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The Mid Century Motel gets Supersized at Universal Orlando


Universal’s  1800 Room Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Universal’s latest addition to its collection of on property guest resorts adjacent to its Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure Theme parks. This property was featured in last month’s issue of Architectural Record Magazine.

The company’s three previous local properties are classified as deluxe accommodations, and Universal wanted to add a moderately priced amenity. “We kept coming back to the ‘drive-to’ vacation of the ’50s and ’60s that represented a simpler time,” says Russ Dagon, vice president and executive project director for Universal Parks & Resorts. “We fell in love with the idea of the motel building—one that would resonate with anyone who’s been to a coastal hotel.” The corporation’s creative group found Allan Shulman, who has researched and written extensively on Miami Modernism and whose firm has considerable hospitality and midcentury restoration and adaptive-reuse projects in its portfolio. But its hotels have been in the urban boutique category. Surrounded by exurban bleakness on 40 acres, Cabana Bay, with its swimming pools, water follies, bowling alleys, and 650-seat dining hall, is another beast altogether (and there are already plans to expand). “This is a hotel of another order—it’s more of a campus or a complex,” says Shulman. “I had to think like an urban planner as well as an architect.” And while Universal saw the theming as an extension of its mission to create immersive experiences, Shulman was intrigued by the possibility of honoring the languages of the Florida Modern period in a contemporary reinterpretation.


Read the complete article by Beth Broome with more photos and plans on Architectural Record’s website:

Here is a link to Shulman + Associates:

Here is a link to Daroff Design:

Here is a link to our previous post about the design of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort:

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