Universal Orlando Resort to Build New Hotel

Apparently Universal Orlando Resort has figured out a large untapped audience – Families of Hipsters. They just announced a partnership with Loews Hotels & Resorts to build a new hotel development with a ‘hip’ theme that will add high-quality, high-value options for families wanting an affordable on-site experience. I joke, but I am willing to bet it will be a success for Universal.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will offer two distinct experiences within the development’s multiple buildings: 900 family suites, capable of sleeping six, that include kitchen areas and 900 standard guest rooms – offering both moderate – and value-priced accommodations. It will be operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts and is scheduled to open in 2014.

Think of Cabana Bay Beach Resort like a moderate resort, compared to the more deluxe Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Amenities will be slightly different, and the room rate won’t include the Universal Express Unlimited Pass. That’s fine in my book, since a potential of 5000 more people running around with Express Passes could overwhelm the delicate balance that exists now in the parks.

That said, there is an obvious need for family suites. More extended families are vacationing together. A moderate level price is also something that has been missing from Universal’s deck of cards.

The hotel will be themed differently than anything else currently available at Universal Orlando. It will evoke the driving vacations so many Americans grew up enjoying with their families – spending time at sweeping motor courts just off the highway, where families relaxed and played after a long day’s drive. The new hotel’s hip, vintage look will be accented with bold design, dramatic, clean lines, bright, period colors and touches of neon. Inside areas including the lobby, dining areas and large, comfortable rooms will follow suit. The hotel will have two themed pool areas.

“Our new hotel will give guests an affordable, incredibly themed on-site hotel experience unlike anything else at our resort,” said Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive officer, Universal Parks & Resorts. “Our new family suites and family-value pricing will give our guests on-site options they’ve never had before.”

The hotel will be built on a 37-acre site within Universal Orlando Resort and adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure – just off Hollywood Way and Turkey Lake Road. Site work will begin soon. Pricing information, opening timeframes and room on-sale dates will be released over time.

“The Cabana Bay Beach Resort furthers our goal of operating special and distinct properties in important markets,” said Paul Whetsell, Loews Hotels & Resorts president and CEO. “This is another important step in our plan to expand the Loews system in major markets across the United States.”

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