Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is a hotel near Walt Disney World just outside of Disney Springs. This review covers our stay at this resort, with room photos, a look at the grounds and features of the resort, pros & cons of the hotel, and various thoughts about staying at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress during a Walt Disney World or Orlando vacation.
First, a bit of background is in order for those of you unfamiliar with this hotel. As the name might suggest, the hotel is located in Grand Cypress, which is sort of like Bonnet Creek (probably not all that helpful of a comparison for those unfamiliar with Bonnet Creek) in that it’s a resort complex that encompasses multiple properties. In the case of Grand Cypress, there’s the Hyatt, the Villas at Grand Cypress (review coming soon), a tennis club, and approximately 70-gajillion holes of golf (or 45 holes…but it feels like the golf courses stretch from Orlando to Endor). It’s a quiet, lush area located about 5 minutes from Disney Springs.
The Hyatt Regency is truly a resort complex, and occupies 21 acres within Grand Cypress. A couple of years ago, the hotel completed a $54 million overhaul, with more since spent bringing total renovations to $75 million. This seems like an astronomical sum for a single hotel to me–and additional changes are planned–but I guess hotels and conventions are big business in Orlando. Regardless, all of the money dumped into this Hyatt shows.
We have stayed at a lot of Hyatt properties throughout the world, and this feels closer to a Grand Hyatt location than a Hyatt Regency one. The design of the rooms and style of the hotel is unique and interesting, the resort amenities are top notch, and it has other key elements like fine dining and a spa that are more typical of the “Grand” moniker than the “Regency” one, at least in our experience.
Let’s take a look at everything the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress offers that make it a top notch destination resort…
Like virtually every hotel in Orlando, it has seen a change in ownership during its history. This is not altogether noteworthy (as most hotels have changed hands like 4-5 times), but in this case, I’m told that the original ownership was a Japanese family that had a multi-million dollar art collection at the hotel. (I’d love to know more about this if there are any Orlando historians reading…)
I’m told that the previous owners removed most of the art when they sold the hotel to Hyatt years ago, but many items remain scattered throughout the grounds of the resort, both inside and out.
This is one aspect of the hotel that gives the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress a lot of character. The hotel most certainly is not ‘themed’ in the sense that Walt Disney World hotels are, but it does have a very unique style that really heightens its appeal.
One of the reasons we are fans of Hyatt is because this is fairly typical of their higher-end hotels. While impeccable service and a laundry-list of amenities is standard at most luxury hotels, many of the major ones feel generic and soulless.
This is not the case with Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. The design from the guest rooms to common areas to even the grounds of the hotel is deliberate and thoughtful.
Here’s an aerial view of the open-air atrium, where you can see the jungle below, complete with foliage, a stream, and a slew of wild animals, such as tigers, alligators, and parrots.
Okay, maybe not tigers, but there is a parrot that greets guests in the atrium. This being Florida, there are probably alligators somewhere at Grand Cypress, too. However, none reside in the lobby…at least to my knowledge.
The open-air atrium does give the lobby a grandiose and warm feel. Despite the size, it feels warm and inviting thanks to the lushness and natural light.
About the only thing that I’d call ordinary is the front exterior, which I assume is a holdover from the origins of the hotel. Alright, enough gushing about the style of the hotel. Now let’s take a look at something of substance: those resort amenities…
For starters, I have to point out that the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress charges a resort fee of $25/night. If you’ve read any of my previous hotel reviews, you know that I absolutely despise resort fees. Suffice to say, a non-optional fee that is tacked onto a hotel’s daily rate is done for no other reason than to mask the actual nightly rate of a hotel.
This isn’t like an airline baggage fee or hotel parking fee (the latter of which the Hyatt also has), or other ways consumers are nickel & dimed nowadays when it comes to travel. In each of those cases, there are some people not paying said fees. In the case of a resort fee, there is no option to not pay it if you choose to not use certain hotel amenities.
In any case, these fees are clearly lucrative for hotels so my complaining about them isn’t going to change them. In the case of Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, at least the resort fees are somewhat justified by actual resort amenities.
The resort fees include rock climbing walls, shuttles to Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando Resort, 4.7 miles of jogging trails, paddle boarding, kayaks, fire pits, and a whole host of other things…
…from a small pitch & putt area for those of us who aren’t “serious enough” to hit the championship-caliber links, but still want to get our golf on…
…to a fitness center that is much more than a repurposed storage closet (as is typical of so many other hotels).
Seriously, this has to be one of the nicest hotel fitness centers I have ever seen. Now, I morally oppose intentional exercise on vacation, but if you aren’t a devout cupcakeist like me, you might appreciate the quality of this equipment.
All of this is cool, but the pool is what really impresses. This pool as two of the three things that define a first-class pool under the Tom Bricker Pool Grading System™. First, it has a suspension bridge over one side of the pool.
I highly recommend standing up on the bridge for a few hours of your stay and jumping up and down on it whenever another adult gets towards the center. Or maybe send your kids to do that, since they tend to get more of a free pass for such childish behavior. I know this because “a friend” of mine got some dirty looks bouncing around on the bridge as an adult. 😉
Second, it has a cave! Everyone knows that a cave is about the coolest thing into which you can swim, what with the potential for stumbling upon a pirate hideaway or mermaid den. About the only things missing here are that ominous music played in the Pirates of the Caribbean caves, and a lazy river.
Seriously, the lack of a lazy river in a pool this awesome is such a missed opportunity. It’s like owning a large plot on a Swiss mountain, and covering it with Alpine ibexgoats. (Now I’m just being silly…who on earth would own a plot on the alps without a hole herd of Alpine ibex?!) Heck, I’m surprised pool cave design companies even offer an option to not have a lazy river.
Joking aside, this pool is undeniably awesome. It’s huge, wonderfully-designed (even sans lazy river), and has plenty of little nooks and crannies within the caves and by waterfalls. Some of these contain poolside cabanas, which looked quite nice.
There’s also an area for smaller children with a splash pad and smaller waterslide.
Sarah started with the Big Eye Tuna Ceviche, which she liked, saying it was fresh and light.
Never one to pass up calamari, I started with that. The squid in this is soaked in buttermilk overnight, and the taste reflected that in a good way. This was really unique and delicious calamari, which I’d highly recommend.
The accompanying sauce is a roasted tomato coulis, which tasted very fresh, but I felt it pushed the envelope a bit too far in terms of flavor, and was at odds with the sweet flavor of the calamari, and not in a good “contrasting flavors working together” type of way. I ended up eating most of the calamari without the sauce, and it was delicious this way.
Sarah had the Key West Black Grouper, which was spectacular. The fish was fresh and perfectly prepared, and the accompanying lump crab meat and polenta cake was excellent, with a wonderful flavor. I’d say she was the winner of this meal…
…but anyone who ordered these crab cakes can’t really be deemed a loser. These were spectacular, with a high crab meat to filler ratio. The chef primarily let the crab do the talking, rather than masking its flavor with superfluous ingredients.
Hemingway’s is known for these crab cakes, and these was quite clear as we left the restaurant and saw the bustling open air kitchen, where over half of the dishes being prepared were crab cakes. (The restaurant was packed when we visited, as it’s a popular spot with conventioneers, so be sure to get reservations.)
For dessert Sarah had the coconut ice cream incased in chocolate. It was good, but it sounded and looked to me like the least impressive of the desserts they had. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re especially keen on coconut ice cream.
By contrast, my dessert was the bomb. I can’t recall what it was called, but it might as well have been, “A Salute to All Decadent Things, But Mostly Peanut Butter.” It was like peanut butter angels dancing on my taste buds, and I’d highly recommend it. It is super rich, so you might consider splitting this (and the Key Lime Pie, which also looked really good).
Let’s move on–we still haven’t gotten to the guest rooms…
These rooms are really great, with a large footprint that effectively utilizes space. They have a modern design flare that’s enhanced by some colorful flourishes and decor. The furniture was really nice, and the inclusion of Starbucks coffee was a nice touch.
The rooms also include a multi-media plugin, cool-box, double sized sofa sleeper, work desk, high speed wifi, large flat screen television, and more.
Of course, this being a chain-branded hotel, they have a fancy proprietary name for the bedding, this being Hyatt Grand Beds™. I have no clue what that’s support to mean, but the bed was really comfortable, as were the pillows.
The bed did look a little on the basic side without a runner or anything, but I know this is a common style now. There’s also an iHome, for those of you still rockin’ an iPhone 4 or earlier.
While the entire room was impressive, we really liked the bathroom. In addition to the walk-in shower (always a plus!), these bathrooms have basin sinks, great mirror lighting, and–most importantly–a rainshower head in the shower. We did find ourselves invariably splashing a ton of water onto the floor of the bathroom (even with the shower door shut), but perhaps we are just inept.
All things considered, we really liked the room. It was spacious with a modern style that wasn’t over the top, nice finishings, really comfortable bed, and great bathroom.
In terms of price, rack rates start at about $250/night (including that pesky resort fee). At that rate, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress probably is not going to lure away a lot of Walt Disney World die hards who stay on-site for those perks, but it is most definitely a compelling option for luxury travelers, conventioneers, and even families looking for a resort that isn’t “Disneyified.”
Save for the theming and on-site perks like Extra Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is most definitely a Deluxe caliber hotel by Walt Disney World standards, and I’d put it ahead of all Disney Deluxe hotels when viewed objectively. Rather than renting a car, we used Uber to get between the hotel and parks (there’s also a free shuttle), and the cost from the Hyatt to the Contemporary (closest drop-off to Magic Kingdom) was just under $10, and efficient in terms of time.
Overall, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress totally won us over. It is most definitely a destination resort, and you could spend several days here without ever leaving the hotel. It’s the perfect hotel for families wanting nice accommodations for an Orlando vacation, but not needing the perks of staying on-site at Walt Disney World, and not wanting to a pay a premium for the Disney name. The nightly rate is high and the resort fee annoying, but for those wanting a luxury resort hotel in Orlando, the price is justified.
Have you stayed at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress near Walt Disney World? What did you think? Considering staying here or another nearby hotel? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!