One thing you might expect of a hotel with “resort” in its name is a spa, but Royal Pacific lacks this amenity, directing its guests to the Mandara Spa at the Portofino Bay Hotel. For the rest, the choices are limited but well executed.
The rooms and suites on the seventh floor of the Royal Tower have been set aside for those who enjoy that extra little bit of pampering. The concept is much like that used at the Hard Rock, and if you’ve enjoyed Club Level service there, you’ll no doubt want to see how the Royal Pacific compares.
As at the Hard Rock, access is strictly limited; a slot in the elevator reads your room key before it will take you to seven. At the end of the corridor, you will find a spacious V-shaped lounge with picture windows looking out across Interstate 4 to the International Drive area. It is staffed with friendly hosts and hostesses, who serve as your personal concierges from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This is where you come in the morning for a complimentary continental breakfast and to glance through the tony out of town newspapers so important to high rollers. The lounge serves refreshments throughout the day; hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine in the evening; and “Something Sweet” before bedtime.
Club Level guests can borrow from the Club’s collection of DVDs for viewing on the large screen TVs at either end of the lounge. Club Level guests also receive free access to the hotel’s fitness center and discounts on poolside cabanas.
The Royal Pacific may have only one pool, but it's the largest in the city of Orlando (although not, it should be noted, in the greater Orlando area). It sprawls languorously between the Windward and Royal Towers beside the Bali Sea end of the winding waterway that links all the resort hotels with CityWalk. The heated pool is like a small tropical sea itself, with an irregular, sinuous shape and even a tiny palm-dotted island. It's shallow, too, designed more for playing than serious swimming, with no spot deeper than about four feet, seven inches.
One side is dominated by the superstructure of the Royal Bali Sea, a ship of the Royal Pacific line that seems to have run aground and buried itself in the sand. Actually it's an elaborate water play area (think Curious George over at Universal Studios) that gushes cold, bracing water from every conceivable orifice, while kids man a battery of water cannons, never seeming to tire of squirting each other and unsuspecting swimmers who venture too close to shore. This is Royal Pacific's answer to the water slides at the other resorts and kids love it.
On this side, the pool bottom slopes gently up to water's edge, affording little ones easy entry. Nearby is a white sandy beach area and a fenced children's play area complete with wading pool and sandbox (pails included). Close by is an ice cream parlor. It's just a walk-up kiosk, but it dispenses a surprising variety of fast-melting treats.
Near the middle, the pool narrows to accommodate a volleyball net strung from shore to shore and an impromptu game between former strangers always seems to be in progress. The opposite side is more adult-oriented. Here you will find the Bula Bar and Grille (reviewed below), three cabanas, a red-topped pool table, and two hot tubs — one somewhat larger than the other. Between the pool and the hotel is a concrete shuffleboard court; you will often see a ping-pong table in this area when the weather cooperates. Cabanas are small canvas-sided shelters with a TV, ceiling fan, and a small, modestly stocked fridge. Full day rentals (8:00 a.m. to pool closing) start at $213; Club Level guests get full day rentals starting at just $159. Rentals are handled by the staff at The Gymnasium (see below) and cabanas can be reserved weeks or months in advance, just like rooms.
On Friday and Saturday nights at sunset (plus Tuesdays during the summer), near the Bula Bar end of the pool, the wail of conch shells and the sonorous singing of a Samoan chieftain signal the start of a brief "torch lighting ceremony." A trio performs ten minutes of drumming, hula dancing, and fire juggling, concluding with a hula contest for the kids. Many people drift over to watch from the shallow water.
There is a constant schedule of games and activities around the pool throughout the day, from free smoothies and chilled cucumber slices to cannonball competitions. On select nights, a screen is set up poolside for a family-friendly "Dive-In Movie," usually featuring a tie-in to the parks; the Shrek films are popular. Just outside the fenced-in pool area is the "Garden Walkway" that takes you to CityWalk. The gates are usually open during the day, but after 9:00 p.m. you will need your room key to gain entry.
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