I am not a resort type of person. I just don’t like everything being there on site and the culture that goes with that. To me it defies the purpose of travel which is about exploring and trying different things and seeing things outside of the sanatized perspective of 5 star hotels. Case in point, on being met by the driver at Orlando airport it seemed that the highlight of our stay at the @RitzCarlton, Orlando was the Starbucks nearby at the @JW Marriott!
Having said that there was really nothing that could be faulted at the Ritz Carlton Grand Lakes. Our room was spacious as was the bathroom. The Club level lounge had all and more. Tired and nursing a fractured shoulder and a long flight on @Britishairways and a horrible long wait at immigration, my mood was frayed and tired. I wanted a good margarita, not the rubbish pre mixed one. Well I did get s great one at the lounge. You do pay extra for this level and I am not so sure that for us as a couple that it was financially smart but it was comfort smart. Nice breakfasts great canapés throughout and drinks but my absolute favourite was the fabulous delicious huge cookies . These were installed in a cigar type box with small paper bags so you could take them with you. I loved the chocolate pecan walnut combination chewy inside crispy outside and very addictive.
Everything here is huge and functional. There is no intimacy or individuality. Even the storms were huge and the lightening seemed to be very dramatic Hollywood done for effect. Everything is geared to working well and professionally. Our first night we went to @Primos for dinner. I had duck breast that was juicy pink with crispy skin, served promptly with the typical bonhomie expected of Americans. There is I have to stress absloutly nothing wrong with that but for me it just lacks personality and reminds me of the Stepford Wife syndrome.Everything perfect uniformed functional. Actually after a while as everything is made so so easy and comforting you just get into the rhythm and sink into mindless bliss.
I loved the pool and again the service was thoughtful with iced water fruit smoothies etc but just too sterile in its manufactured perfection. I know and understand that many love this environment. Everything is on hand from casual dining to the more formal dining at @Normans to the ease of getting a pizza in your room. I have to confess that this kind of set up does make it super easy to engage with fellow travellers and share stories. We ended up going to @morimoto in @disneysprings with a couple I met at the pool. It was great both the meal and the company. I had great duck and a seriously good homemade lychee cocktail fizzy thing. I though tge whole restaurant was fun. But do get reservations as it’s very popular.
I love my food and I am not afraid to try street food in India or fast food in the states . I have gone to amazing restaurants from 3 Michelin stars Restsurant like @Massimobottura Osteria Francescana to a beach shack in Goa that served the best ever crab curry. To me food is about a whole experience either with family friends or a couple. It never is really about just the food although it’s the star of the show. It’s a combination of many things that make the whole experience memorable.
We had heard about the fine dinning Restaurant Norman’s and I had reserved from London a table on the terrace. As it was the weather was stormy but in any event it was undergoing some face lift.
Well I don’t really know what say save it seems to be criteria of tick boxes. Luxury, tick. Deference, tick. Good service, tick. Again there was absolutely nothing wrong. It was all well executed, came quickly and the wine waiter knew his wines but there was a kind of yawn predictability. I know I had large prawns that were good and a good steak only because I made notes and not because I could savour tge taste . Everything was as it should be and it was evident that people were enjoying themselves.
I guess ultimately for me my passion is being in ‘ natural ‘environment with a unique touch rather than rolled out 5 star service! I know that sounds contradictory to my passion in dinning in acclaimed places but this was just a wee too contrived with no originality. Just a perception or copy of what ‘ fine dinning ‘ is about. A great steak or seafood restaurant serving the best ingredients would, for me have been more enjoyable.
I must however, mention the superb Wagu burger at the &theKitchen. It was superlative though I would have liked French fries with it to make it sublime rather than crisps.
All in all I did have a great time and I did enjoy the stress free friendly environment and I think it’s great for families or couples who just want to chill in luxury and have everything on hand.