We wanted to stay at Sheraton Universal as I am SPG gold, and wanted to take our children to Universal Studios, so chose the closest hotel we could. We specifically chose to stay a Saturday and Sunday night, so that the kids could enjoy staying in the hotel, swimming in the pool etc on Sunday, and then visiting Universal studios on the Monday without the weekend crowds.
What we hadn't factored in, was the fact that Sheraton Universal hosts a pool party on Sunday afternoons, putting on music and charging non-hotel guests to drink and swim. I have been to many such Sunday afternoon hotel pool parties, but this is the first I have ever had the misfortune of going to, where the under-21 aged children of house-guests are banned from entering the pool area between 1-4pm on the heat of a Sunday afternoon! Instead, you are given towels and told to walk to the nearby Hilton Hotel, go to their reception, and ask for a key to swim in their pool area (which ironically is nicer than the Sheraton pool anway). There are no other reciprocal rights however, so you cannot order food and beverages at the Hilton pool and bill them to your Sheraton room for instance. The Hilton also only have small pool side toilets, rather than change facilities. Not ideal, and not what I expected.
We had to ask for a room change after checking in as there was a small dog barking in the next room on 16th floor. Apparently this is a pet friendly hotel. Generally people with pets stay on the lower floors, but the person in the room next door was a long staying guest, so able to keep her dog on a higher floor. Again, hardly what I would have expected.
When we checked in, we were told that as SPG premium guests, we would have access to the cocktail hour in the SPG lounge on 9th floor - however when we went there, we found a few snacks, free sodas, and beer at $8 per bottle and wine at $10 per glass. Maybe I am used to staying at Sheraton hotels outside of the USA, where SPG cocktail hours really are complimentary - again, not what I expected.
Parking was by valet, or self parked in a large parking structure right next to the hotel, and shared with the Hilton Hotel. I was surprised that there was still a $18 charge per day even for self-parking.
:Like other reviewers, I found the reception desk staff to be friendly and helpful.
Service in the terrace breakfast restaurant was slow however, and far too much of the hot food on the breakfast buffet was colder than it should have been.
There is a complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios from 9am in the morning, however the gates to Universal are less than a 10 minute walk, so we chose to walk at about 8:30am. On arrival at the park, we discovered that they were allowing people in even before the park opened, as they were opening the Transformers ride at 8:45am - a full 15 minutes before the park officiallyt opened. We were able to walk through Universal Studios, and escalator to the lower level, and had already ridden the Transformers ride (walking straight on) before the park even opened - and before the shuttle from the hotel would have delivered us to the park had we waited at the hotel.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed with the Sheraton Universal, and felt that they were much more interested in ways to make additional revenue than they were in servicing the guests they already had. I felt that turning families away from their pool on Sunday afternoons was inexcusable - irrespective of the alternative they were offering. I wouldn't choose to stay there again.
Avoid rooms next to guests with dogs
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dear guest, thank you for giving us a detailed review of your experience .Your experience is not what we ever expect our guests to have after their visit with us. We are committed to creating great memories for our guests and it is disheartening to see that we missed that opportunity with you. You are a very valued guest to us and please be assured that your comments are reviewed and shared with all involved. In the best interest of the comfort of our guests, we are no longer hosting the pool parties. Again, thank you for your time and we do hope that your travels will bring you back this way again so that have the opportunity to be of service and create a wonderful stay for you and your family.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC