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Ritz-Carlton Vs. JW Marriott Grande Lakes. Which Is Best?


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Ritz-Carlton Vs. JW Marriott Grande Lakes. Which is best? We’ve already reviewed whether Ritz-Carlton Vs. JW Marriott is best overall. Generally, Ritz-Carltons are better hotels, but there are exceptions to this rule. Both of these hotels feature at the top of our 10 best Marriott hotels in Orlando, near Disney and Universal.

While the Ritz-Carlton is the best hotel overall, it is also the most expensive, so we outline whether the Ritz-Carlton is worth splurging on and whether you would want to stay in either of these hotels at all.

If you are looking for an alternative hotel option, we have also compared the Four Seasons Orlando Vs. Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott Grant Lakes Vs. JW Marriott Bonnet Creek which is another JW Marriott near the Disney parks.

We have outlined the best JW Marriott hotels, and best Ritz-Carlton hotels in case you want to delve further into each hotel brand.

1. Loyalty

Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott are high-end brands under the Marriott umbrella. They share this elite spot with BVLGARI, EDITION, and The Luxury Collection. These brands occupy a 5-star luxury category, with room quality and size, service, restaurants, and the hotel as a whole offering an ultra-luxurious setting. Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott are both part of the Marriott Bonvoy brand loyalty program.

It’s worth mentioning that these loyalty benefits are nowhere near as good as the benefits you get by booking via luxury travel concierge agents. If you book with our concierge agents, you will also get all your usual Marriott Bonvoy points during your stay.

Our travel agency Stars partnership with Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and JW Marriott hotels means you will also get brilliant free benefits, usually including breakfast for two, prioritized room upgrades (subject to availability), hotel credit, and more if you book with one of our agents. Our deals are almost always better than booking directly on the hotel website for all these brands.

2. Location

Grande Lakes occupies a green area backing onto a nature reserve, so it feels like a gorgeous setting. The JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton Orlando are on the same plot of land, a 15-minute drive and 11 miles from the parks. Both hotels provide free transportation to Disney World and SeaWorld ticket and transportation hubs. These transfers are included as part of your resort fee.

Both the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton are about a 20-minute drive from Orlando Airport (MCO), making them super convenient. Parking fees are around $50 USD per night if you have driven to the hotel, but if your plan is to enjoy the fabulous pools and visit the parks, you don’t need a car.

3. Size

The 582-room Ritz-Carlton Orlando and the 998-room JW Marriott Grande Lakes are both large luxury resorts that share the campus with a convention center, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, and a golf course.

4. Style

The Ritz-Carlton has been recently refurbished, and the lobby is impressive with marble columns, beautiful flower arrangements, and a luxury feel. The JW Marriott is large and imposing and offers a generic Marriott style. The Ritz-Carlton wins for both style and luxury.

5. Pools

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando has three wonderful pools, and the next-door JW Marriott property has a fun lazy river and some long convoluted water slides. You can access both pools regardless of which of these two hotels you are staying at.

The Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott both offer an awesome pool experience, although bear in mind that the Ritz-Carlton pool tends to offer a more serene atmosphere, whereas the JW Marriott at almost double the size of the Ritz, means their pool area with its attractive lazy river and slides, can be noisier with guests from conventions that can congregate here. Both pools are great, and both are available to guests of either hotel.

6. Pool freebies

At the Ritz-Carlton, there is complimentary sunscreen and bottled water, which is a huge bonus if you are traveling as a family.

7. Best Rooms

Ritz-Carlton Orlando offers oatmeal and white decor with a sitting area and decent-sized balconies.

JW Marriott rooms are generously large and have muted tones, wood on the walls, and grey-blue carpets. Most rooms don’t have balconies, although some have Romeo and Juliett balconies.

The difference between the rooms should not be a dealbreaker unless you require a balcony, in which case, pick the Ritz-Carlton.

Go for the lake view rooms at either hotel, which have pool, forest, and firework views.

8. Club Lounge

Ritz-Carlton club lounges are some of the best club lounges in any city. We have outlined the best Ritz-Carlton club lounges. These club lounges cannot be accessed with high loyalty status.

At Ritz-Carlton hotels, you must book a club room to get access to their club lounges. Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles has an excellent club lounge. Find out which other hotels have the best club lounges in Orlando.

The Ritz-Carlton club lounge at Grand Lakes is on the 14th floor and is classic in design, with cream tones and wooden floors. It feels like a sophisticated space. There is a balcony to one side from which you can watch the Disney fireworks in the distance. The buffet here is delicious and filling, and there are numerous food presentations each day.

The JW Marriott does not have a club lounge. If you want a club lounge, you should book a Club Room at the Ritz-Carlton. You can still take advantage of the magnificent lazy river and slides at the JW Marriott during your stay whilst retaining access to the RC club lounge.

9. Resort Fee

The resort fee is $53 USD at both the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott at the time of writing. This fee is the same for both hotels.

At the Ritz-Carlton, the fee includes: enhanced in-room internet (not the premium internet for Marriott Bonvoy members), mountain bike rental, driving range privileges, two pool floats from the JW Marriott lazy river next door, shuttle transportation to Seaworld, Walt Disney World, and Universal Orlando Resort, fitness center class for 2 guests, 1 hour of tennis court access for 2 guests, access to the pressreader app, ritz kids program withd special excursions like kayaking, fishing instruction, and eco-tours allow for adventures while remaining in the 500-acre resort.

The resort fee at the JW Marriott includes enhanced high speed guest room internet, mountain bike rental (two bikes, one hour/day/room), driving range privileges, two pool floats at the JW Marriott, lazy river pool, two welcome beverages per room, tennis court access (one hour/day/room), fitness center classes (one/day/room), $50 USD print credit towards any photography, concierge package and shuttle transportation to Seaworld, Walt Disney World, and Universal Orlando Resort.

10. Car Parking Fee

Car parking costs around $52 per night at the Ritz-Carlton at the time of writing. There’s a slightly cheaper option at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. Here, on-site parking is $36 USD + tax, or valet parking is $52 USD per day.

11. Restaurant

The Ritz-Carlton is a huge hotel with numerous eateries. Their garden, apiaries, and chicken coops are not simply for show. The restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, source produce herbs and other ingredients to create a unique dining experience.

In fact, there are twelve outlets at The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and the signature Whisper Creek Farm, a sustainable farm, garden, and apiary that powers all their restaurants and bars. From fine dining to a brasserie, you will find what you want.

Again, whichever hotel you are staying in doesn’t matter, you can eat in any of the restaurants on the resort.

12. Fireworks

You can view the fireworks from the Ritz-Carlton club lounge or the rooms on the high floors on the poolside at each hotel.

13. Price

The Ritz-Carlton is almost always more expensive than the JW Marriott Orlando, so while the Ritz-Carlton is the best hotel, you may feel that the JW Marriott offers better value.

For a more reasonable Ritz-Carlton or JW Marriott stay, check out our review of some of the cheapest Ritz-Carlton hotels, and the cheapest Marriott hotels.

14. Conclusion

The Ritz-Carlton is the better hotel, and it has access to all the JW Marriott’s facilities, including the slides and lazy river. However, as the hotels share the same facilities, you may feel that the Ritz-Carlton is not worth the more expensive price tag, in which case, the JW Marriott is also an excellent choice.

Image © JavierArtPhotography / Adobe Stock.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.