Benchmark, a global hospitality company, announces the opening of phase one of The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando, an expansive, 106-acre destination resort just minutes from Walt Disney World. Set on Lake Austin, amid a portion of Central Florida’s conservation grounds, The Grove launched with 184 of its 878 residential-style suites that help simplify family and group travel. The Grove joins Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, a dynamically expanding portfolio that is part of Benchmark, a global hospitality company. Benchmark includes 70 domestic and international properties under two distinctive and unique brands, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and the Gemstone Collection. Alex Cabañas, Benchmark’s chief executive officer, made the announcement.
“Benchmark is extremely proud and excited to play a pivotal role in the sustainable development of this dynamic area, just west of Walt Disney World,” said Cabañas. “The Grove will be the first destination resort of its kind to open in what has historically been an underdeveloped area of Orlando.” Mr. Cabanas also noted that The Grove will be Benchmark’s second property in Orlando, joining the Villas of Grand Cypress, a noted Forbes Four Star-rated golf resort. Benchmark operates six hotels and resorts in Florida under the Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Gemstone Collection brands.
“Today’s opening of The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando helps launch the next phase for the neighborhood just west of Walt Disney World,” said Bill Lee, The Grove’s general manager. “This previously under-developed area is blossoming into what will be a new district of entertainment, accommodations and recreation for the nearly 70 million people who visit Orlando annually. It’s an exciting moment for us to be the first destination resort to usher in that new era.”
The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando boasts spacious accommodations that span up to nearly 1,600 sf, matched with a standout amenity package that will roll out in stages. Opening with three swimming pools, a spa, fitness center, two bars and lounges, a large-scale grab-and-go, a lakefront pier with watersports and a children’s game room, The Grove will grow to include a variety of other dining options and an onsite water park with a dual rider surf simulator, winding lazy river and multiple water slides.
Uniquely located only three miles from Walt Disney World Resort’s Western Way entrance, The Grove is the first hotel of its kind to open on the booming west side of Disney World. The Grove’s lakefront setting blends with a natural marsh and wooded landscape to offer an unexpected retreat from the fast pace of neighboring theme parks and area activities, including Magic Kingdom Park, Animal Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando, shopping, dining and entertainment at Disney Springs, as well as Legoland Florida (Winter Haven). Luxury shopping also is located nearby, with stores such as Gucci, Valentino, Bottega Veneta and more.
A myriad of activities and residential style accommodations establish The Grove as a destination of its own, building on the benefits of the resort’s prime location near many of the city’s top attractions. Generously sized one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites — each dressed in hues and materials that draw inspiration from The Grove’s natural surroundings — provide all the comforts of home with oversized floorplans that range between 1,264 sf and 1,544 sf. Each features a living and dining area, full kitchen, up to three bathrooms, a screened balcony, and a full-size washer and dryer.
The Grove unveiled the first portion of its amenity package on opening day. Guests arriving through the spring season will be the first to enjoy the resort’s full-service Escape Spa and fitness center; three swimming pools with ample space for both play and relaxation; watersports, paddleboats and fishing at Lake Austin Pier; traditional cocktail favorites and signature citrus-inspired creations at Zest lobby bar; an elegant, modern atmosphere, live entertainment, and a libation menu featuring craft cocktails and craft beer at Element lounge; and a selection of hot and cold self-serve food, gelato and ice cream, a barista bar, a deli with fresh-cut Boar’s Head meats and made-to-order sandwiches, as well as grocery-style items ideal for stocking the in-room kitchen at Alfresco Market.
Association, incentive and corporate meetings, as well as social events, will find a home at The Grove Resort & Spa. With 6,000 sf of flexible indoor space, and poolside, lawn and garden alfresco venues for intimate meetings or large groups, the resort accommodates up to 250 people with onsite catering and audio-visual support available.
The resort’s 221-seat, indoor/outdoor restaurant, Valencia, will arrive in late spring. There, guests will dine on Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The poolside Springs Bar & Grill, serving traditional bites such as hamburgers, chicken wings, and stone brick oven pizzas — all made with fresh, in-season, and locally grown ingredients — will open at the same time.
In fall 2017, the onsite Surfari Water Park will take center stage with its interactive water structure, multiple slides, more than 725 feet of lazy river and a dual rider surf simulator. Also on deck: an indoor entertainment area and Longboard Bar & Grill, an additional poolside eatery located at Surfari Water Park. Additional guest suites are expected to open in late 2017.