Set in Orlando’s only AAA Five Diamond hotel, this water complex needed the appropriate level of design sophistication. The result was this water fantasy with amenities for every age and proclivity, and a meticulously implemented story line whose aesthetic matches the resort’s overall architecture.
The property was styled to reflect the Spanish Revival architecture of Florida’s golden age. Two distinct and separate areas — one family-friendly, the other adults-only — approach this style in their own way. The grown-up zone sits closest to the main resort, where it could easily meld with hotel architecture. For a sense of serenity, this section emits a formal Spanish garden style, with generous plantings and elements oriented symmetrically according to a perpendicular grid. Travertine tile, cast stone and granite add to the luxurious tone.
Visitors cross a bridge to reach Explorers Island, the family area themed as a 19th Century citrus plantation estate, as a nod to Florida’s history. A ruinous mansion tower inspires exploration and houses the waterslides and climbing wall. The story line says that a Florida boil spring erupted in the mansion’s wine cellar, then flows out in the form of cascading waterfalls over a lazy river, and sprays out of wine barrels. Darker stone veneers give the mansion an aged look. Travertine, glass mosaic tile and modern furniture add a contemporary resort feeling. Sabal palms are deliberately leaned to give the impression of a natural Florida wetland.
Filtration: Neptune-Benson; Pentair
Heaters: Camus Hydronics Ltd.; FlatPlate Inc.
Interactive waterfeatures: Crystal Fountains
Landscape contractor: Brightview
Pumps: Marlow: Pentair
Slides: WhiteWater West
Theming contractor: The Nassal Company
Water sculpture artist: Allison Armour