Hotels

Rockin’ the Retro | A Deep Dive at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

November 30, 2022
View of Cabana Bay Pool and Hotel

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is an homage to the motor hotels of the 50s and 60s, a time when families would pack into their cars and drive across the country to their dream vacation. With its vibrant color palette, iconic architecture, and themed décor, your vacation at Universal Orlando Resort will have the perfect touch of retro fun for any fan. As someone who is a lover and collector of vintage (especially mid-century), Cabana Bay is a hotel that I hold very dear. Let’s tour some of the spots Cabana Bay has to offer and learn a bit about what inspired the nostalgic look of this hotel.

The Entrance

Facade Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Early morning

When you first drive up to Cabana Bay Beach Resort, you are greeted by a gorgeous neon sign that welcomes you to the hotel which, rest assured, offers color TV and cold air. Featured in the drop-off loop is an array of classic cars that adds to that classic motel feeling.

The Lobby

Cabana Bay Lounge

As soon as you enter the lobby you are fully immersed in mid-century style. No matter what way you look as you enter the building, there is stylish furniture in eye-catching colors, a soundtrack of classics from the 50s and 60s, and a beautiful mosaic behind the check-in counter. One of my favorite design elements of the resort is the huge terrarium in the middle of the lobby that rises to the ceiling of the building. The lobby is heavily inspired by the former Americana Hotel in Miami Beach, a style icon itself.

Swizzle Lounge

Cabana Bay Swizzle Lounge

Be sure to take some time during your stay to check out the Swizzle Lounge, located right in the lobby. Sit back and relax in style in the lounging areas and sip on classic drinks with a modern twist, such as the Swizzle Rum Punch or the Sunshine Mule.

PRO TIP: If you really want to have a swinging time, enjoy live music at the bar Friday through Sunday.

Galaxy Bowl Restaurant

Bowling alleys at Galaxy Bowl Cabana Bay

Is there anything more retro than bowling? Challenge your friends and family to a bit of friendly competition at Galaxy Bowl. Inspired by charming bowling alleys of the past, such as the infamous Hollywood Star Lanes from The Big Lebowski , this 10-lane bowling alley combines retro style with modern technology. Galaxy Bowl also offers a sit-down style meal with delicious appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks. Some menu highlights include wings, burgers, and the Coca-Cola cake. Whenever I stay here, I always make sure I have time to play a game (or two) of bowling.

Pool Activities

Woman sitting on pool chair reading at Cabana Bay Pool

Looking for a way to cool off in the Florida heat? Cabana Bay is the place to be, with two unique pool areas on each side of the hotel. In the Cabana Courtyard, you will find a pool with a giant diving tower as its centerpiece. The tower is purely decorative (so please do not practice your diving tricks), but it houses a 100-foot-long slide. Also in the courtyard area is the Atomic Tonic bar with a snazzy rocket-ship centerpiece inspired by the 60s space age era. If you want a bit of privacy while enjoying your pool day there are cabanas available for rent. All cabanas provide much needed shade, HDTV, Wi-Fi, a mini fridge with water, overhead fan (!), safe, and plenty of seating. Over at the Lazy River Courtyard, relax and unwind in the lazy river, complete with fountains and waterfalls. The Hideaway Bar & Grill is another poolside bar with a groovy vibe, delicious meal options and snacks, and — most importantly — great drink options. Some of my favorites include SPF 50, Cloud 9, and the Funky Monkey. Both pool areas offer sandy beaches, fire pits for roasting marshmallows at night, outdoor lounging areas, and postcard-perfect hotel views. There’s no view like floating along the lazy river looking up towards the lush tropical palm trees and a beautifully color-blocked hotel building. Be sure to check out the pools at night as well to see all of the neon signage come to life.

Bayliner Diner

Bayliner Restaurant Cabana Bay

The Bayliner Diner is the go-to for a wide variety of quick-service food. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza, sandwiches, burgers, or international, you’re guaranteed to find something everyone will enjoy. My favorite food option at the Bayliner Diner is Delizioso Pizza (especially the Southwestern Flatbread), which even comes in a themed box! You can also buy smores kits for the fire pits here. A fun detail that I love that really adds to the vibe of the dining area is the neon signs for each of the stations. I absolutely love seeing neon signs and retro graphics, so it is always great to see signage in this style. Once you grab your food, head to the sunken dining room and enjoy watching a selection of vintage advertisements displayed at each end of the dining space. I love seeing all the old ads for kids’ toys and food items.

The Rooms

Family Room Cabana Bay with Volcano Bay View

The retro-inspired fun continues into the Family Suite. Every part of the room bursts with vibrant and retro fun, from the geometric bedspread to the modernist wall art to the quintessential mid-century furniture. Some of my favorite small details in the room include the bedside alarm clock, vintage soap packaging, and various lighting fixtures. The room is also equipped with modern utilities like a flatscreen TV and a mini fridge, but trust me, the modern appliances definitely don’t take away from the comforting feeling of being in another era.

PRO TIP: Staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort gives you all kinds of benefits, but my favorite one is its proximity to Volcano Bay — if you follow the walking path inside the hotel, you can be inside the water park in just a few minutes! You also get early access to the theme parks, letting you get a head-start on the excitement and fun.

Universal Studios Store

What’s a vacation without a quick stop at a gift shop? Along with a wide variety of Universal Orlando merchandise including all of your favorite characters, you can also shop for fun Cabana Bay themed merchandise with t-shirts, bathrobes (I bought this the last time I stayed here), candles, pins representing some of the resort’s signage, and more! Keep an eye out for the decorations on the shelves. Hidden within it are suitcases with vintage-style Cabana Bay travel stickers and postcards, and references to popular tourist destinations in Florida.

For me, a true retro-style lover, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the perfect hotel for immersive family fun with plenty to do for guests of all ages. From poolside fun to exploring the themed offerings, you’re sure to enjoy your next visit.

Woman dressed in a green retro dress walking down the hallway at Cabana Bay

If you’re like me and enjoy everything retro, make sure to click here to make a reservation and travel back in time with Cabana Bay!

Must be 21 years and older with valid photo identification to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Drink responsibly.

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