Benchmark Hospitality Adds New Orlando Resort to Roster

Benchmark Hospitality will manage The Grove Resort & Spa, an 878-key condo-hotel currently underway near Disney World.
The Grove Resort & Spa, Orlando

The Grove Resort & Spa, Orlando

Orlando, Fla.Benchmark Hospitality International has been tapped to manage The Grove Resort & Spa, an all-suite property under construction in Orlando near Walt Disney World. The 878-unit asset will become part of its Benchmark Resorts & Hotels brand portfolio, and is one of the largest developments of its kind currently underway in The City Beautiful.

The Grove Resort & Spa, owned by a joint venture between affiliates of Westport Capital Partners LLC and BTI Partners, will open this fall with up to 292 two- and three-bedroom residential-style guest suites. The suites range from 1,264 to 1,544 square feet with full kitchens, multiple bathrooms, full-size washers and dryers and screened balconies. Details on when the remainder of the units will be completed were not available.

“This unique and extraordinary resort will be one of the most inspiring additions to the Orlando market in decades,” Alex Cabañas, Benchmark Hospitality International CEO, said in a prepared statement. “The Grove will offer something for every guest, whether visiting for a leisure travel experience, enjoying the legendary theme parks, attending an intimate social gathering or celebration, or participating in a productive and rewarding meeting experience.”

The 110-acre resort is being built on Lake Austin, west of Walt Disney World, and will have its own water park with a surf simulator, winding lazy river and four swimming pools. Lake activities will include fishing, water sports and paddle boats. Indoor amenities will include the Grove’s Escape Spa, a fitness center and children’s game and recreation room. There will also be a variety of dining options such as a 221-seat indoor/outdoor restaurant, Longboard Bar and Grill, Springs Bar and Grill, and a grab-and-go market.

The facility, which will be operated as a condo hotel, will also have 6,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space for corporate events and family gatherings including destination weddings and reunions.

Formerly known as Grande Palisades, the resort was built in 2008 but never opened because the previous developer ran into legal and financial problems during the recession and the property fell into foreclosure. BTI Partners and Wesport Capital bought the debt on the property and won ownership in an auction, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Since taking ownership, the partners have made at least $10 million in upgrades to the property which has been vacant for the past eight years, the newspaper reported.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., BTI Partners is one of Florida’s leading residential real estate land owners, developers and asset management firms with a portfolio of more than 13,000 residential units and 2 million square feet of commercial and retail development. The firm also plans to break ground in July on the first phase of a 51-acre mixed-used project in the New Port Tampa Bay area of the city of Tampa, Fla., according to the Tampa Bay Times. That project is expected to include luxury multi-family residential units, town homes, retail and office space.

Westport Capital Partners, based in Wilton, Conn., is a real estate investment firm that provides domestic and international real estate-related investment opportunities to institutional and private clients. Through various funds, the firm invests in a wide variety of distressed, opportunistic and core plus real estate assets.

Benchmark Hospitality International, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, is a global leader in managing and marketing resorts, hotels and conference centers. It has two portfolios of properties–Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels–with assets across the United States, the Caribbean and Japan. The firm recently added the Spanish Garden Inn in Santa Barbara, Calif., to its Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels portfolio.