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The Path To Universal Orlando Resort’s Reopening — Hotels

July 9, 2020
HotelsReopening

On March 15, 2020, with the sweet sounds of Mardi Gras playing me and my friends out, I exited Universal Orlando Resort’s parking garage not knowing when the next time I’d be able to return would be. 

These past few months of closure, while some of us have been hard at work perfecting Irish Soda Bread, a team at Universal has been hard at work preparing us for our phased reopening that began on June 1st. 

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to meet with four of our executives about the reopening process and what it’s looked like in four key areas — operations, food and beverage, entertainment, and hotels.

I spoke with the senior vice president of operations for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort, David Bartek, all about updates to the hotel experience. Here’s what I learned.

KATIE: What has the process been like for you and your team to prepare for reopening?

DAVID: From the day we temporarily suspended operations at all of our resort hotels, we started working on the reopening. It has been an evolving process, constantly focused on the latest guidance from the CDC and state and local officials. Throughout these past few months, we’ve worked to ensure that the health and well-being of our guests and Team Members always remained our priority. We introduced hundreds of new standards and protocols in our hotels — from temperature checks of guests and Team Members to face coverings and to enhancing our already stringent cleaning practices and installing signage that reminds our guests to socially distance.

KATIE: How have Team Members responded so far to all of this?

DAVID: Our Team Members have been amazing. They have stepped up and shown great resilience and commitment. We rolled out a series of training videos that went through all of the key areas — from how to properly wash your hands, wear a face covering, and other guidance from the CDC. We have ongoing training that focuses on protecting yourself and others, proper use of PPE, work safety, and cleaning protocols. All of this has been very well received and embraced by our team.

KATIE: What types of conversations, both internally and externally, have prepared you and your team for reopening?

DAVID: We continue to talk about the shared responsibility we all have in this for the sake of our community, our business, our guests, and each other. We’ve also been transparent about the many protocols we have in place. When a guest asks us what we clean with, we share with them that we are using an EPA-approved cleaner and disinfectant that’s effective against emerging viral pathogens and coronavirus. We are also now leaving guest rooms vacant for 24-48 hours, before thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting that room. These protocols and conversations are incredibly important as we work to instill confidence in our guests in the new environment we are all navigating.

KATIE: What are the top things guests need to know about the operational changes in your area of Universal?

DAVID: First off, as I mentioned, all of the changes we have made at our hotels are in the interest of guest and Team Member safety and well-being and have been informed with guidance from the CDC. Just as important, I want our guests to know that even though so many things may look different in our hotels right now, the most important aspect of what we do is the same. That is to welcome our guests like family when they come to experience our incredible destination. In addition to that, we’re also offering several contactless experiences throughout the hotels and we encourage our guests to text with us through Chat Your Service. This service will be explained to them at check-in and allows guests to easily text us a request or question.

KATIE: What can guests look forward to now that hotels are open again? 

DAVID: Many of their favorite experiences are back — a leisurely lap around the lazy river at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort or a great poolside meal at Hard Rock Hotel. So many guests shared with us about what they missed the most and we’re thrilled to get back to creating those experiences they love.

Find more details on our operations and safety updates here.

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17 Comments

  • Reply Cathy Limone August 20, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Although we all understand what is going on it was disappointing getting email that our stay at the Sapphire was being moved to another hotel which is the other Royal Pacific, The Sapphire was the hotel we spend a long weekend with numerous quest for my daughter wedding in 2018, this was a way to cheer her up on this struggle this year which it affects a lot of folks especially the places we love. So do not get me wrong, it just makes no sense to allow us to book that hotel and then close it while the booking was done a while. With nothing more than putting you in what you feel is a notch up which we love the Sapphire the most and then Portofino but we were told Portofino is not opened either.

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Hi Cathy, thank you for your feedback, and we do sincerely apologize for any disappointment. Our Teams are working to accommodate all of our Guests as best as they can. We are sure you will absolutely love Loews Royal Pacific Resort with the breathtaking atmosphere, exceptional cuisine, and complimentary Universal Express Passes!

  • Reply adam whittaker August 20, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I have booked (2) stays at the Royal Pacific prior to the consolidation announcement. One for September the other in November. I want to know what kind of extra compensation I will be receiving at check in time, since I chose the premium property ahead of the announcement?

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Hi Adam! If you would like to discuss any details regarding your reservation, please contact our Reservations Team at 888-464-3551.

  • Reply Ed Kollar August 20, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Is there an expected timetable as to the closure of the Sapphire? We have stayed there in November since it opened, and looked forward to returning this November. We travel with our dog and loved the accommodations you provided.

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 6:19 pm

      Hello Ed,

      Sapphire Falls Resort is currently scheduled to close August 21, 2020. We will closely monitor this consolidated approach to our operations and will adjust as needed!

  • Reply Laura August 20, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    My husband and I have had annual passes for a while. While I appreciate & understand the park closing for COVID-19, but having the best time of the year to go (March/ April) taken away was huge. I understand these dates have been added on to the “end” of the term as an extension, but I do not feel comfortable visiting the park with the outbreaks in Florida. I understand that you guys have taken precautions, but I still do not feel comfortable putting my husband or I at risk. What concessions can be made to extend our passes through 2021? I look forward to your reply and thank you in advance

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Laura, please reach out to our Guest Services Team at 407-224-4233 option 4 or GuestServices@universalorlando.com for further assistance. Thank you!

  • Reply giovanna August 20, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    We are booked for next April, so hopefully everything will be back to normal by then. I know it’s not your fault, but it is sad to receive emails about this fabulous place with pictures of people masked up and cleaning, instead of people enjoying the place!

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Giovanna! We hope to see you soon! Thanks!

  • Social Media Team
    Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Trish, we are very sorry for your experience. We will go ahead and document it to forward it to the proper Teams. If you would like to leave further feedback, please reach out to us at GuestServices@universalorlando.com or call us at 407-224-7840. Again, we are sorry.

  • Reply Amanda August 20, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    We are booked for October at Royal Pacific and we need to make the decision on the final payment soon. Disney just announced that anyone with a resort/vacation reservation can cancel with a full refund up to 24 hours in advance of their check-in date. Will Universal be adopting this same policy? In this climate it is so hard to make this decision 45 days in advance. I think it would help people feel more comfortable in making and/or keeping their reservations.

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Amanda, please reach out to our Hotel Reservations Team for further assistance at (888) 273-1311.

  • Reply Greg August 21, 2020 at 1:46 am

    The headline of the article is The Path To Universal Orlando Resort’s Reopening — Hotels

    Non of the article content has anything to do with a pathway to reopening hotels. It’s an article about cleaning the currently open hotels.

    What are universals plans for reopening the hotels? What we’re the reasons for closing them, what key indicators will they use for deciding to reopen them?

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 21, 2020 at 7:58 am

      Hi Greg, Universal Orlando hotels are an important part of the guest experience. Universal Orlando’s resort hotels have enhanced its standards and protocols throughout its operations. These enhancements, which are subject to change as guidance from health and government officials is updated, currently include enhanced cleaning of guest rooms, meeting rooms and public areas with an EPA-approved cleaner and disinfectant. For more information about our safety guidelines, during this phased reopening. Please visit https://bit.ly/3gfuauo

  • Reply Joshua W. August 21, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    I am going to be celebrating my 40th Birthday with the Universal Studios team in just a few short hours as we stay at my absolute favorite onsite hotel, Cabana Bay for the weekend. This year has been filled with a ton of disappointments (like HHN being cancelled 🙁 but I just want to commend the Universal Staff for doing everything they could to reopen as much of their property as quickly and as safely as possible. And although there are some things that we will go without, I am still super grateful I will be able to spend my milestone at one of my absolute favorite places in the world to be, Universal Studios Orlando! I can’t wait to see the Tribute Store!!

    Keep up the excellent work!

    • Social Media Team
      Reply Social Media Team August 22, 2020 at 7:47 am

      Hey Joshua! We look forward to your celebration with us! You are going to LOVE the Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store this year! See ya soon!

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