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Universal Orlando reveals the name for its fifth hotel: Sapphire Falls Resort

September 9, 2014, 9:40 AM · Universal Orlando Resort this morning announced the name for its fifth on-site hotel: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Concept art courtesy Universal

With a Caribbean beach resort theme, the Sapphire Falls is under construction between the Royal Pacific and Cabana Bay Beach resorts, south of Hollywood Way across from the Islands of Adventure theme park. We wrote about the as-then-unnamed fifth hotel, Project 664, back in June. The new hotel will open in summer 2016, and Universal is positioning it as a convention hotel, promoting its 131,000 square-feet of meeting space.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Concept art courtesy Universal

But, let's face it, pleasure's the main draw here, not business. Cue the flowery PR-speak:

"From the moment you enter the lobby and look out through the floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll feel immersed with picturesque water views including a lush, flowing river and towering waterfall. Then add in a really unique resort-style pool, waterslide, cabana rentals, a sand beach, and laid-back island flair."

From the public documents we reported in June, the new hotel will lie upon an extension of the resort's water-taxi canal. Its guests will receive resort benefits at least as extensive as those offered to guests at the Cabana Bay (early theme park entry, free on-site transportation, etc.), but probably will not get the free Universal Express benefit offered to guests at Universal Orlando's original three hotels. Therefore, we expect the price point to sit somewhere between the Royal Pacific and the Cabana Bay, with average rates somewhere between $100-$250 a night.

Replies (3)

September 10, 2014 at 8:37 AM · It looks like a Portifino Royal Pacific.
Better Hotel Ideas:
Hogwarts Hotel
Hotel Transylvania
Back To The Future Hotel
September 10, 2014 at 9:49 AM · So they want people to pay more for essentially the same perks as Cabana Bay. Universal/Loews are missing the mark here. Cabana Bay made sense to compete with the Disney Value/Moderate resorts, and not including the Universal Express perk allowed them to price the rooms close enough to the Disney value resorts to be competitive. Here, they're essentially building Coronado Springs but wanting to charge a bit more for the same level of amenities. Without kicking in the UE perk, I just don't see guests booking rooms at this resort over Cabana Bay. They're also competing with nearby hotels that offer similar, if not better (i.e. breakfast, shuttle, free parking) perks to this new resort that have rates comparable to Cabana Bay. Is early entry and a boat ride worth a 20-30% increase in hotel rates?
September 11, 2014 at 10:49 PM · I like how the theme travels with the Universal hotels. American beach, Caribbean, Polynesian/Asia, rich European mansion, and then super wealthy Italian town.

If they do themed IP hotels they are going to be on the wet and wild land to convince people to stay a bit further away. This hotel is being built mainly so that Universal can host bigger conventions.

I'm happy to see Universal building yet another hotel waterfall instead of filling it in with concrete like Disney in the Polynesian lobby. The times sure are a changing

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