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Our ~Perfetta~ Guide to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

by Mommy Frog on June 11, 2023 Orlando

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Welcome to La Dolce Vita. One of Universal's three Premier hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel encompasses you in the sights, sounds, smells and savors of the romantic and relaxing Italian Riviera. From the picturesque painted houses to the charming cobblestone streets, the alluring ambience of this hotel truly makes it the crème de la crème of all the accommodations at Universal Orlando Resort. Unwind with a glass of vino or cool down with a mouthwatering gelato and get lost in the musica della notte as we sing the praises of this opulent oasis.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Harbor Piazza

Overview of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

In its first real effort to transform the resort from merely a day trip to a world-class vacation destination back in 1999, Universal Orlando took inspiration for its inaugural hotel from "the most beautiful fishing village in Italy" — Portofino. With its serene sidewalk cafes, vibrant Vespas and sports cars and breathtaking bay full of bobbling gondolas, this hotel beautifully captures the essence of the famed seaside town. Peaceful, warm and elegant, Portofino Bay Hotel houses 750 guest rooms, including 45 suites and 91 club-level rooms.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Lobby

No matter what type of room you're staying in, you'll have access to all the spectacular benefits that come with staying at a Premier property. Not only do frogs get Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter up to one hour before the park opens, complimentary transportation to the theme parks and Universal CityWalk, resort-wide charging privileges AND complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased through the resort ... BUT they also are gifted a free Universal Express Unlimited pass (which — at a value of $129+ per person, per day — is a HUGE advantage on busy park days) and priority seating at select restaurants throughout the resort.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Rooms

Covered in tones of creamy white and teal, the newly renovated guest rooms at Portofino Bay are dripping in European elegance. The rich details in marble and velvet call to mind the splendor of the Italian Riviera and make you feel as if you've been transported to the shores of the Ligurian coast. All rooms come with a plethora of signature amenities, including 300-thread-count 100-percent cotton bed linens, an in-room Keurig coffeemaker with gourmet coffee and teas, a telephone with voicemail, dual sinks, complimentary skin, body-care and hair products, dry-cleaning and laundry service, cribs available upon request, free Wi-Fi, access to hundreds of newspapers and magazines via PressReader and much more! Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.; however, late check-out is available at an additional charge.

Frogs with disabilities will be hoppy to know that all on-site resort hotels at Universal Orlando are compliant with ADA guidelines. Specially equipped guest rooms include an array of accessible features, such as closed-caption television, entry doors 36 inches wide and toilets with a hand bar. We also love that all entrances to individual guest rooms include the room number in braille AND that Hearing Impaired Kits are available from the front desk for use in any guest room.

When it comes to picking your specific accommodations, the options are seemingly endless. First off are the Standard Rooms — each of which is adorned with custom-designed furnishings from Italy and available with either a king bed or two queen beds. Choose a Garden View room for a lovely view of the meticulously manicured and landscaped grounds, a Bay View room for a magical view of the sun glittering off the sparkling water and the fleet of colorful fishing boats or a Deluxe room for more square footage for extra comfort and a view of the serene Villa Pool and surrounding gardens or the dramatic Roman aqueduct-styled Beach Pool.

Next, we have the Club Level Rooms where you can indulge in additional amenities, such as exclusive access to the 3,500 square foot Portofino Club Lounge which serves continental breakfast, as well as complimentary beverages and snacks throughout the day (including evening beer and wine). That's not all, though! Frogs staying in Club Level rooms are granted nightly turndown service, personal concierge service and complimentary access to the fitness center at Mandara Spa.

Lastly, we come to the spacious and luxurious Suites, ranging from 650 to a sprawling 4,195 square feet. Perfect for traveling with tadpoles in tow or large groups of friends, these playful and extravagant accommodations offer plenty of space for relaxing or entertaining guests. Tadpoles are sure to go bananas in a Despicable Kids' Suite. This two-bedroom suite features one king bed and two twin custom-designed missile beds (with Minion bedding) in a room themed after Gru's laboratory, so little ones can sleep like Margo, Edith and Agnes.

Families needing slightly more room may want to check out a Portofino Suite — available with a Garden or Bay view and as a one-bedroom or two-bedroom suite. These rooms feature a cozy living space with a sleeper sofa to accommodate even more frogs, plus an entertainment area and an additional bathroom! Getting even larger, the hotel's one- and two-bedroom Hospitality Suites offer gorgeous garden views, sitting rooms with Murphy beds, elegant dining rooms and spacious kitchens, making it the perfect space for casual, social or business gatherings.

Moving back to the Club Level, let's talk about the Villa Suites. These one- and two-bedroom Deluxe Bay View rooms feature a king and/or two queen beds, a living space with a sleeper sofa, a dining room, a small kitchenette and casual seating. Not to mention the fact that it includes access to the Portofino Club Lounge! As do the Governatore and Presidente Suites, both of which feature a walk-in closet, dining area, office, kitchenette, entertainment space, whirlpool tub and wet bar ... and the latter of which features a fireplace and outdoor terrace.

Transportation at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Water Taxi

Just like the rest of Universal's Premier properties, Portofino Bay is located right in the heart of the action and is incredibly easy to get to and from. Not only are water taxis available to Universal CityWalk which arrive every 15 to 20 minutes and have an average travel time of less than 10 minutes, but so are shuttle busses which arrive every 30 minutes and will take you to either CityWalk (a 15- to 20-minute drive) OR Universal's Volcano Bay (a 10- to 15-minute drive). That's not even to mention the walking path which gets you to CityWalk in just 15 to 20 minutes.

If you're bringing your car, self-parking for overnight guests is $28 plus tax per vehicle, per night. You can also opt for valet which is $37 plus tax per vehicle, per night. Day guests can park their car in the Portofino Bay garage for free for under five minutes, for $10 (plus tax per vehicle) for five to 30 minutes and $45 (plus tax per day, per vehicle) for 30 minutes or longer. Valet is also available to day guests for $42 plus tax, per vehicle. Rates are subject to change without notice.

Amenities, Recreation and Shopping at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

The amenities at Portofino Bay are truly second-to-none. One of my absolute favorite features of this hotel is the three different themed swimming pools for frogs to enjoy! Families looking for fun in the sun will want to hit up the Beach Pool, a lively swimming hole that features a Roman aqueduct-themed water slide, a sandy beach, an adjacent children's pool, two Jacuzzis and three colorful beach cabanas. If your family would rather spend time relaxing in comfort or soaking up rays, try the Villa Pool which offers a bit more exclusivity and additional amenities, including private cabana rentals (with ceiling fans, refrigerators, phones and plasma TVs) and upgraded lounge chairs. Adults looking for some peace and quiet might want to swing for the Hillside Pool on the hotel's east wing which offers a bit more privacy.

Be sure to check out the wide array of poolside activities, from ping pong tournaments and pool basketball to hula hoop contests and arts & crafts. Check with the concierge upon your arrival to find out what's hoppening during your stay. Also, don't froget to try your hand at Bocce ball while you're here. Courts are located near the Villa Pool. If you're looking for more air-conditioned fun, swing by the hotel's game room, located near the Beach Pool, to test your skills on the latest video games.

After a day of nonstop adventure and excitement, there's no better way to unwind than at Mandara Spa. Capturing the essence of Bali and encompassing well-being from around the world, Mandara's spa menu is filled with blissful signature treatments, such as facials, massages, rituals, therapies, wraps, manicures, pedicures and much more. You can also book a specially curated Journey to transport the mind and spirit to destinations across the globe. Inspired by the four elements, these Journeys include an enlivening trip to Asia, a replenishing trip to India, a releasing trip to the Mediterranean and an embracing trip to the New World.

Let the rhythm move you at Musica della Notte, a nightly orchestral celebration on the Harbor Piazza inspired by the romance and charm of Italy. Each evening at sunset, talented performers appear on the balcony and serenade frogs down below with an impressive repertoire of classic opera, festive melodies and "popera" favorites. On select dates throughout the year, the Piazza truly comes alive with Harbor Nights, a beautiful event where frogs 21 and up can sip select wines, try unlimited gourmet food samples from the hotel's restaurants and enjoy live music and traditional opera performances. Purchase your tickets by calling (407) 503-1200.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Shops

Whether you're looking for exclusive Universal souvenirs, resort necessities or fine Italian goods, Portofino has you covered with its amazing variety of on-site stores. Vacation in style at Alta Mode, a boutique clothing shop featuring the latest in resort fashion for the whole family — from swimwear to evening wear. Find the perfect keepsake at L'Ancora, a curated collection of treasured souvenirs and theme park must-haves. Take the Riviera home with you at Le Memories de Portofino, your one-stop shop for Mediterranean-style souvenirs and Portofino Bay logo apparel, sundries and more. Capture the excitement of your vacation at the Universal Studios Store, an exclusive shop selling shirts, hats, toys and more that feature your favorite characters.

Frogs staying at Portofino Bay can access a whole host of top-of-the-line amenities, including:

  • Audiovisual Equipment
  • Catering and Conference Facilities
  • Knowledgeable Concierges
  • Dry Cleaning or Same-Day Laundry
  • Free Wireless High-Speed Internet Access
  • 24-Hour Room Service
  • 24-Hour Security
  • An On-Site Business Center with Complimentary Boarding Pass Printing
  • Mail Services
  • Airport & Local Transportation
  • Rental Car Services
  • Mobility Scooter Rentals

Dining at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Whether you're in the mood for authentic Italian cooking or delectable desserts, you'll be sure to find all the savory and sweet flavors Bel Paese is famous for. Keep reading to check out all the delicious dining options available at Portofino Bay!

Mama Della's Ristorante

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Mama Della's

A Frog Family-favorite, Mama Della's serves up authentic Old World favorites from Tuscany, Naples and Piemonte, as well as classic family dining house specialties, such as Calamari Fritti, Gnocchi and Pollo Alla Carbonara. Every item comes with a recommended wine so your meal is paired to perfection! Be sure to save room for Tiramisu or Sorbetto to cleanse the palette. (Of course, a trip to Mama's house wouldn't be complete without some singing. When the strolling musicians arrive at your table, be sure to have a request ready to be serenaded while you dine!)

Bice Ristorante

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Bice

Serving up Northern Italian cuisine in an elegant atmosphere, what started in 1926 as a small trattoria in Milan is now a beloved worldwide enterprise — with its Orlando location having just won the 2023 OpenTable Diners' Choice award. Start your meal off with an appetizing antipasti, such as Bruschetta or Fritto Misto. Indulge in handcrafted pasta dishes, such as Cappellaccio or Pappardelle al Telefono. Choose a savory secondi piatti, such as Bronzino Meditteraneo or Tagliata di Manzo. Finish off your memorable meal with delectable dolci, such as Torta Al Formaggio or Cannoli all Siciliana. Don't froget to browse the chef's monthly specials and ask about the risotto and zuppa del giorno!

Trattoria del Porto

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Trattoria del Porto

Open from sunrise to sunset, Trattoria del Porto serves up family-friendly fare with a touch of Italian charm. Fuel up for a frogciting day at the parks with farm fresh cage-free eggs, grilled favorites, baked goods and more available either a la carte or at the extensive breakfast buffet. Grab lunch by the bay and enjoy a savory selection of soups, salads and sandwiches. End your night on the Harbor Piazza with chef's specialties, such as salmon and Alfredo pasta or vegan and vegetarian options, such as beyond burgers and rigatoni caponata. You can even become your own chef by ordering Pasta Cucina, an interactive kitchen experience where you choose from a variety of pastas, sauces and fresh ingredients cooked to your specifications!

Sal's Market Deli

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Sal's

Pick up a basket and browse the aisles at this local market featuring the warmth of a neighborhood delicatessen. Choose from a sensational assortment of Italian meats, cheeses, antipasto and salads and order a freshly baked pizza or calzone for the ultimate picnic by the bay. Wash your meal down with beverages such as bottled sodas, iced teas, domestic, import and craft beers and vino — by the glass or by the bottle.

The Thirsty Fish

Watch the sun set over the bay, enjoy live music under the stars and unwind as you sip and snack at this casual waterfront bar. Nosh on some savory bar bites, such as marinated olives, chicken wings and fish & chips, indulge in a glass of sparkling, white or red wine, kick back with a shot of whiskey or be adventurous and try any of the bar's specially curated flights.

Splendido Bar & Grill

Spending a day soaking up rays? Let your meal come to you (or enjoy standard table service) by ordering from Splendido Bar & Grill. This poolside restaurant serves up chips, pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches and scrumptiously sweet treats. Cool down with a can of domestic, import or craft beer, a delectable glass of sparkling, white or red wine or a fruity frozen cocktail or mocktail.


Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Gelateria

Choose from a creamy and delicious selection of artisanal gelato and sorbets, with flavors such as Vanilla Bean, Espresso Brazil, Mint Chocolate and Blood Orange at the Gelateria. Mix your scoops into a satisfying shake or add some tasty toppings for a satisfying sundae. Also open for breakfast, this sweet spot serves up cereal, pastries, seasonal fruit, parfaits, breakfast sandwiches and more, as well as specialty coffee and espresso.


Speaking of coffee, you can grab your tried-and-true pick-me-up at Starbucks at Portofino Bay.

What to Consider Before Staying at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

With its multiple pools, convenient water taxi service, serenading strolling musicians and mischievous kids suites, Portofino Bay Hotel is a Frog Family-favorite resort for many reasons. Encompassing the beauty, charm and romance of the Italian Riviera, this hotel truly transports you to its namesake famed fishing village. If it's within your budget, booking a room here is a no-brainer! That being said, the world-class amenities and Universal Express Unlimited ride access benefit make this hotel the most expensive one on Universal property. Also, due to the sheer quantity of rooms, it's a large resort.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel - Vespa

If you want to splurge and pamper yourself at this Premier hotel, we recommend booking a Bay View room for spectacular views of the magnificent Harbor Piazza — especially at night. Additionally, if you want some privacy from the tadpoles and are looking at the Despicable Me suites, be sure to book your room early, as there are only 18 of those suites on property.

A AAA Four Diamond Award winner for Overall Resort for 16 years straight and a certified member of the Florida Green Lodging program, Portofino Bay Hotel offers a refined, luxury experience you won't soon frogetCiao!

Ready for a taste of la dolce vita? Have any questions for us about Loews Portofino Bay Hotel? Cast a line in the comments below!

Related: The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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