With no warning or any type of fanfare Universal Orlando Resort dropped a bombshell early Tuesday morning and announced a new resort was being built on-property. Lowe’s Sapphire Falls is the official name of Universal’s fifth on-site hotel, and once it opens in summer 2016, it will add 1,000 rooms and 77 suites to Universal’s on-property offerings, bringing the total number of rooms and suites at the resort above 5,200.
Though construction is just beginning on this new hotel, we already know quite a lot about what to expect from Loew’s Sapphire Falls. Here are three we've learned about this hotel, and one thing we’re still wondering…
1. Loew’s Sapphire Falls will be located across from Cabana Bay
If you’ve been to Universal Orlando Resort lately, you’ve likely driven past the planned site for Loew’s Sapphire Falls. The resort will be located off Adventure Way, directly across from the front of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort hotel. The space for the new hotel is fairly large and will have ample space not only for the hotel itself, but also for a new water channel that the Universal Orlando Resort water taxis can use to transport guests between the hotel and the parks.
2. Amenities include restaurants, a waterslide, kids’ play area and more
Lowe’s Sapphire Falls will feature plenty of on-site activities for guests. Confirmed amenities include a resort-style pool with a sand beach and waterslide, as well a scenic full-service restaurant and several quick-service food locations. Additionally, kids can explore an expansive play area, and parents can get their workout in at an on-site fitness center. As mentioned above, transportation between the hotel and the Universal theme parks will be provided by water taxi as well as bus shuttles.
3. The hotel will have a Caribbean theme
Like the other four Universal hotels, Loew’s Sapphire Falls will feature a persistent theme. Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Parks & Resorts, reinforced Universal Orlando Resort's dedication to theme during the new hotel announcement, saying “Our guests repeatedly tell us that our Universal Orlando on-site hotels provide them a completely immersive vacation experience from the moment they enter our hotels and are transported to another place”.
However, instead of transporting guests to a retro beach resort or to an Italian seaside village, Loew’s Sapphire Falls will transport guests to the heart of the Caribbean with traditional island styling décor (with a few modern touches, of course). The front of the resort will feature several cascading waterfalls and the aforementioned firepit and sandy beach will form the hotel’s central courtyard (around which the hotel’s guest rooms will be situated), giving the hotel a breezy tropical feel.