Horrible, stay way!!!
DISCLAIMER: This was a family vacation, and I'm writing this as I drive home with the experience fresh in my mind. Also, my wife and daughter just came back from a fabulous week at the Marriott Casa Magna in Cancun so there was much comparing going on between the two.
I've stayed at this property numerous times for business, and always felt disappointed, but had little choice. On a last minute change to spring break plans, and limited choices (the JW at Grande Lakes was booked) I decided to give this place a shot -- BIG MISTAKE!
One bright note was the maid service. They were all efficient and friendly, and the service was unobtrusive. Its all downhill from there, the room accomodations didn't even live up to my limited expectations. The closet isn't even wide enough for the hangers so that when you close the door they can't sit squarely which wrinkles everything. They would be better to take the doors off like rooms in most Courtyards by Marriott. The towels in the bath are so worn and threadbare you barely notice they're as rough as sand paper.
The restaurants were abysmal. Dinner in Solaris was a joke. The portions were small and poorly prepared, medium rare steak was over cooked, the Grouper was barely 2 oz. and the side was a small wilted salad, the fried chicken was good, but that's the assessment of a 13 year old. Although the place was empty, the service was incredibly rushed. We hadn't finished our meals and they started busing the table without asking if we were done. Breakfast there the next day was somewhat better given the volume of people, although I do suspect the 3 egg omlette is made with robin eggs. Even though this is the LARGEST Marriott in the world, a fact you will constantly be reminded of by the staff, the Food Court was a joke. Besides being too small a space the food offerings are rediculously limited. They would be better to bring in a McDonalds or Roy Rogers. The pool bar provided a very limited menu as well of mostly lame items. Finally, Mikado was a typical tourist trap experience. The food was medeocre the "hibachi show" was the usual clanking of knives and spatulas, the prices were rediculous and, yet again, they couldn't take our plates away fast enough so they could seat the next crowd.
One feature we looked forward to at this hotel was the pool, which in most respects was physically in good shape. However, when we came to the pool area towels were kept behind a counter and in order to get one we had to be harassed by the local suntan lotion salesman offering $90 sets of oils for ony $69. The lounge chairs were all old and tired and there wasn't a single small table to be found to place drinks or food on if you wanted to be served. While there are plenty of people walking around offering food and beverage service, there was little safety supervision other than around the water slide in one corner of the pool area. When my daughter cut herself on the edge of the chair there was no one around the pool with a band aid, a security guard had to go into the hotel to get one. A place like this ought to have at least a basic first aid kit around its pool. Maybe they should give them to the suntan oil salesman and he could sell them to you.
The fitness center is also a mixed review. Although inconveniently located at the far end of the property, bring a map, it was equipped with new cardio machines. I went at 4:00PM and it was empty, I suspect at the more popular morning and evening times you would have a long wait to get on the limited number of pieces given the size of the hotel.
Overall, the experience did not live up to any of my expectations for Marriott and in the future if you need to stay in Orlando, go elsewhere, even if its for a convention at this property.
I stayed there two years ago for a conference. We ate very little at the hotel, but were generally unimpressed with it.
No smoking within 25 feet of the entrance (not well enforced) but people can smoke on their balconies two feet away from your room. Since the rooms are *all* non smoking, there's no way to get away from the "smoking" balconies.
The management at this hotel does a poor job and is a bad reflection upon the hotel specifically and upon Marriott in general.
Although not on my *banned* hotel list, it is on my "do not stay at unless absolutely necessary" list. I was in Orlando a week ago and I didn't even look at the prices there.
Marriott should make an announcement when they have finally realized it is poorly run and replaced all of the management there.