Preview: Cabana Bay Beach Resort to give ’60s seaside fun a modern twist at new Universal Orlando hotel

in Hotel, Universal Orlando


Retro is returning to Universal Orlando when their Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens early next year. On the eve of the Transformers: The Ride 3D grand opening, Universal offered a sneak peek at what visitors can expect from the new hotel, taking a distinctly ’60s motif and spinning it with modern amenities.

Inspired by beachside hotels on A1A, Route 66, and the Pacific Coast Highway from decades past, Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be Universal Orlando’s first “value” hotel, coating contemporary standard rooms and family suites with a kitschy color palate. But while the price point will be lower than Universal’s other hotels (all operated by Loews Hotels), the value level doesn’t take away from the fun, replacing what would be a standard ’60s concrete jungle with a lush, tropical oasis complete with a winding lazy river.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay’s executive project director Russ Dagon was on hand today to explain why Universal chose this theme for their latest hotel, seen in the video below along with a tour around a room model.

Video: Cabana Bay Beach Resort model room tour and interview

Approaching and entering into the lobby, guests visiting the Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be taken back to the late ’50s and early ’60s, drawing visual inspiration even from one of Loews’ own classic hotels, the Americana in Miami Beach.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Continuing the theme throughout the resort will be a particular color palate and careful use of architecture that evokes a feeling of that era. The hotel will also feature a 10-lane bowling alley, a popular past time from decades ago that’s still fun for the whole family today.

But a true typical ’60s hotel would feature the blandest of pools, a rectangular concrete hole filled with water and little else of interest. Universal decided to stray from authenticity in that detail, instead creating multiple lavish pools and a lazy river that Dagon hesitates to even call “lazy,” noting that it will move swimmers along at a good speed.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

The rooms at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be offered in standard and family suite variations across multiple wings of the hotel, some with exterior hallways and others interior. Bathrooms have been sectioned into three smaller areas, allowing people to separately utilize the facilities without intruding on one another.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando

Dagon believes the hotel’s retro theme will carry itself well across multiple generations, certainly appealing to older visitors who remember that era, but also with younger guests who see it as a piece of history they never got to experience. They tested the concept across many age groups and found that people in their 20s and 30s were equally excited about the ideas as those much older.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is scheduled to open in early 2014 with reservations already available for the first wing.

More photos from the Cabana Bay Beach Resort preview at Universal Orlando:


  1. David B

    I still have trouble understanding this resort theme. Wouldn’t it be equally retarded if Universal Studios Hollywood builds The Hollywood Hills Resort themed to classic cinema or MGM-Mirage builds a casino on the Vegas Strip??? I mean… come on guys! This is Florida with ACTUAL beach resorts an hour away from the Universal Resort! Maybe The Hollywood Hills Resort idea would have been better suited here?

    Plus, the main reasons that I stay on property at a Loews hotel is for the unlimited Express Pass privileges. When you can stay at an Embassy Suites less than a mile down the road which includes a buffet breakfast and free evening cocktails, I think it is going to be a tough sell to get people in this resort without that benefit.

    1. Sean

      First of all, brilliant use of the word “retarded”. You must be incredibly mature.

      Secondly, the main inspiration was Wildwood NJ. He says it right in the interview.

      Thirdly, Disney’s flagship resort is called the Grand FLORIDIAN. Better knock it down!

    2. Jeff Lynch

      David B — my brother is special needs. When people use the word “retarded” it hurts my family. I love my brother Matty more than anything and when you use the word “retarded” you have no idea how many people with special needs family members you hurt. Saying this word is like calling a black person the n-word or calling a gay person the f-word. Please be kinder to your fellow human beings and stop doing this.

      1. mirza khan

        Please forgive anyone that offend you the do not mean any of it

    3. Anonymous

      “Retarded” is just a word. Leave the poor guy alone. It is not meant be derogatory. It merely means “Less advanced, esp. mentally, than is usual for one’s age.” David B is just saying that this project is a step backwards to what is being done.

      Jeff, I know your brother is a very special person and no one is showing him any disrespect.

      1. mirza khan

        This property is.very nice it a low budget hotel i walj this property it a vety nice property.

  2. Frostysnowman

    I don’t see any point in staying here if you don’t get the express pass option included. That’s a shame. It looks fun and I like how the bathroom is in three sections.

    1. Sean

      Well, there’s a reason why it’s 1/2 the price as the rest of Uni’s resorts.

      1. frostysnowman

        Right, but even Disney lets the people in the economy hotels have equal access to early park openings and such. A resort guest is a resort guest. Universal is being extremely lame here.

        1. Tryg

          Aye, just wait until next year when you staying at a Disney Value will give you jack squat, compared to a Deluxe.

          1. Frostysnowman


          2. TVsRobLowe

            MyMagic+, indeed.

            Everyone else gets their pick of fastpasses, you fight with the day crowds.

  3. CJ

    This is so cool!!! I drive by it alot and i knew it looked retro but now its confirmed!! I live here in Orlando and i dont need to stay at a resort but i am going to stay at this one!! I Love love love 50s-60s retro style and looks like they are doing this perfectly!!! Makes me want to watch “Ride the Wild Surf” with Tab Hunter and hang out at a Tiki Bar!!! I absolutely love it and it makes me very very happy!! Great going Universal Studios!! I am very impressed with how you have been pouring money back into your park from the profits of Harry Potter!! Makes me believe your a good company and one that cares about your customers!!!

  4. Letty

    This hotel needs to provide unlimited express pass or it will just be another hotel. The Loews chain can afford this and it will beneficial to the success of the hotel in the longrun.

  5. BW

    I agree with Letty. Cabana Bay needs to provide unlimited Express Pass for guests just like the other Leow’s properties on site do.

  6. mike topazio

    No Express….NO GO !!!!

  7. Matty

    Agreed. No express pass. No visit. It’s the reason we stay at the on site hotel. Shame on them. I won’t be visiting the resort till it’s fixed. Add 70$ a day, peak for the unlimited express pass. Cheap way to appeal to families.

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