What are the choices of Universal Studios Orlando Hotels and which ones offer the best rooms and choice for your family? If you want to combine all the fun and thrills of Universal Orlando with a great hotel then you need look no further than the Universal Studios resort hotels. You can stay right in the heart of Universal Orlando in one of three magnificent resort hotels.
There are 3 hotels to choose from. The Portofino Bay Hotel,Hard Rock Hotel, and the Royal Pacific Resort. Each has their very own unique theme and all are of an excellent standard. They are all part of the Loews Hotel Group and offer some of the very best accommodation in the area. And of course the perks of staying onsite.
If you stay in a Universal Studios Orlando hotel you will also have some very valuable extra benefits including Universal Express Priority Access. So let us take a tour of the hotels and find out more about the extra perks. And even find out some ways that you can make big savings on the cost of a Universal Studios hotel room.
There are some excellent discounts on Universal hotels at the moment so now is a great time to think about a visit.
Advantages of Being a Universal Studios Orlando Hotel Guest
Early Entry To Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This is one of the biggest advantages for a Universal Studios hotel guest.
Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens. This is a huge benefit. Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the best theme park experiences in Orlando and you know what that means? It can get crowded. So to get a head start on entry is a huge benefit.
Close to Universal Studios Orlando
You are within very easy reach of both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. You can drive if you want to but there are much easier and definitely more fun ways. You can walk to both parks. It is only a 6 minute pleasant walk from The Hard Rock hotel to Universal Studios Orlando. CityWalk is around 10 minutes walk from The Royal Pacific.
By far my preferred way to arrive at the parks from the resort hotels is to take the boat. There are free buses but it is so much more fun and relaxing to hop on board a boat and take the short journey from the hotels to CityWalk. From there you can easily walk to either park.
Universal Orlando Express Priority Access
This is an excellent perk for Universal Studios hotel guests. Guests have free priority access to most of the attractions at both Universal Orlando parks. Others pay up to $60 a day for this perk – so if you have a family of 4 staying at the hotel these savings can add up almost to the cost of the hotel room itself.
So what is Universal Express Plus. It is often called “front of line access”. This term can be a bit confusing. You aren’t guaranteed to get to the front of the line. But what you do get is access to the Express Line – so you are going to cut down your waiting time at all the attractions considerably.
Another valuable resort guest benefit. This gets you priority seating at the shows at the parks as well as access to the best seating in some restaurants at CityWalk Sunday through Monday.
Universal Studios Orlando Tickets
Look out for offers which may be available for reduced ticket prices for hotel resort guests.
Charging Privileges and Package Delivery
You can charge all Universal park and resort purchases to your room. There is also free package delivery right to your room. These perks aren’t a reason to stay at a Universal Studios hotel but they are a nice add on.
Universal Studios Orlando Portofino Bay
Photo by jlbruno
You could be forgiven for thinking that you have traveled to a different continent when you arrive at this hotel. Welcome to Portofino Italy. Well not quite but this hotel does do a great job making you fell as though you have just arrived on the Italian Riviera.
One of the best ways to arrive is by boat. Travel in style to arrive at Universal Portofino Bay and you will be struck by how good a reproduction it is of the look of the real Italian town. Beautifully themed and with a very laid back atmosphere, even if you are not staying here it is a great idea to explore and perhaps enjoy an al fresco cup of cappuccino.
The Universal Portofino hotel has several different room types ranging from the standard 450 square rooms to huge suites. Room rates range from around $200 a night and upwards.
The hotel has 3 beautiful swimming pools which range from the relaxing to all out family fun. You have a great choice of restaurants too. All serve Italian cuisine and range from the find dining Bice to the casual Mama Della’s Ristorante.
Universal Studios Hard Rock Hotel
Photo by monkeyworlduk
If you are looking for lavish luxury,plenty of rock memorabilia,distinctive but surprisingly tasteful accommodation right next to Universal Studios then the Hard Rock Hotel may be the one for you. I always tell visitors to the parks to check out the Hard Rock if only to see some of the most extravagantly decorated restrooms I have ever seen in my travel!
The emphasis is on over the top fun. You may not actually see Steven Tyler there but you can imagine that he would certainly enjoy staying there.
This is the smallest of the Universal Studios Orlando hotels with 650 hotel rooms and suites. Rooms are smaller than the Portofino at just 375 to 400 square feet. But the prices are generally lower too. You may be disappointed to hear that there is no rock memorabilia in the rooms but you do have some black and white pictures of rock history on your hotel room wall.
If you want to splurge on one of the best rooms available at the Hard Rock there is a Graceland Suite. This 2,000 square foot suite has a grand piano and surprisingly tasteful decoration – but be prepared to pay upwards of $2,000 a night. Fortunately the rest of the rooms are rather more affordable starting at around $170 a night.
The Hard Rock only has one swimming pool but it is 12,000 square feet. And as you would expect it has a 30 foot high guitar at one end.
Dining here is a little limited with just 2 full service restaurants available. But all of the restaurants of the other Universal resort hotels and of course Universal Orlando CityWalk are within very easy reach.
Universal Royal Pacific Hotel
Step back in time to the 1930’s South Pacific. The theme of the hotel is designed to invoke the grandeur of a bygone Golden Age of travel – and take you to a paradise somewhere in the South Pacific. The overall effect is a tasteful and relaxing hotel which is of course within very easy reach of Universal Studios.
The Universal Royal Pacific was built to be a convention hotel. The result of this is that the rooms are rather on the small side (some also describe them as rather dark). There are no deluxe rooms. If you want an upgrade from a standard then it is straight to a suite (with the resulting price upgrade too). The Jurassic Park Suites are an affordable alternative for families with children. At 650 square feet with a separate bedroom for the children you will have room to spread out.
The Royal Pacific, like the Hard Rock, has only one swimming pool. But what a swimming pool. The Lagoon Pool has a wonderful tropical theme and of course just what you would expect in the South Seas – a sandy beach.
The restaurants are worth checking out at the Royal Pacific. One of my favorites is the Orchid Court Lounge. And of course there is Emeril’s excellent Tchoup Chop.
Is a Universal Studios Orlando Hotel Really Worth It?
Photo by StuckinCustoms
Most definitely if you want very high standard hotels at a reasonable price, offering a lot of perks then consider the Universal Studios Hotels for your next stay in Orlando. There is something to suit everyone and for many the Express Pass and the early entry to Wizarding World of Harry Potter may just turn that vacation from just great to the most memorable experience you have had in a very long time.
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.