Just returned from a two week stay in Grande Lakes on points. What a wonderful property. We arrived on the Friday 28th May. It was a busy weekend for the hotel but on arrival the service, from the bell boys, valet service and cehckin in was prompt, extremely helpful and very friendly. On check-in I was offered a fridge (perfect for my wife as she has Type 1 diabetes).
Had a great room overlooking the Swimming Pool and the room was clean and spacious.
Throughout the two weeks, we spent time around the pool, visited the theme parks, ate in the various parts of the hotel and all in all the service in the hotel was second to none.
Even when the hotel was almost full (the Memorial Day weekend), we never felt crowded and the staff just could not do enough for us.
Free Wi-Fi for Platinum members (and Gold I think but I did not check that) was great and it made contacting home using Skype a very cheap way of staying in touch.
All in all, fantastic holiday, fantastic staff, fantastic hotel, fantastic pool and fantastic food - just one gripe - Why is parking so expensive!
According to the Orlando Sentinel, both the JW Marriott Grande Lakes and the Ritz-Carlton next door changed hands! The story came out earlier in the week, Tuesday, February 1, 2011. Quoting the Orlando Sentinel:
"A pair of high-profile Orlando hotels have changed hands as part of a major hotel deal, announced Tuesday, that sent five other luxury resorts into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes and the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes are among eight luxury hotels acquired in a foreclsoure auction last week by a group that includes affiliates of hedge fund Paulson & Co Inc. Five of those resorts, including the Arizona Biltmore, filed for bankruptcy-court protection on Tuesday.
The Paulson group said it put the five properties into bankruptcy to head off a $1.53 billion debt that was due to mature Tuesday. The JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando were excluded from the filing, as was the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Ariz., because debts on those hotels do not mature until May 2012, according to Reuters news service."
Such an event has repurcussions. Uncertainty triggers turnover which dominoes on service delivery. On a positive note, Bloomberg.com says the longterm outlook may be more hopeful:
"Significant Recovery - The hospitality industry is at or near the bottom of a historic down-cycle and is poised for a significant recovery in the years ahead, especially given the extremely limited amount of new supply expected in the luxury resort market”