Orlando’s Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress: A Peaceful Respite That’s Truly Grand
Now that the holiday hoopla has come and gone, you might be looking for ideas for your next family vacation. If you’re planning a trip to Florida’s Disney World or Universal Studios, there’s a gem of a resort on the outskirts of the mega-theme parks that’s definitely worth a visit.
Located in Orlando’s Lake Buena Vista area on the fringe of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress provides a relaxing respite for those moments when waiting on line to see Mickey or to enjoy the Spiderman thrill ride is wearing you down.
Completely refurbished in 2009, the Grand Cypress resort serves up a calm yet entertaining menu of family fun all on its own. The 18-story hotel is the epicenter of magnificent 1,500-acre surroundings. Once you drive through the private gated entrance, a world of lush, manicured grounds serving up plenty of outdoor activities awaits you.
The atrium-style lobby is adorned with a waterfall, gorgeous trees and flowering shrubs. The welcoming staff, including a pair of friendly, colorful macaws, greets you. With a complimentary glass of champagne in hand, glass elevators offer a full view of the hotel and magnificent property. The rooms, recently redesigned with a contemporary flair, include a 32-inch, flat-screen television and an iHome docking station. Standard sleeping accommodations at the Hyatt include fine linens and pillow top mattresses.
But, you won’t want to stay in your room for long because the grounds include possibly the best outdoor pool in Florida. The 1/2-acre free-form “swimming hole” features 12 waterfalls, two slides, rope bridges and caves as well as four hot tubs. The pool is open 24/7, which makes it enjoyable even if you get in late from one of your off-property jaunts. Night swimming was a highlight for my boys, who, despite their exhaustion, insisted that we all get wet under the starry sky.
At the Grand Cypress, you can keep yourself well-entertained morning, noon and night with an endless array of complimentary activities including 9.2 miles of walking, jogging and biking trails. Admire the palmetto brush and tropical plants and flowers by taking an Audubon walk, riding a bike, or peddling along on an old-fashioned surrey bike complete with a shady canopy. This was a huge hit with my younger son, who led the way as we got a great workout while buzzing along the trail. Both boys picked up a basketball game with some other young guests. And, for more outdoor fun, there is tennis, an equestrian center, and a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course. For the novice golfer, there’s even a nine-hole, par 3 pitch and putt course.
Have I mentioned that the hotel sits adjacent to 21-acre Lake Windsong? The lake is a peaceful lagoon where you can kick back on the white sandy manmade beaches or take out an unlimited use, small sailboat, paddleboat or canoe to float around and enjoy the quiet and listen to the sounds of the birds. This is another attraction that truly sets the Grand Cypress apart from many area hotels.
Restaurant choices are plenty with six different onsite offerings (with various price points) including The Palm, a poolside café with some of the best pizza we have had outside of New York (yes, we ordered it on three separate occasions), Cascade’s, an open-air casual spot inside the impressive lobby and upscale Hemingway’s, a Key West-style spot set up high among the trees, overlooking the pool. For a unique experience, have a cocktail at the Grotto cave bar, tucked away underneath the rocks and waterfalls surrounding the pool. And, the resort wouldn’t be complete without its signature spa, if you are craving a massage or some other special attention.
Nightly fireworks at Disney can be viewed from your room if you are facing the park. Even if your a room doesn’t offer this advantage, the illuminated skyline can be enjoyed from the plate glass windows lining the upper hallways.
In light of all this, it should be no surprise that, in 2010, the Grand Cypress was named one of the top 100 U.S. resorts by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The resort is also a recipient of a silver award in the Best Family Hotel category by Virgin Holidays, Britain’s leading tour operator for Florida travel packages and family deals.
The Grand Cypress offers many special packages, both online and through travel agents and tour companies. I found rates as low as $159 per night (not including taxes) on Kayak.com, Travelocity and Expedia, to name a few.* So, check out availability and options for booking your stay. If you have an experience like we did, this place will surely not disappoint!
Orlando, Florida, USA 32836