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“Great Place To Stay!”

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Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
Ranked #45 of 335 Hotels in Orlando
GreenLeadersBronze level
Downers Grove, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Place To Stay!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

We stayed here for 2 days while on spring break in March. We stay on the Lowes properties if we are going to Universal theme park as your room key is your fast pass to bypass all the lines. The lobby is very cool, as is the staff throughout. Rooms are very clean and comfortable. Love the pool and the activities for the kids they have. The DJ they have been having from year to year for the kids is awesome. He really gets them all involved. Pool was extremely crowded this year and finding chairs was harder than past years. Very pricey and that's a bummer as we would stay more days here if it was more affordable.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank KellyW439
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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maryland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013 via mobile

I am booked to return to the Hard Rock Hotel June 5th-9th for a girls weekend with my daughters and friends. We have been coming to this hotel since 2002 and we make sure we visit at least each spring and fall. The staff are so friendly and the rooms are so clean that we feel like we are returning "home" each time we return. I usually book the "club level" because it includes beer/wine/appetizers/snacks/and gym so the extra expense is worth it to me. We don't do the parks anymore but just laying by the pool and eating dinner at the hotel restaurants makes it so worth it! Keep doing what you are doing Hard Rock!....... The only negative is the price of the drinks and food at the poolside bar. It would be nice if you offered some sort of happy hour specials or lowered the prices a little bit!

Stayed April 2013
Helpful?
Thank duffgirl802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north carolina
Level Contributor
107 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

First the pluses: great hotel for proximity to Universal parks (just walk there), early admission to Universal (this is huge, best way to avoid long Harry Potter lines IF you are willing to get up that early), nice enough pool area, walking and boat shuttle access to City Walk and parks.

Minuses: rooms are average to below average (they are roomy enough, but a bit dated) , management sets your room thermostat (my room was too hot, had to have service guy come down to reprogram thermostat), the rock n roll music stuff is overhyped (welcome to the iPod age guys, playing background rock instead of Muzak isn't really such a big deal), lobby ho hum.

Tips: if you are travelling with pets they have dedicated rooms on first floor with easy outdoor access for walks - if you don't have pets DO NOT get placed in these rooms (noise).

If you are not planning on spending time at Universal attractions, you can find better lodging elsewhere. However, if you are bound for Universal parks, it's a good choice.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Gizm0guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorks
Level Contributor
50 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

We picked this hotel to ensure we were on resort for Universal and to get complimentary Express tickets for both parks. As we are not big Disney fans we only had 3 days in Orlando prior to a week's cruise and wanted to maximise our use of the time available.

Staying on resort has many benefits:-
1. Parks are all within walking distance, or water taxi for novelty value.
2. Complimentary express plus which allows you to dodge the queues on about 95% of the rides.
3. No need to carry cash as all expense (food gifts) in the park can be charged directly to your room. You do get a receipt so you can keep tabs on your spending. You can also prevent childrens cards from having spending authority.
4. You get time to come and go as you please, so the park experience is not a 16 hour day spent mainly in line.
5. You get priority seating at restaurants in the park and city walk.

Why Hardrock? We picked it over the two Lowes hotels as we felt it would have a bit more buzz with youngsters in tow. It did not disappoint live music by the pool, piped music in the restaurants and the corridors. It was never loud enough to be offensive but for an old git like me I was in heaven listening to, The Clash, The Cult and The Cure amongst others, they were even playing The Vaccines, how cool is that? Obviously you had the obligatory Aerosmith etc.

Check in was great and painless. Your room key also gave you access to and from the private car park so you could come and go as you pleased. Parking was $20/day.

The room was a little disappointing and slightly dated. Two double beds as usual in America, but, no opening windows. However, it was functional and clean, it served its purpose somewhere to sleep and wash, beds were comfortable.

The pool area was spacious and there were a lot of sun beds, however these were hard to secure as most guests spent the afternoon by the pool, which is understandable as it was a great pool with waterslide and gave everyone a break from the park. A lot of the area around the pool was sand as opposed to paving which made it safer for smaller kids. On the afternoon we spent there we could not get a sunbed, but found a bench for our towels and jumped in the jaccuzi whilst our daughter played in the pool and on the slide.

One of our big concerns about Universal in general prior to the trip, was quality, type and cost of food. Food was not cheap at Hard Rock but it was certainly good value for money. When you check in you get the option to pre buy breakfast tickets for the buffet at $16/person $10 for younger kids. You only have to buy one set (one days worth) then if you like you can buy more during your stay. So we paid $48 for the buffet breakfast on the 1st day and were not disappointed, it put most hotels to shame, in fact I am not sure I have ever stayed at a hotel which offers the variety and quality of food on a buffet. As well as the usuals like bacon and scrambled egg etc, there were grits, varies types of cereal, the bircher museli was excellent, fruit, fruit and more fruit, omelettes or eggs cooked to order, waffles, pancakes, croissants etc and the doughnuts, oh the doughnuts! I have to confess that whilst I had a desire to try a different doughnut every morning, I never got past the chocolate one with sprinkles on top! I have never eaten a doughnut which is so light. Ok so $48 is a lot of money for breakfast, but if you are not stuffed when you leave and have to spend a fortune on lunch that is your problem. Having had a good breakfast we only needed a bit of a snack at lunch time before having dinner in the evening.

The food was so good in the "Kitchen" that we ate our last two eveing meals in there. Again, once you rememeber that in America starters are to share the prices were very competitive for the quality of the food. Around $12/14 for a starter and $12/20 for a main with steaks costing more. The portion of calamari as a starter would have easily done a family of 4 and believe me we have healthy appetites.

Emilio & Bolios does a mean Sundae with 3 different flavoured icecreams which comfortably fed 3 Brits with a good appetite all by itself! We were 2 hours late getting into Orlando but still went out to the Hard Rock Cafe 1st night at about 1.30am UK time for our evening meal. We should have got a room service pizza from E&B for $18 they looked great, top tip for anyone arriving late.

If we go back to Orlando in a couple of years then we will definitely be looking to stay at the Hard Rock again!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Vizsla_Posh_Paws
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
159 reviews
77 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

I was on the verge of booking the Portofino Bay and then at the last minute changed to the Hard Rock as it had a big swimming pool and that's important for my kids. I'm glad I did change, if only because the Hard Rock is a much better location. It's really only about a five or six minute walk (or you can take a boat but it doesn't save you much time) from the entrance to Universal (a bit more to Islands of Adventure) - Portofino is twice as far and when you're racing to get there to be among the first in line in the morning, every minute counts. The early entry to Harry Potter is definitely worth having (providing you don't mind getting up for that before 7 start (they say they open at 7 but opened the doors around 6.45 when we were there)) if you're there during a busy period. And the free Express Pass has to be worth a bit - you can buy them at Universal/Islands of Adventure but they're quite pricey; they're also definitely worth it. In fact I'd say you really wouldn't want to go to Universal without them - they saved us aeons of queuing time and you can keep on using them - not like Fastpass at Disney. I felt very sorry for people who didn't have them as we kept barging past to the front of the line and were let in straight away.

Back to the Hard Rock itself - I was a bit worried about the continuous rock music - I'm more of a Mozart than Motorhead fan, but actually the music was goold old stuff from the 60s and 70s and I quite enjoyed it. It certainly wasn't loud, and a lot better than generic "musak" that you get in a lot of hotels.

The weather was unseasonably cold when we were there (late March)- in fact it was the coldest since the 1920s - mornings started off in the low 40s and struggled by the end of the day to reach the low 60s. However, there were still plenty of people in the pool, owing to the fact that it's heated - it was really quite warm which was lovely. Even the local ducks liked it. There was a mother duck and her ducklings who took frequent excursions into the pool and then rested on the side. The lifeguards did a great job at keeping over-enthusiastic kids from disturbing them. The pool has a nice long water slide. The only downside is that much of the pool is very shallow. Great if you have little kids but if you actually want to do some proper swimming I'd say less than half of it is deep enough. When the mercury finally started to go up we found it difficult to get a sun lounger - the hotel is very large and was very full - but one of the pool attendants found us some and carried them over to a spare spot.

Our room was fine if nothing special. We had the most almightily uncomfortable pillows the first night but they changed them to slightly better ones (polyester filled - they'd run out of feather ones they said). The beds themselves were fine. The corridors are looking a bit dated, in fact the hotel looks like it could do with a bit of a revamp.

We ate at the Kitchen a couple of evenings which was OK, although we had a late breakfast there one day and it was great with just about everything you could possibly want to eat. There's a little shop/starbucks (the most tasteless starbucks ever I hasten to add) next to the Kitchen where you can get breakfast but there were only about three or four tables, and these were blasted by unnecessarily freezing air conditioning which was very annoying.

The staff were all great - the check-in and out was nice and smooth and the concierge seem to be able to book you a table in any restaurant in the Universal complex. Emeril's Tchoup Tchoup in the Royal Pacific was the best we went to.

I'd say the Portofino had more character than the Hard Rock but location wise this is the best and I'm glad we chose it. Only annoying thing is that they charge for the gym. What's that all about?

Room Tip: We had a pool view but I'm not sure it's worth paying extra for. It was partly obscured by t...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rosiefromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

We stayed here for 2 weeks at Christmas time. 2011 This hotel was lovely, a bit more expensive than the others but for the quick entry into park was worth it, the pool area and service was great, the hotel has a lot going on, shops, restaurant, (food is expensive but it is lovely),the only negative thing I would say is paying for parking. As we always hire a car it was not worth the extra expensive of paying for your parking in the hotel. The cleaning was not up to its standards. Otherwise no complaints.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Amelia2e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
66 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights, mainly to get the express pass, and for the convenience. We went to the parks for 3 days. After coming from the Hilton Orlando, which is new, very beautiful... the Hard Rock room was a little disappointing. The tv was smaller (like 32"?), not HD. The furniture was a bit dated. At Hard Rock, they even charge for in-room coffee! The Hilton cost about 60% less than what we paid for at the Hard Rock, and it would have been cheaper staying at the Ritz than the Hard Rock! But we did go during spring break week, so Hard Rock was a lot more expensive. That being said, we found the Hard Rock employees to be so nice and helpful. Everyone was kind, helpful, and had a nice and cool/fun/down to earth attitude. I really liked that. We liked the lobby area (beautiful), and the pool was very nice. It is not as big as the pictures make it look, but my kids love the slide (they like how it goes slow, then fast). With the swaying palm trees, and the sand, you do feel like you are on a beach. The water is not very deep... more for wading, sitting, floating, just hanging out, but it is fun nevertheless, and the kids (including mine) loved it! There was a musician playing guitar and singing (I think all hotels should have this feature! I like it!), and a DJ/MC who host fun games for the kids, like hula hoop contests, etc... There were two hot tubs that were sufficiently hot, and the pool is heated well. Also there was ping pong tables, a shuffleboard game, and movies at night. We took in a movie at night, and there we were at 9:00PM, and my boys were swimming happily and watching a movie at the same time. Really nice. The vibe of the whole place is just great. The hotel acknowleged my child's birthday with little gifts, whereas the Hilton did not do anything. It was so nice and thoughtful... it just made my newly 10 year old so happy!! We had a late flight on the last day, so we used the last day to do the parks, then swim, and the hotel was so kind to let us use their changing room (near the gym, which looked really nice) to change. So, yes, even if the room is not the most up to date, and they are cheap with the in-room coffee, and it does cost a lot, it makes up for in their wonderful employee attitude, awesome pool area, decent rooms (decent size for a family of 4), super convenience to the parks and Citywalk. It was awesome to have the express pass and to not wait long for any lines and to get into Harry Potter early. I am glad we stayed there. It made the whole Universal experience better and easy, and if we go back, we would stay there again. P.S. Out of the two pools between Hilton (giant pool, with slides, lazy river) and Hard Rock, my kids preferred the Hard Rock! The water seemed cleaner (easier to see in the water) at the Hard Rock and they thought it was more fun!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LavaJava96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando

Property: Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
Address: 5800 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819-7834
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#30 Family Hotel in Orlando
#34 Green Hotel in Orlando
#39 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#40 Business Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando 4*
Number of rooms: 650
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Live like a rock star and savor the perks of rock 'n' roll royalty with impeccable accommodations, laid-back luxurious style and show-stopping service. Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, Hard Rock 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:
Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Hotel Hard Rock
Hard Rock Resort
Hard Rock Orlando
Hard Rock Cafe Hotel Orlando
Universal Hard Rock Hotel

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