Orlando World Center Marriott Resort

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The Orlando World Center Marriott Resort is a resort on steroids—no ands, ifs or buts about it. When it comes to things in large scale, this property does not fool around. So, if your clients are the type who like to parade into a massive lobby, like to splash around in a million-gallon pool complex, and like to sit down for dinner at a different onsite restaurant every day of the week, then it doesn’t get any better than this expansive resort. Oh, and did we mention there are 2,000 guestrooms and suites to choose from?

This is a convention hotel (offering a total of 450,000 sq. ft. of event space), after all, so plenty of space and plenty of everything are needed to keep everyone happy, but its centralized location—only 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World Resort and a few minutes by car from SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios Orlando—and a AAA four-diamond rating also make it ideal for your leisure clientele.

In fact, this marks the 24th consecutive year the resort garners the AAA four-diamond award, and we saw the reason for that as soon as we drove into its porte-cochere, which was filled to the brim with cars loading and unloading (patience is not my forte, so this did not bode well for my family or me). But as soon as we pulled to a stop, a valet was at our door, taking down our information while another valet was unloading our trunk. Within a couple of minutes we were strolling into the lobby and just as quickly were ushered to the very long reception desk (read: plenty of staff to cater to guests upon check-in and check-out). Here again, within minutes we were all set up with room keys. Point being: although there are plenty of guests to keep the staff very busy, the property knows how to deliver top-notch service.

guestrooms & suites Needless to say, in a resort this size, accommodations are going to be quite varied. They truly run the gamut. Let’s start with the standard guestrooms that offer Revive bedding, with 300-thread count sheets, down comforters tucked into custom-sheeted duvet covers, thick mattresses with plush toppers, and fluffy pillows; high-speed Internet access; Bath & Body Works bathroom amenities; individual climate-control air conditioning; coffee maker/tea service; and weekday newspaper delivery, as well as all the standard hotel room amenities. Additionally, most rooms have oversized balconies or patios, including the pool-view rooms and Disney-view rooms, from whose balconies guests can see the theme park’s nightly fireworks. There’s also the option of booking connecting rooms in a variety of combinations (king, double/double or suite parlors).

Suites, too, come in all shapes and sizes—from the 477-sq.-ft. Promenade Suites, to the 1,200-sq.-ft. 3-Bay Vista Suites. All suites offer oversized balconies, but there’s no need to step onto the balcony to take in the views. In the 780-sq.-ft. 2-Bay King Suite, for example, which comfortably accommodates four guests—they offer a king-size bed and sofa sleeper—the views from within the room are breathtaking, truly. Suites offer all of the amenities of the standard rooms, plus such perks as a second TV, double and triple balconies, dining areas, wet bars, and private bedroom alcoves—amenities differ according to suite category (10 Promenades; fifteen 550-sq.-ft. Executives; ten 680-sq.-ft. Fairways; ten 2-Bay Kings; twenty-six 780-sq.-ft. 2-Bay Vistas; and ten 3-Bay Vistas). We must note, however, that even in the expansive 2-Bay King that we stayed in during our visit, the bathrooms can be a bit tight, with little drawer space and a close-fitting configuration in the toilet/bathtub area (which are enclosed in the same space).

dining To complement the enormity of the accommodation options, there’s a long list of onsite restaurants and lounges, three of which, the hotel touts, are considered to be some of the best in the Orlando area. Overlooking the resort’s golf course, Hawk’s Landing, for example, garnered a Wine Spectator award from 2004 to 2009 for its top-notch wine list, which is served with such succulent signature dishes as char-grilled USDA prime steaks and “made to order” hash browns with applewood smoked bacon. For those who have a more “exotic” palette, the Mikado Japanese Steak House serves up a good sake selection and tableside meal preparation, while at the Ristorante Tuscany—with “outdoor” dining overlooking the main lobby—guests can choose from homemade pasta dishes such as farfalle pasta with Maine lobster. For a more casual dining venue, tell clients to head to the High Velocity Sports Bar, with flat-panel TVs displayed in every nook and cranny and serving typical American fare such as hamburgers, chicken wings, and Carolina pulled pork sliders, all washed down with 10 varieties of beer on tap. For breakfast, the Solaris is the way to go with a nice-size buffet and omelette station.