Last week I celebrated my 24th birthday and as part of my celebration, I decided to do an overnight stay at Universal Orlando’s newest resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort (part of the Loews hotel family) with my mom and sisters, as I’ve been very anxious to check the new hotel out.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is currently running a $99/night special for Florida residents on select nights through mid-August (really mid-week stays) so it was something we couldn’t pass up! On the downside, it is summer = tourist season = madness, but we weren’t going to let that get in the way of our celebrating!
When you first drive up to Cabana Bay, you’ll notice the giant hotel sign, which immediately reminded me of the old shows from the 50s and 60s like I Love Lucy and I Dream of Jeannie, both of which I love! There isn’t parking for check-in, but we were able to leave our car out front while we ran in to the front desk, which was nice! Cars from the 50s and 60s were also parked out front for decoration. It was like we were stepping back in time!
The rooms were VERY retro, filled with lots of fun and bright colors. It’s hard to see in the picture below, but if you look closely on the nightstand between the two beds, you’ll see the alarm clock. And no, not the standard alarm clock radios with iPhone charging docks that we’re used to. Actual old fashioned alarm clocks that were used “back in the day.”
The only thing that seemed out of place in the room was the TV. Although I’m not sure what the reaction would be (especially from the kids) if there was a 50s/60s TV.. especially if it was in black and white!
The bathroom sink area was separate from the toilet and shower (which were behind a closed door). The mirror design fit very well with the rest of the Cabana Bay decor and I really couldn’t get enough of that bold blue color – loved it!
The bathroom was pretty small (picture taken standing in the doorway), but then again the sink is outside of this area. I’m always curious what brands of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, etc. hotels use so when I first saw the VO5 and Zest, I thought nothing of it but thought the packaging went right along with the hotel theme. On the other hand, a scream came from the bathroom when my mom walked in to take a look – she remembered both brands from when she was younger and was so excited about them!
We got over to Orlando a little later than we had planned, so food was at the top of our agenda after checking out our room. Below is the main (casual) dining area, which played old school cartoons on big screens. I didn’t have a chance to snap a picture of the actual food court area, but there were 5 stations with a variety of options ranging from hot dogs and burgers to pizza, pasta, paninis, and sweedish meatball – a little something for everyone!
For my fellow coffee lovers, a full-service Starbucks is just down the hall from the dining area, and yes, you can use your Starbucks app here. They had beautiful murals of mermaids on both sides of the area, which seemed like a pretty cool tribute to Weeki Wachee (a Florida park about an hour and a half away from Orlando).
As far as activities are concerned, there is no shortage of things to do! Galaxy Bowl, the bowling alley, wasn’t a huge space, but had about 10 lanes for bowling. It didn’t look very crowded when we walked by, but we found out that about 6 of their lanes were down and their waitlist had already closed down for the night (bummer). The alley opens at 11 a.m. though and if you’re interested in bowling while at the resort, make sure you stop in early to get on the list!
Right next to the bowling alley was the Jack LaLanne gym. If you’re not familiar with Jack LaLanne (don’t worry I wasn’t either), he’s a fitness/nutrition expert who hosted a TV show ages ago. My mom pointed out that my grandma (her mom) loved him! We didn’t stop to exercise, but peeked in to see what it was all about and it was pretty impressive! The hours were 5 a.m. – 11.p.m. (basically everything at the resort shut down at that hour), which gives you plenty of time to get your exercise on!
We were up early on my birthday to get over to Universal in hopes of beating the crowds and enjoyed the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of the walkway leading up to the main building from our room, which passed one of the pool areas. You can’t see it here, but there was also a Lazy River (you have to pay for your tube though) to float along. The main pool on the other side housed a slide that looked pretty awesome, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to give it a whirl.
Although our stay was very short (just one night), we really enjoyed our time at Cabana Bay Beach Resort! I’d absolutely stay here again. In fact, I’m already eyeing dates in September/October to come back when the crowds die down a little. After all, Diagon Alley opens at Universal next week and I have to get there!
Keep in mind that if you do decide to stay here, this hotel gets you into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (a.k.a Harry Potter World at Islands of Adventures) an hour before the park opens (along with any of Universal’s other hotels), but it does not get you Express passes, as staying at their other hotels (Hard Rock, Loews Portofino Bay, Lowes Royal Pacific) does. But a bonus is that buses run every 5 minutes to/from the parks and if you’re up for it, you’re close enough to walk over.
What do you think of Cabana Bay Beach Resort?