Meet the GM: Julie Gruenthal, Sonesta ES Suites Lake Buena Vista

Our many new destinations include fun locations for making family memories, and our all-suite Sonesta ES Suites are great for family travel. In our latest Meet the GM feature, we head to sunny Florida to meet Julie Gruenthal, GM at Sonesta ES Suites Lake Buena Vista, a hotel that is located near the area’s most popular attractions and important businesses, including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Disney Springs. Read below to learn about Julie’s hospitality background and experience joining the Sonesta team.

Q: What do you like most about working within and leading hotels?

I love being able to directly make a positive impact on a guest’s experience and the employees’ work experience. I enjoy finding areas which can be improved and fight hard to identify the ways and means to make change happen. I’m satisfied knowing that I have a direct role in making things better for our guests and staff.


Q: Since joining Sonesta – what opportunity have you enjoyed the most or what has made the biggest impression?   

I like that Sonesta allows individual hotels to make decisions and do what is right for our market and guests; it’s not a one size fit all. They trust me and my managing team to know what is best for our hotel and they allow us to do what is right for us.


Q: If you weren’t a hotelier, what would you be?

 A Nurse. I’ve always enjoyed helping and nurturing others. Although I really love what I do.  I think I would have enjoyed that profession as well, I just took a different turn out of college!


Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Orlando?

The sunshine and proximity to the beaches!       

Q: Name your favorite place to visit — any destination in the world.

I’ve been very blessed to have opportunities to travel all over the world and experience various cultures and natural beauties. But right now, especially with all the craziness in the world, when I think about where I would most like to visit…I would have to say it would be the beautiful West Virginia countryside.  I love to relax in a rocking chair on my mom’s back porch while looking out at the gorgeous Shenandoah Mountains.

Q: Name three items you absolutely do not travel without.

My favorite Chapstick; a shawl (I hate to be cold); and extra cash.


Q: What is something your guests would be surprised to know about you?

 My maiden name is Julie McCoy and I worked as a Purser onboard Carnival Cruise Lines back in the 80’s. The popular show The Love Boat was on TV at that time and Julie McCoy was a character who played the cruise director. On the ships I worked on,  many of the passengers thought the TV show was made about me.  It made me very popular onboard! 😊

Read more in our Meet the GM series.

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