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Reviewed December 21, 2010

My wife and I visited the Hard Rock on 12/2 thru 12/6. This is our third time here in the last 4 years. Although the weather was brisk to say the least this was one of our best stays. We finally booked a club room for this trip. Our previous trip we included our two boys ages 12 and 10 and stayed in the regular rooms. The club rooms are nice but no different then the rooms on the floors below. The club amenities are great. It was nice to get a coffee or hot chocolate before heading to the parks. Also, coming back and grabbing a snack throughout the day. We may stay in a club room again with the boys however, it would need to be a package deal. Our boys may enjoy it more and it may seem like a better deal since they could fill up on some of the food and snacks there too.
The hotel itself was of course great. They seem to be making the effort to increase customer service. I have never has so many conversations with staff while at any hotel. Everybody was kind and fun to talk too. I could really see a difference from the last time we stayed there and it did not come off like it was forced either.
The beds were great and the rooms where are very well cleaned. My wife is a stickler for clean rooms and it passed her test each day. We ate at the Kitchen for breakfast when we first arrived and even though the buffet is expensive it still is cheaper then ordering individual meals.
The pools were clean and we used them despite the weather. Especially the hot tub. My one concern is that there is a adult only hot tub but yet parents still allow kids into this area. What is up with that? There is a sign. Can you read it? It just bothers me when other ASSUME it will be OK for 6 younger kids to enter this area.
The parks where great although dated. The grinch breakfast is a must. Great time, OK food, but the characters make up for it. The Macy's parade was nice and the Grinch show was very entertaining. Got to get on all the rides and the lines were minimal for all areas including Harry Potter. Cannot see waiting in line for any store or a wand for that matter. Did not waste our time. Frozen Butterbeer was great even though the temps in the morning was in the upper 30's. Getting into the parks an hour early was a plus since we were able to do that entire area in that hour. For the most part the parks were dead this time of year as they usually are. I was told that after the first weekend in December to a few days before Christmas the parks are quiet. The holiday village is a dissappointment. The parks were all decorated nicely but the dated rides and the unused space at Universal allows you to completely do both parks in one day. We had 4 days in the parks and started looking for things to do but that could have been since we had been there so many times prior and knew what we wanted to do and not do. Twister? really? That movie is older then my kids and not a very good one too. The parks need updating and quickly. Workers in Harry Potter did not enjoy me asking for Team Edward or Team Jacob apparel. I am not a big Harry Potter person.
Bottom line is that the hotel is great, location is great and the parks are dated. If you get a chance to go to the City Walk, hit the Rising Star, karokee bar. Great time and a great concept. Have a good time.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jbturph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2010

We stayed here 11/20-23 and really enjoyed it. We had a garden view room #5114 at the end of the hallway. While this location was a walk from the elevator bank the quietness was truly appreciated after a long day in the park. The room was nicely appointed and very clean. The beds are comfortable. My two teenage boys loved everything about this hotel, from the memorabilia to the pool complex. They played in pick up beach volleyball games every evening and loved playing guitar hero in the cabana. It was a short walk over to Citywalk and the parks. Staying here also allowed us early entry into Islands of Adventure which is a big plus if you want to see the Harry Potter attractions while you can still navigate with a bearable crowd. All in all a perfect place to stay..

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Jimbo1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2010

You pay too much for what you get. There are dozens of other hotels within a 6 block radius that are a better value.

Pros:
Hotel is in a great location walking distance to many things, including Universal Studios.

Cons:
Bathroom was not cleaned very well. Upon check in, the bathroom floor was dirty and was never cleaned over my 5 days stay.
Lots and lots of kids. Hotel hallway was loud and It was difficult to sleep with lots of noise.
Hotel allows pets. Barking dogs is all I have to say about that!
Cell phones do not work very well in the hotel. You must go outside to use your phone.
Hotel restaurant staff was under staffed resulting in long waits. The staff was very pleasant.
Parking staff block your access to and from your car to get a tip. It make me feel uncomfortable.

Neither I nor my colleagues will stay at this hotel in the future.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled on business
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6  Thank Mr_Scotch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2010

Just got back from a wonderful birthday weekend at the Hard Rock!
We had a basic room but were upgraded to one(b-day amenity??) with a great view of the pool , lush landscaping , and the twinkling lights of the Universal rides in the distance.
Everyone on staff had a smile and a helpful attitude! We enjoyed food and drinks at the Velvet Bar,breakfast at The Kitchen, and drinks at the pool.
The location was perfect to get to the Universal parks and it was a short drive from the airport.
I think that families and romantic couples or just a bunch of friends would all have a wonderful stay in this hotel!! I highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank Riff M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2010

We booked for the Thanksgiving holiday and got a great rate on a 5 night package which included Harry Potter early entrance as well as breakfast at teh Three Broomsticks. After a few nights at Disney World, we were happy to see that walking did not involve great distances or running for monorails or buses. The Hard Rock is perhaps the most concenient location of all the on-site hotels, as it literally sits next to the Universal Parks and City Walk.

We booked a club level room, and while it was convenient to have drinks and snacks available to us, I wouldn't do it again. The whole set up was very basic with a limited collection of plastic chairs and tables, basic snacks and not a whole lot else. The staff, though cheerful and willing were not very good at actually assisting or particulalry knowledgeable about Univeral in general. Except for one request for a restaurant booking, the Club 7 staff referred us to the Front Desk, which sort of defeated the purpose.

The rooms are lovely and good sized. Two double beds in our room with ample room for walking around, as well as an armchair and a large oval table and two chairs made for a comfortable stay. The room was clean and well-maintained. The bathroom, though nicely set up with a sink and vanity outside, and another sink, toilet, and tub/shower on the inside, it was awkward to close the door to the toliet area without stepping to one corner and performing a little dance to get to the tub without climbing over the toilet.

Housekeeping was wonderful. They somehow knew when we were out of the room, cleaned and were long gone by the time we got back. One day we just relaxed in the room after a late night, and housekeeping was kind enough to look in on us before going home to see if we wanted more towels or anything else.

The lovely large windows do not open in the room, which would have been nice for some freah air. Though the A/C did its job well, albeit a bit noisily at times.

The internet was horrible. Bad enough you have to pay for it, but when it becomes intermittant and very slow, it is a problem. It is $10/day and really not worth the aggravation. There is a single computer available for guest use in the Club room, and it was always easy to take a few minutes to check email and reservations, etc. And even it was slow at times.

The hotel itself was nicely maintained and lively with rock music playing in the public areas. It was always fun trying to "name that song" whenever in the elevators. Some have claimed the music is too loud and pervasive, though we did not find this to be so at all. The staff were ever-helpful and present, which made getting information and advice easy.

We went to The Palms restaurant on site, and after hearing so much about it, thought that it was a bit over-hyped. We had dinner there one evening, and though the service was attentive and the menu diverse, the steaks themselves were quite mundane and nothing special at all. My filet mignon was nicely seasoned and well cooked, but a poor piece of meat. Period. And this was largely the case for the rest of our party. Sides are okay and plentiful, but nothing special (and we at additionaly cost)

We went swimming at the pool and were not pleased. Too many people, not enough chairs and the pool area seemed a bit unkempt and sad. It did not help that the pool was overun by screaming and inconsiderate children. The pool is largely 3 feet deep in most places, with only one small area being around 5 feet -- which, you guessed it, was where they were holding kids games and donut eating contests. We went once and did not go back again.

I cannot emphasize enough how good a location this hotel is. It is literally steps from the Universal parks via a nice walkway, or by boat. We were able to walk between both parks and Citywalk within just a few minutes. Do go and see the Blue Man show if you can -- it is fun for kids and adults alike. We also took advantage of the many movies showing at the Multiplex theatre, with a great $5 morning special for even new releases. There are plenty of restaurants to try also, including some fast food uptions.

We walked over to the Portotino resort and walked around. It is nicely done, but quite spread out. We also went over to the Royal Pacific and enjoyed a lovely sushi dinner there. It's a nice hotel, but also with a shallow pool. (they don't encourage guests from one hotel to swim in the other hotel pools, but we had to go and have a look to see if there were other options)

All in all, a good stay. and we were able to see and do just about all Univeral had to offer. The parks are not as extensive as Disney, and that was fine for us. If there were not other things to do in the immediate area, after 3 days of parks we would have been bored. And we also wondered why a large percentage of Universal's rides include having water thrown at you. There was hardly a ride or show that water was not a factor. From a spit or two on Spiderman and Forbidden Journey to a full soaking on Popeye's water barges and the Horror Makeup Show (do not sit in the front row unless you want to be soaked)

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank Dusty-traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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