First Look: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

cabana bay beach resort room

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The fourth hotel on site at Universal Orlando Resort is well underway and Travel Agent was in for a sneak peek at the guestrooms and tour of the 37-acre site adjacent to the Universal Orlando parks and CityWalk. The 1,800 room property is due to open in March 2014—currently offering up to 47 percent off opening rates as part of its preview offer—but even at full price this hotel will be an amazing value for families.

The overall design of this resort is so hip and retro (think: 1950’s Palm Springs), it’s hard to believe the planned pricing starts at $174 a night for suites that will comfortably sleep six. The low guestroom buildings (just four stories high) have exterior walkways, and have been designed so that guestrooms will overlook lushly landscaped pools and a central reception, dining and entertainment pavilion. This means guests will never be far from fun or, incidentally, parking, which cleverly surrounds the guestroom buildings. And there will be fun! On site are two massive pools with sand beaches, a dive tower waterslide and a lazy river, plus a ten lane bowling alley. Planned dining options for the central food pavilion include traditional American classics along with an ever-changing selection of international cuisine.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort has 900 each of two room types: family suites and guestrooms. The design of the family suites is extraordinary as they’ve packed in a great deal of useful features into 430 square feet. And the look is uber hip, mid-century retro, with everything in bright white, aqua and orange, and appealing curves and swirls evoking something out of The Jetsons. The cheerful and comfortable living area has a queen sized pull out sofa, flatscreen TV and a kitchenette equipped with microwave, sink and fridge. We loved that the kitchenette counter is at bar height with two stools perfect for feeding the kids. 

Just beyond and sectioned off by a sliding door is the bedroom with another two queen beds. The bathrooms are brilliant as the space is divided in three, with doors to section off the tub and toilet, and a separate sink in between. Three people can be “in the bathroom” simultaneously with privacy for each—genius.

The standard guestrooms are similar in look and feel (minus the living room and kitchenette), sleep four and have a two compartment bathroom.

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Exclusive benefits we love: early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure—a full hour that belongs only to onsite hotel guests! In 2014, Universal Orlando will open its highly anticipated expansion, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, in Universal Studios that will connect the two Harry Potter experiences by an actual Hogwarts Express train. Though not connected by water taxi like the other onsite properties, Cabana is only a 15 minute walk to the Universal parks and free shuttle service will be ongoing. Also, unlike the other onsite resorts, Universal Express Passes are not included for guests of Cabana Bay Beach Resort, but can be purchased separately.

Loews Hotels will manage Cabana Bay Beach Resort; so we expect the limited service to be spot on, friendly and efficient.

Universal has an exclusive booking line for travel agents and 1-888-544-8821 or