Orlando’s Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress served as a perfect “home away from home” for Charles and me when we traveled to Orlando for our friends Heather & David’s wedding. Just a stone’s throw from many of Orlando’s much-loved attractions, it offered the perfect location for those who wanted to explore theme parks but also offered a relaxing oasis for folks like us who just wanted to lay low for the weekend.
While my favorite element of the hotel (by far!) was the Lobby Ambassador named Merlot, a 17-year-old macaw, we very much enjoyed our stay from check-in to check-out.
Seamless! Lovely front desk agent, very short line, bubbles offered to us – courtesy of the bride & groom – but a very nice gesture and I do appreciate the coordination that requires of the front desk staff.
Standout: The next night, I returned to the front desk on our way out to ask for a piece of tape so that I could seal an envelope, and the front desk agent even pulled me aside to let me know that I had lipstick on my teeth – now THAT was very much appreciated!
-> Who doesn’t love an aerial view?! <-
Perfectly spacious. Boasted all the necessities, comfortable king-sized bed, fabulous pillows, great shower pressure, functional work desk.
Stand-out: The television screen displayed our name (well, Charles’ name…) adding a nice personalized touch.
Could not have been better. From the valet to check-in, in-room dining to pool-side dining, service was more than accommodating.
Stand-out: I was referred to the concierge to purchase a stamp, so that I could mail my grandma a postcard. After the two concierges looked in their drawers, seemingly unsuccessfully, one pulled out his wallet and said “here, I have an extra stamp I’d be happy to give you.” Lucky me!
Pool was lovely – for both kiddos and adults. I stuck to the non-heated end, which is also the opposite end from the corkscrew slide, so naturally it was quieter (read: less kiddos.) A large waterfall provided a nice calming sound, and pool-side dining was prompt and friendly. The seared fish tacos were especially delicious after a few hours of sunbathing!
Lounging poolside was on my agenda for the weekend (although I did sneak in a run in the fitness center) but for those who fancy more physical activities, on-site activities include paddle boating, sailing, hiking and biking on the resort’s trails, beach volleyball and more.
Marilyn Monroe Spa
I was totally ready for kitsch (let’s be honest, the Marilyn Monroe theme could have been super cheesy) but the entire experience at the Marilyn Monroe Spa felt incredibly glam. Soothing relaxation room, wonderful massage and friendly staff. I had the “Best of Both Worlds Massage,” which offered part Signature Massage & part Reflexology Massage. I highly recommend it!
Stand-out: I don’t travel with hairspray but felt I needed a little spritz to hold my DIY wedding hairstyle in place so I popped into the spa before departing for the wedding & one of the spa attendants gladly sprayed me. So nice!
Food & Beverage
Excellent lounge areas within the hotel’s main lobby level – cozy couches but also high tops for those who want more of a communal feel.
Hemingway’s was wonderful, both for dinner and breakfast. They claim to be famous for their jumbo lump crab cake entree, and I wasn’t hungry enough for it for dinner, although I was envious when I spied it on a friend’t plate. Luckily, I was given a second chance during breakfast, when I enjoyed it as part of a crab cake benedict. It was incredible!
Charles opted for the breakfast buffet and I was impressed with their extensive offerings, from an eggwhite, spinach and herb scramble station to the abundant fresh fruit, meats and cheeses stations. Of course, it also included the standard buffet items – eggs, sausage, bacon, mini belgian waffles, etc.
Stand-out: Don’t miss the jumbo lump crab cake – whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Merlot – Lobby Ambassador Extraordinaire
As I mentioned, Merlot was my favorite element of the hotel. After admiring the colorful macaw for a minute, a lovely gentleman named Tim came over. He explained that he’d been a Bellman at the hotel for 29 years and that he’d been Merlot’s trusty companion for 15 years – Merlot’s entire time as Lobby Ambassador. “I’m the only person he trusts,” said Tim, which is easy to believe after seeing them together.
In the ten or so minutes I spent chatting with Tim, Merlot devoured walnuts out of Tim’s hand, he hanged from Tim’s arm in a “look at me” fashion and he comically used his beak to snatch sheets of paper from Tim’s shirt pocket, which he immediately spit out onto the ground. (Quite the comedian, that Merlot!)
As we continued chatting, Tim asked if I’d had time yet to explore the grounds, which I had not, so he took a few minutes to give me an overview of the property. The best advice he gave was to take the elevator to the top (17th) floor and look out the floor to ceiling windows on the elevator landing for an aerial view of the property.
It certainly gave me my bearings, which made the next few days I spent at the hotel much more enjoyable!
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was the perfect home-base for us during our friends’ wedding and I highly recommend it as your home-away-from-home during your next trip to Orlando. It truly had something for everyone!
For more information and to check rates, visit their website.