As he guided his golf car around the 1,100-acre property that is Evermore Orlando Resort, Darin Hoff didn’t mince words:
“I don’t think North America is ready for what we are going to unveil.’’
Hoff, the resort’s PGA director of golf and sports sales, is a bit biased, of course, but he might not be far off. Located on the grounds of the former Villas of Grand Cypress, Evermore Orlando Resort could indeed be a game-changer in the Florida resort market and beyond.
What will be unveiled in February 2024 (the resort is accepting bookings for stays beginning Feb. 5, 2024) has roots that go back to 1984 when the Villas of Grand Cypress opened almost within sight of Walt Disney World. With five courts of f luxury villas, 45-holes of Jack Nicklaus-designed golf (including the New Course that pays homage to the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland), representation by Greg Norman, and a partnership with the nearby Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel, the Villas of Grand Cypress quickly became Central Florida’s top golf resort destination.
But as Central Florida – particularly the Disney corridor – changed over the years, so did the competition. The Villas of Grand Cypress remained a popular address for golfers and meeting planners, but owner Dart Interests knew the property could be so much more. So, in November of 2019, Dart closed the Villas of Grand of Cypress to prepare for what will be its masterwork: the new Evermore Orlando Resort.
Understand, the transition isn’t your normal resort renovation or redesign. This is a billion-dollar “blow it up and start over again’’ project never before attempted in the Orlando hospitality market. That’s evident from the instant you drive through the guard gate. Gone are the signature moundings on South and East courses that lined the drive to the clubhouse; also gone are the North, South and East nines, as well as the clubhouse that was once home to two restaurants and pro shop.
In their places are neighborhoods of homes that range from five to 11 bedrooms, with each bedroom featuring its own bathroom; two- and four-bedroom villas and four bedroom flats, again with each bedroom offering its own bathroom; a new Nicklaus Design Cypress course; the centerpiece eight-acre Crystal Lagoon with its 12 acres of beaches and activities; the Boathouse that will include Dockside Outfitters surf shop, meetings and banquet spaces, and finally The Landing, which will feature the Twin View Restaurant with ceiling to floor windows for fantastic views of Evermore Bay as well as the 4th & 18th holes of the Cypress Course.
The Landing will also house a series of food and beverage outlets. Across the Crystal Lagoon is the 433-room Conrad Orlando, whose guests will have access to Evermore Resort’s amenities, including the Cypress and Links (formerly New) courses.
“Between the accommodations, Evermore Bay and our championship golf, if you can’t find something here that blows you away, then you’re really not looking,’’ Hoff said.
Unlike other Orlando-area golf resort properties that offer individually-owned multi-bedroom homes and villas, Dart will operate Evermore Orlando strictly as a resort with no individual owners. That basically gives Evermore Orlando no direct competition in Central Florida.
“A market changing resort,’’ Hoff said.
There is a “consistency’’ across the product, said Amanda Christian, the resort’s senior director of sales and marketing, unheard of in other resort communities.
“If you book here in a five-bedroom home, it’s the same service as in a nine-bedroom home,’’ she said. “And it’s all managed by Evermore resort staff. There is attention to detail everywhere.’’
The oversized living rooms and family spaces in the homes and villas, Christian said, merge with Evermore Orlando Resort’s “all together’’ philosophy.
For more information please visit evermoreresort.com
Feature Photo: The Crystal Lagoon