As you'll recall, we hopped over to the Universal Orlando Resort recently as official ambassadors of Universal's Blog Squad. While we took a boat tour of all of Universal's fabulous resorts, we got to stay in its newest resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.
This most spectacular resort situated on a tropical lagoon offers the comfort and charm of the islands — with all of the modern conveniences. You'll want for nothing on your theme park vacation!
Resort Benefits at Loews Sapphire Falls
Sapphire Falls is in the "preferred" hotels category. First and most importantly, it does not include Universal Express Unlimited ride access. This is strictly available at premier resorts Loews Portofino Bay Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. All of the resorts offer one-hour Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complimentary transportation to the theme parks and Universal CityWalk, resort-wide changing privileges and more. Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World is a nice perk, especially during the busiest times, and allows you to get a hop on your visit to the parks, Universal Studios Florida and Unviersal's Islands of Adventure.
The Rooms at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
The decor is absolutely lovely at Sapphire Falls. It's modern and tropical, white and clean, with splashes of color. This decor is carried through to to the rooms, which are quite comfortable and include ample electrical outlets (for all of your devices) and complimentary wifi. Standard rooms are 321 square feet with two queen beds or one king bed, and all cotton linens. You can also book lagoon and pool-view rooms, the latter of which may offer views of Hogwarts Castle, Doctor Doom's Fear Fall and other Islands of Adventure attractions! Families who want to splurge can also take advantage of suites, ranging from 595 to 1,353 square feet.
Most of the rooms come with an oversized shower and no tub, which will work quite nicely for most families. If you just can't live without a tub (like me), know that there are a limited number of rooms at the resort with tubs, and you would need to make this request. If it's an absolute must, consider staying at another one of the Universal hotels. The vanity and sink is separate from the shower, which makes morning prep a bit easier, but families planning longer stays will likely find the double vanity area at Cabana Bay to be more helpful.
The Food at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
There is no shortage of tasty food options at Sapphire Falls, with grab-and-go and tasty, Caribbean-inspired quick-service options at the New Dutch Trading Co. There is also a full coffee bar, a yogurt bar and pastry case, which offers different selections depending on time of day. In the mornings, there are more breakfast items, while in the afternoon and evenings you'll find more sweets such as cakes. I highly recommend the turtle brownie—it's ooey-goey caramely goodness with a heavy dollop of ganache on top.
The Amatista Cookhouse offers breakfast (buffet or off the menu), lunch and dinner. There are gluten-free options, and each of the menus (minus breakfast) include mostly Caribbean and Caribbean-inspired dishes, although there are some American standards.
Don't skip the Strong Water Tavern, which offers daily rum tastings, a ceviche bar, and classic Cuban, Puerto Rican, Colombian and other Caribbean dishes. With two full-time rum captains, you'll be in good hands if you want to explore its many rum options or try some of their original infusions. We highly recommend the daiquiris, more sophisticated cocktails than the frozen concoctions you're thinking of. For a taste of something more unusual, try the milk punch, made with Flor de Cana 7 year, black tea and clarified milk.
Those who are spending their afternoon at the pool will find tasty, tropical drinks and Tapas-style appetizers starting at 11 a.m.
You'll find additional snack options, toiletries, swimsuits and other clothing, and souvenirs in the large Universal Studios Store.
Recreation at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
One of the biggest considerations we factor into our stay is what the pool or pools are like. We are frogs after all ;) While Sapphire Falls doesn't have multiple pools like it's across-the-street neighbor Cabana Bay, it does have the largest pool on property. There are two sand beach areas, a children's play area, oversized hot tub and water slide.
If you want to keep to your exercise routine, you'll find a large, state-of-the-art fitness center, which includes a combination of cardio and strength equipment plus an assortment of free weights.
One of the nice things about the Universal hotels is that guests are free to use any of the pools, so you could hop over to the Hard Rock Hotel or any of the others to mix it up. While there is no on-site spa, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has a Mandara Spa. Parents looking for a night out can take advantage of one of the kids clubs at the Hard Rock Hotel, Royal Pacific or Portofino Bay The concierge can help arrange complimentary transportation if you don't want to take a water taxi.
Transportation at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Speaking of transportation, you'll be hoppy to know you can take a water taxi or walk (10-15 minutes) to Universal CityWalk and the entrances to Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Sapphire Falls is right across the street from Cabana Bay (and the coming Volcano Bay water theme park) and a short walk to Royal Pacific. Portofino and the Hard Rock Hotel are easily reached by water taxi. For those of you driving, there is self-parking or valet.
Overall, we loved our stay at Sapphire Falls, and we're hopping to hop back soon! Have a question about Sapphire Falls or any of the Universal resort hotels? Share it in comments below. Hop over to Where to Stay in Orlando inside our Orlando Planning Timeline!