It's safe to say we are huge advocates of staying on-site at our favorite theme park resorts, and Universal Orlando is certainly no exception ... It's actually the PERFECT example of why we love it so much. All of Universal Orlando Resort's hotels (including its latest, Aventura!) are absolutely fabulous, with incredible theming, dining, recreation and pools ... you know how we frogs feel about pools. Of course, the Universal hotels also offer terrific park benefits for Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay. Even better, we offer room discounts for all of the official Universal Orlando hotels. With that intro as enticement, let's hop into all of the reasons to stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel.
Universal Orlando Hotel Benefits
Universal Orlando Hotel Locations:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls, Universal's Aventura Hotel and Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort are all located on Universal Orlando property. They are all within walking distance of each other, all of the Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal Orlando CityWalk. I would know. On my last visit, I jog-hopped to each one of them for a bit of exercise. The proximity to other major Orlando attractions and the International Drive area are also a great benefit to staying at one of these hotels.
Hard Rock Hotel is the closest to Universal Studios Florida. Loews Royal Pacific Resort is closest to Universal's Islands of Adventure. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is closest to Universal's Volcano Bay, and it has its own separate entrance. All official Universal Orlando hotel guests can use it, but it's easier to access from Cabana Bay.
Universal Orlando Hotel Room Types:
There are a wide range of room types at the official Universal Orlando hotels. The Standard Rooms at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel are at least 450 square feet. Standard Rooms at Loews Royal Pacific Resort are at least 375 square feet. Standard Rooms at Hard Rock Hotel are at least 375 square feet. Standard rooms at Cabana Bay are at least 300 square feet, although it has more family suites at 430 square feet. All of the hotels except Cabana Bay have Deluxe Level Rooms that are larger than Standard Rooms and offer slightly better views. Guests can upgrade to the Club Level and enjoy additional privileges such as access to private lounge access, free access to the fitness centers, continental breakfast and hors d'oeuvres.
Cabana Bay's family suites are at least 430 square feet and offer kitchenettes with microwaves and mini-fridges, as well as two queen beds and a full sofa bed. Additionally, Cabana Bay now has a limited number of 2-bedroom, 2 full bathrooms, 772-square foot suites that sleep up to eight. Many offer views of Universal's Volcano Bay, and they are fabulous! Aventura's kids suites sleep five
Universal Orlando Hotel Amenities:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has three pools, a spa and fitness center, jogging and walking paths, eight dining options, on-site entertainment, a Starbucks, recreation opportunities such as BOCCE BALL COURTS and a game room, and children's activities. Loews Royal Pacific Resort has one lagoon-themed pool, poolside activities, a fitness center, on-site entertainment, six dining options, children's activities and a weekly dining event, WANTILAN LUAU. Hard Rock Hotel has a 12,000-square-foot ROCKIN' POOL (with underwater music and waterslide), a fitness center, jogging and walking paths, six dining options and children's activities. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two massive feature pools, a water slide, a lazy river, a children's water play area, poolside activities, a BOWLING ALLEY, a fitness center, a Starbucks and an array of cuisine at its onsite restaurant. All of the hotels offer valet parking. All rooms are equipped with a refrigerator. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort has a massive, lagoon-style pool, poolside activities, a fitness center, multiple dining options, including a RUM BAR! Universal's Aventura Hotel has a HUGE selection of what we like to call "gourmet quick service" food and a rooftop lounge, as well as a pool and awesome gift shop.
Early Park Admission:
All of the official Universal Orlando hotels offer Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (at either Universal Studios Florida or Universal's Islands of Adventure) and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before opening. (You must have valid Universal Orlando admission.)
Free Universal Express Unlimited:
Select Universal Orlando hotels offer guests Universal Express℠ Unlimited that allows them to bypass the regular lines at the participating rides at Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure. Universal Express Unlimited is valid for the entire length of stay, including days of check-in and check-out, and there is no limit to the number of times you use it. You get your Universal Express℠ Unlimited pass by inserting your hotel room key into one of the hotel kiosks. (You must have valid Universal Orlando admission.)
We cannot understate the value of Universal Express Unlimited. This skip-the-line perk is one of the best ways—if not the best way—to experience the parks. And if you know you will need or want Universal Express passes, it is almost always way more economical to stay on-site than stay off-site and purchase these passes separately. Here are more tips on when to use Universal Express.
Guests of the official Universal Orlando hotels can also take advantage of free transportation to and from Universal Studios, Universals Islands of Adventure, Universal's Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk. There are two forms of complimentary transportation: water taxis and shuttle buses. When your frog legs are tired of hopping, free transportation is a life-saver. (Watch a video of the water taxi ride from Loews Portofino Bay Hotel here.)
Additional on-site hotel benefits include resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card and priority seating at select restaurants throughout both Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk.
Guests staying at Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel receive priority seating at select restaurants. Note that this list is subject to change and availability may be limited during peak times or some weekends. Call 407-224-FOOD (3663) for more information.
Universal Studios Florida
Finnegan’s Bar and Grill
Lombard’s Seafood Grille
Islands of Adventure
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
Bob Marley — A Tribute to Freedom
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
Hard Rock Cafe
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
Pat O’ Brien’s
VIVO Italian Kitchen
Portofino Bay Hotel
Mama Della’s Ristorante
Trattoria del Porto
Hard Rock Hotel
Lowes Royal Pacific Resort
Emeril's Tchoup Chop
Island's Dining Room
Jake's American Bar
Official Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort - Frog Family Favorite
Take a video tour of Universal Orlando's hotels:
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Pool Areas
- Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suites
Have a question about the Universal Orlando hotel benefits? Want to share your favorite Universal hotel? Drop us a line in comments below! And be sure to check out our Where to Stay in Orlando page inside the Orlando Planning Timeline.