With so many benefits and amenities, there’s never been a better time to stay at Universal Orlando Resort’s onsite hotels. We’ve partnered with travel writer and theme park expert Angie Orth from Angie Away, as she shares the best options for families, romance and fun.
So you’ve read my story, “7 Reasons to Stay Onsite at Universal Orlando Resort.” Now you’re well-versed in all the benefits in each hotel category – Early Park Admission, Express Pass, complimentary transportation, free WiFi, merchandise delivery, character wakeup calls and so much more. I bet I can guess your next question:
Which Universal Orlando hotel is right for you?
As a native Floridian, I’ve been to Universal Orlando Resort more times than I can count. I’ve stayed at each Universal Orlando hotel multiple times. With “Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon” opening on April 6 and the epic water theme park Volcano Bay coming soon after on May 25, now is the time to book!
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
If you’ve ever wanted to spend a romantic week on the Italian Riviera, The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel gives you the chance to do it – without ever leaving Central Florida. The Portofino Bay is the grand dame of all the hotels on property, featuring Universal’s only spa, cobblestone streets, classic European cars, outdoor cafes and three themed pool areas. My favorite is the Villa Pool, with towering topiaries and plunge pools. The Portofino Bay Hotel hosts Harbor Nights, a wine tasting and jazz event with a Mediterranean flair.
Even if you don’t stay at the Portofino, take the water taxi over to explore the grounds and take lots of cute Instagram photos on vintage Vespas. Guests at any Universal hotel are welcome to experience the pools at each property, and the approach to the harbor is gorgeous. It’s as close as you can get to Italy without a transatlantic flight. Category: Premier
Learn more about The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
Hard Rock Hotel
Music fans and A-listers, this is the place for you! Hard Rock Hotel is Universal’s edgiest property, designed to make all guests feel like rockstars from check-in to check-out. It’s upscale but still casual, with authentic details honoring rock royalty all over the property. One of my favorite details is the full-length mirror in each guest room with little height indicators. You can find out if you measure up to Adele, Beyonce or Prince!
I also love that there’s a FREE room service menu of 20 guitars and bass guitars, including Stratocasters and Telecasters. Pick one and they’ll deliver it with headphones and an amp. For those into the EDM scene, there’s a resident DJ who can teach you how to mix your own party set. What is this place?! It’s a musician’s dream hotel, that’s what.
If you’re less into making music and more into enjoying it, the jewel in the Hard Rock crown is the 12,000 sq. ft. sand beach pool. Pop underwater to listen to a state-of-the-art immersive sound system.
The Hard Rock is the closest property to CityWalk, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. It is within 5 minutes walking distance, or you can hop on the water taxi. Category: Premier
Learn more about The Hard Rock Hotel.
Loews Royal Pacific
Every so often, I just need to be on island time. Checking in at the Loews Royal Pacific instantly takes me out of meeting mode or early-morning call-time mode and drops me in the South Pacific with balmy breezes, soothing ukulele music and a super laidback vibe. All the rooms have recently been refurbished with new bright island-style décor and super comfy beds. Reflection pools, bamboo accents and Balinese umbrellas remind me of my travels through the South Seas.
Traveling with kids? Don’t miss the Jurassic Park kids’ suite. The Royal Pacific has a lagoon style pool, a nightly torch-lighting ceremony, weekly Wantilan luau and several tasty on-theme restaurants. And don’t forget all the benefits of a Preferred property plus easy walking or water taxi access to CityWalk and the parks. Category: Preferred
Learn more about The Loews Royal Pacific.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Island time 2.0: Caribbean edition. The newest hotel on Universal property, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is the quickest route to the islands of the Caribbean. If you like waterfalls, good rum and sunshine, Sapphire Falls is a safe bet for you. This property has the best view in the whole resort in my opinion. As you walk into the lobby, head straight for the enormous window in the back to see roller coasters, waterfalls and a stunning vista. Then stay – you’re at the Strongwater Tavern, home to dozens of vintage rums and a ceviche bar. Category: Preferred
Learn more about The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Don’t think that because Cabana Bay falls in the Prime Value category that it’s not a spectacular hotel. It really is! Cabana Bay is shiny and new with a fun, colorful 50s/60s retro theme. It’s the most affordable property of the bunch, but it’s still super comfortable and convenient. Plus, it’s the only Universal hotel that offers family suites that sleep up to 6 guests in a room with a kitchenette and separate living room. Not bad, right? For anyone traveling with a family of more than 4, Cabana Bay is an excellent solution to the dilemma of how to fit everyone in one room.
As with all the Universal Orlando hotels, the property itself is a playground. You could spend a whole day on property and have just as much fun as you would at the parks themselves — and I recommend you do! Spend time enjoying the two pools, lazy river, waterslides, bowling alley, movie night on the lawn and games on the beach. Cabana Bay is literally right next door to Volcano Bay, so if your main priority is hitting up the new water theme park, it’s an ideal base. There is no water taxi access to Cabana Bay, but there are frequent buses (5 minute drive, max). Buses drop off at the main entrance to CityWalk, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, so it’s still convenient and way smarter than staying offsite. Category: Prime Value
Learn more about Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
So which Universal Orlando hotel is my favorite?
I’m the worst at playing favorites when it comes to travel! There’s a little something for everyone though, so dig in, do your research and have fun. It’s hard not to at Universal!
Angie Orth is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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