The Orlando Economic Partnership welcomes Grande Lakes Orlando to the Partner level of investment.
Equal parts luxury and diversion, Grande Lakes Orlando combines two award-winning brands, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott, into a sprawling 500-acre, five-star destination that represents one of the largest, and arguably most important, assets in Marriott International’s portfolio of 7,700 hotels.
“When we opened the resort, our vision was to create a unique destination unto its own,” says Jon McGavin, Area General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando. “Situated on the headwaters of the Florida everglades, we focus on our natural setting as an homage to Florida history, flora, fauna and wildlife.”
Built on the principles of community, conservation and sustainable hospitality, the resort features a collection of luxury offerings; including more than 1,500 rooms, a championship-level 18-hole golf course, Marriott’s largest spa, three pools, a lazy river, 12 restaurants, over 150,000 square-feet of event space, a 7,000-square-foot working farm and acres of pristine natural Florida landscape perfect for fishing, hiking, biking and paddling. The resort brews its own beer on-property, maintains apiaries with close to 3 million bees and raises chickens, ducks and quail onsite. “We really have a working farm,” McGavin says.
Since Grande Lakes Orlando opened 17 years ago, McGavin has seen the resort mature and grow its business-focused offerings.
“We cater to quite a bit of high-end corporate business,” McGavin says.
“We’re also building 37 Ritz-Carlton homes so people will be able to live here fulltime through our partnership with Marriott Vacations Worldwide, which has its headquarters in Orlando.”Jon McGavin, Area General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando
Fueling Grande Lakes’ growth is the growth of the Orlando region in terms population, visitors and jobs.
“The destination is a magnet for leisure and corporate business. Our airport is hugely competitive because of the list price and ease of getting people in and out – whether domestic or international – is phenomenal. Ranked 4th in the U.S. by passengers,” McGavin says.
McGavin also cites new and global companies from the medical, sports and training industries, including KPMG and USTA, coming to Orlando as drivers of growth for Grande Lakes. But what stands out most to McGavin is Orlando’s continued maturity as a vibrant destination, especially when it comes to the arts.
“All of that continues to help the reputation of the region. People want to do business in destinations that have vibrant arts communities and assets, sports teams and stadiums as well as convention centers,” McGavin says. “That attracts top talent into the marketplace who elevate our schools, improve property values, infrastructure and so on.”
As a result of that growth, Grande Lakes is set to open a new restaurant in addition to the construction of on-property residences. Within the next five months, the resort will add 58 new jobs to the Orlando region. But beyond simply offering good jobs in a beautiful setting, Grande Lakes offers an environment that allows employees to grow, advance their career and reach their aspirations.
“We take great pride in being a business where my food and beverage director started as a pool attendant and my director of housekeeping started off as a front desk attendant,” McGavin says.
“This is an industry that empowers hourly ladies and gentlemen in entry-level positions to grow into very senior-level positions and make a very good living. We provide so many opportunities to employees to grow and thrive.”Jon McGavin, Area General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando
Thank you to Grande Lakes Orlando for its investment in the economic and community development efforts of the Orlando Economic Partnership and its support for promoting broad-based prosperity™ for the region.