Universal Orlando's Sapphire Resort opens

Universal Orlando's Sapphire Falls Resort is now open for business. The company's fifth on-property resort is located between the Royal Pacific and Cabana Bay Beach resorts, and is Universal's first new hotel opening since Cabana Bay was introduced in 2014.

The new hotel has 1,000 rooms, helping Universal Orlando's total room count reach 5,200. Amenities at the property include the Amatista Cookhouse restaurant, Strong Water Tavern and a 16,000-square-foot pool surrounded by waterfalls.

Guests at the Sapphire Falls Resort also are given access to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks one hour before outside patrons.

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Universal Orlando's five resorts, including Portofino Bay and the Hard Rock Hotel, are all operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts.

Universal Orlando recently submitted plans for a 600-room hotel near Sapphire Falls. On top of this, executives at Universal said in a statement that current and expected occupancy levels show the park could sustain two or three-times as many guestrooms that are currently available, and are actively looking for locations to make this a reality. One option, the Wet 'N Wild water park, is closing this year and is anticipated to become a candidate for such development.

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