Bottom Line: Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort offers hotel-style guest rooms plus one, two, and three-bedroom villas that provide vacationers the much-needed maneuver space and resort amenities that add to a great vacation experience for families. Recommended.

Over the years, my family has taken quite a few trips to Orlando. Of course, Walt Disney World had been at the center of our Orlando vacations when the kids were young. As a military family, we always got excellent deals on Disney tickets and stayed at Shades of Green military resort, located right on Disney property across from the Polynesian Resort. However, we are not a young family anymore. With two college-age kids, we are all adults now and need some additional space and less theme park commotion. These days, the “magic” comes from having some space to relax and everyone having their own bed, if not their own room.

We traded in our timeshare week and booked a three-bedroom villa at Marriott Grande Vista, part of the Marriott Vacation Club. Unlike many timeshare resorts, Marriott’s properties are well-maintained and give a true resort feel for a relaxing week. In this article, we’ll run through the major areas at Grande Vista and I’ll tell you what we liked and what we thought could have been better. But overall, it’s a great place and I would have no problems returning the next time I feel the need to escape the chilly New England winter.

Resort Amenities


Main Village Pool @ Marriott Grande Vista

Marriott’s Grande Vista doesn’t forget about the adults. At the Main Village Pool, football streams across the big screen.

With four swimming pools plus a two lane lap pool, Marriott Grande Vista accommodates all guests with minimal congestion. We visited after the New Year in January, so the resort was not likely filled to capacity, but the pools were spacious and had plenty of tables, chairs, and loungers available. There was no need to grab your spot at the pool early.

All pools are heated, making swimming possible even on chilly days. In addition, there are hot tubs at each pool location, so you will never have to walk very far to enjoy the therapeutic effects of hot water on sore muscles after a day at the theme parks.

Young families will likely enjoy the Village Center Pool by the lighthouse. This pool area has a jumbo outdoor television that streams kids movies, sports, and hosts video game tournaments, and also has a sauna for adults. Poolside food and drinks are offered at The Grande Cove Restaurant and Mist Pool Bar.

Splash Pad

Equally fun for families is the Plaza del Sol Pool. Themed like an old Spanish fort, it has a fun atmosphere and hosts a splash pad for the little ones. Poolside food and drinks here are from the Copa Loco Bar and Grille.

Two other pools are available for use, but are generally only used by guests staying in the Club Village or Golf Village. These are smaller and quieter, so if you need a break from larger crowds, then these may be a good option. Each are about a five minute walk from the Main Village Pool.


Once you get back to the resort for the evening, the last thing you’ll want to do is get back in the car and go to a restaurant for dinner. Although you’ll have full equipment to cook in or grill, Marriott Grande Vista has three restaurants and a coffee shop so that you can eat by the pool or get takeout for the room.

The Grille at Grande Vista

This is the main restaurant located along the golf course, with sit-down table service. The menu has a few main entrees but is heavily weighted toward burgers and sandwiches. If you are looking for a gourmet meal, this isn’t it. But for slightly upscale dining on property, it gets the job done.

Copa Loca Bar and Grille

Copa Loca Bar & Grille

Open until 9pm, this poolside bar & grille has burgers and sandwiches, along with a few specialty cocktails that rotate with the season. We went just after the Holidays, so the peppermint mudslide was on the menu and pretty tasty. Copa Loca has outdoor seating only, but the resort has propane heating stations around the tables in case you want to hang out on a chilly evening. 

We ordered burgers and drinks here during one of our nights at Grande Vista. The food was decent and the drinks were good. The bar itself has a few televisions for watching sports.

The Grand Cove

Located centrally in the main village, the Cove has take-out orders to eat poolside or in your room. My son, always hungry, came here a few times later at night for a second dinner. Menu items include sandwiches, salads, and pizza. We also enjoyed soft-serve ice cream as a late-night treat.

Brewcoast Coffee

While we made coffee in the room every morning, Amy and I did head over to this specialty coffee shop one day while walking. We got lattes, but they have everything that you would expect from a real coffee shop (not Dunkin’).

The Spa at Grande Vista

We were planning for a rainy morning on one of our days, and Amy decided to get a pedicure. She was originally going to head into town and visit one of those strip mall nail outlets that do the job quick and cheap, but I convinced her to visit the Spa on property. She was glad that she did.

Activities at Marriott’s Grande Vista

Actually putting together a schedule of things to do is one of the areas that Marriott Grande Vista really excels. Adults and kids alike will have a daily or nightly list of activities hosted by the resort.

During our stay, we took advantage of the live music by the fire pits and the Stand-Up Comedian (18+).

Cool kids activities include matinee movies at the Village Center Pool, video game tournaments, S’mores by the fire pits, and a full slate of other things. Adult activities include Boozy Bingo, Aqua Fit classes, Karaoke (be careful), live music, and Fireside Wine Time.

Below is a full schedule of activities over a two-week period to get you acquainted with the resort’s offerings.

Marriott's Grande Vista Activity Schedule 1
Marriott's Grande Vista Activity Schedule 2

Room Accommodations

Photo courtesy of Marriott’s Grande Vista

We stayed in a three bedroom villa, which was great. This is basically a two bedroom suite with an attached hotel-style guest room. We stayed in the Club Village section of Grande Vista in building 98.

Now, if you look on the unofficial Marriott Vacation Club Grande Vista Orlando Owners & Guests Facebook group page, you will find quite a few negative comments about the resort being dated, dirty, and generally going to shit compared to years past. This was not our experience. I find that most of the negative comments are from actual Grand Vista timeshare owners who, in their defense, have to pay quite a hefty annual maintenance fee. After writing that check every year, it’s likely that no level of cleanliness will be good enough. To be fair, at my home timeshare resort on Cape Cod, I believe the place to be a dump given the maintenance fees.

Marriott’s Grande Vista has been and will continue to be under ongoing renovations, with entire buildings closed for refurbishment. The building we stayed in was recently renovated and the rooms were clean, furniture updated, and everything was in working order.


One, two, and three-bedroom villas have a full kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, oven and range, microwave, 12-cup coffeemaker, toaster, dishwasher, full-size sink, and stocked with pretty decent cookware. Many timeshare resorts fill the cabinets with the cheapest pots and pans that they can find, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Grande Vista provides cookware that you can actually use to make a meal without burning the hell out of your food.

Of course, it’s a vacation and you probably do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen, but it is nice to not have to eat out at every meal.


Each section of the resort, called a village, has multiple gas grills for use, making it easy to cook outside. There are a few tables and chairs located at the grill sites, so the whole family can picnic right there, or take it back to your private balcony or room. The grills are scrubbed clean every night, so you don’t have to deal with someone else’s scorched barbecue sauce all over your burgers. Call the front desk and they will provide you with grilling tools.

Helpful Tips

    • Order groceries online before leaving home at Publix and pick them up after check-in. The grocery store is just over 1 mile away, so it’s quick and easy. Some folks will have groceries delivered to the room, but as non-owners, we did not know the room or building number where we would be staying, so it was easier to pick them up. Let’s face it. You’ll probably forget something anyway and have to go and get it. Grab a couple of pool noodles while you’re there for lounging in the pool or spa.
    • Walgreens across the street is set up for vacationers. They have quite a few grocery items, so if you run out of something, you can just head there during the week.
    • The water in Orlando is disgusting. It tastes like matchsticks. If you have ever stayed in Orlando or Disney in the past, you will know that this is a regional issue and not specific to Marriott’s Grande Vista. Due to the high volume of rain in the area, organic compounds naturally seep into the aquifer and eventually break down into sulfur. Grab a Brita filter at Walgreens or Publix and use it for the week. Alternatively, grab a few gallon jugs and re-fill them at the Sports Complex (tennis courts) where there is filtered water available.
    • Club Village and Golf Village have smaller pools without kids’ amenities, so they tend to be less crowded and quieter if you are looking for that sort of thing.

Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort Map

Marriott Grande Vista Map

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