A Resort Centerpiece

Mixing residential with hospitality is a trend that continues to expand and refine. A good example is Ginn Reunion Resort, a 2,300-acre community near Orlando that at completion will have 6,000 units in single- and multi-family homes, condos and townhomes. The latest phase to open and the centerpiece of the development is Reunion Grande, an 11-story condo hotel tower with 82 one- and two-bedroom suites, some as large as 2,400 square feet.

The tower is what turns the project from pure residential to hybrid hospitality. In addition to the condo hotel units, the high-rise has several high-end f&b outlets, a 3,500-square-foot spa and perhaps most significantly, 14,000 square feet of additional meeting space. In all, the resort has more than 22,000 square feet of function space, with the largest room able to host sit-down dinners for up to 450 people.

Food and beverage is another differentiator for Reunion Grande. The resort hired veteran Executive Chef Christian Schmidt to operate the kitchens. His resume includes stints with Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton and most recently, the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC. The high-rise has two upscale restaurants: Forte, a three-meal outlet that showcases beef and seafood at dinner; and Eleven, a rooftop tapas cafe.

Given that Ginn Reunion is in central Florida, golf is the other attraction. The resort has three courses, one each designed by Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Headquartered in nearby Celebration, Ginn Resorts has also been busy in the Caribbean. It signed a deal to take over management of the 73-room Bahamas Bay Resort & Yacht Harbor at West End on Grand Bahama Island.

The project is adjacent to Ginn sur Mer, a 2,000-acre resort community Ginn is developing in a mold similar to the Reunion project. It will have 4,000 condo and hotel units, 2,000 home sites, a golf course, two marinas and other obligatory recreational facilities.

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