Millions of visitors flock to Walt Disney World each year, visiting theme parks, dining at world-class restaurants, and enjoying its many extravagant amenities. But there is one massive attraction just outside Disney’s doorstep that is surprisingly easy to drive right by without a second glance, tucked away alongside comfortable accommodations.
It’s the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, a resort hotel located around the corner from Downtown Disney. From the street, all that can be seen of this hotel is a sign, driveway, and security station. But once inside, an entire vacation’s worth of entertainment can be found.
The hotel itself is no secret, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. But those who aren’t already familiar with it may be surprised to learn that hidden from public view just a mile from Walt Disney World and a short highway drive from Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando is 1,500 acres of sprawling property that features 1,000 feet of white sandy beach, a private lake, a waterfall-lined lagoon pool with water slide, rock climbing walls, two delightful restaurants, and hundreds of newly remodeled modern rooms.
And until recently, I was one of the many who have driven right by this property having never stepped foot inside. But I was invited to spend the night in a room there, taking in the amenities, and enjoying the food. Though these experiences were paid for by the hotel, I would gladly have done so myself as every minute of it was thoroughly enjoyable.
Having just completed a $54 million dollar renovation, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress looks brand new. The lobby is lovely, with fountains, running streams, and even some wildlife.
A ride up the glass elevators reveals the scale of the hotel. Looking down into its open atrium is quite a sight.
Rooms are easy access, with RFID locks requiring only a simple tap of a key card to enter.
Inside, quiet comfort awaits with a cushy bed and furniture and relaxing, beach-like colors.
Rooms have all the most useful features including controllable air conditioning, wireless Internet access, plenty of power outlets, a small refrigerator, and video inputs for the TV. The only downside is the included wireless keyboard can only be used to access the Internet on the TV for an extra fee.
Bathrooms have all new looks with clean lines and contemporary touches like glass tiles and an enjoyable rain shower head overhead coupled with a handheld – and quite powerful – nozzle.
It’s almost a must to request a room at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress on the highest floors facing over Downtown Disney. The views are incredible, not only of the resort’s grounds but also as far as the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I tremendously enjoyed sitting on the balcony watching the Illuminations fireworks show at Epcot in the distance followed by the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime show a few minutes later without even moving.
As nice as the room is, the resort’s grounds are its most impressive feature. It’s quite amazing that so much is hidden from the busy, traffic-filled streets just outside.
The heated pool is comfortable and the water slide is short, but fun and it’s all surrounded with a winding covered series of caverns providing ample shade and stellar views.
Nearby a poolside bar serves up drinks with the feeling of being on a beachside resort, despite actually being tucked away in the middle of a city.
And the surprises keep coming while exploring the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress grounds that also include water play areas, hammocks, a golf course, water vehicles, bikes, a fitness center, an arcade, and even a pool table, oddly placed in the laundry room.
Usage of most of the recreational activities is included in the Resort Services Program fee, essentially inviting all who stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress little reason to ever venture outside.
Two excellent table service restaurants are also on property, Cascade American Bistro and Hemingway’s. Cascade American Bistro has an open feel while Hemingway’s transports diners to a casual, yet somewhat elegant eatery straight out of the Florida Keys.
The cuisine of Hemingway’s is fresh with Florida flavors, but elevated above most of the seaside dives found in the Keys. With fancy preparations and plating of dishes like duck confit and lamb chops, there isn’t a disappointment to be found over appetizers and entrees. But desserts are not their strong point, looking better than they taste.
Those preferring to stay in the room will find no shortage of enjoyment out of room service, with an outstanding meat and cheese plate a must.
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is consistently surprising the best ways from the moment visitors step on property throughout their entire stay. Travelers looking for a perfect place to enjoy the upcoming holiday season, a summer visit, or really any time of the year would not regret spending their time here.
More information can be found at GrandCypress.Hyatt.com.
More photos from the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando: