The Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels

The Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resort Hotels highlights the best of what staying on property has to offer Universal’s guests.

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels run the gammut from posh, high end resorts to family friendly, affordable stays. All of the eight hotels have pools, restaurants, free transportation to the parks and other hotels.

Travel With Sandi is a participant in an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. Here is what I know about travel. Everyone’s taste is different. The opinions expressed here are mine alone.

When you stay on site, you have access to exclusive benefits including one hour early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay. Other benefits include: water taxi and bus services between parks and Universal hotels, pool hopping, and a variety of dining options.

How much would your kiddos like a wake up call from one of their favorite Universal Orlando Characters! Time to wake up, it’s a Scooby Doo Day!

My best tip! When you stay at one of the property hotels, you can pool hop to any of the other hotels! Each pool has its own distinct flavor, different pool every day, maybe. Be sure to check in at the resort you are visiting for worry free pool access.

One important feature to consider is the Free Universal Express Unlimited ride access included in your reservation at the Portofino, the Hard Rock, and the Royal Pacific Resort. This unlimited pass gets you on to rides quicker than standing in line, giving you the opportunity to enjoy more of rides. Huge!

Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel

Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel is the premier, luxury Universal Orlando Resort. It is designed to resemble an the old Italian seaside village of Portofino. When you stroll the piazza, you feel like you need to parla Italiano!

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Loews Portofino Bay Resort, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

With elegant appointments and meticulously maintained grounds your stay at the Portofino Bay will be exceptional.

Dining at the upscale Bice Restaurant, choose patio seating overlooking the piazza, is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner. Mama Della’s and Trattoria del Porto are available for casual dining. Splendido Bar and Grill poolside round out the on site dining options. Don’t forget to stop by Gelataria for a sweet treat.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Dinner at Bice Ristorante overlooking the piazza, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

The pool at the Portofino is so amazing. There are organized games for the kiddos, secret grottos, a tiki hut bar, a gorgeous pool, and lots of palm trees.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Secret adult hide-a-way at the Portofino Pool, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

A few of the benefits of staying at Portofino Bay is the Free Universal Express Unlimited access and priority seating at many restaurants throughout the property.

Hard Rock Hotel

When you disembark at the dock at Hard Rock Hotel, you meander up a serenely inviting path adgacent to the Woodstock Lawn that is juxtaposed with the edgy but elegant rock and roll interior.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Guitar Fountain, Hard Rock Cafe, Photo Credit: Hard Rock Cafe Website

Sip a perfectly crafted martini or cocktail of choice at the Swanky Velvet Lounge. Whether you prefer the dark velvet style of the indoor lounge or the stylish veranda seating, you will feel like you are part of an exclusive rock band entourage. If you are there the last Thursday of the month, check out the Velvet Sessions, a rock and roll party with live legendary band performances.

For more family oriented dining, the Hard Rock offers the seated dining at the Palm Restaurant, casual dining a The Kitchen, and poolside at the Beach Club. For a mid-day or late-nite snack, Emack and Bolio’s has just what you are craving.

Grand Staircase Hard Rock Cafe, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

A few of the benefits of staying at Hard Rock is the Free Universal Express Unlimited access and priority seating at many restaurants throughout the property.

Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort

Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort has that South Pacific, toes-in-the-sand feeling. The inviting tropical decor, first class amenities, and comfortable rooms will have you wanting to extend your stay.

Dining options include Jake’s American Bar for seated dining. The kid friendly Island Dining Room and the poolside Bula Bar and Grill are good family options. The Orchid Court Bar and Grill is just the thing for a relaxing tropical cocktail to cap off a perfect vacation day.

The pool at the Royal Pacific Resort is tiki inspired and very tropical in feel. You can rent a cabana for the day and relax in the glorious Florida sunshine.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Cabana at the Royal Pacific Resort, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett
Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Royal Pacific Resort, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

A few of the benefits of staying at The Royal Pacific Resort is the Free Universal Express Unlimited access and priority seating at many restaurants throughout the property.

Loew’s Sapphire Falls Resort

Delicious tropical decor makes Loew’s Sapphire Falls Resort a family friendly, luxury resort. The beautiful pool, the fun oasis-like vibe, and the exceptional service makes this one Universal Orlando Resorts hotels best spots for family fun.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Sapphire Falls, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

The pool area is spectacular. Enjoy an evening gathering at a firepit sporting comfy Adirondack Chairs while the kids splash in the hidden water slides. This toes-in-the-sand pool area will be your favorite spot to hang out.

Sapphire Falls, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett
Pool At Sapphire Falls, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

The New Dutch Trading Company is their grab-and-go restaurant and Strong Water Tavern has a lovely poolside view. Drhum Club Kantine offers poolside dining and Amatista Cookhouse rounds out the dining options.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

If you are traveling with kids, particularly tweens, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the hotel for you. The pool area is so much fun with slides and a retro beachy vibe. Rent a private cabana for a relaxing all-day-at-the-pool day. Cabanas come with food and beverage delivery, a large screen TV, and the perfect lounge chair to take a nap.

Cabana Bay Pool, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett
Cabana Bay Pool area, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

The retro, Jetson like feel, is fun for kids of all ages. The mod, brightly colored furniture will surely lift your spirits and transport you to vacation mode. The in-resort bowling alley will delight every member of your family.

Dining is also thematic with the Hideaway Bar and Grill and Atomic Tonic offering poolside cuisine. The Bayline Diner offers quick, food court style meals. The Galaxy Bowl Restaurant is located in the bowling alley for kid friendly fun.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

The Aventura Hotel is a haven for vacationers craving upscale accommodations with a chic, modern feel. This is a good choice if you are visiting without children and are looking for a more serene choice. Families do stay here, but the pool is on the small side, without “fun” activities, making it less appealing for the kiddos.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Aventura Hotel, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

Even if you aren’t staying at the Aventure, you should head over to the Bar 17 Bistro for a drink and a nosh. The view from the glass walled lounge is spectacular. If you can time your visit for sunset, even better!

The other dining option at Aventure is the Urban Pantry, an Asian and European focused restaurant.

Adventura’s Bar 17 Bistro, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett
\Adventura’s Bar 17 Bistro, Photo Credit: Sandi Barrett

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn And Suites And Dockside Inn And Suites

Universal’s budget and family friendly sister resorts Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites and Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites are a one-stop vacation spot. Beautiful pools, no fuss dining, and fun themed decor says, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

At Surfside, the Beach Break Cafe offers quick grab-and-go meals with lots of options.

Dockside is one of the newest Universal Orlando Resorts hotels, scheduled to open for the Summer 2020 season. This is your opportunity to stay at a brand new resort.

Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Surfside Resort, Photo Credit: Endless Summer Resort -Surfside Inn and Suites Website
Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels
Surfside Resort, Photo Credit: Endless Summer Resort -Surfside Inn and Suites Website

I hope you find The Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resorts Hotels helpful and enables you to navigate your hotel selection easily.

Hotels.com has great offers on Universal Studios Hotels. Extra 15% Off Select Hotels with Free Cancellation When you Book Now and Stay Later. Use code GETAWAY15. Book by 7/5, travel by 12/31.

Happy Travels,

Sandi

PS If you decide you are more of an Airbnb vacationer, check out this post on Airbnb Rental Tips.