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Reviewed January 10, 2010

Although this Hotel may seem expensive when compared to other options, the location, decor, quality of service, location, perks, location and finally the location make this an ideal hotel when visiting Universal Studios in Orlando.

Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
Thank Garethsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2010

I'm a little late writing this ... We stayed here end of June early July. After spending 5 blissful nights at the Don Caesar in St Petersburg we arrived at 3 pm to find that our room would not be available for at least another 2 hours. We had booked a kids suite as we had a party of 2 adults and 2 teenagers as we felt the kids suite would be more spacious. On our first night we found it very difficult to sleep as there we people running up and down the corridor screaming at 1 in the morning. The following morning I went down to the reception and spoke to the girl who had checked us in the previous day and explained to her that we would not be able to tolerate that level of noise for a further 9 nights. She was extremely unhelpful and after persisting with her for an hour she eventually found another kids suite for us even though she said there was none available ... persistence pays off. The pool area was uninspiring. My teenagers only used it once in 10 days. We had lunch at the pool one day the food was OK but the flies were a huge problem. We ate dinner in 'The Kitchen' on a few occasions. The food was quite good but the service was quite mixed.

The major selling points for this hotel is its proximity to the parks and the ability to fast pass, otherwise it doesn't have much to offer.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank Msldublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2010

We visted the Hard Rock Hotel in April 2009 and spent 2 weeks there; we had a great time and it certainly had the wow factor! The sweeping driveway, with palm trees and cool guitar fountain made us feel like we had definately chosen the right hotel, right from the start! Yes it is a little on the expensive side but its certainly true that you get what you pay for and this was money well spent!

Check-in was quick and smooth, we were a little concerned about the reviews on here that the rooms near to the lift lobby meant a lot of noise at night .In our experience this was only really a concern at weekends when the hotel is busy; which is true of any hotel.

Our room was on the 4th floor with views onto the garden at the rear of the hotel; the room was spacious and well equipped, the coffee machine and fridge were useful. The beds and pillows were comfy an the bathroom and towels of good quality. The bathroom is a bit of a tight squeeze in between the door and the w/c.The shower over the tub was good, plenty of hot water. There is a small hand basin in the bathroom and a larger vanity/sink area outside the bathroom which was handy when getting ready in the mornings.

The mini bar is of course expensive and they add a 20% gratuity as well! I would suggest stocking up at a local store or at The Hard Rock Gift store or Emack & Bolios they have a range of snacks and drinks at a more reasonable price.

Housekeeping was good, there were some days when our room wasnt made up till later in the day but it was always to a good standard. Had a slight issue with the hairdryer but this was sorted immediately by the friendly and attentive housekeeping manager who delivered a brand new one. He regularly checked with us that all was well when he saw us in the corridor and all requests were promptly dealt with.

All public areas were tidy, smart and bright, the memorbilia and features are great and the music in the elevators was fun!

There are several dining options, The Kitchen where we ate breakfast on a few mornings, this was of a good standard and varied buffet style dining, the breakfast pizza was a hit with my boyfriend! We also ate dinner there a few times and on some evenings they had Characters coming to the tables which was great for children and a fun touch for adults. Prices are of course what you would expect for a 5* hotel. The Palm, a popular American steak house will cost more, we had dinner on the evening of my birthday and had starter, steaks and a nice bottle of wine for $200, pricey but the food was delicous. My boyfriend loved the steak and it was literally melt in the mouth.

They also serve food at the Beach Club bar; Burger and fries were a little expensive and the only downside is the automatically add 20% gratuity to all drinks and food. But the setting is lovely and staff friendly.

The pool area/gardens are well maintained, beautifully landscaped and very relaxing, the pool isnt very deep but was okay just to take a quick dip and movies by the pool were fun. You can hire a Cabana but this was a little expensive and there were plenty of pool loungers and secluded spots even at busy times.

We enjoyed drinks and cocktails at the Velvet Bar just off the lobby; they did special cocktails most evenings and they had an outside balcony area which was lovely to relax on after a busy day at the parks. The staff were friendly and fun, we fund ourselves popping in for drinks before heading our most evenings.

The water taxi to CityWalk was great, the Captains were always friendly and there were a couple who would often do a funny little dance or share some local knowledge which added to the fun! It was great the snuggle up on the Water Taxi on the way back from an evening at Citywalk. They ran until 2am and you never had to wait too long at the dock at Citywalk. The garden walk to Universal Studios were lovely with ducks on the lake, took about 8 minutes to walk to Citywalk/Universal Studios, the area still felt safe and security was good even when walking back in the early hours of the morning.

The Express Pass was also great when the parks were busy, we never had to wait in line for any of the attractions.The ability to charge all purchases to your room in the Universal resort and have them delivered to your room was great and saved having to carry purchases around.

The only issue we had was the parking charge; $14 a day it seems to be a common thing in Orlando Hotels, we only had the car for 10 days and spent the remaining 4 days using the resort.

Location is great in walking distance to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure/Citywalk, 20 minutes to Disney, 10 minutes to Seaworld. Reception staff were very friendly and helpful, great at giving directions and suggestions.

We were sad to leave and will definately be returning when we next visit Orlando!

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Jules-Nottm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2009

OK....First off.....I am not one of those "5 star" hotel people.......I normally only fork over that amount of money when I am visiting foriegn countries. But, even with the all-inclusive major hotel chains in the vicinity of Universal-----the Hard Rock cannot be beat.

First and foremost is the Express Pass Key Card----that is included, no charge, if you stay in one of the Universal Orlando properties (there are 3 total). There were a total of 6 of us on this trip (myself, my wife, 20 y/o daughter, 11 y/o son, and twin 9 y/o girls.....the normal in-park price, for 2-park express pass is $70/each......so, the Express Pass paid for the room (in fact, the express pass exceeded the cost of the room----GOVT RATE). So, even if the hotel had problems (which, it didn't), the express pass would make up for it. No waiting at all, on any of the rides. Saw both parks----including several rides x2, x3, in about 7.5 hours.....and, the parks were packed.

Now, onto the hotel. Typical Lowe's property.....stafff very friendly. Services for both guests with families, and guests without. Food is pricy (lunch for the 6 of us was $90...but, the best burger I have ever had). Velvet is a must, after a long day in the park. The pool is just perfect......heated to 80+ degrees, and a cool slide....TVs, music, sandy beach and just fun!

The rooms are a little worn out from such heavy use (we had a kids suite).....but, I was still very satisfied.

There are much less expensive properties, nearby. But, if you have the money, and want to be close to Universal (and City Walk), and have head-of-the-line, save up your money for Hard Rock. You will not be disappointed. We will return, yearly, for our Hard Rock Xmas Vacation.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank MARATHON-MCPO-USN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2009

we stayed at the hard rock and were disappointed this year. stayed there llast year and were pleased with it which is why we went back. we stayed on club level which is

a step above wehre you have full access to the hotel and the club level lounge where they have drinks, food all day long. this was most disappointing this year with the menue they had. desert every night was cookies no variety; I like cookies but we stayed for an entire week and even when they did give ya something else it was overcooked; stale like it was left overs from ttwo days before!!!!!!. You pay extra to get the club level and on a whole it was disappointing. even the maid service was lacking. we had to call to get daily maid service

  • Stayed: December 2009
    • Cleanliness
1  Thank suie1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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