiful and yes it is pricey but you get what you pay for. Worth every penny. We will be going back definitely next year!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank thebridekiddo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2009

Wow...that pretty much sums it up. From the complimentary upgrade to an executive suite to the amazing service and child-centered mentality, my husband and I were blown away by this resort. We were a bit nervous about how child friendly this would be for our 2 year old, and even thought of moving to the JW Marriott which we thought might be a better option for a family, but this hotel and staff impressed us every step of the way. The room was amazing, very spacious and luxurious. The grounds were beautiful and immaculate. The staff aimed to please and exceed expectations. The staff treated our 2 year old as if she was royalty, even leaving a little gift for her in the room. Just amazing! Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank ztaboose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Address: 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL 32837-7662
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#6 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#9 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#11 Green Hotel in Orlando
#15 Business Hotel in Orlando
#18 Family Hotel in Orlando
Price Range: £251 - £978 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes 5*
Number of rooms: 582
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This 500-acre nature inspired luxury resort is located 10 miles from Walt Disney World; 10 miles from Airport and 7 miles from Universal Orlando. Guests can enjoy on-site eco-tours, kayaking, fishing, tennis courts, championship golf course, award-winning spa with adult-only pool and dining by James Beard award-winning chefs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes Hotel Orlando
Ritz Orlando
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Florida

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