REVIEW: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I can genuinely appreciate an array of hotels and resorts, as most really do have the potential to appeal - it's just a matter of finding those qualities that make it awesome, or seeking out the advantages it has over other locations. Every now and then however, you stumble upon something that takes absolutely no effort to appreciate, and no narrowed audience to uncover. That is the case with our latest Summer Series Spotlight Resort - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! Covering a vast 1,500 acre site, bustling with lush gardens and tropical features, the resort boasts 815 non-smoking guest rooms and suites with views overlooking Lake Windsong or the half-acre pool. Opened in 1984, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress underwent a $30 million renovation in 2013.

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The wow factor is in full effect from the moment you drive up, and it kicks into high-gear as soon you enter the lobby. The main building is just stunning. It's an open-air atrium, awash in natural light. The elevators are walled in glass, allowing for tremendous views all the way up and down the building. Contemporary lighting and decor add just the right level of POP and style to every nook, cranny and landing.

Guests are offered a glass of champagne at check-in, providing the perfect excuse to roam the lobby for a cozy place to lounge out and soak it all in. Ample seating options beckon to locales flanked with fountains, televisions, lounges (of which there are three on-site, by the way), lush greenery, and a few other surprises.

The lobby is also home to the resort's parrot ambassador, Merlot (who I must admit to envying for his prime spot in paradise). Near the main elevators toward the back of the lobby, you'll find the Lombard Contemporary Art Gallery. And if this excites you, keep in mind that it's only the start to the masterpieces strewn across the property. Watch for the transformations from art deco to almost island-like - in furnishings, accents, and paintings/murals. It's really quite amazing how the building evolves in its vibe, while always remaining warm, inviting, and tranquil. 

One more tantalizing treat to note that can be found off the lobby - the 5,200 square-foot, full-service Marilyn Monroe Spa. Designed to have the feel of the famed starlet's home, the spa provides a wide range of services to pamper, primp, and indulge in every way possible. Some services are even offered in your resort room, including hair and makeup for a fabulous night out. In the spa itself, revel in 
massages, body wraps, and facials. Exclusive products can be purchased at the Spa Store. For a full menu of spa services, click here.

Okay, enough gawking at the lobby. Let's go check out our room!

Ample seating, lounging, and storage space! Every surface is comfortable, so no worries about everyone fighting for an acceptable spot to claim as their own. The decor is tasteful and subtle with just the right splash of color scattered throughout. And everyone is bound to enjoy the large, mounted flat-screen TV with a great channel lineup (including pay-per-view options).

The best way to describe the bathroom is - thoughtful! It's notably spacious, incredibly well-lit, and beautifully modern in decor. Toiletries are of a higher-grade and greater quantity than the standard hotel. 

One of my favorite aspects of the resort - the numerous modern touches and tech inclusions. The rooms have multi-media plugins, which I absolutely appreciated to no end! I always find myself struggling to accommodate all of my devices and cords, so this was a welcome change. I didn't even need the adapters I often need to make my contraptions work in the various ways I demand. I took notice of a couple charging stations in other areas of the building (though these may have only been associated with the event taking place in the event space). The lobby features a touch screen directory and info screen as well. Nice touches, that really make an overall impression!

Our room was on the second floor, on the pool side of the building. The desk sat beside the step-out balcony, providing great views, atmosphere from below, and a nice cozy spot to sit for a drink and a snack while taking it all in with some fresh air. The architecture of the resort is really very unique and remarkable, and this is a prime spot to truly begin to take notice of that. The perspective is stellar, but there's a lot more to see at ground level!
There are handy signs everywhere, but don't be afraid to wing it. This really is a massive property, and if I'm to be honest, some of my most enjoyable time here was spent just roaming. If you're the type to keep your camera handy, you'll be grateful for that instinct as you weave around the grounds. You see, some hotels claim to have gardens, but Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress takes this claim more seriously than most resorts. Take another look at one of those friendly guidepost signs and then look around it! As the many pathways wind up, down, and around, you begin to take note of the gorgeous, mature, tropical plants and flowers - fountains, simple streams, and gurgling mini-waterfalls peeking out from encircled coves - all surrounded by intricate statues and artworks. This is truly an extensive garden, and one that could practically get away with being an attraction itself.

I will readily admit to going a little photo happy, but can you blame me? I must have spent more than two hours just wandering around releasing a stream of oohs and aahs! Speaking of streams... I don't think I've given the water features their fair due.

Strolling along the gardens, you inevitably find your way to the edge of the 21-acre Lake Windsong. Here, you can partake in water sports such as paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, paddle boards and hydro-bikes. All of this is included in your resort fee ($30/day, plus tax). I have to acknowledge - I didn't have access to this variety of lake recreation even at The Contemporary Resort... and what was offered, wasn't included with the stay.

I am a sucker for a sunset, and Lake Windsong offers the perfect viewing spot, if your timing is right. While I was snapping some photos, a very excited photographer came running over to share some shots he had been taking of a couple that had just gotten married at the resort. The backdrop was indescribably amazing.

Aside from spectacular photo ops, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has a lot to offer in terms of weddings and other group events - more than 65,000 square feet of space, to be exact. Couple this with the spa, and you have an all-inclusive event WIN! Add in the Grand Cypress Tennis and Racquet Club with twelve tennis courts, and four Jack Nicklaus Signature designed golf courses, and you have successfully satisfied your entire group, undoubtedly.

A quick rundown of the other perks and amenities you'll enjoy during your stay: 
scheduled shuttle service to the theme parks and intra-property transportation24-hour room service, express check-in, on-site laundry service, Camp Hyatt for children, 9-hole Pitch and Putt Course, basketball, volleyball, rock climbing wall, pet friendly options (with restrictions and fees), and a 24-hour 2,500 square-foot StayFit Gym. (I'm tired from just typing all that!) Oh, did I mention that there's a pool?

Okay, "pool" may be an understatement. This is one tube chute away from qualifying as a theme park! The 800,000 gallon lagoon pool features a water slide, splash zone, whirlpools, a cave, a rope bridge, and a dozen waterfalls! Private cabanas are available to rent, and the poolside lounge serves up drinks and snacks. Add-on experiences like The Mermaid Academy, and make-it take-it decorative sand sculptures put the icing on the Hyatt cake. I know what you're thinking... I could stay here forever, too!

Beyond the three lounges, in-room dining, and a grab-and-go convenience market, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has two restaurants on property. Hemingway’s offers a dinner menu of steak, seafood, and other Island-inspired cuisine with a Key West/Cuba flair. If you're familiar with Ernest Hemingway, you can draw fair expectations of theming.

We enjoyed dinner at the new LakeHouse. Overlooking Lake Windsong, LakeHouse offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. This lavish, yet cozy, restaurant boasts an elaborate entry from a carpeted staircase down into the dramatic, open dining room. If you're a regular visitor to our site, you may have noticed that I have a weird interest in light fixtures. I confess... I find these dazzling!

The service was as inviting as the environment, with beautiful views and an overall feel of serenity. Whitewash and light woods mixed with appropriate doses of color just made for a brilliant look. In case you're wondering... the food was equally exquisite!

Wine, beer, and cocktails can all pair magically with French Onion Fondue. In fact, I can't imagine that anything would go badly with the fondue. Seemingly simple in concept, but mind-blowingly magical in reality. When it comes to appetizers, you need look no further. THIS is your choice!

While we don't always put forth the most adventurous palates, even the "everyday" items like ribs and macaroni and cheese can be a notch above on occasion. LakeHouse has a commitment to a "Thoughtfully Sourced, Carefully Served" menu that takes even the ordinary to that next level. Nothing was overwhelmed with seasonings or sauces, and nothing needed  to be. The quality and freshness of every item was simply undeniable. 

Let's not forget dessert! Not an overabundance of choices, but it's quite an opposite story when we talk about portions, where abundance is not quite adequate to describe it! I wasn't quite sure where I could locate a second stomach, but I got talked into the Nutella Bread Pudding. I have no words - just drool. Would it be over-dramatic for me to suggest it's worth a visit to the Hyatt just to try this? 

This has evolved into a mammoth review, and I didn't even cover a good portion of the amenities in-depth. This is the kind of resort that you could realistically park your car and stay put for a few days with no concerns of boredom. It is every bit the quality of a Disney resort, at a much more realistic price. With shuttle service, all these perks, and being only a mile away from Disney Springs (if that), the only thing missing is a Mickey waffle served up by Donald Duck... and you can hop aboard free transportation to get to that if it's an absolute necessity to your visit. In short - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is arguably worthy of being our favorite accommodations recommendation of the year!

Don't miss our full Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress photo spread!