Well let me tell you… As a HUGE fan of the styling and atmosphere at Universal Orlando’s Cabana Bay, I wasn’t sure that another Universal Orlando resort could steal my heart, but from the moment we were greeted with a smile at the main entrance of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal, we were smitten. The resort has a Caribbean theme and is light, airy and very tropical. The main entrance is huge and beautifully styled too:
As we walked across to catch the lift to our rooms, we caught a glimpse of the incredible pool area and made a mental note to head back there for a little R&R at a later date (we were going to need it after Halloween Horror Nights).
Our room on the 8th floor (with possibly the fastest lift I’ve ever experienced) looked out over the gorgeous Sapphire Falls lagoon and was really light, airy and pretty (although with no balcony). The separate shower is a huge walk in/sit down affair and the single sink area featured a beautiful, huge mirror decorated in gorgeous tropical colours.
In both bathroom areas we were really impressed with the great quality toiletries (I’ve actually made a note to try and track down the shampoo and conditioner that were better than the ones I’d brought with me!).
We had two huge and very comfy double beds, a lovely desk area, a full length mirror and very roomy wardrobes too.
The setup of the hotel is different in that the lobby is actually on floor 4. Down a wide, spiral staircase to level 2 you find the bright and friendly Amatista Cookhouse, with large windows providing beautiful views of the lagoon where water taxis whisk guests off to the parks. We visited for breakfast when we stayed at the hotel, but it’s also open for lunch and dinner. The breakfast is a buffet (around $22 for adults and $12 for kids), but you can also order table service, which is available at lunch and dinner too. Breakfast was really high quality, with loads of healthy options as well as a WHOLE TABLE full of delicious pastries, which we tried to avoid.
The New Dutch Trading Company
Selling great coffees, sandwiches and soups, cakes, ice creams, drinks and snacks, the New Dutch Trading Company is a really handy shop and café right off the lobby on floor 4. There’s no seating, but it’s great if you want to pop in and grab a coffee and a pastry first thing in the morning before hitting the parks, or if you want to take an easy dinner back to your room after a heavy day, the salads and sandwiches are excellent.
The pool area
It just doesn’t do it justice to call it a ‘pool area’, with something like 16,000 square foot of shimmering blue water (divided with a lovely shallow area that’s perfect for lolling and great for kids), plus glorious waterfalls, a fab waterlide and a lovely bar area serving delicious, frosty drinks. There’s proper sand around the huge pool area, with loads of loungers (lovely staff give you a soft, towelling lounger cover and plenty of towels as you arrive) and colourful umbrellas and tall, rustling palms for shade. Sigh…
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando – the perks
I’m always recommending that you stay in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel if you’re travelling to Walt Disney World, purely because of the many perks, and Universal Orlando is no different. Guests get early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens† (valid theme park admission required) and complimentary transportation to both theme parks and to CityWalk, the bustling entertainment area (more of this to come soon). Guests also receive complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel so you don’t need to lug your purchases around with you. You also get resort-wide charging privileges with your room key and – not at Sapphire Falls admittedly, but at Loews Royal Pacific, Hard Rock and Portofino you get free Universal Express unlimited ride access in both theme parks.
Coming soon – Universal’s new Volcano Bay water theme park
Universal have just released more information about their brand new water theme park, which is due to open early next summer. The park features four distinct areas: right at the centre of the island, the volcano, Krakatau soars 200ft above the island. During the day, the volcano streams waterfalls, but at night, it’s lit up with fiery lava effects. Inside, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster ride carries four man canoes through the dark interior before emerginc to plunge through the waterfalls (sounds AMAZING). The volcano area also has a variety of other brilliant water rides including body slides, plunges and water racers. There’s also a peaceful beach area at the foot of the volcano called Waturi Beach, a river village with water fun for little ones and a winding, lazy river, and a rainforest village area with more rides and plunges, as well as rafts, rapids and water slides. You can watch a video about the new park here. Bring it on!
A family of four can enjoy seven nights at Universal Orlando Resort for £1,376pp
Enjoy seven nights in Universal Orlando Resort with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick direct to Orlando, with accommodation at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The price is based on two adults and two children travelling and sharing a room, including all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure of October 22, 2016. Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: call 0344 557 3859 or visit one of our individual retail stores or one of the 110 stores located in Debenhams and House of Fraser stores nationwide. www.UniversalOrlando.co.uk / www.virgin-atlantic.com
Attraction Tickets Direct
If you’re travelling independently, Attraction Tickets Direct offer a 3 park explorer ticket (valid from June 2017): 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and new Volcano Bay from £229 per adult and £220 per child. To book tickets call free on 0808 271 4453 or visit www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk