You’ll be as pleased as (Caribbean) punch with a stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.
Designed to channel your inner islander, the Caribbean-themed property features lush grounds, waterfalls, a 16,000-square foot pool, and amenities aplenty. It’s the mid-tiered of Universal’s preferred onsite hotels, guests get some of theme parks perks including early theme park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (one hour before the rest of the theme park opens to the public), and complimentary shuttles to the parks by bus or water taxi to both of the Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
The 1,000-room white and sapphire blue hotel has interconnected towers where guest rooms are located, offering views of the pool, lagoon, or of the ground.The rooms have complimentary wifi for up to four devices, refrigerators, most can handle a roll-away bed, and some have a sleeper sofa. If you’re traveling with a larger family, consider a 2-bedroom family suite with a separate bedroom specially designed for the kids. And if you’re family includes the four-legged variety, note that Sapphire Falls is pet-friendly ($50 fee per night, maximum of $150).
I found the rooms comfortable, not fussy, but there were a few quirks. The plugs in were extremely tight to use, a few I was unable to use as I couldn’t get my charger plugged in. There were ample located around the room, so it wasn’t a disaster, but I hope they loosen up with use.
Another quirk that was a bit more annoying was the light in the vanity area, something I kept trying to turn on when I walked to the vanity or into the bathroom. The light switch, however, is along the side the entry door, and the vanity light served as both a light for the sink and makeup area as well as the entry way light. It was not a guest friendly decision.
The resort shines with its recreational options, from the expected fitness room to the pool with two white sand beaches, hot tub, children’s play area, and waterslide. I didn’t have time to explore much of the pool area, and thunderstorms closed in a for a period of time, but I looked on enviously at everyone enjoying sun and relaxation, and a pool-side drink.
Speaking of drinks, a highlight of the stay was a rum tasting at Strong Water Tavern. The rum flights are organized by geographic region, and tasting flights show off three different rums from one particular region. We got a little bit of a history lesson along with our rum and it made for lively conversation as we discussed which one we liked better and why. Strong Water also serves dinner.
Other restaurants on property include Amatista Restaurant which offers a breakfast buffet (included with some packages), lunch, and dinner), Dutch Trading Company which offers grab-n-go meals and snacks, and Drhum Club Kantine which offers lunch and dinner on the pool grounds. Other Loews properties are within walking distance or via a shuttle or water taxi, as is CityWalk.
Guests at Sapphire Falls have other privileges which can make sense for your budget and offer appreciated convenience. In addition to the early park admission and water taxi and shuttle service, other privileges include: complimentary package delivery (helpful if you’re buying souvenirs), resort-wide charging privileges, complimentary shuttle service to Wet ‘n’ Wild, SeaWorld, and Aquatica (check schedule), and access to other amenities and services offered at the other Loews properties (including Loews Portofino Bay).
Loews Sapphire Falls Resorts at Universal Orlando is located at 6601 Adventure Way, Orlando, Florida. Rates start at around $200 per night currently, with some added value packages throughout the shoulder season. Expect dramatic prices increases during the summer and all school holidays. You can compare rates at Hotels.com or Priceline to try and get a better deal.
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