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Sneak Peek at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Opening in March at Universal Studios in Orlando

November 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM | by | ()

While Four Seasons is readying their biggest resort to date near the Magic Kingdom, Universal Parks & Resorts and Loews Hotels & Resorts are working on their own massive new resort, adjacent to Universal Studios Orlando, and which is being built specifically with families in mind.

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the fourth hotel within the Universal Orlando Resort, will open 600 of its planned 1,800 rooms on March 31st. The first rooms to open will be in the North Courtyard, which consists of three separate buildings. These rooms will also be all family suites which start at 430-sq.ft. and can sleep six people with two queen beds and a queen pull-out sofa bed. There's even a small kitchenette and a bathroom area that partitions the toilet from the sink and the sink from the shower. Especially helpful when all six of you are trying to get ready for you day at the park.

Another 300 family suites and 900 standard rooms (slightly smaller square footage but still with two queen beds) will open later in the year in two other towers. All rooms and suites will feature a retro 1950s and 1960s design, meant to invoke the family resorts and motels of yesteryear.

We toured the hotel site yesterday and it was crazy cool to see something that looks so old school but is totally new from the ground-up. Don't worry, the amenities and services at the hotel will be brand-new with the most modern technology including WiFi and flat-screen TVs.

While there's no beach on the resort per se, the new hotel will have two pool complexes, one with a 10,000-square-foot, zero-entry pool with a 100-foot water slide, waterfall features, sand and a 4,000-square-foot interactive play area. Cabanas will be available to guests for rent, and lounge chairs will ring the deck, backed by zones for sunning, game playing, picnicking or relaxing on the grass. The other pool complex will feature a lazy river experience, a first for the Universal Orlando Resort hotels. (And probably the biggest kid-pleaser there is.)

As for dining options, the resort will have the all-day venue, Bayliner Diner, which will be similar to a buffet/food court experience along with a Starbucks and some light fare by the pool and in the bowling alley. Oh yeah! There's a 10-lane “retro” bowling alley, a game room and a fitness center on-site as well.

Best of all, Universal and Loews have made this family resort "value-priced" with family suites starting $174 a night and standard rooms at $119 a night. Also, staying here will get you the same perks as other Universal Orlando Resort hotels including early theme park admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complimentary shuttle bus, complimentary delivery of merchandise and resort-wide charging of goods with your room key. Special package rates are available too with savings based on length-of-stay such as a family of four can stay for seven nights for $47 per person, per-day – including accommodations and tickets to both Universal Orlando theme.

Indeed, we found rates for a family suite on opening night for $174. Rooms at the other Loews Universal hotels--Loews Portofino Bay, Loews Royal Pacific and The Hard Rock--are all upwards of $300 a night. We say book Cabana and save your money for cool Universal merchandise like the Butterbeer steins!

[Photos and renderings: Cabana Bay Beach Resort]

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Different Perks

Guests at Cabana Bay won't get all of the same perks as guest at the other Universal hotels.  Cabana Bay guests don't get unlimited Universal Express access to skip the ride lines.