It’s a spring morning in Orlando and the sun’s gently warming off the dew around the AAA 4-diamond Reunion Resort & Club, a Wyndham Grand Resort. Jelly bean-hued hot air balloons drift gently to the left of my oversized 2-bedroom villa balcony in the 11-story Reunion Grande condo hotel, one of the most luxe lodgings on the resort’s 2,300 acres. Directly ahead, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth is clearly identifiable. And I’m sipping freshly brewed coffee from my fully-equipped kitchen, watching golfers poised below facing an emerald green wave of rolling bunkers. Only the whoosh of smacked balls breaks the silence.
Above all else, Reunion is a dream for groups who golf.
“We’re the only resort in the world where you have three signature golf courses—Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer—in one place,” boasts Linda Scott, director of resort sales. “With the addition of the world headquarters of the ANNIKA (Golf) Academy, we have 54 holes of legendary golf that cater to corporate group players.”
The 7,154-yard Watson Course is a traditional parkland-style layout bordering the Davenport Creek nature preserve. The 7,244-yard Nicklaus Course’s flowing design has horizontal lines, elevated tee boxes, postage stamp greens and short fairways. Like Watson’s Course, the 6,916-yard Palmer Course features dramatic roller coaster elevations rising to 50 feet with daunting, strategically placed bunkers.
“We also have the leading female golfer’s only teaching facility,” says Jay Rocha, general manager. Within the high-tech 5,400-sf facility, “Groups can arrange customized sessions with Annika’s personal swing coach and trainer. There’s even a package called the Sorenstram Slam, where individuals can arrange to golf with her.”
Ensconced around the property’s 13 neighborhoods, housing ranges from 1,700-sf villas to private estate homes with eight bedrooms, all rentable from Reunion’s management team.
Personally, they had me with Reunion Grande’s rooftop pool that abuts Eleven, an eclectic Asian-fusion restaurant. Eleven’s signature small plates include tuna carpaccio flatbread with wasabi cream, jerk pork tenderloin with a mango-cilantro coulis, and customized drinks such as the Dirty Palmer, a quenching combo of Firefly sweet tea-flavored vodka and lemonade. One can only sigh contentedly when leaning against the deck’s railing, sipping a delectable blueberry pomegranate martini and “oohing” over EPCOT’s nightly fireworks.
What to do tomorrow? There’s breakfast at the breezy Clubhouse, tennis at one of six hydro-grid courts, natural hiking paths honoring the resort’s One Palm Florida Green Lodging status, and the 150-ft twisting flume slide at the 5-acre water park, with a waterfall-soaking 1,000-ft lazy river.
Evening brings more choices. Reunion’s other signature restaurant Forte is an Italian chophouse featuring 250 wine selections and homemade pasta, but it’s only open seasonally for dinner. Our group explored the Downtown Disney complex just six miles away, where the Cirque show La Nouba startled us with its death-defying stunts and haunting melodies.
Reunion’s flexible meeting space totals 25,000 sf, including a 8,700-sf ballroom and three permanent and several flexible breakout rooms. The Grande Event Lawn offers 5,000 sf of tiled space, a multi-tiered waterfall and a pavilion with large chandeliers and retractable sides.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Center has 4,700 sf of ballroom real estate overlooking natural wetlands, snuggled behind the 1,500-sf Heritage Center Event Lawn facing the Palmer Course.
“We don’t think there’s a Central Florida property more diverse, or a staff more flexible than ours,” says Rocha. “No matter the group’s size, we’re determined to exceed their needs.”