BY AILEEN MILLER | PHOTOS COURTESY REUNION RESORT
GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL IS OFTEN TALKED ABOUT. TAKING TIME TO ESCAPE FROM OUR HECTIC LIFESTYLES AND RELAX WITH FAMILY IS WHAT MANY OF US DREAM ABOUT. SO, WHY IS PLANNING A FAMILY VACATION OFTEN SO STRESSFUL? WHY DO WE SO OFTEN FEEL LIKE WE NEED A VACATION AFTER RETURNING FROM VACATION?
Often times the escape that we plan becomes as hectic as the lifestyle we were running from, and though Walt Disney World is known to be the “Happiest Place On Earth,” family trips centered around the hustle and bustle of Orlando, Florida, can leave many exhausted instead of refreshed. This is what makes Reunion Resort Orlando such a magical gem. The serenity experienced within the resort insures that a truly relaxing, luxurious escape can be experienced by everyone, adults and children alike.
Upon arrival to Reunion Resort Orlando, the beauty and tranquility instantly engulfs its visitors. Located on 2,300 acres of lush landscaping, there is beauty to be found around every corner. Just a quick drive from the Orlando Airport and merely nine miles from Walt Disney World, Reunion Resort is perfectly situated to keep you close to the action but removed from the chaos. The tone is set immediately upon check-in. Whether you have been booked in a villa, private home, or within the Reunion Grande itself, your check-in takes place in the picturesque lobby of the Reunion Grande. You are welcomed into oversized leather chairs and immediately made to feel at home while receiving your keys and map of the extensive property. Accommodations span 13 different “neighborhoods,” and there are property shuttles available to take you anywhere within the resort.
Once checked in, your relaxation can begin. Many of the estate homes feature balconies overlooking the 54 holes of golf offered within Reunion Resort gates. The three Signature Design courses have been designed by three of golf’s greatest legends: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer. The Nicklaus Course is 7,244 yards featuring flowing design, long horizontal lines, and elevated tee boxes and greens. The Watson Course is 7,154 yards with a traditional parkland layout. The Palmer Course is 6,916 yards carved into a hilly terrain with dramatic elevation changes.
In addition to the 54 holes of golf, Annika Sorenstam opened ANNIKA Academy within the Reunion Resort, her one and only teaching facility. Located in a quaint Colonial home within the resort, a fullservice spa offers a wide array of botanical treatment products and personalized services to ensure you are left feeling pampered and refreshed. Private spa services are also available within your suite. In addition to facials, massages, wraps and nail services, rare treatments like Shirodhara Massage and Miselease Aroma Ocean Wraps are also offered. A full-service hair salon is also available— everything you need to feel relaxed and beautiful.
Though many of the private homes feature private pools and hot tubs, there are also three community pools which offer activities and entertainment. The 5-acre water park features a 1,000 foot lazy river with rock structures and multiple waterfalls, as well as a 150 foot flume slide and a kid’s interactive water playground with twisting slides, wading pool and a 350 gallon splash bucket. If a little private time for mom and dad is desired, The Kid’s Crew offers supervised recreational programs, and there are daily poolside activities. The Grill at the water park serves up casual American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention The Drink Deck for poolside cocktails. The activity hub of Seven Eagles offers a 75 x 45 foot sloped-entry pool and two spa tubs, as well as a game room, outdoor billiards, ping-pong, and bocce ball. Frozen cocktails and other refreshments can be found at The Cove Bar and Longboards Restaurant. If you are looking for a more romantic, formal pool setting, the Rooftop Pool located on the eleventh floor of the Reunion Grande building is for you. With its impressive views of Orlando and oversized chaises for two, it is a perfect romantic retreat.
For the sports enthusiast, there are jogging, hiking and biking trails throughout the extensive property. There are six “Hydro-grid” tennis courts and a tennis shop for retail therapy. Weekly yoga classes are offered and a fitness center is open for guests to use. No matter what type of dining experience you are looking for, there is no need to travel outside of the gates of Reunion Resort. Elegance, beauty, and amazing views are all featured at the award-winning restaurant, Eleven. Chef Jacob “Jake” Brenchley is an incredibly dynamic food enthusiast who has created a menu that gives a sexy spin to American cuisine. His ability to fuse the flavors found in traditional steakhouse offerings with fresh and exotic new world ingredients creates an unparalleled culinary experience. Every bite invokes a party for your taste buds. Combined with panoramic views of Orlando, featuring nightly firework displays from Disney, Eleven is a food lover’s paradise. Forte Restaurant is an Italian bistro located just off the lobby of the Reunion Grande. It blends seasonal ingredients from the Tuscan region of Italy and is reflective of Italy’s family style dining. With homemade pastas, brick oven pizzas and incredible service, Forte offers a welcoming environment with delicious entrees. The shrimp scampi is highly recommended. For lighter fare in an elegant setting, the Grande Lobby an Sushi Bar is a perfect match. Cocktails, appetizers and freshly prepared sushi are all featured. The zucchini chips are amazing, as is the sushi made right before your eyes. However, if all you have time for is a quick bite between activities, then The Clubhouse has everything you need. It provides American comfort food in a friendly setting with speedy service and all day dining. Truly, there is something for everyone to be enjoyed at the various restaurants within the resort.
With endless opportunities for exercise, relaxation, culinary experiences and family-fun, Reunion Resort Orlando offers the family vacation we so often talk and dream about. It is not the vacation you need to recover from, but rather an amazing experience you do not want to leave.