I’ve been to plenty of convention hotels since I started writing about meetings and conventions in 1986, but—despite its size—none as welcoming as the 2,009-room Orlando World Center Marriott. From the time of check in to the time I checked out the service was impeccable.

And I have a feeling I know why. When I got to the hotel I decided to eat at High Velocity, the sports bar just off the lobby. When I asked the waiter, Jose, what he recommended, he said, “I’m not sure. I work at the lobby bar. I’m just filling in for this restaurant’s staff. They’re on an employee appreciation retreat. But I’ll find someone who can help.” Over walks Natalie (also from another restaurant), who gave me her take on the menu. Okay, so I just ordered a burger and a beer; I still felt it was a nice bit of teamwork.

The next night I even got a hand-written note from our waiter, Corey—from the high-end Siro Urban Italian Kitchen—thanking me for my visit. The service was spectacular, as Corey knew the food selections inside and out and identified what wines to pair with each. My meal: an array of delectable selections on the cheese and meat tray to start, pork shoulder for an entree and a lovely tiramisu for dessert. I also had the pleasure of a visit from chef Kyle Anderson, the restaurant’s chef de cuisine, to see how I was faring.

Fine, thank you!

The Four-Diamond Orlando World Center Marriott hosts plenty of large groups—because it can. The resort features everything from 450,000 square feet of flexible function space, including the redesigned Hall of Cities, offering 14 meeting rooms and 230,000 square feet of ballroom space, and 13 North Tower meeting rooms that boast nearly 14,000 square feet of total meeting space, to an 18-hole championship golf course, Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, lighted tennis courts and a full-service spa and fitness center. Other highlights include 10 restaurants and lounges, including a grab-and-go restaurant, Central Pantry, that offers beer on tap and wine to pair with pizza, a sandwich or salad.

Out at the pool, the popular Falls Pool Oasis now offers a new event lawn perfect for hosting functions and outdoor activities near the Poolside Bar & Grill.

While located just minutes from all the theme parks, the hotel offers plenty to do right on-property, including golf, a hiking trail, a spa and the aforementioned 10 restaurants, including the award-winning Hawk’s Landing Steakhouse & Grille. Each night at sunset there’s an awe-inspiring laser light show, which transforms the pool area into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors.

Sure, you can bet on the activities, the food and the rooms, but my money’s on the World Center’s outstanding service. 

Orlando World Center Marriott