Royal Pacific Resort sets $149 introductory rate

NEW YORK -- An introductory room rate of $149 is being extended for a king room or a room with two queens at the Royal Pacific Resort, set to open June 18 at Universal Orlando.

Also being offered is a two-night introductory package, from $274 per person, double, covering the room, two days' admission to the two Universal theme parks, a CityWalk nightclub pass and a choice of one hotel lunch or dinner or entry to Wet N' Wild. The $149 rate and package apply through Dec. 23; the booking deadline is Dec. 10.

During a luncheon here, Jonathan Tisch, chief executive officer of New York-based Loews Hotels, which is a partner with Universal in the 1,000-room hotel, said the grand opening will occur sometime during July.

Tchoup Chop, an upscale hotel restaurant facility opening in the fall, will feature South Seas and Asian cuisine in a South Pacific setting.

At the luncheon, Emeril Lagasse, owner and executive chef of Emeril's Restaurants, said the name comes from New Orleans' Tchoupitoulas Street, where the flagship Emeril's restaurant is located.

The 160-seat dining facility overlooks a boat landing and lagoon, flanked by a garden. Lagasse also operates a branch of his original Emeril's New Orleans' restaurant at the CityWalk dining and entertainment complex.

Fred Lounsberry, senior vice president of sales for Universal Recreation Group, said group bookings for the hotel are healthy, thanks in part to the introductory deals.

The hotel will have nearly 80,000 square feet of meetings space, a fitness center, a business center and retail shops.

Guests will have access by foot, road and water taxi to CityWalk and the Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks.

Guests also qualify for an express entry upgrade when they visit rides at either park, thereby avoiding long waits in line.

As previously announced, two more Loews-run hotels will be built at Universal Orlando, but there is no timetable, Lounsberry said.

He added that airline seat capacity to Orlando this summer is expected to return to pre-Sept. 11 levels.

At present, capacity is about 12% less than last year, he said.

In other news:

• Universal Studios Vacations, the tour operator arm of Universal Orlando, extended its offer of an additional commission point for agents who book its vacation packages electronically using the major GDS systems, VAX Vacation Access or at Bookings must be made by June 30 in order to qualify for the bonus.

• As of April 1, a free third day at both Universal Orlando theme parks became a feature of a new, two-day/two-park ticket that went on sale at the regular price of $100.65 for adults (ages 10 and older) and $86.87 for children (ages 3 through 9).

The ticket can be used at both parks every day within a seven-day period. It also includes unlimited admission to the CityWalk nightclubs.

Clients on tour operator packages already holding two-day/two-park tickets should request validation for the free third day upon arrival at one of the parks, according to a Universal spokeswoman.

For more information, agents can call the operator at (800) 224-3838. For room bookings, call (888) 322-5541.

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