Delight in gators, gastronomy and play

As my plane descended into Orlando, I was in awe of my window-seat view of the patchwork of blues and greens making up the city that is home to over 100 lakes. From its outstanding culinary scene to invigorating adventure activities and seriously beautiful art and architecture, Orlando has no shortage of vibrant spaces for meetings that stand out from the rest.

Where to Stay and Meet

JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando occupies a tower that resembles a castle, overlooking acres of a serene 18-hole championship golf course; my room offered a view of the expansive resort pool, complete with a lazy river and waterslides. The hotel’s meeting space takes up its own wing, so business and leisure visitors are unlikely to cross paths. I had the pleasure of touring the breathtaking meeting space at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa as well, where starry lighting fixtures complement deep blue carpeting for a space that truly feels out of this world.

Read MoreOrlando Unveils New Meetings Experiences for 2024

Upon entering the lobby of Lake Nona Wave Hotel, I felt like I had entered a museum. The entire hotel—and surrounding neighborhood—is brimming with eccentric art displays, from a couch standing on its side amidst floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the lobby, to an entire ceiling covered in glowing floral lighting fixtures in the Haven Lounge. The hotel’s meeting space accommodates groups ranging in size, with a grand ballroom to a selection of intimate boardroom- and classroom-style rooms.

Foodie Central

Throughout my time in Orlando, I slowly but surely learned a cardinal rule of fine dining: pace yourself. But what a challenge it was! From my first bite of a decadent mushroom toast appetizer at Grande Lakes’ Michelin-recommended Primo, to course after course of artfully crafted delicacies from Bacán and Nami at Lake Nona Wave Hotel, I discovered a city not to be underestimated as a hub of culinary prestige.

Read More: Cooking Up Culinary Excellence

Don’t pass up an opportunity to get a pasta dish from Primo; their skilled chefs make pasta from scratch daily. When you visit Lake Nona Wave Hotel, head straight for Bacán to try the Branzino A La Plancha.

Must Do

JW Marriott Bonnet Creek is the place to be if you want to infuse wellness into your meeting. At their spa, I took part in a half-hour sound bath experience that I returned from feeling as refreshed as if I’d had a full night’s sleep. The spa can easily bring all the materials for this experience straight to the meeting room and replicate it there.

five people practicing yoga in studio
Yoga at Lake Nona Wave Hotel

The neighborhood of Lake Nona is home to the Lake Nona Adventure Park, where a four-story ropes course and cable-operated wake boarding are just a few of the exhilarating team-building activities available. After many falls (and I mean many) I found myself coasting across the surface of the water with a major sense of accomplishment.

I’m a rock climber, so when I learned the Lake Nona Performance Club had a rock gym, I was thrilled to try it out. I certainly met my match—the rock gym has routes for everyone from beginners to experienced climbers. And there’s so much more, from group fitness classes to meditation experiences at the Chopra Mind Body Spa.

 This article appears in the January 2024 and January/February 2024 issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.