On Monday March 31st Universal Orlando opened their newest hotel, the retro mid-century style Cabana Bay Beach Resort. MiceChat takes you for a tour of the new hotel. We then head off for a mini photo tour around the Universal Orlando Resort to share what’s new at this ever expanding destination.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal announced back in 2012 that they would be building a new resort, but this new hotel would be their first “Value” resort with family suites that would compete head to head with Disney World’s newest hotel, The Art of Animation Resort. Universal Creative decided to take the classic roadside motel concept from the 1950′s and 60′s and make it retro-chic. This 1,800 room resort features 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms. We are going to take you on a tour of this resort so you can see the incredible details that make this resort the most luxurious value hotel you will ever stay in!
When you drive up to the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the style, look, feel and era are clear. Here, Universal Creative has decided to use subtle clues, like color, shapes, and typeface to let you know what era you are in. You won’t find giant tacky props. Rather, thoughtfully designed signs and beautiful architectural features tell you that you have stepped back in time.
Hotel Lobby and Front Desk
When you step inside the lobby, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time to the old Lowe’s Intercontinental Hotel lobby, with a stunning atrium, beautiful front desk with tiled background, swanky Lounge and Universal Gift Shop. All of these elements create an amazing luxurious feel that isn’t cheap, that feels like a place you want to spend time in.
At the front desk, Team Members give you beautifully designed collateral. The creative team has designed 6 different room key cards so you can try to collect them all.
Outside the Lobby are two courtyards, the Cabana Pool and the Lazy River Pool courtyards. The hotel will be opening in phases. Phase 1 includes the Cabana Pool courtyard with it’s 3 buildings and 600 family suites. This pool is over 11,000 sq. feet, with a diving tower water slide and a zero depth entrance. This pools is fun for all ages. Kids will love the beach play area, and adults will appreciate the pool bar.
Outside the pool deck, Universal has created a space where local Food Trucks can set up shop and bring unique local flavors to the resort. Every day guests will be able to experience a different food truck!
The family suites side of the hotel is the first part to open at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. With room to sleep 6, the space has been thoughtfully designed to accommodate families with busy theme park needs! The rooms are designed beautifully and evoke the era. Everything in the room, right down to the VO5 Shampoo and Zest Soaps, keep you in the scene. However, you’ll find plenty of modern upgrades such as a flat screen TV, lots of plugs for electronic charging, fridge, microwave, and a separate toilet, sink and shower stations in the bathroom, to allow for families to get ready in the most efficient way possible! No longer will brothers have to do the potty polka while their sisters curl their hair (speaking from experience)!
These rooms really are a work of functional art. The space was maximized and everything was beautifully designed.
Universal has packed this hotel full of amenities. Upstairs, guests will find the Jack LaLanne Fitness center, where they have a Black and White TV playing old Jack LaLanne fitness videos that you can work out to, along with modern exercise equipment.
Next to the fitness center is the Bowling Alley with 10 lanes. Those with a sharp eye will notice that the bowling alley was modeled after the one in the Big Labowski. You can also get a meal here and enjoy a full service bar.
Next to the bowling alley is the arcade where kids can play video games.
Downstairs is probably the nicest hotel Starbucks I have ever seen. Using mermaid imagery from Weeki Wachi Springs to evoke the old florida charm, along with the mermaid from the Starbucks logo, there is a beautiful unified theme.
The food court features different stations with varying cuisine that will change with the seasons, and also cater to everyone’s tastes in the family.
As someone who is intimately familiar with the hotel products available at Disney, and in Orlando, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort blows every hotel out of the water when you compare price, value, convenience and amenities. While hotel guests won’t get access to the Unlimited Express Pass when they stay at this hotel, the pricing makes it much more accessible to people who have wanted to stay on Universal Property but were not able to before. With all the amenities that are included, and the quality of the resort you will feel like no expense was spared at this Value hotel.
Now, let’s take the shuttle bus over to the parks where we will check-in on the big projects taking shape!
Diaogn Alley is moving forward, and the walls are moving again! With new concrete now poured we get our first glimpse at what the streets in front of London will look like. Also, trees have been planted, and can be seen over the walls. Over by Fear Factor, a large earth berm has been created where flora will be added to mask the back sides of the attraction and Diagon Alley area.
Over in CityWalk, CowFish construction is gearing up, with the building now open and prepped for construction. This 2nd floor location is going to be a great viewing area for the fireworks in the park once it is complete.
That wraps up our Universal Orlando update for this week. What do you think of the new value resort? Have you stayed in a Disney Value Resort and how do you think it compares?
Now listen to the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast