The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Part of the Grande Lakes resort complex, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando has enough amenities to keep a family happily occupied without ever having to leave the property. Accommodations feature private balconies with garden or lake views and separate tubs and showers, while club-level suites offer snacks and refreshments throughout the day and exclusive activities such as photography lessons with the hotel’s photo concierge, but the rooms aren’t why you came. Cool off at the clover-shaped pool—the lazy river next-door at the JW Marriott is also available—or with a zero-gravity massage, performed while you sway in a hammock in the spa’s rooftop garden. The Greg Norman–designed golf course has a caddie concierge program; kids play free with an adult. Between the two large hotels on the Grande Lakes property, there are a dozen dining options—try Highball & Harvest, where the farm-to-table cuisine is made with local ingredients and served alongside beer from its own nano-brewery. The $35 daily resort fee covers theme-park shuttles, kids’ club activities, daily bike rentals, driving range privileges, and WiFi and phone calls.

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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 at the Spa at The-Ritz Carlton. Comprising more than 40,000 square feet, the spa is secluded and surrounded by lush gardens, a peaceful lake, Spanish-Moorish architecture and its own private pool. Not to mention that The Ritz has 56 Club Level guest rooms that offer spectacular views of Orlando, the golf course, lakes and gardens.

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