Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
Located just over a mile away from Downtown Disney (err the new Disney Springs) is a hidden gem of a hotel called the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort. I am often asked about off-site properties, and this one just rocketed to the top of my list. With over 1500 acres of land, the Grand Cypress is a blend of luxury and family fun.
Built in 1984 as the first resort outside of Disney property, the Grand Cypress recently completed a $75 million dollar renovation. With 815 rooms as well as a combination of 42 executive and bi-level suites, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort has all you need whether you are traveling with the family or on a business trip. In addition to the rooms, there are several business meeting spaces and a beautiful wedding pavilion.
As we checked in, we were welcomed with a glass of champagne which is always a nice touch. The lobby is covered with tile imported directly from Italy. A nice feature for the kids as mom or dad checks in is their hotel ambassador “Merlot” who is a Macaw. Merlot has a limited vocabulary but will keep the kids busy while waiting in the lobby.
With a $25 resort fee (per room), family and travelers can take advantage of numerous activities. These activities include 24-foot rock climbing wall, 9-hole pitch and putt golf course, 24-hour fitness center, daily shuttles to theme parks, a golf driving range, water sports which include canoes, paddle boats, hydro bikes, kayaks and paddle boards! It also includes bikes for kids and adults as well as two and four person surrey bikes. If you are a walker or runner, there is a 1, 3 or 5 mile path that winds through the resort as well. For serious golfers, there are four 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses (not included in the resort fee). One of these courses is modeled after St. Andrews Golf Links. They did such a great job on this course, that PGA players have actually visited before the British Open to get in a few practice rounds.
If you just want to hang by the pool, 850,000 gallons fills 3 pools with 12 different waterfalls. 1 of the pools was heated (which I never understood the need to do in FLA, but it is a nice feature) and there are also private cabanas available for rent. Or if you would like to just sit pool side, there is a newly expanded pool bar as well.
In the coming months, the Lake House Restaurant will be open serving 3 meals a day. Since you are just off Disney property, there are several other restaurants and for my New England friends there is a Dunkin Donuts just around the corner.
We stayed in a room with a king size bed which was extremely spacious. It had a pool view which also allowed us to view the fireworks at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom at a distance. Once I was able to figure out the shower, it was powerful with a combination of a full shower head and rain drop shower head from above. Even though we were the first room in the hall, there was very little hall noise which just outside of Disney is a blessing.
To see all this hotel has to offer, visit them on the web at http://grandcypress.hyatt.com. For more pictures of this beautiful resort, please visit my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wdwfamilytips
I want to write about our dining and spa experience as their own separate items as you can enjoy either one even if you are not staying at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort.
Hemingway’s is the Grand Cypress’ signature restaurant. With a blend of seafood, beef and chicken, Hemingway’s is a restaurant that I will be making a special trip to in the future. Javi Sanchez is Hemingway’s Chef and he personally tours all the facilities that supplies his kitchen food. All food must be stored locally and pass his rigorous inspection. Now anyone who knows me knows I am not a fu-fu food kind of guy. There is nothing worse than having to go out to eat after you go out to eat. This is not the case at Hemingway’s. As a matter of fact, I am extremely happy that our server waited until after our appetizer because the appetizer was a meal in itself. I started with the calamari. Now most calamari appetizers I have had are fried and there is actually very little meat. These were generous portions that were breaded perfectly with plenty of meat. In fact, it was the most meat I had ever seen in a calamari appetizer. My wife had the stuffed mushrooms. She said they were absolutely delicious and I will have to take her word on that one! For our main course, I went with Salmon and she went with a Filet. When it comes to steaks, my wife is very picky about how they are cooked. She ordered it medium-well and as soon as she cut into it she said it was cooked to perfection. The method for cooking the steaks is “sous vide” which is French for “under vacuum”. It is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times—96 hours or more, in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meat and higher for vegetables. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.
The taste was amazing (yes she shared it with me) and the portion was perfect. I hadn’t had salmon in quite a while and like the steak, the portion and cooking was spot on. Their mashed potatoes are also cooked differently to lower the amount of calories in regular mashed potatoes. Not that I count calories, but it was a nice touch. We both left a little room for desert and I am glad we did! When the desert tray came out, I knew it was going to be something special. Their current dessert tray consists of a seasonal Crème Brulee, Baked Alaskan Key Lime Tart, Peanut Butter Bombe, Banana Chocolate Tower Cake, Homemade Coconut Ice Cream in a Milk Chocolate and Grand Marnier Purse, and a Heath Bar Tiramisu. I went with the Heath Bar Tiramisu and Kathy went with the Peanut Butter Bombe! I don’t know how we had room, but I’m glad we did. Hemingway’s Restaurant was such a great meal; I didn’t even have room for breakfast the next day!
To view their wine list, current menu or to make a reservation, go to http://grandcypress.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/Hemingways.html
Marilyn Monroe Spa
Tucked just off the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is the Marilyn Monroe Spa. This is a full service spa that can be accessed by guest or anyone in the area who wishes to have a spa treatment. When I say full service, I mean full service. The Marilyn Monroe Spa offers facials, body treatments, massages, salon services, make-up, nails (mani-pedi) and waxing. My wife and I were treated to a couple’s massage. We arrived early to take advantage of their relaxation room. There are both men and women’s locker rooms with full bath, showers and locker facilities. After getting undressed, I wrapped myself in one of their bathrobes which was hanging in the locker. I could find myself living in that bathrobe it was so comfortable! In the relaxation room, we sat back on recliners and were treated to a glass of wine while we waited for our masseuse. We were greeted by our masseuses (Anna and Joanna) and taken to the couple’s room. They were individual rooms with tables and an open door. Our 50-minute massage must have been amazing as I only remember about 20 minutes of the massage. Apparently I was so relaxed not only did I fall to sleep, but I might have been snoring as well. The masseuse found all the right spots that were tights and worked out all the knots and kinks. After the massage was done we returned to the relaxation room to wind down. I can honestly say I haven’t been that relaxed for quite some time. Not sure if it was because we left our kids back in New Hampshire or if it was the overall experience. I think it’s safe to say it was a combination of both, but more on the spa side! I have only 2 regrets, the first is that the closest Marilyn Monroe Spa to us is in New York, and the second is that I didn’t ask to buy that robe! I can easily see an afternoon of spa treatments followed by dinner at Hemingway’s in February or August when I return to Orlando. For a complete offering of services, visit them on-line at www.MarilynMonroeSpas.com. Treat yourself to something special during your vacation; you will be glad you did.