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“Comfort and convenience for Universal Studios access” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   5601 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #102 of 328 hotels in Orlando
GreenLeadersSilver level
Columbus, Indiana
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Comfort and convenience for Universal Studios access”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Our room had many upscale features, but the one we appreciated the most was the huge bathroom large enough to function as a dressing room. Staying as a family often presents privacy issues for daughters and the large dressing room was helpful. The mini-fridge and Keurig coffee maker were also helpful amenities. The ticket sales area opens very early and the employee arrived extra early and helped me before "official" open hours at 6:30 am. (Thank you!) That being said, since the shuttle boat operates to Universal starting at 6 am, it would be nice for official ticket desk hours to also start at 6 am. The view was nothing special, but we were not in the room that much anyway. The water slide at the pool was closed for repairs, which greatly disappointed the children. The hotel offered that we could use the pool at the Hard Rock, but the transportation to the alternate location would have eaten up too much of our swim time. The lobby staff was good, but there needed to be more people available. The 1 desk clerk seemed to be handling someone's early check-in baggage while there were 2 guests waiting in line. The peach bellini drink container in the lobby ( a nice afternoon touch) was empty but for the one drink I was able to eke out by tipping the container. We ate at the deli and the ice cream shop which both were delicious and very reasonably priced with kind, helpful employees. In fact, our patio dining experiences were some of the most fun times we had. The parking is expensive, but I suppose it keeps non- residents from trying to sneak in to park. I think the overall value is difficult to rate. On the one hand, for this price hotel, you expect the details to be right. On the other hand, the main priority where the hotel really delivers is convenience to Universal in a nice atmosphere. For that reason, balanced with a few minuses, this is a Very Good, but not Excellent hotel.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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307 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
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English first
Cartersville, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Second trip to Universal. Stayed at Hard Rock the first time. Stayed here second time. Greeted when arriving by name and desk clerk was very helpful in showing us how to retrieve park tickets. Resort is spread out, so you do a lot of walking. Room was very nice with a bay view & we could see the fireworks at night from our window. Room was cleaned very efficiently & on time. Only complaint I have is all the restaurants are a bit pricey. Our breakfast for 4 was $94.00 not including tip. But, it is very convenient to stay in the park.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

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Ohio
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I love the Italian feel of this hotel...even though it was under renovation in some parts it was great...The room was really big and the beds were ultra plush (I had to buy a new mattes when I got home)...There are three pools but my kids like the one with the sand the best...the villa pool is more for a quite time...Since we flew in we add the taxi service to our package...which worked great...The refridgerator was packed with snacks but they were too pricey and there was no room for outside goodies...that was the only draw back... the staff serviced our room well each day...the 4 day park passes, early park entrance and express pass were well worth their price...We had dinner at Mama Della resturant it was great (see separte review). Overall this is a luxury establishment so it is pricey so plan accordingly.

Room Tip: Select a higher floor for a little less noise ... we faced pool side which was fine
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tampa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I stayed at this hotel with my mom and 2 children in a harbor view garden room. We only stayed for one night but I was so sad to leave! The relaxing atmosphere of this hotel was amazing. If you can afford it, I definitely recommend it based on my experience. We usually do not stay in hotels of this price range, however, we booked on a Universal Annual Passholder rate which helped a lot. We booked here in order to receive the Express Passes since we were traveling at a very busy time and did not want to spend all our time standing in lines. We had a great time and it was worth the extra cost.

This hotel offers EARLY check-in so that you may receive your Express Passes as early as 6:00 am on your day of arrival. The room may not be available until later in the afternoon, but the hotel will send you a text informing you when it is available. My room, however, was available at 6:00 am which was great. We were in the park at 7:00 am with our express passes the day we arrived.

The rooms were beautiful, the beds comfortable, it was completely quiet where I was located. Our air conditioner worked fine, we were cold at first and had to turn the temperature up, actually. I really wish we could have stayed in one of the "minion" rooms because it would have thrilled my son, but at appx. $500 per night that will never happen. The room we had was less than half that price and still nice.

The primary frustration I had was that this is a large, sprawling property and is very difficult to navigate. I spent a lot of time lost and frustrated and walking. Even if you don't get lost, you will have to walk a lot to get around on this property. I don't mind walking, since I'm already in "walking" mode on a theme park vacation, but my mom has trouble with her knees and she had some difficulty. The best advice someone gave me was to take note that there are black lines on the concrete outside, and following the black lines will lead you to the pool. It was a simple tip, but made things much easier once I noticed that. This hotel is also farther away from the park than the other on-site hotels so if you want to walk to the park you might want to stay at a different universal property.

My kids were very excited to use the slide in the "castle" at the beach pool because we had seen it online, but it was closed the entire time we were there. A lifeguard told them that the slide was "just for decoration". What? That was disappointing.

We also did not enjoy the boat ride over. I had fond memories of taking a ferry every morning when I stayed at a Disney property, but this boat was crowded and hot. We got to the dock at 6:30am and stood in line without benches to sit, only to find that there was not enough room for everyone and had to wait another 15 minutes. After that morning we switched to riding the shuttle busses which don't come as often but they are air conditioned and much more comfortable.

Once we got over being lost and I was able to navigate, I found this hotel to be so relaxing in atmosphere. They show movies outside at the beach pool every night - Harry Potter is the current selection, of course. All of the staff were super friendly.

We did not have a refrigerator in our room, and I am used to having one of those to save money on food costs, so I just kept refreshing ice in our cooler. We only ate on property once at a breakfast buffet. It was a nice restaurant but for 2 adults and 2 kids (my daughter is 11 so she also counted as an adult for pricing) plus tip is was $120 for breakfast. That is just shocking to me. But maybe it is not unreasonable for a higher end hotel such as this. The food was good and the staff was nice.

So my tips are: check in early to get your express passes, consider riding the shuttle bus instead of the boat if you are there at a very busy time, follow the black lines on the ground to help navigate, budget $20 for parking per day and tips for staff helping with luggage (you can't borrow a luggage cart yourself), and then just relax and enjoy the ambiance!

It really is a beautiful and relaxing property and even with the items listed above, we really enjoyed our stay and plan on returning.

Room Tip: Rooms with a water view are nice. Try to stay in a building that is closest to the amenity you are...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We loved portofino! Great rooms, easy to ride water taxi and benefits of early admittance and express pass. Cons....Really think paying 20 a night for parking PLUS TAX is ridiculous and makes the hotel a less economical choice. Loved hotel, hated the value!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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Pace, Florida
2 reviews
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Let me just say that this review is condensed to the heart of the matter: we paid for a three night hotel stay with 2-day/2 park tickets two months in advance and received a HOT no a/c working room in the east wing practically as far down to the end away from the elevators with a nice view of a big tree (not the bay) for one of the nights. The hotel manager told me that they were booked completely on Thursday, July 21, and there was absolutely no other room they could give us, but they could send up a fan and take $100 off of the room rate. We endured a stinky smelling maintenance man that visited our room three times to try to fix our a/c with a flashlight, a new air filter, and a few different thermostat controllers. Fixing the a/c that wasn't even blowing air through the vent this way is laughable. I am convinced the hotel staff knew this room did not have working a/c in advance of putting us in this room by the way this maintenance man behaved and from reading previous hotel reviews of a room in a similarly described location. Around 12:30 AM, the hotel manager told me that a fan would be brought to our sweltering room, and at 1:30AM, my husband had to call the "star services" again to remind them we still didn't have a fan. The girl on the phone replied there was no work order put in for us to get a fan! Whose responsibility is it to put in a work order? The manager is the one who told me we'd get a fan. Did I even mention that we had to get up and at the boat ramp by 6:00AM to maximize our benefits of staying on property to begin with? As you can imagine, the fan did little to relieve the sweat dripping off of us in the night. Before 6 AM, I walked down to the front lobby to meet the manager in person. I wanted him to see my tired face that would be soon visiting the theme park. Although sympathetic, he had nothing to say except that we would receive an upgraded room and our luggage would be moved when we got back that afternoon. I told him that having two hours of sleep at the most wouldn't last me all day and that I would need a room soon in A/C to finally get sleep. When we returned that afternoon, we met a new manager who told us the room assigned was not ready, but he would move us ASAP. An hour later, we were in a similar room with working A/C blowing and were given another $100 credit. I guess losing our night's sleep and half a day in the park was only worth $200. Overall, I would have rather stayed anywhere else with a working a/c the night before our early morning park day. We were never offered a transfer to a different Loews hotel. Because of this, I will never prepay for a vacation again. I believe the customer has more leeway in moving hotels in situations like this if it has not been paid up front. And just a warning, the hotel's thermostats are really controlled by the hotel (green savings). I don't care what the temperature says on the thermostat, add at least another 5 degrees to that. If you don't like what temperature your room is, you can ask the hotel to reset it at a different temperature. When we received our new room, I asked for the temp to be set at 68 degrees, which would be freezing at my own house, but felt like about 73 or so in the room. I fully expect a manager to come on here and defend their "green" air conditioning practices, but the customers don't like it. In fact, I hate it so much, that I'm not staying at a property with the hotel controlling my room's temperature ever again. Buyer beware! Stay somewhere else!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KyMom1
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We chose to stay at this hotel after I had done significant research on the Internet to find the perfect on-site property our trip to visit the theme parks at Universal Orlando. We wanted a quiet and comfortable room, and we were not disappointed. We arrived around 3:30 or 4:00 PM on a Wednesday, and we were able to check in immediately. Parking was a little bit of a hassle, but the porters out in front of the hotel were very helpful and directed us to the parking garage easily. I opted to ask them to bring our luggage to our room while my husband parked our car, and that was the best idea ever! When Brad (I think that was his name) brought our bags to our room, he stayed and explained how lots of things worked at the hotel and in our room. His most helpful tip was not to pick up anything in the minibar. Apparently, everything in the drawer and in the mini refrigerator is weighted, so if you pick anything up, you will be charged for it. Be aware of that if you're thinking of emptying the refrigerator to put your own items in it instead! Don't touch the bottle of Fiji water on the dresser either because it, too, is weighted. Once we got settled in, we found that everything about our room was lovely. The Keurig coffee maker was a great perk! We chose to upgrade our room so that we could have a bathroom with a separate tub and shower, but I don't think I would bother with that next time because it was just too difficult to wash my hair in the tub, and the tub drained far too slowly. No big deal, though. The beds were incredibly comfortable! I could have slept for days on those soft mattresses with the nice fluffy pillows! We had two queen beds in our room, along with a flat-screen HDTV, a marble-topped desk with two chairs, and another chair with an ottoman. The ottoman was a great perk to put my feet up on after spending the day at the amusement parks. The blackout drapes in the room did indeed block out all light from the room, which made sleeping late very easy to do. In addition, the bathroom had double sinks, which was great for getting ready in the morning and at night. We had a room in the same building as the front desk, so it was very quiet for the most part. Although we didn't take advantage of them, the hotel has a beach pool with a water slide, and three or four restaurants, one of which was extremely expensive (Bice). We did use the water taxi often to get to and from the amusement parks, and the taxis were much faster than the awful shuttle buses at Disney World. I had read previous reviews where people complained about the long walks to their rooms and cleaning staff who didn't do their jobs, but I have no complaints about either of these things. I didn't think we had far to walk at all, and the staff who cleaned our rooms each day did a fantastic job! My family and I did use the villa pool a couple of times, and it was really nice because it was so quiet. I think most people went to the beach pool instead. All in all, we had a great time, and it was worth the $21.30 a night (including taxes) for parking at the hotel just so we didn't have to drive back and forth from a hotel off property every night. We were also given free Universal Express Unlimited passes to the Universal parks and free early admission since we were staying at a Universal hotel. If you want a quiet and luxurious stay at an onsite property, choose Portofino Bay! We felt so spoiled that I don't even want to try another hotel if we come back to Universal again.

Room Tip: Choose a regular room with two queen beds but upgrade to the club level since they provide you with...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

Address: 5601 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Green Hotel in Orlando
#23 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#30 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#36 Business Hotel in Orlando
#89 Family Hotel in Orlando
#102 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#116 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Celebrate la dolce vita — the sweet life — at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando®. Located at Universal Orlando® Resort, this luxurious hotel re-creates the charm and romance of the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy, right down to the cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes. Hotel guests enjoy spacious guest rooms featuring authentic Italian furnishings, impeccable and attentive service, an opulent spa, three themed swimming pools and exceptional dining. Hotel guests also enjoy an exclusive package of theme park benefits, including: * Early Park Admission† to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)* Universal Express ride access* to skip the regular lines throughout both theme parks - a FREE benefit worth up to $87 per person, per day (valid theme park admission required)* Complimentary water taxis or shuttle buses to make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time * And more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Loews Portofino Bay Resort
Portofino Orlando
Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando

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