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A Tropical and Upscale Escape Awaits at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

I’m a huge fan of escaping to Orlando for a weekend. There’s nothing like taking a quick drive over from South Florida for a spirited romp at Central Florida’s theme parks and hotels. While I’ve experienced many stays while visiting the Orlando area, there truly has not been anything as unique as a stay at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando Resort. Trust me when I tell you that this is not just only a hotel simply there for a stay. It’s a hotel meant to be there for those who decide to pick it as their hotel of choice for the weekend, week, or beyond.

From the first moment visitors step into the lobby, they’ll be greeted by a breezy and expansive lobby. Comfortable chairs and benches are scattered throughout, some boasting vibrant orange and teal colors. Then there is that feeling that you’ve stepped into a paradise on its own, a place meant to be discovered and experienced beyond enjoying a hotel room. It’s energetic and relaxing all at once.

The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort also has one of the best lobby sections, one that offers the weary plush seating and couches right in front of a huge television set where families and visitors can feel as they are relaxing at the world’s most comfortable living room in Central Florida.

While at the hotel, I decided to join in on the fun “oversized living room hotel lobby experience” a few times. I plopped on a couch with a glass of Chardonnay (my favorite) and a new book by author Ali Hazelwood (my favorite as well,) just to enjoy the laid-back environment. Expect movies and television shows playing, all while people lounge to take in a moment of pure chill, one that I highly recommend after a full day of visiting the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.

Speaking of moments of chill, let’s pause for a second and discuss the pool. And it’s not just a pool, it’s a true tropical experience. The pool is 16,000-square-feet and doesn’t only offer plenty of poolside beach chairs but is also even has its own sandy beach meant for those that want the best of both worlds. Poolside heaven and the feeling of sand on your toes under the Florida sun is simply something that’s not to be missed.

While at the pool, I decided to pick that spot to lounge, feeling the sand tickle my feet as I snacked on some American fare such as chicken tenders, all while happy at what felt like my own private poolside beach. This was all while sipping one of the resort’s poolside refreshing rum tropical drinks. It was a perfect way to relax on arrival to the resort on my first day.

The pool also offers visitors a hot tub, cabanas (for rent), a water slide, a children’s play area, a fire pit, and more. There’s a DJ spinning fun tracks and options to play during ping pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, hula hoop contests, an outdoor pool table, and more. Add to that an arcade and fitness center, and you’ll understand why the resort amenities go beyond a place to just sleep and leave. This is a place where you cherish your time.

Let’s face it, if you are at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, you are also there for a little fun at Universal Orlando Resort. The hotel’s partnership with the parks, making them one of the top hotels of choice for those seeking some theme park thrills, makes your visit nothing short of exceptional.

The transportation to City Walk, Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure as well as Universal Orlando Resort’s Universal Studios is not a bus. It’s a relaxing boat where you can lay back and take in the sights as you sweep by some fun sights and enjoy some fun music on board. Not only is the ride fast enough to get you to the fun, but there’s also the added amenity of going past a security check before boarding, making the entrance to the Universal CityWalk Orlando and theme parks area a breeze.

As for Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, there was nothing more exciting and fun for me and my party than to enjoy rides and the diverse experiences that each park offers,

I highly recommend enjoying rides such as Men in Black, E.T. and Escape to Gringotts at the Harry Potter world and experience at Universal Studios. Don’t miss out on feeling like you’ve entered Hogwarts at the theme park’s Harry Potter -themed world, a place where you can escape into the bookish world full of fantasy and whimsy. Try sipping on a butterbeer, have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, and then take the time explore while taking the Hogwarts Express to Universal Resort’s second park, Islands of Adventure. Expect thrill rides such as the fast-paced Hulk-themed roller coaster and then, if you are brave enough now, make sure to hop on the state-of-the-art VelociCoaster, a ride inspired by the Jurassic World franchise.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit the brand new Dreamworks land, which we were able to enjoy during the park’s soft opening. You’ll have a chance to enjoy experiences themed after your favorite Dreamworks movie characters, such as Trolls, Shrek, and Kung Fu Panda. The merch is adorable, and so are the experiences and rides. It’s meant for families to peruse, yet I found myself giggling in joy by meeting Poppy from Trolls. I simply love her bubbly energy and positive outlook in the films and that makes her my favorite character. This section of the park opens in mid-June, so make sure to mark your calendars.

If you decide to explore some more after visiting the parks, Universal CityWalk Orlando offers every type of dining options that you can imagine, such as Mexican and American restaurants. The nightlife is also lively, and it’s the perfect place to take a break at night and indulge in a little people-watching, fun drinks at their bars and restaurants, and a nice evening stroll.

But may I bring you back to the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort after your day? We figured as much. The hotel will always lure you back to relax there, didn’t I tell you? And it’s for much more than bedtime. In fact, we recommend pushing bedtime back a few hours.

While some hotels and resorts seem more as one that simply cater to families, this hotel offers adults everything that they could wish for when it comes to a night out of great dining and cocktails. Which is why I recommend coming to the resort with your loved one for a special stay. We saw couples on their honeymoon, couples celebrating an anniversary and plenty bachelorette parties. A great choice indeed.

The dining is spectacular. First there’s Amatista Cookhouse, an upscale restaurant choice with wonderful outdoor views and an exhibition kitchen offering Caribbean dishes. Then there is the poolside Drhum Club Kantine, a laid-back tropical spot that offers fresh seafood and tempting tropical drinks. While these were two of my favorites to visit, nothing impressed me even more than the hotel’s lobby bar and restaurant known as Strong Water Tavern.

The bar and restaurant is extremely elegant and the mixologists are knowledgeable when it comes to their craft. The restaurant and bar feel that is one of it being a sort of nautical retreat, making you feel as if you were dining on a luxurious vintage yacht or secret island bar.

You’ll also be very impressed by the bar’s wall of rums (including rare and vintage) where your own rum specialist will recommend a sip or cocktail with one of the upscale selection of spirits. Then there are the mouthwatering tapas-style dining options, perfect for nibbling on while enjoying a classic drink.

While at the resort, make this bar a top spot to visit to dine and drink at. Not only is the restaurant exceptionally cool and stylish, but the bar is perfect to visit for social hour and for making new friends. Come on by, take the time to drink something special. It’s the kind of watering hole that would be perfect in the heart of an island jewel, only that you are lucky enough that have this and so many other amazing offerings at this gem of a resort.

For more information on Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and to make a reservation, visit https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/loews-sapphire-falls-resort or call 407-503-5000.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.