We got a great deal staying in January 2014 at this hotel. It's on Universal property, so it's great access to the parks, just a 5 minute water taxi ride away. We also got free Express Passes for staying on hotel property, for every day that we had tickets to a park. The Express Passes are a true luxury when traveling with impatient little boys, they allow you to skip all the lines and go straight to the front ! The only place they're not allowed is at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, however, you get in the park an hour early.
The hotel was beautiful but overwhelmingly HUGE. Luckily the staff is anxious to help you find your way around. Everyone there was very helpful and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. Upon arrival you have valet or self parking. A bellman is required to take your luggage up, so be prepared for that. It was quite a hike to our room in the West Wing, but our bellman gave us the grand tour and lots of useful tips and information while walking us to our room.
The room was much larger than the average room you get in Orlando, especially any of the Disney properties. It was so beautifully decorated I hated to mess up the beds ! It also had a Keurig Coffee maker which we love and we enjoyed coffee, tea and hot chocolate. The maid service was great, they would leave 5 or 6 extra towels every day and do something creative with my boys stuffed animals, which they loved.
Once you're ready to go to the parks, the water taxi runs about every 20 minutes and it takes only 5 minutes to get to the drop off. They run from early in the morning until 2:00 a.m. if you like the night life at City Walk.
The one criticism I would have of this hotel is its lack of family friendly restaurants. There was only one very small deli with a limited menu. The other restaurants were geared towards adults, with "bar or wine tasting" themes and were fairly formal. We just wanted a quick place to grab something light and that wasn't possible without leaving the property. Even City Walk only had major restaurants such as Emril, Margaritas and Bubba Gumps. I would have loved some kind of take out that we could get and take back to the room. We thought about room service, and they had an extensive menu, however, the prices were just outrageous (as with most room service).
On our last day there it was warm enough to get in the pool and this is where I was MOST IMPRESSED. Everywhere was so clean, with lots of seating up front where you could easily watch your kids. There were four life guards on duty with only about 20 children in the pool. I actually sat back, had a drink and relaxed knowing that my children were being closely watched (PRICELESS). The lifeguards even had to correct them for running, which I fully support !
So if the point of this hotel is to provide a luxury filled, pampered stay, I would call it a complete success !!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy a luxurious escape inspired by the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy. Perfectly appointed rooms and suites, gorgeous vistas and incredible cuisine welcome you to celebrate la dolce vita-the sweet life. Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is in the heart of the excitement of Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Guests of this hotel enjoy exclusive theme park benefits. Skip the regular lines at most attractions with FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access - a benefit worth $89 per person, per day**. You can also take advantage of Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens, and more! (valid theme park admission required.) ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Loews Portofino Bay Resort
- Portofino Orlando
- Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando