As we drove into the Hard Rock Hotel, the kids said "Wow!" It only got better and I can tell you that that staying at this hotel was a great vacation for my family.
I hope this review helps you make a good decision as to where to stay in Orlando. I had read reviews on here before booking my vacation with a Disney Resort but ignored some of the bad reviews since I thought it may be better to stay closer to Disney World since I hadn't been to Universal or Orlando for that matter. I believed that those negative reviews wouldn't happen to us and the first 24 hours of our vacation was a nightmare.
Here is my review of the Hard Rock and some tips.
All our encounters with the staff were warm and friendly. The man that checked us in upgraded us from a standard room to an amazing pool room with a view (see my pic). Expect to be greeted with a smile and made to feel special, not just a number. One morning at the pool, I was told "Good Morning by my name" from a waiter. I do leave good tips but think it would have been the case either way.
I had narrowed down my hotel choices to two hotels in Orlando for a great pool, Hard Rock being one of them.
The pool is designed to where it is in front of you and you can watch your kids easily. The slide is exciting and my kids went a lot. I didn't let my kids go down the slide at night because I couldn't see the path from the pool.
If you want out of the sun or rain then the covered cabana/bar was wonderful. The food and drinks were really good. The service was friendly and prompt.
One of our favorite parts of the pool was the nightly movie and Live music in the afternoon. The kids were in the pool and watched the movie. The screen is double sided so you could watch from the covered cabana/bar, pool side or watch from chairs. The fireworks from Universal were an added touch. They had a very talented guy play acoustic guitar and sing for about three hours in the afternoon. This guy could play anything and took requests.
Love the easy access to towels and water jugs with self serve water with lemons, oranges and limes. The water toys and balls being sold at the pool by a vendor were so cool. Plus, he will deflate and inflate for you each day so you don't have to carry through hotel or on the plane.
The palm trees around the pool make it so beautiful.
The room was really nice with a great view. The beds are very comfortable. The carpet could be newer and the tv could be bigger. I also liked the layout of the floors with easy access to the main elevator area. The Disney Beach Club room was dirty and old and the floors are a maze.
The food was very good at the pool, The Kitchen, the coffee shop and didn't eat at The Palm. You can also take a free few minute water taxi to Universal Studios to eat at a lot of restaurants.
We ate breakfast and dinner at The Kitchen and we never had a bad meal. The breakfast buffet is delicious and cost $75 (which included tip) for four of us with unlimited fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee. The same breakfast buffet at Disney Beach Club Hotel was $150 (which included tip)!
The kids had an amazing steak dinner with salad and dessert for $10. The chicken wings and wood fired pizzas are the best and pasta with scallops and shrimp dinner was delicious.
The staff will ask if you would like your coffee or cocktail in a cup to take to the pool which I found nice. They will even make you an iced coffee :-)
Free water taxis to Universal Studios from hotel which is fun. We didn't use shuttles but they were free to Sea World and Wet n Wild water park.
We called our own taxi with a company named Mears. You will want to as we'll since they have a meter and cheaper than the taxis provide at the hotel.
Wish they had free shuttle to and from airport. However, the $$ we saved in one breakfast did easily pay for a taxi to the airport.
This tip was given to us and I would like to pass on to you. You may take a taxi from the hotel to Walmart for about $20. They sell all the Disney clothes, mugs and such with the Disney name on the tags for about half the price. Plus, you can stock up on other things too. When we got to Walmart there were lots of other people in taxis doing the same thing.
I hadn't been to Universal Studios prior to my stay. We were all impressed with the ease of getting around the park without having to take buses and monorails. Plus, they are ride focused without a gift shop and photo gimmicks at every turn. The rides are over the top with 3D and The Hulk roller coaster. My family favorite was the water ride, Jurassic Park and Transformer.
The express passes work and worth having. They are included with your room and you get in the park early for Harry Potter and otherwise. You get a photo on them which the kids wanted to save.
Hope our experience helps you. All our best.
- 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