• Saturday, August 18, 2018
The Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

The Complete Guide to Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Universal Orlando Resort is not only home to three of the most exciting theme parks in the area, but also boasts several one-of-a-kind hotels that can totally take the guest experience to the next level. Each hotel on the property has a fair share of perks that are exclusive to hotel guests, varying based on the level of the hotel. The three tiers are Premier, Preferred, and Prime Value, each offering different rates and accommodations.

All three types of hotel reservation come with a free Universal Express Unlimited pass for each guest. Valued at $129.99 per person per day, the Express Pass allows you to skip the regular line for most popular attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Guests staying on-site also have the opportunity to enter the parks an hour prior to regular opening time explore select attractions before the crowds start to pour in. Early entrance applies to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park. During early admission, the following attractions will be open to guests:

  • Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Florida)
  • Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts (Universal Studios Florida)
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Universal’s Islands of Adventure)
  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Slides (Universal’s Volcano Bay)
  • Puihi of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides (Universal’s Volcano Bay)
  • Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides (Universal’s Volcano Bay)
  • Honu & Ika Moana of the Honu Ika Moana (Universal’s Volcano Bay)
  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster (Universal’s Volcano Bay)
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge (Universal’s Volcano Bay)

Access to the Golf Universal Orlando Program is also a feature of all on-site hotel reservations, which includes complimentary transportation to local golf courses, special benefits at participating clubs, and preferred tee times at participating courses including Grand Cypress Golf Club.

Other perks that all hotel guests can take advantage of include complimentary transportation to the theme parks and Universal Citywalk via shuttle bus or water taxi, resort wide charging privileges that can be accessed with your room key, complimentary merchandise delivery from the parks to your hotel room, and Universal character appearances at the hotels.

Premier Hotels

Universal Orlando Resort’s Premier Hotels offer the highest standard of guest perks and accommodations. In addition to the Universal Orlando Resort benefits already mentioned, guests of the Premier hotels Loews Portofino Bay and The Hard Rock Hotel can enjoy priority seating at select restaurants located at the resort. Your room key can be used to score complimentary club-to-club entry at select Universal CityWalk venues during your stay.

The resort’s Premier Hotels offer two room types: Standard, with 1 King or 2 Queen beds, or Suites, which sleep up to 5 people. A Club-level room upgrade is available at these locations and includes a complimentary continental breakfast among other upgrades. Each room comes equipped with a flat screen TV, hair dryer, in-room safe, iron & ironing board, coffee maker, mini fridge, and microwave (additional fees apply). The rooms can accommodate pets and 24-hour room service is also available.

Throughout the hotels, guests have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, a game room, a fitness center, laundry services, a business center, themed pools, restaurants and bars, and shopping areas. Other guest services include cabana rentals, access to on-site Kids’ Camp, the Universal Orlando Attraction Ticket Center, and a rental car desk.

Loews Portofino Bay 

Inspired by the seaside villages of Portofino, Italy, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is the resort’s finest hotel. The standard guest rooms range from 450 – 490 square feet, with a choice of Garden view, Bay View or Deluxe rooms starting from $264 per night*. Suites are 650 – 2,725 square feet with options like Parlor suites, Governatore suites, Presidente suites, and family friendly Despicable Me suites starting at $524 per night*. Family suites include a Master bedroom for parents and a Minion themed room that sleeps up to five people and offers entertainment for kids. The hotel’s club level deluxe rooms and suites provide exclusive access to the Portofino Club Lounge, a personal concierge service, and other special perks, starting at $364 per night*.

Portofino Bay is home to nine different restaurants, bars, and snack shops. Mama Della’s Ristorante is a fun, authentic Italian restaurant with wandering musicians offering entertainment during your meal, while Bice Ristorante provides a more elegant Italian dining experience. Trattoria del Porto is a family-friendly casual restaurant where familiar characters may make appearances at any time during your meal. By the pool guests can dine on burgers, sandwiches and specialty beverages at Splendido Bar & Grille. For quick service, stop by Sal’s Market Deli for Italian staples like homemade pizzas, sandwiches, salads, meats and cheeses. Guests who are 21 and older can hang at the hotel’s two bars, Bar American and The Thirsty Fish. Bar American is an upscale lobby bar that serves appetizers along with a large variety of beer, wine, champagne, and cocktails. The Thirsty Fish is a more casual outdoor lounge on the waterfront.

This resort has three different pools that vary in activity levels so every guest can find a place to relax. The Beach Pool is a lively pool for families to enjoy, complete with a Roman aqueduct themed water slide, sandy beaches, a children’s pool, and two jacuzzis. Daily poolside activities like ping pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, and arts and crafts take place at the Beach Pool. Other activities include pool basketball, hula hoop contests and Bocce ball. The Villa Pool is a bit more calm and serene, with private cabana rentals available that include a ceiling fan, refrigerator, phone and plasma TV. Offering the most private, quiet experience is the Hillside Pool.

Several retail stores are located throughout the resort. For souvenirs and gifts, guests can browse the racks of L’Ancora, Le Memories de Portofino, and the Universal Studios Store. Other shops include Family Art Photography & Printing and Alta Moda, a clothing and accessories store.

The Mandara Spa provides a variety of services from skin, hair and nail care to wraps, body treatments and massages. Guests can also take advantage of the complimentary fitness center and steam/sauna facilities.

Supervised fun and entertainment for children can be found at Camp Portofino. Available based on demand, the camp offers a just for kids club at $15 per hour per child. Additional entertainment includes “Musica Della Notte”, a complimentary performance of classic opera and pop-opera hits.

The Hard Rock Hotel 

The Hard Rock Hotel is perfect for guests who love rock’n’roll and want to live the life of luxury for a few day. Guest rooms range from 375 to 500 square feet with the option of garden view or pool view. There is also a deluxe room option that includes more space and a pullout sofa. These guest rooms start at $252 per night*. Club level rooms are deluxe rooms and suites on the club floor that include exclusive access to the Rock Royalty lounge, complimentary continental breakfast and a few other perks starting at $344 per night*. Suites start at $460 per night* and are available at 650-2000 square feet with a spacious master bedroom, a kids’ room, parlor, kitchenette, and some rooms even come with a baby grand piano in the parlor!

There are several table service  restaurants around the resort. The Kitchen offers a modern take on American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual setting decorated in memorabilia from visiting celebrities. Famous New York steakhouse The Palm has a dining location at The Hard Rock with the same Italian inspired dishes, steaks, and lobsters that you’d find in the original Manhattan location. The 21 and older crowd can hang at the Velvet Bar, a VIP-style lounge that serves cocktails and appetizers. For a quick snack try Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace, an ice cream chain that was created in a Boston basement as an after hours spot for touring musicians. Outdoors, guests can dine at beachclub, a bar and grill that offers both table service and poolside service. Here, you can order frozen cocktails, fountain drinks, appetizers and more to be served directly to your lounge chair.

The resort’s pool is an expansive 12,000 square feet with a 260 foot water slide, two hot tubs, and an underwater sound system. Outside of the water, there is a real sand beach with a volleyball court and scheduled poolside games such as ping pong tournaments, water balloon tosses, hula hoop contests, arts & crafts and more.

Unique to the Hard Rock Hotel is the Sound of Your Stay Program, which provides guests with a few different ways to experience music during their stay. The Tracks option allows you to stream playlists curated by your favorite celebrities in your room, and the Wax option offers you a choice of 10 iconic records and a Crosley turntable to be delivered to your room. The Picks option lets you choose from a list of 20 different Fender guitars to play in your room. A downpayment and loan agreement are required for the Picks service.

Other resort amenities include walking/jogging paths, Bodyrock Fitness Center with innovative training systems, and Rock Om Yoga kits, made up of a yoga mat and three on demand videos that can be used in your room or around the hotel.

Preferred Hotels 

Preferred Hotels fall somewhere in the middle between Premier and Prime Value resorts, still offering a wide variety of perks. Guests of both Loews Royal Pacific and Loews Sapphire Falls can take advantage of early park admission, complimentary resort transportation via water taxis and shuttle buses, resort wide charging privileges, character appearances, and complimentary club entry to select Universal CityWalk venues. However, only guests with reservations at Loews Royal Pacific will receive free Universal Express Unlimited passes and priority seating at resort restaurants. These hotels also offer complimentary wireless internet access in guest rooms and most common areas.

Some amenities offered at the Preferred Hotels are themed pools with cabana rentals, a game room, complimentary fitness center, laundry services, a  Universal Orlando Attraction Ticket Center, a business center, and more. Dining options at these hotels include full service restaurants, 24-hour room service, food court/grab & go spots, bars, and lounges. Room options at Preferred Hotels range from Standard with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed, Suites that sleep up to 5 guests, and Club Level rooms with additional perks such as complimentary continental breakfast. Each room is equipped with a flat panel TV, hairdryer, safe, iron/ironing board, coffee maker, mini fridge, and microwave.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Loews Royal Pacific Resort is “filled with tropical wonders, exotic food and carefree fun.” Guest rooms start at $220 per night* with a choice of garden view or water view. Family sized suites start at $328 per night* and include a private parlor for entertaining, a master bedroom, and Jurassic Park themed kids suites with the option to add additional connecting rooms. Upgrade to a club level room to receive personalized concierge service and access to the private Royal Club Lounge with complimentary continental breakfast, cocktail hour and more. Club level rooms start at $304 per night*.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi bar serves tropical cuisine and sushi dishes.  Islands Dining Room is a Polynesian-inspired restaurant with a daily breakfast buffet and a specialty Pan-Asian dinner menu. Themed on the legendary South Seas explorer Jake McNally, adult guests can indulge in cocktails, appetizers and select entrees at Jake’s American Bar. While relaxing by the pool you can order from Bula Bar & Grill, casual eatery that serves traditional food and beverages with a tropical flair like fruity cocktails, fish tacos and kona burgers. On select evenings, you can make reservations for the Wantilan Luau, a traditional Hawaiian dinner with authentic Polynesian food and entertainment.

The resort’s lagoon-style swimming pool area featuring a white sand beach and tons of palm trees surrounding a huge pool and two hot tubs. Other activities include an interactive water play area for kids, a beach volleyball court, and scheduled poolside activities. Poolside cabanas come equipped with a ceiling fan, phone, TV, refrigerator with water and soda, and a fruit bowl. On select evenings, there is a poolside Torch Lighting Ceremony featuring the “Oli Aloha” welcoming chant and fire dancers.

At The Gymnasium, guests can utilize over 5,000 square feet of fitness and workout equipment including 12-piece strength training equipment, treadmills, exercise bikes, a stairmaster, elliptical machines, a smith press machine, and a cardio theater featuring the latest cardio and circuit training equipment. There are also separate men’s and women’s locker rooms, a co-ed whirlpool, and a steam/sauna room.

Prime Value Hotels

Prime Value hotels have the most affordable room accomodations, but do not include some of the perks that the other resorts offer. Guests at prime value resorts still receive early park admission, complimentary park transportation via shuttle bus, resort wide charging privileges, complimentary merchandise delivery, access to the Golf Universal Orlando program, and complimentary club entry at Universal CityWalk.

As of right now, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the only Prime Value offering until Universal’s Aventura Hotel opens later this year.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Guests can reserve standard rooms with two queen beds or one king bed starting at $116 per night* or family suites, starting at $156 per night, which sleep up to six people with two queen beds and a pull-out couch. The suites also have a sliding privacy partition, a compartmentalized bathroom, and a kitchenette with a mini refrigerator, microwave and sink.

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort has a few dining locations on site. The Bayliner Diner is food court style dining  with several different food stations offering deli items, pizza, burgers, salads and desserts. The Hideaway Bar & Grill, located at the Lazy River Courtyard, provides entrees, snacks, frozen cocktails, beer and wine to enjoy while lounging by the river. Cabana Courtyard’s Atomic Tonic serves poolside sandwiches, wraps, salads, specialty cocktails, beer and wine. In the hotel lobby’s Swizzle Lounge, guests can enjoy made to order drinks and snacks. Other dining options include the Delizioso pizza delivery service and a Starbucks in the lobby.

At the Cabana Courtyard & Pool you’ll find a dive tower themed water slide, a large fire pit, picnic tables in the shade, the poolside Atomic Tonic bar, and cabanas available for rent. Each cabana includes a personal LCD television, an armoire, and a table and four chairs, two cushioned lounge chairs, a refrigerator stocked with water bottles, and a personal safe. At the second sparkling pool, the Lazy River Courtyard & Pool, there is a winding river, sandy beach, a poolside Hideaway Bar & Grill, and two fire pits. Poolside activities include hula hoop contents, splash contents, and other family fun.

Other fun features of Cabana Bay include Character Meet & Greets on Friday evenings, the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio, and Galaxy Bowl, a ten lane bowling alley on the lobby’s second floor. Open from noon – midnight daily, the bowling alley also offers table service dining and bar service.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Universal’s Aventura Hotel is the newest addition to the resort. Opening in August 2018, the modern hotel will have a more sleek and stylish feel than the other hotels on the property.

There will be three guest room options: Standard, Deluxe, and Suites. Standard rooms (314 square feet) and deluxe rooms (395 square feet) will both include separate bath and vanity areas. The suites are a little larger (575 square feet) and can accommodate up to 5 people. These rooms offer a special interior area for kids with two twin beds as well as a king bed and a couch that opens up as a double bed in a different area of the room. Suites start at $216 per night* and standard/deluxe rooms start at $116 per night*. All rooms can be upgraded to skyline view, offering a sweeping view of the resort from the tower’s highest floors.

For dining, the new resort will feature two restaurants, two bars, and a Starbucks. Bar 17 Bistro will be location on the hotel’s rooftop, serving a mix of unique dishes and classic fare and craft cocktails concocted to pair nicely with the menu’s flavors. A cafeteria-style Food Hall will host a variety of restaurant options with a common dining area open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The hotel’s lobby bar will have a contemporary, inviting feel and the Poolside Bar will allow guests to indulge in frozen cocktails, beer, and wine while lounging by the pool.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel will have one large pool as well as a splash zone for kids and a fire pit for adults to relax near. Other planned amenities include a state of the art fitness center and an official Universal Studios Store.

For more tips on planning a Universal vacation, check out this guide to dining plans at Universal Orlando Resort. You can find discount tickets to Universal Orlando and so much more on tickets2you.com!

*hotel rates are based on a four-night stay and do not include tax.

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