- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites is now open at Universal Orlando.
- It’s one of two value hotels Universal Orlando is opening between now and March 2020.
- INSIDER briefly toured the hotel’s suite offerings, lobby, and pool area with media before trying out the new “Harry Potter”-themed coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
- The rooms are roomy for the value. INSIDER was told it’s a less than 10-minute shuttle ride to the theme park area.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Universal Orlando just opened the first of two new value hotels. If you’ve wanted to stay on Universal property in the past to get early park admission, but have found it pricey, Universal’s Surfside Inn and Suites may be for you.
During a recent trip to Orlando, Florida to try the new “Harry Potter”-themed coaster, I had the chance to check out the resort’s new hotel, opening Thursday. Universal said it’s the most affordable hotel with standard rooms starting at $US73 per night and two-bedroom suites starting at $US111 per night as long as you stay for seven nights.
“When we originally started building hotels, our plan was to always have an offering in every price category,” Russ Dagon, senior vice president of resorts development at Universal Orlando creative, told INSIDER of why it was so important to have a hotel at a lower price point.
“For years, it was Portofino, Hard Rock, and Loews Royal Pacific, which are all four-diamond properties,” said Dagon of the original hotel offerings at Universal Orlando. “If you walk through the park, you can see that all of our guests are not of the same socio-economic groups. So the idea was to have an offering that we could offer to everyone who’s attending our parks.”
Most impressive are the hotel’s two-bedroom suites, which sleep six people and have a mini kitchen. Keep reading to see what it’s like to visit Surfside Inn and Suites.
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort — Surfside Inn and Suites opened Thursday at Universal Orlando.
We visited the hotel briefly on Tuesday, June 11 to get a sneak peek at the new value resort. This is how it looks when you first arrive.
It has 750 rooms and Universal is calling this its first and most affordable value resort.
Universal’s upcoming Dockside hotel, which will open in March 2020, will have 2,050 rooms.
The hotel is completely inspired by the beach.
The hotel is filled with shades of blues and a few pops of yellow and green that are all supposed to look a little faded from the sun.
“Everything you see here in the lobby is inspired by the surf, sand, and sun,” said Dagon.
The seating in the middle of the lobby is supposed to look like sun-weathered pebbles.
The front desk pods are inspired by surfboards.
Behind the pods is a wooden wave that looks like it’s going to crash over them.
That giant wooden wave stretches over to the other half of the lobby where there is plenty of seating for guests.
“The wave crashes over the front desk and resolves on the other side,” said Dagon.
Don’t forget to look up at the light fixtures in the lobby. They’re beach-inspired, too.
Dagon said they were inspired by seafoam bubbles you’ll see in the ocean.
Our favourite spot in the lobby were these swing couches.
They feel like the kind of chairs you may see down the shore on someone’s front deck.
Even the pool keeps with the surf theme.
You can’t tell from downstairs, but the pool is shaped like a surfboard.
The hotel only features two types of rooms — a standard room and a suite. The standard room has two queen beds.
A Universal representative said standard rooms start at $US73 per night and suites start at $US111 per night. If you want a pool or water view, rooms will be more.
After going through Universal’s resort site, the lower prices for the rooms come up if you stay for more days. I was able to get the room prices down to $US89.10 for a standard room in mid December and $US137.37 for a two-room suite around the same time.
I’d recommend reaching out to Universal resorts if you’re trying to book a room to try and find how to get the best rate possible.
Here’s the view from the bedside.
Similar to other resorts on Universal property, guests will be able to charge items from the parks to their room.
The two-bedroom suite looks similar to the standard room except it has a kitchen area and one extra room.
The room sleeps six people.
The pool bar area serves food and drinks for when you want to lay out and relax.
All of the seating is situated around the giant surfboard-shaped pool.
No entrée in the restaurant costs over $US10.
“Our menu items are designed to be very affordable for families that are cost conscious,” Robert Laurie, executive chef of Surfside Inn and Suites, told INSIDER and a small group of press. “We do not have an entrée item in the entire restaurant that is over $US10.”
In addition to burgers, they have paninis, power bowls (like the one seen above), and pizza.
The pool bar area serves seven frozen drinks and seven drinks on the rocks.
The drinks seen above, from left, are the Surfside lemonade, a toasted coconut mango mojito, a strawberry basil mule, and a piña colada. Souvenir glasses and refillable drink mugs are also available.
INSIDER was told it should take under 10 minutes to get to the theme park area by shuttle bus.
“It only depends on whether you hit one light or not,” said Dagon of how long it takes to get to Universal’s Citywalk area, which houses a downtown area and two of the resort’s three theme parks.
Dagon said shuttles will run non-stop to and from the parks and Surfside Inn and Suites.
“We’ve done a lot of studies on this,” said Dagon. “We don’t anticipate waiting for a shuttle more than 10-to-15 minutes at the most.”
The property also gives guests early park admission to the Universal Orlando theme parks.
If you have early park admission, you can get into Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure one hour before the park opens to the public. Each day, one of the two parks opens an hour earlier.
“We know that a lot of our guests are going to be getting up at the same time… and then get over to the parks. We’ll have buses queued up ready to go to get everyone out there first thing in the morning,” said Dagon.