Orlando’s luxury leader debuts new menus & summer brews as well as new Ritz Kids
experience for little ones
Orlando, Fla. – August 19, 2016 – Renowned for its farm-to-fork cuisine philosophy reflected in dining experiences throughout the property, Grande Lakes Orlando is celebrating summer with the unveiling of new culinary concepts and summer brews at the 500-acre resort, comprised of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels. In addition to introducing seasonal food and drink sure to satisfy everyone’s palate, the resort invites families to take advantage of new programming like the revamped Ritz Kids experience as well as classic family favorite excursions like EcoTours through Shingle Creek.
What’s Cooking and Brewing in Orlando
Combining rustic authenticity with modern Ritz-Carlton refinement, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando’s signature restaurant, Highball & Harvest (“H&H”), features a Southern-inspired and locally sourced menu, crafted cocktails, and a design inspired by the railroad system that made Florida an agricultural epicenter. Incorporating ingredients from the on-property 18,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm and local purveyors, H&H’s new seasonal menu takes Southern comfort food to a new level. This summer, Chef de Cuisine Nathan Hardin puts a spin on traditional Chicken and Waffles by infusing a corn waffle with spiced watermelon and bourbon maple syrup resulting in a unique, Floridian citrus flavor. Other new elevated Southern-style items include the “FL Grouper,” made with toasted faro, wild mushrooms and Whisper Creek kimchee, and the “Lady Pea Soup & Buttermilk,” prepared with frothed buttermilk and freshening lemon oil.
Celebrating its one year anniversary, Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen at JW Marriott Orlando brings the on-site Whisper Creek Farm experience to life with every dish featuring at least one ingredient from the farm. Serving small plates in a relaxed “at-home” atmosphere, The Kitchen’s new summer menu offers signature items as well as savory dishes that can be paired with refreshing seasonal beer brewed on property in the resort’s very own Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery. Guests and locals alike will delight in locally-inspired creations from Salmon Ceviche topped with fresh Florida oranges and cucumber sorbet to Seared Diver Scallops drizzled with sweet pepper coulis and bacon vinaigrette.
Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery debuted at Grande Lakes last spring, making it the first Marriott property to launch a nano-brewery. A local Cicerone-certified brewmaster leads The Brewery in producing five styles of seasonal beer, and partners with nearby Florida Beer Company to produce the resort’s flagship beer, Surplus: a signature Floridian honey citrus ale naturally infused with honey sourced from the resort’s on-property apiaries. The brews are served on tap in Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen; and Surplus is available bottled and on tap throughout the resort’s outlets year-round. Seasonal brews on tap this summer include the “IndiaBlonde Ale”, which is a pale IPA offering a fresh citrus, pine, and tropical fruit flavor and a Belgian-style Witbier, brewed with a variety of fruits from the farm such as passion fruit, mango and limequat.
Guests can beat the heat this sizzling summer season with new poolside cocktail offerings from Bleu at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando. From rum-infused coconut water prepared by the resort’s resident coconut chopper to homemade vodka-soaked gummy bear alco-pops (alcoholic popsicles), these refreshing creations are sure to help everyone stay cool, even the little ones as all are available non-alcoholic.
Summer will be equally fun for the kids at Grande Lakes with the new Ritz Kids interactive experience. The refreshed Ritz Kids space and programming offers children the opportunity to become fully immersed in Florida’s rich history and biodiversity and further aligns with the brand’s partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, which invites little ones to discover adventure and exploration through four pillars: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture. Underscoring the commitment to the two pillars of water and environmental responsibility, the main play area features a special carpet made from recycled fishing nets whose pattern mimics a bird’s-eye view of The Everglades. Ritz Kids teaches children more about this natural region of tropical wetlands located right in the hotel’s backyard. Kids will love playtime at “The Swamp,” which isn’t as scary as it sounds as it’s where many of the friendly Ritz Kids critters call home. Children can get up close and personal with some new friends that are now part of the Ritz Kids menagerie. In addition to meeting sirens and anoles, they have the opportunity to observe baby alligators and red-eared slider turtles and learn about the impact these creatures have on the Florida ecosystem. Budding botanists are invited to plant their own Grande Lakes roots at “The Green Thumbs Garden,” which pays homage to Central Florida’s agricultural history and enables children to immerse themselves in nature, using planters made from repurposed pallets to examine the world of edible seeds and nuts and learn how humans, animals and plants all benefit from them.
Guests of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels can take advantage of the many other family activities offered at Grande Lakes Orlando including guided fishing excursions by boat or from the shore to one of eleven lakes and ponds. There is also an interactive catch and release program as part of a collaboration with the Florida Wildlife Commission which transforms a typical day of fishing into a research adventure to determine why certain types of largemouth bass grow faster than others. Other outdoor activities include two-hour guided Eco-Tours through Shingle Creek led by a professionally trained Florida Master Naturalist and the Wings Over Florida Bird Watching Program.
Swimming at Grande Lakes is no ordinary adventure with the JW Marriott’s 24,000-square-foot, winding lazy river pool, which holds 672,000 gallons of water and circles the property in a gentle loop. Dive-in movies are available at JW Marriott and outdoor play areas are also available at both hotels. Additional recreational activities include bocce ball, sand volleyball, three tennis courts and surrey bicycles.
Summer nightly room rates at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando start at $219, and $169 at JW Marriott Orlando through September.