Once flights are booked and theme park tickets are purchased, the next major decision for clients planning a Universal Orlando vacation is their hotel stay. Luckily, Universal Orlando Resort has eight hotels across four categories — Premier, Preferred, Prime Value and Value — so there's a perfect choice for every traveler.
All on-site hotels offer amenities including complimentary transportation to the parks and Universal CityWalk, early park admission and charging privileges across the resort. Plus, clients who book Premier-level hotels also receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited Ride Access, which can add up to $350 per person, per day, to the cost of park tickets.
"With the growth of our hotel portfolio, we now have the right hotel for any traveler, any style and any budget," said David Bartek, senior vice president of operations for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando. “All our hotels were designed to be attractions unto themselves, so choosing which hotel is the best fit is a matter of who clients will be traveling with and what kind of experience they want.”
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel transports clients to an Italian seaside village with an authentic gelateria and waterfront piazza that bustles with water taxis during the day and showcases live alfresco opera performances at night. Portofino Bay also offers an interactive cooking experience where clients can create fresh pasta dishes. And although it's only a few minutes from park gates, the elegant hotel offers a relaxing escape after a busy day.
Hard Rock Hotel
Clients can live like rock stars at Hard Rock Hotel, a California mission-style-designed “mansion” featuring memorabilia, live music and a palm-lined pool with a 260-foot waterslide and kids’ water play area — all less than 1 mile from the theme parks. Clients can also enjoy Americana nostalgia at The Kitchen, a full-service restaurant serving comfort food with a side of rock ’n’ roll attitude.
Families with teens tend to enjoy Hard Rock Hotel, according to Leah Ferguson, a senior travel advisor with Key to the World Travel.
“And if the guitar-shape pool that pipes music underwater doesn't feed their inner rock star, they can choose a Fender guitar to be delivered to the room,” she added.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort
About a half-mile walk from the parks is Loews Royal Pacific Resort, which is themed as a South Seas oasis with a lagoon-style pool and white-sand beach. On Saturday evenings, the Wantilan Luau takes clients on a journey through Hawaii as they enjoy a buffet dinner, live music and performances from fire and hula dancers.
Suites and Themed Bedrooms
Universal Orlando’s two-bedroom kids' suites — one king plus two twins in a separate themed bedroom — include Jurassic World Kids’ Suites at Royal Pacific, Despicable Me Kids’ Suites at Portofino Bay and Future Rock Star Suites at Hard Rock Hotel. These suites can also accommodate a rollaway to sleep five.
Ferguson notes that Premier hotels also offer rooms with Club Level access, which includes personalized concierge service and entry to a private lounge with complimentary continental breakfast, snacks and bottled drinks throughout the day, and evening beer and wine.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
The Caribbean-themed Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is bright and breezy, with tropical decor, multiple restaurants and an award-winning, tapas-style lobby bar.
“Sapphire Falls Resort is refined, but not at the price that comes with the Premier resorts,” said Ferguson of Key to the World Travel. “It offers beautiful family suites, a pool with a sandy beach and great children's play area, and one of my favorite bars: Strong Water Tavern, which has a collection of rare vintage rums.”
The resort also features a dedicated walking path to Universal’s Volcano Bay waterpark, which offers nearly 20 water-based attractions such as a lazy river, kids’ water play areas, raft rides and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge that drops the bravest parkgoers 125 feet down the Krakatau volcano into the water below.
Prime Value Hotels
Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Perfect for families, the retro-style Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort was inspired by 1950s and ’60s beach resorts and features with two pools (one with a lazy river), a bowling alley and direct access to Volcano Bay. (Pro tip: Volcano Bay View rooms provide front-row seats to Krakatau’s spectacular nighttime eruption.) Another reason this hotel is excellent for clients with kids or families traveling together: Family suites with kitchenettes that sleep up to six, and two-bedroom suites that sleep up to eight.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel
Universal’s Aventura Hotel, meanwhile, features a modern design, a 17th-floor rooftop bar (with views of all three theme parks) and Urban Pantry food hall, which serves made-to-order sushi, burgers and pizza — making it the perfect choice for both clients with teens or college-age kids and adults-only vacations. The tech-heavy hotel also offers cool amenities such as in-room tablets that control the television and temperature, as well as allow guests to order room-service pizza.
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Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites
The two hotels at Endless Summer Resort are Universal Orlando’s newest; the 750-room Surfside Inn and Suites opened in 2019, and the 2,050-room Dockside Inn and Suites opened in 2020.
“Our Value hotels are extra affordable,” said Bartek of Loews Hotels Universal Orlando. “And the two-bedroom suites are popular with families and friend groups who are traveling together.”
Located between Universal’s existing parks and Epic Universe (scheduled to open in 2025), the sister hotels offer quick-service and grab-and-go dining options, family-friendly pools and game rooms.
Theme Park Transportation
One hour before parks open until Universal CityWalk closes, all eight hotels offer complimentary bus transportation. Buses from Endless Summer, Cabana Bay and Aventura arrive every 15 minutes; Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls buses come every 30 minutes.
Water taxis from Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls offer an average travel time of 10 minutes to the parks.