Details on Universal Orlando Resort’s fifth on-site resort, Sapphire Falls, were released late last month.
The new 1,000 room resort is wedged between Royal Pacific, Universal’s South Pacific themed resort and Cabana Bay, Universal’s retro beach hotel themed budget resort. Cabana Bay opened last year, the first new hotel since Universal saw its massive expansion in 1999.
Sapphire Falls will fall between the two resorts both physically and cost wise. With a contemporary Caribbean theme, this new resort will offer some of the benefits of Universal’s original resorts, like boat transportation, while keeping costs down by cutting others out, like the first of the line passes. Cabana Bay, the most budget of all the on-site resorts, offers neither benefit. Sapphire Falls will also house the largest convention space on Universal property. It’ll be linked by a short pedestrian bridge to the convention space at Royal Pacific. Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls are viewed as sister resorts, linked together in many ways.
A large lobby with a bar, Strong Water Tavern, overlooking the massive outdoor waterfall will welcome guests. On top of a full range of drinks, including craft beers, Strong Water Tavern will also have a small tapas style menu and a view of the massive waterfall. A sit-down restaurant, Amatista Cookhouse, will overlook the resort’s lush, tropical landscaping. It will feature an open exhibition kitchen and elevated outdoor dining lanai overlooking the lagoon. The pool area will feature Drhum Club Kantine, a poolside bar with a menu of grilled items.
The rooms are spacious with a modern, tropical design. The color palate is simple with muted colors and bold pops of brightness via lamps, pillows and other items. The bathrooms are spacious and accessible via a ‘barn-door’ on hinges (similar to the ones found at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park). Sapphire Falls will feature three main towers of rooms with 1,000 rooms in total including 77 suites. Sapphire Falls will bring Universal Orlando’s on-site hotel room count to 5,200. Comcast has stated that they believe the resort could fill between 10,000 and 15,000 rooms.
The pool area will have the largest pool at Universal Studios Resort; a 16,000 sq ft, zero-entry pool surrounded by lush landscaping and tropical theming. A white sand beach, a water slide and a fire pits will keep the pool area active.
Rates at the new resort start $119 per night in the value season with a seven night stay or $143 for a four-night stay. During the season they start at $176 for a seven-night stay, or $206 for a four-night stay. The resort is slated for a summer 2016 opening and reservations are now being accepted.
With the new resort Universal will have 5,200 on-site hotel rooms, three areas to host conventions and events, two theme parks, an entertainment district and a brand new water park that’s opening the following year. The next major announcement expected outside of the theme parks themselves is yet even more hotel rooms, this time at the Wet n’ Wild property just across I-4.