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“Our favourite hotel in Orlando” 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 #87 of 327 Hotels in Orlando
GreenLeadersSilver level
Somerset
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Our favourite hotel in Orlando”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Great location with easy access to the Universal parks via the water taxi. This is a nice quiet escape from the full on days in the theme parks. Limited choice of places to eat in the hotel, although very good food should you choose to stay in for an evening. Of course there is plenty of variety of food and entertainment at Citywalk so not an issue. The only reason I have not given this hotel a maximum rating is the poor reservation process. It took numerous emails and calls to make a simple booking for interconnecting rooms for our family and even then they had it wrong when we arrived! This happened on both of the two occasions we have stayed here. Apart from this the hotel is highly recommended and we are returning for our third stay later this year.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (299)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Excellent hotel very clean and plesant although I would say it is not a 5 star hotel! more like a 3.5/4 star at the best.

Rooms are well kept and cleaned every day to a high standard. Pool was big and warm and even had a movie screen for the evenings.

Staff were pleasant and friendly, always smiling without being too false. Best thing is of course the express passes (we stayed for 4 nights and got our moneys work)

Got a good deal from hotels4u (in late october £400 (about $700) for 4 nights. Otherwise the rooms are VERY expensive for what they are and TBH I would never stay here for the price they charge.

But we had a nice time and it was (at the time) excellent value.

Room Tip: Furthest from the elevators is the quietest
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  • Stayed October 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I have just returned from a 13 night stay at Loews Portofino Hotel which is one of the onsite hotels for Universal Studios theme parks. We probably got off on the wrong foot upon arrival, foolishly believing that our relatively long stay and a check in on my birthday (which we highlighted) might have elicited some slightly favourable treatment. But no the room we were shown to was a huge disappointment. Sorry not shown to, vaguely directed to.

I had booked a bay view room which is two up from the basic but was hugely disappointing. We were put on the first floor whereas we prefer high floors and which I always request when given the option, but the main disappointment was that there was no easy way to actually see the bay from this room, we overlooked the courtyard below and you could just about see water if you stood pressed up against one side of the window. Nevertheless we decided not to make a fuss and tried to quash our disappointment by reflecting that it was otherwise a fairly nice room. It had been a long day and whilst it was early and my birthday, we decided we were done for the night.

Sadly, other people were of course only getting started and before very long we were subjected to the racket of an outdoor opera singer plus people gathering for the evening in bars and cafes situated right underneath our window. We called down and requested a room change. To their credit, this was given without argument but to the debit, it was given without any apology or explanation and only after a long delay. After waiting for a while, I went down to reception and had to witness the nauseating spectacle of check in staff and management fawning over some other guest obviously far more important than the regular guest, whereas there was I spending my birthday being treated like a second class citizen, being given a substandard room, kept waiting and being ignored.

We were finally moved to the fifth floor, to a room well away from the noise of the eateries below, to a larger room and one that had a real bay view. So why were we not given this room in the first place? We were and are utterly incredulous that despite this room being available, despite us staying for 13 nights and despite checking in on my birthday – we were still given what must have been the worst room in the hotel. We did receive some pretty feeble excuse about the other room being nearer reception, yes this was true, by about 60 seconds of walking.

Moving on, well the rooms were pretty good and no complaints here. Spacious, comfortable and a nice big bathroom too. We don’t really like shower over bath, but acknowledge that a lot of families would be staying and they might prefer a bath, whereas we prefer a shower cubicle. The towels in the bathroom were far too small, I am a 5 foot 8 female with long legs rather than a long torso and the towels were so small that I had a choice of covering up either top or bottom but certainly not both at the same time. Come on Loews, sort your towels out!. The bathrobes were very flimsy, thin material type, in two weeks we did not get a change of robes despite leaving them in the bath one day as a hint!

Toiletries were not refreshed once either, we had to go hunting from the carts which were often abandoned in hallways and in 13 days the beds would not have been changed once had we not demanded it. Our beds were changed twice in 13 days and each time only because we made a complaint.

We had room service a few times during our stay and we thought the food was reasonable but just a bit limited in choice and the order was only messed up once. After a few days we decided to go to the fine dining restaurant Bice. We are seasoned in fine dining restaurants and initially thought the menu and wine list were pretty impressive. We asked for a wine recommendation and were immediately pointed towards the $250 bottle which we decided to go for and it was delicious as were the starters and the mains not quite on the same level but almost.

The restaurant was badly let down by its standards though, no dress code led to people wandering in that looked like they had just left the pool and tiny screaming babies and children were welcome too, which is not usual for fine dining. We did not return to Bice, but not because of these shortcomings (in our view) but because of the appalling treatment when somebody was unable to charge the meal to our room or credit card. I have no idea why they could not charge it to the room key but my bank has since confirmed to me that they declined some charges to the credit card because the hotel had, without permission, tried to charge some very large amounts to my card which are now in the process of being reversed.

In the meantime, we were embarrassed and humiliated in front of other guests as the waiter loudly announced that we had no credit and could not even charge to our room. One of our room keys was confiscated from us by the restaurant at this point, which was highly inconvenient for us for the remaining eight days of our trip.

I can see from my online account that my credit limit was nowhere near reached (other than for the spurious amounts that Loews tried to put through without permission) and indeed my bill was settled with no problems whatsoever upon departure.

My spouse and I are very interested in Harry Potter, the reason for our visit. There is an onsite art shop and we saw some Harry Potter framed prints that we thought would look spectacular in our home cinema and so we enquired about shipping to the United Kingdom. From the reaction we had, we might have sooner asked the shop assistant to hand over her first born. I believe that a significant number of visitors to Universal Studios are British but yet the shop has never encountered anyone asking about shipping to the UK before? And was truly shocked that somebody might?

We assumed an indicative cost (such as $50, $100, $200) would be readily available but this was not possible so we provided our county and UK post code and were told we would be contacted with a shipping estimate. From the attitude of the shop assistant, we walked out thinking we would never hear from them again. To our surprise we did get a message three days later to say that we needed to provide more address information. But we had provided out post code! Post codes in the UK cover a very small area and we live in a rural location so it covers even fewer addresses, there are literally ELEVEN other houses in the UK that have the same post code that we do, but apparently this was not geographically accurate enough for them to provide a rough indication of shipping costs. The pictures we wanted to ship had a value of over $2,000, Loewes were happy to let two very interested potential buyers walk away from a high value sale because they were too idle to do anything about it and we were left wondering what on earth they have this shop for!

Our hotel bill upon check out was $5,500 or so and was accurate other than an adjustment made to the laundry bill where somebody had decided to charge me for dresses being laundered rather than the tops that were actually sent. Might have been dresses for pygmies but definitely not for me. The other surprise was that they had taken a part payment half way through the stay, which surprised me as I had not been informed this would occur and had not given my permission.

To sum up the hotel rooms and bathrooms are comfortable and spacious, but the service was somewhat wanting. We are decent people, nice people and dare I say it we are business class and five star travellers but from beginning to end we felt we were treated like pond life by Loews and it has left a very bad taste in our mouths.

Room Tip: Away fron courtyard to avoid noise
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Green Features: Too environmentally friendly - they didn't change bed willingly in 13 days!
  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daytona Beach
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

From the sense of arrival driving up to the hotel to the staff, our stay was great. Our only negative was with the service (dinner and breakfast) at Trattoria del Porto. Seemed as they were not prepared with staff at the outside dinning area, even at breakfast with only one other table outside did it take some time (10 minutes) to get a server to our table to take our beverage order and to answer some of our menu questions.

  • Stayed May 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

In terms of the hotel itself, it is lovely and the rooms were very nice. The pool area is brilliant and the loungers very comfortable. The main reason we stayed was for the express passes for the theme parks, which came as part of our stay, and the convenience of being only a boat ride from city walks. The boat was really convenient and we never needed taxis. The early access to Harry Potter world wasn't really worth it as there are 3 hotels using this and the queue was actually bigger for one of the rides at that time than it was later in the day as everyone was heading to the same place. We found that the staff were not that friendly and unfortunately this brought down our rating as it is a lovely hotel. We arrived at 10am and didn't actually get in our room until 6pm even though our room should have been ready at 4pm(we of course appreciate that we could not check in until this point). We didn't receive an update on this until we had to go and queue up again at reception (which was very busy) and were told that our room still wasn't ready. We were given a voucher for a free pizza and 2 drinks so couldn't really complain about that. We just found that the staff were not that accommodating. We had to wait for a long time to get drinks at the pool, we tried to order them ourselves at the bar but were told we could then not drink them by the pool and asked 3 times before someone came to take our order. We didn't find the staff to be that friendly or helpful - apart from the boat drivers who were very nice. All in all we would probably stay again for the convenience but unfortunately the experience with some of the staff didn't make our experience brilliant. Perhaps we had been spoilt In Disney as the staff were so helpful in every way.

Stayed May 2015, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

The hotel is amazing! Gorgeous with a taste of italy! Had a wonderful time!! Looking forward to next stay! Even get to take a boat to and from city walk in universal at no charge!! Rooms were a good size and the complimentary express passes were awesome

Stayed May 2015, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LPBHManager, General Manager at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, responded to this review, 2 days ago
Thank you for your feedback. We are delighted to hear that you took advantage of the complimentary Universal Express Passes, which is provided to all of our on-site hotel guests.

In the future, we hope you will consider a return visit to experience ‘la dolce vita’ – the sweet life.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Make sure the front desk does not put you in the very back of the hotel. Otherwise you will spend 5 - 10 minutes each way getting to and from the lobby. This hotel feels more like a convention center than a hotel. Rooms are nice but the mattresses sag in the middle and caused us to toss and turn all night from being uncomfortable. heavily used hotel.

  • Stayed May 2015, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Loews Hotels and Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LPBHManager, General Manager at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, responded to this review, 2 days ago
We appreciate your feedback and would like to talk with you about your recent experience. Your comments are certainly not indicative of the type of experience we strive to consistently deliver to our guests. Please contact us at: portofinogeneralmanager@loewshotels.com so that we may schedule a call at your convenience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#15 Green Hotel in Orlando
#16 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#28 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#39 Business Hotel in Orlando
#67 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#89 Family Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando 4*
Number of rooms: 750
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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