We had a couple out of town family members attending a conference in Orlando, so Steve (DOS) and I used this as an excuse to see them and do a mini-staycation at one of our favorite hotels; the Hyatt Regency Cypress Creek Orlando. The Hyatt Cypress is a beautiful 1,500 acre resort adjacent to Disney Springs and literally overlooking much of the Disney property from the higher floors of the resort.
We checked in Saturday afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised to get upgraded to an Executive Suite! As it was only a two night stay, we had booked a standard room, but having Hyatt Globalist status, and having stayed at this resort several times (most recently New Year’s) worked in our favor for a nicer room. We didn’t even request the upgrade, so it was quite a nice add-on for our weekend stay-cation.
While we didn’t have the humongous terrace that we reserve (and pay extra $$$ for) on special occasions such as New Year’s, we did have a nice room at the end of the hall which was actually two connecting rooms; one with a living room and bath, and one with the bedroom and additional bath. We had 3 small balconies; one of which was an end-unit balcony, offering privacy and an EPCOT view, while the other two overlooked the lake and Magic Kingdom in the far distance.
As my ankle is still on the mend and I’m wearing my Ritchie Brace, we didn’t do a lot of walking around the resort as we normally would; preferring instead to relax quite a bit.
The first night DOS and I had dinner at Hemingway’s; a Key West themed diner in the hotel. We enjoy this restaurant very much, and last had dinner here with friends on New Year’s Eve. The wait staff at Hemingway’s has been there for years; some even since the resort opened over 30 years ago! Most remember us by face, if not by name, and we always get outstanding service there. We sat in the bar for a few minutes while waiting for our table and chatted with the bartender, who like the restaurant wait staff had been there for years. He remembered us from previous visits and took a photo of us before we headed to dinner.
As DOS and I are still sticking with our diets, we ate more healthy and lighter than usual, with Ahi Tuna appetizers, salad, and Salmon for the main course. We also shared a bottle of Freemark Abbey Cabernet (wonderful!), and didn’t even finish the bottle, which we took back to the room. Who said being on a diet can’t be fun! While the wine was a bit of a calorie splurge, cutting back during the week allows for a weekend indulgence in moderation.
The next day was a very relaxing and beautiful Florida Spring day. As it’s warm, but not too hot and humid, we sat down by the pool a bit, although again couldn’t walk around much due to my sore and braced ankle. The pool area and surrounding actives at the Hyatt Grand Cypress are among the best in the area, and with the gated and tree-lined property also are very private; even more so than many of the deluxe Disney properties, where people roam thru the resorts out of interest.
The main pool is quite busy, and while we didn’t swim this visit, there is a ‘cool’ (literally!) cave towards the side of the pool that has an indoor whirlpool, lounge chairs etc – the perfect place to cool off a bit from the hot rays of the sun. It’s also fun to watch the kayakers, pedal boaters, kids running thru the fountains etc all having fun. The Hyatt has loads of activities for every age and fitness level, and as most people are most likely touring the nearby Disney theme parks, it doesn’t feel very crowded; actually quite peaceful.
I even found my own rocking horse activity I could do even with a sore ankle!
The quieter pool, a bit past the main one is mostly an adults area pool, complete with a large swinging bridge over it. Meanwhile people were teeing off to golf, or walking around the trails in the distance. We usually walk at least the one mile trail (out of three and five), however didn’t this time due to my right ankle issue.
We had lunch at Lakehouse Restaurant, a large and casual indoor venue at the Hyatt with high ceilings soaring two levels, and lots of windows overlooking the property. Although they have delicious brick oven pizza, we declined that this time and had mixed green salads with chicken.
In the evening, we stopped by the Concierge Lounge for a short while before heading out to dinner. The Lounge is on the 12th floor, and has spectacular views and a terrace overlooking Disney Springs and Epcot. From 5pm to 7pm they serve complimentary hors d’ourves, including beer and wine, although other drinks are available for purchase.
Around 7pm we took a private Mears town car DOS had arranged, and went to Shula’s Restaurant at the Dolphin Hotel on Disney property along the Boardwalk area. We were meeting my brother’s partner Art, and his grown daughter Angie for dinner, as they had both been in town attending a conference at the Gaylord Palms which had just ended. They were extending their fun a couple days before going home to Virginia and Ohio respectively.
Once at the Dolphin we saw Angie and Art seated at the large lobby bar, and went over and joined them for a quick brewski (at least I did – DOS had water). We took a couple photos and had some laughs and catching up to do before we headed over to dinner at Shula’s, just off the main lobby.
We love Shula’s Restaurant, so named after the famous football coach of the same name, last eating here Dec 30th on our New Year’s weekend staycation. DOS and I knew going into the evening this would be a food splurge, but after doing so well on our diets, we really didn’t go overboard to badly. As they seat you, they hand you a football which makes for a great photo op.
We were seated in a large room initially, and asked to switch places as we knew there were some smaller and more quiet areas of the restaurant. Our waiter was happy to oblige, and served us well throughout the night. We had had him before; he’s originally from the UK, but has been in Orlando nearly 1/2 his short life of 28 now, moving with his parents when he was 14. He really is quite professional, but funny as well, which we prefer instead of a ‘stiff’ and formal waiter in an upscale steakhouse such as this.
We had appetizers including Ahi tuna and shrimp cocktail, and paired with a delicious Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc for starters.
For our entree Angie, Art, and myself each had a delicious ribeye, while DOS had a Grouper fish dish. We had a bottle of Sequoia Grove with our entrees and really had a fun night together. While we had seen Art recently when we were in Virginia last month, we hadn’t seen Angie in several years, since she and her hubby Drew were down for the Food and Wine Festival a while back.
Our meal and socializing stretched on a bit, so we had to call the Mears driver and request he come 1/2 and hour later and meet us at 11pm instead of 10:30pm.
After a fun night of wining and dining, we eventually had to call it a night and take the Mears town car back to our hotel, while Angie and Art just had to walk upstairs to their rooms. What a fun night at Shula’s!
The next day we got a late checkout, and headed back to the house; a short 45 minute drive. As we checked out, DOS made reservations here for New Year’s Eve, specifically requesting our favorite terrace room we like on the 12th floor, similar to the one we had last New Year’s Eve but with a better view. Hey, New Year’s Eve will be here in 8 months so you have to plan ahead! Here’s a pic from last year’s New Year’s Eve with our friends Ben and Tom on our 12th floor terrace. We bring our own Christmas lights so it is a truly festive way to ring in the New Year!
And as time is a-flying, it will be the end of 2018 soon enough. But for now, we had a wonderful stay-cation at the Hyatt Regency Cypress Creek! Until next time . . .