As a self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd and enthusiast, it’s hard not to get excited about all things connected to Universal Orlando, home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I live for the butterbeer, the immersive rides, the wizard shops, and Hogwarts castle lit up at night. Oh yeah, and the rest of Universal Orlando is really cool, too.
You probably want to get the most out of your visit to Universal Orlando, which means it makes sense to stay on-property for the free transportation and benefits that come with staying at a Universal partner hotel.
The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which opened in 2016, is the newest addition to the Loews collection in Orlando and still has that new hotel smell. It’s the perfect tropical getaway you didn’t know you needed right in the middle of theme park territory.
I got the opportunity to stay at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort around Christmastime when I was there for a preview of Universal Orlando’s Christmas Celebration. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get the inside scoop on the hotel, and I also wanted to see if it was somewhere I would stay for future Universal Orlando visits. (My daughter is only 5, but I have a vision of coming back to visit with her in a few years when I’ve read the first few Harry Potter books to her).
Anyway! You probably stumbled across this article because you’re planning ga trip to Universal Orlando, and you’re wondering what the best place to stay is. You want to get the most bang for your buck. Here are 9 amazing reasons I think you’ll love the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. I’ve also included a few “negatives” or “cons” to staying here, but they are few and far between.
Disclosure: I was hosted at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort as part of a media preview night for Universal Orlando’s Christmas Celebration. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I’m simply writing this review to help you decided if this is the right place to stay for your Universal Orlando visit.
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9 REASONS TO STAY AT THE LOEWS SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT IF YOU’RE VISITING UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
1. IT’S NEW, BRIGHT, AND CLEAN
As I mentioned above, this hotel is brand new, and you can tell! Everything is airy and spacious with a white, blue, and turquoise color scheme. The bright colors, high ceilings, and copious windows greet you when you walk in the lobby, and you immediately feel relaxed and ready to enjoy a vacation.
Your first view of the lobby will be the colorful paper lantern light fixtures above you, but then your eyes will travel to the back wall with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water taxi area and stunning landscaping.
The lobby isn’t the only area that’s fresh and clean. The rooms feel new, too, with the same calming color scheme and tropical-chic furnishings. You’ll love the abundance of USB ports to charge all of your electronics, too! I love when hotels understand the needs of their modern guests.
2. FREE TRANSPORTATION TO UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
One of the main reasons to stay at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is for the free transportation to the Universal Orlando parks. You can take the complimentary water taxi, shuttle bus, or follow the walking paths to get to the parks.
3. EARLY ADMISSION TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
For me, the whole point of going to Universal Orlando was to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The rest of the park was great, and I enjoyed some of the roller coasters, but the real draw for me was immersing myself in J.K. Rowling’s world. Loews Sapphire Resort Guests get early entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, meaning they have an entire hour to ride the rides before the crowds come rolling in.
It’s also a great opportunity to get pictures in the park before hoards of people ruin your shot.
To get the most out of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, check out my post here with all kinds of tips and tricks you’ll want to know before visiting.
4. THE POOL IS INCREDIBLE
When I wandered out to the pool area, I immediately thought that people should book an extra day just to enjoy the resort itself, not just Universal Orlando. The pool is huge with plenty of lounge chairs for anyone to use, and some cabanas available to rent. There’s a splash pad just for little ones, and a beach area that kids would really enjoy. Don’t worry, parents. There’s a hot tub, too, just in case the weather in Florida is below 80 degrees.
Oh! I almost forgot that there’s a water slide, too! The only problem you’ll have with the resort pool is getting your kids to leave it. If that’s the case, you can simply order food poolside from Druhm Club Kantine.
5. FANTASTIC FOOD AND BEVERAGE
There are several on-property restaurants to choose from at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Amatista Cookhouse is a sit down restaurant that serves Carribbean cuisine, and is also a great option if you like breakfast buffets. Go to New Dutch Trading Co. to stock up on snacks and sandwiches if you’re on-the-go or just want a light meal. For a more romantic or sophisticated vibe, check out Strong Water Tavern with an excellent rum bar and wonderful views.
Our family always tries to make vacation more affordable by doing some grocery shopping before heading to a hotel or having groceries delivered to our hotel. We usually plan one special dinner at a hotel restaurant and eat our sandwiches, protein shakes, fruit, and snacks the rest of the time.
6. CLEAN & SPACIOUS ROOMS
I talked a little bit about the rooms already (the color palette and the USB charging ports), but I wanted to go a little bit more in-depth about them. Most standard rooms come with 2 queen beds, which were incredibly comfortable and inviting. I loved the white wood panels behind the turquoise headboards and the fun tropical pillows.
I don’t know a lot about decor, which sometimes makes it hard to describe exactly what I loved about a hotel room’s style, but I will say that the tile on the floor at the entrance to the room was really cool (a technical term), and the furniture like the cabinets and vanity were a lot different from other hotels I’ve stayed in. More chic? More modern? I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I like them! (See pictures below since you probably have no idea what I’m talking about).
I also loved that the room had an easy-to-use coffee maker with pods. I’ve actually stayed at some really nice hotels where I couldn’t even figure out the coffee maker so I either had to go without my morning cup of Joe or walk down to the lobby to buy an overpriced latte. Not here! Simple to use, and they even had an abundance of creamer.
There are also family suites if you’ve got a larger family or group, so you can make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone.
7. PLENTY TO DO
If you have a day off from the parks, you’ll find plenty to do in and around the hotel. Besides the pool and restaurants I already described, you’ll find a fitness center, a game room, and spa. If you’re traveling with kids and need a short break, Loews offers a Resort Kid’s Camp with games, movies, and activities for kids ages 4-14.
Golf Universal Orlando is nearby, and the hotel can help you arrange tee times and complimentary transportation to and from the course.
You also have free transportation to Universal City Walk where you can shop, eat, or catch a movie.
If you just want to relax in your room, you can enjoy the flat screen tv or the complimentary Wi-Fi.
8. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
In my opinion, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort was on par with some of the luxury hotels I’ve stayed at in terms of amenities and comfort. Surprisingly, though, it is one of the cheapest on-property options for Universal Orlando. The only hotel that’s cheaper is the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. You can check rates here!
9. THE ATMOSPHERE IS JUST WHAT YOU NEED
When you’re on vacation, even if it’s at a theme park, you want to feel completely relaxed. The island vibes and friendly staff at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort made me feel so pampered. Every single person I talked to was cheerful and went out of their way to help me if I needed anything - even the parking attendants! It’s the perfect spot for a vacation whether it’s just a few nights or an entire week.
THE NOT SO GREAT
I usually don’t like to list negative things when I travel, because I think it’s important to keep an open mind. I want to maintain that curiosity I had as a teenager that led me to sleep on the floor in places like Russia in Mexico without a care in the world about where I stayed. I just wanted to see the world.
However, I think it’s important to note the one “negative” about staying at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort vs. other Universal Partner Resorts, because I would be mad if I didn’t realize this until it was too late. Guests at Loews Sapphire Falls do not get Express Passes for Universal Orlando as part of their stay. Yes, you still get early entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but not the Express Passes like at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
Note that Express Passes are available for purchase separate from your theme park ticket for $129 per person per day.
The only other thing I didn’t love about the hotel was that I found the layout a little confusing and kept getting lost in the hallways on my floor. It’s kind of funny, actually, and didn’t ruin my stay or anything. Just wanted to note that it’s not the easiest to navigate.
Anyway, I still think this hotel is really worth a stay, and it felt completely luxurious to me. I would stay here in a heartbeat if I were coming back to Universal Orlando for a legitimate vacation for time at the theme parks. I hope this was helpful as you decide where you want to stay! Learn more about Loews Sapphire Falls Resort here!
RESOURCES FOR PLANNING YOUR UNIVERSAL ORLANDO TRIP
Order groceries for your hotel stay: Try Amazon Prime Now (2 hour delivery and available to all Amazon Prime members), AmazonFresh grocery delivery service (add-on to Amazon Prime members for $14.99/month…but you can get a 1-month free trial), or services like Instacart or Shipt.
Or use Uber to get a ride to a local grocery store. Use my link with code emilyk5678ue for a free ride when you sign up!
Read my post on visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
…and my post on the Christmas celebration at Universal Orlando
If you have a day off during your trip, try one of these 13 Easy Day Trips from Orlando
To buy ahead of time:
And finally, use my Wizarding World of Harry Potter Bucket List - a handy download with a checklist of fun things to do in the parks: