by Wendy Irvine
Raring for a summer vacation dripping in upscale pools, resort activities and serene relaxation? Then envision this: 48 lush acres with fountains galore; two lakes wreathed in two-bedroom villas that sleep up to eight with full kitchens; large screened-in lanais designed for al fresco dining; and giant, jetted Whirlpools sprawling next to each king bed in the master rooms.
Marriott’s Cypress Harbour in Orlando boasts three tropical pools, hot tubs, a small, toddler-friendly beach, lovely walking bridges, mini-golf, light-boating on the resort’s lake, casual dining, a small destination-like spa, a large fitness room, a pool-bar that feels friendly, tennis courts, large play structures and impressive day and evening entertainment.
More enticing is that Marriott’s Cypress Harbour sits in the middle of the crackling Orlando action. Walt Disney World is a mere nine minutes away from the resort, while Sea World Orlando is just six and Universal is 12 minutes away. You’re also just 13 minutes to Orlando’s I-Drive 360 entertainment complex.
You could easily spend a solid week at this resort without leaving the property and never be bored for a moment. The property’s daytime and evening activities are detailed in the Resort Activity Guide that you’ll receive at check-in. One morning might include a coffee tasting and an aqua cardio kickboxing class, and later — for the kids — build-a-buddy (kids stuff a favorite soft animal). Evening activities might include a speaker from Orlando’s local Gatorland who arrives with live “friends” and teaches to a rapt audience. (We loved the free lesson!) We were bummed to miss the most popular evening event — a Royal Polynesian Show with flame-throwers and hula dancers — but we’ll catch it next time.
Our Editor Loves
- Luxury two-room villas with full kitchens
- Three lush pools with day and evening activities
- Luxurious spa with kids' services
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Two-Bedroom, Two-Bathroom Villas
Marriott's Cypress Harbour is comprised of four-floor buildings with a total of 510 two-bedroom, two-bathroom villas, with most delivering a stunning lake view. Each villa is similar to a large, gorgeous apartment with excellent flow, upscale furnishings and full kitchens with every amenity. Free Wi-Fi is available in all villas.
The full kitchen has all necessary appliances, flatware and a dishwasher. The dining area easily seats five and three bar stools afford even more seating. Additionally, a full-size washer and dryer, plus soap, are in each villa. There's even a laundry basket.
The living room is a beautiful nautical blend of blues and yellows. The room's centerpiece is a large comma-shaped couch that can comfortably hold four people with a cozy chair sitting beside. All comfy furnishings face a giant flat-screen TV. Just off the living room is a huge screened-in lanai with another dining table, chairs and a ceiling fan. Take a load off and gaze out to the sparkling lake view.
Every villa boasts two bedrooms. The master suite has a king bed with an enormous Whirlpool tub sitting beside it, plus a large shower and a private toilet room. The second bedroom has its own full bathroom and a sofa bed so you can put two kids in one bed and two in the sofa bed. Playards can be requested at the front desk and up to two are allowed in one villa. Up to eight guests can sleep comfortably in one villa.
I have been an owner for many years and have visited numerous times and always pleased with the beautiful grounds, service and accommodations. The resort is in a gated community and has over 200 2 bedroom lovely suites that sleep 8 in a number of buildings. Each suite has a kitchen, living room and dining area. Each building has 4 floors, an elevator and all units have a lovely porch overlooking the lake. Just a few minutes from Sea world and about 15 from Universal and twenty from Disney, it offers the distinct advantage of numerous nearby restaurants of varying cuisine and prices, as well as pharmacies , Publix supermarket and access to anything you need. The grounds are lovely and their are many organized activities such as biking, fishing and even a man made Beach with several pools.
3 night stay in a two bedroom suite. No bottled water, no microwave popcorn which are a couple of easy touches to make this a more pleasant stay. Went to the concierge to find out the name of the music group that was on the schedule and the lady was clueless on who was playing and the style of music. Speed bumps around the property’s the extreme and you could tell the rental cars that never slowed down. Good pizza at the restaurant and pleasant staff. As a Bonvoy member, expect a little bit more from Marriott.
Lake House Activities Center
The Lake House Activities Center is home to loads of kids' activities. Outside sits a ginormous chess set, a basketball court and two pool tables. Inside, kids will find lounging spots, a baby grand piano that kids are encouraged to play, an impressive video game room (with classic and modern games), a teen center (with a Ping-Pong table, computers and a flat-screen TV), and a child club area (filled with toys, books and a large flat-screen TV playing continuous kid flicks). The Lake House also has a full kitchen and is home to the daily ice cream social soiree.
Ice Cream Social
The Lake House Activities Center is home to Cypress Harbour's ice cream social that is a party in a sundae. Kids let staff know which kind of ice cream they want -- Edy's chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shortcake -- and they also choose from several toppings, such as crushed Oreos, M&Ms, sprinkles, whipped cream and more. Sundaes are just $4 per person.
Three worth-a-postcard-home heated pools will captivate every family member. Two pools welcome every age, while one pool is for adults who want nothing more than to sink into a book sans giggling and shouting. Upscale, outdoor showers are available at every pool.
The Island Pool is ideal for everyone. Rows of chaise lounges and dining tables sit under azure umbrellas and a giant pergola that both dispense plenty of shade. An enormous tower sends two cascades of water onto swimmers. A small toddler-pool sits next to the Island Pool and is just the ticket for the darling-set. Bathrooms and a vending machine are on hand, eliminating a need to rush back to the villa.
The Island Pool also has a dry sauna (open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and two whirlpools (open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.). A tiny sandy beach is also close to the Island Pool.
The Club House Pool has both a large toddler pool and three hot tubs sitting nearby. The Club House Pool is shouldered by the resort's eating spots, including an outdoor bar, Pizza Hut Express and the Galley Grill that serves burgers and salads. Dining tables with umbrellas are sprinkled around the pool area, making it easy to picnic poolside.
Cypress Harbour plays games at the pool during the day (usually around 1 p.m.). We played Bingo and prizes were handed out. (Think a free sundae at the ice cream social.)
The Bayside Pool is for adults only and is encircled in comfy chaise lounges, one hot tub and lots of quiet. A restroom in the Lake House is also nearby.
Learn & Play
At arrival, every Cypress Harbour guest is given a Resort Activities Guide detailing the activities happening throughout the resort. From 9 a.m. to often 9:30 p.m., fun includes creating a sand globe; building a car and racing it; a dodge ball tournament; creating brownies-in-a-mug; scuba diving lessons; sea-glass jewelry making or dive-in movies. Some activities are complimentary while others have a fee.
Four modern play structures with slides and climbing areas all sitting atop foam rubber will delight kids and parents alike. Two structures are smaller and will entice kids ages 8 and under, while two structures are larger and will challenge kids ages 9 and up. They are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Golf for Kids
An impressive 18-hole mini-golf green is available for the kids and families. Clubs and balls can be rented at the Lake House for $3 a person.
Soccer and Volleyball
A soccer field sits well behind the Lake House and a volleyball sandpit sits next to the sparkling lake. Guests can check out sports balls (soccer, football, volleyball) from the Lake House. There is no cost -- just leave a name and villa number and plan to return the ball within 24 hours.
Rent a beach cruiser or go for something different like a surrey single bench (a bike that holds two people) or a surrey double bench (holds four people; both with umbrellas) and have a memorable blast pedaling around the large resort property.
Paddle, electric and sailboats can all be rented for a fee and taken onto the resort's lake.
Complimentary family photos can be taken by a professional photographer at the resort, upon request. Sign up at the lobby photo desk when you arrive.
A red carpet is rolled out for teens, who can choose any spa treatment as long as an adult is on scene. They might want to pick the Clean Facial treatment that was created just for the tween and teen set and incorporates French green clay and plant extracts to soothe teen skin. The treatment includes a lesson in creating habits to maintain healthy skin; it's available for kids ages 12 to 17 only and is $95 per person.
The Pampered Princess is for kids ages 10 and under, who will receive a pedicure, a facial mask and a spa gift to take back to their villa. This treatment is $45 per child. A 20 percent tip is added to services. Reservations are recommended.
The Marriott Cypress Harbour sits in the center of Orlando. Many hot spots are just a quick drive from Cypress Harbour, while others are a bit of a drive. Walt Disney World Resort is a nine-minute drive away, Universal Orlando Resort is 12 minutes away and Sea World Orlando is just six minutes. Gatorland is a 20-minute drive, Busch Gardens Tampa is just over an hour away, Orlando Museum of Art is 30 minutes away and Old Town is 14 minutes away.
For a casual meal, head to the Galley Grill. The menu offers appetizers, salads, light fare, burgers and sandwiches, fries and the like. Kids' meals include chicken tenders, burgers, grilled cheese and mozzarella sticks. There is outdoor seating available under large umbrellas. The Grill is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Sharing space with the Galley Grill is a Pizza Hut. Parents should take the opportunity to eat at the Galley Grill and let the kids have their usual at Pizza Hut if your children are picky eaters. Pizza Hut is open for lunch and dinner daily.
Pavilion Bar & Grill
The Pavilion Bar & Grill faces both the Cypress Harbour's indoor lobby and the Club House pool. Both bars have a family-friendly vibe and are a fun place to pick up a fruity drink (how about the Cypress Gator with Castillo rum, melon liqueur, Blue Curacao, orange and pineapple Juice?) or a cold beer. The menu features gourmet appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, pizza and pasta. Check out the Pavilion Bar's Happy Hour for great prices. It is open daily for lunch and dinner.
The MarketPlace is a large shop full of tasty treats and cool souvenirs. You'll find staples like cereal, pasta, Krispy Kreme donuts, specialty ice cream and more. You can also snag a cup of Starbucks or a specialty espresso. The MarketPlace is also a fun browsing spot for jewelry, clothes, pool toys and so forth. While some prices rock, others are a little steep. The MarketPlace is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
BBQ and Picnic Areas
Both gas and charcoal grills and outdoor eating spots are nestled throughout the resort, close to each villa's building for convenience.
Less than 10 minutes away is a Walmart Superstore, where you'll find everything under the Orlando sun. Shop here to stock your villa's kitchen.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary amenities include playards, Wi-Fi, parking, pool towels and many daytime and evening activities. There is no resort fee either.
The resort offers a large, glassed-in fitness room with over a dozen cardio machines (each with its own screen), free weights, yoga balls, giant-screen TVs, cold water and neck towels. Both the men and women's locker room sport a dry sauna and a multi-head shower.
The resort often offers a Kids' Night Out program on the activity schedule, where parents can drop off little ones while they enjoy a quiet, kid-free dinner. The resort can also offer a list of independent resources that families can contact directly.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 10 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
Marriott's Cypress Harbour's busiest time tends to be when kids are out of school -- spring break, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and, of course, summer. Holiday weekends are also busy. Consider a visit in September or October, when the weather's nice and the resort is quiet.
The Orlando International Airport (MCO) sits just 15 miles from Marriott's Cypress Harbour resort.
Marriott's Cypress Harbour has a small bus that shuttles guests around the large property. Call the front desk for details.
For Mom and Dad
The Cypress Harbour provides a Resort Activities Guide full of many fun activities designed for parents like Pilates, yoga and T'ai chi classes. Parents can also participate in the craft beer or intro to wine tasting. And the list goes on with blackjack at the pool or learning more about your digital camera and how to take great pictures.