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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Ranked #72 of 336 Hotels in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Utica, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Outstanding”
Reviewed 27 April 2014

My family and I have been staying at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando for many year. Every time we stay, the experience just seems to get better and better. Amy V., Director of Rooms, was absolutely amazing. My sister and I were staying alone for half of our vacation, until the rest of our family was able to join. While staying with my sister, Amy made sure that we were so comfortable. She treated us just as we were her family. She made my sister and I feel so safe and unbelievably comfortable. My sister and I both have a severe case of Celiac disease and require Gluten Free food. Amy along with the whole hotel was unbelievably accommodating. I did not get sick once while at Portofino and the options were outstanding. Our cabana by the pool was absolutely amazing. The service at the pool was perfect. They were very attentive while I was able to enjoy the cabana worry free. The memories that were made at this hotel, my family and I will never forget. We can not wait to come back to Portofino Bay Hotel. Every stay keeps getting better and better. Thanks again Amy V and all of your staff.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Bridget B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LPBHManager, General Manager at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
Thank you for your kind comments! It is such a pleasure to know you had an outstanding time, as it certainly sounds like you were able to enjoy all that the resort has to offer. We are thrilled to hear that our team made you feel so comfortable and we will be happy to share your comments with them. We look forward to seeing you again in the future. Until then, ciao Bella!
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uk
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2014

The Portofino Bay is a great place to stay for visiting Universal,particularly if you want a relaxing time without having to drive .The beds are some of the most comfortable I have slept in,the room was spotlessly clean ,the staff were all polite and helpful.Free Wifi is available in bedrooms.
We chose this hotel mainly because we wanted to visit Universal in the morning and then relax by the pool in the afternoon.The boat to CityWalk and the parks leaves the hotel jetty about every 15 minutes with the last one back at 2am.You can also walk it along a scenic traffic free path in about 10 mins.Also, there is a free shuttle bus to Universal and Seaworld ,although we didn't use this service.
On arrival at the hotel you issue your fast pass at the self printing booths although you also must purchase (or already have) an entry ticket to the parks.This allows you into the express line on most rides.This is great for people who normally hate theme parks because of standing in a line for an hour or so for a 5 min ride .With the express pass we either went straight on or at most waited 20 minutes for all rides so made for a much more enjoyable day .The Harry Potter ride however opens at 7 or 8 am (check on your dates) for hotel guests so I recommend an early start to do this as when the park opens the wait for these rides can be long.
Regarding rooms, I would try not to have a ground floor one near the lake or the piazza as everyone walking by can see straight into them.We had one in the Villa Wing on the 2nd floor.This is a great location as, although it is a bit of a walk to the lobby,it is right near to the elevator which takes you to both pools and the mandara spa. The beach pool is great for kids as it has a water chute,sandy beach and an adjacent games room.There is also a bar area showing sport (including English football for all you men from the UK !) They serve great cocktails (the Portofino Bay Cocktail is particularly yummy but not cheap at $18 incl souvenir glass refills$10 ) and poolside snacks,burgers etc. On certain evenings they show a poolside movie.The other pool is quieter and (open until 11pm) and you could easily be mistaken for actually being in Italy ! We enjoyed both and both had plenty of sun beds available (even in peak season), towels and iced water are provided.The only negative I would say about the hotel is that the restaurants on site were overpriced for the quality of food . I would have liked the food to be more authentically Italian, (i.e.:Italians do not eat whole packs of Spaghetti to themselves)seeing all the trouble they have gone to in creating Portofino Village! and I would also prefer to decide my own tip, rather than 18% to be added to my check .
We ate out at Citywalk most of the time, which has a selection of restaurants (usually all of them have an hour wait if you go at peak times and do not take reservations) or you can drive out to the many restaurants just outside Universal for a cheaper option.

I would definitely return to this hotel even if I wasn't doing Universal.

Room Tip: Villa rooms best for pool and also near door for access to piazza and boat jetty.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank UkMelinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2014

Great location.
Excellent sized rooms.
Good selection of pools and eateries.There is a wide variety of places to eat, simple Pizza, Buffet and Gourmet type dining. Take a stroll to the theme parks or use the boat service.Sit by the lake and enjoy a casual evening drink or ice cream.
Good array of shops.
Great service.

My only complaint was the extortionate cost of parking.

Room Tip: Get yourself an Annual Power Pass for Universal, not only do you get a room discount, you may get an...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank W0rldTraveller58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
190 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2014 via mobile

We stayed here for four nights over the Easter weekend having arrived from New York. We had booked on line from Australia some months ago after seeing the reviews on Trip Advisor. Our biggest complaint would be that even though the resort seemed pretty empty our room was miles away in the East Wing, nearly at the very end of the wing. We had paid more for a view but our view of the mock bay was really at the very end and we would not have paid the extra had we known. The distance from everything was also just a pain in the neck. The Ferry service to the theme parks was good, we also walked there once as well as taking the ricks haws ( $10 tip). We ate at the casual pizzeria as well as at the lounge next to the pool. The food was ok but not fantastic. No gluten free options there for my wife. The rooms are large and the beds comfortable. Bathrooms are large also but I'll never understand why hotels in the us have the shower over the bath rather than separate - it's just plain dangerous and takes away from a luxury feel.

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Martin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st louis
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Stayed here with my wife and 4 kids. Unfortunately the rooms are small and the walks are thin. The shuttle to Universal was nice, and being able to skip the lines was also an added bonus. The worst part of the stay was that someone used my credit card to the tune of $3,500. (Which I ended up not being responsible for) and the only place that I used it was at the front desk upon check- in.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank reynolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LPBHManager, General Manager at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, responded to this review, 28 April 2014
We appreciate your feedback and choice to stay with us. I would value the opportunity to speak with you and gather more details regarding the charges to your credit card. Please contact us at: portofinogeneralmanager@loewshotels.com so that we may schedule a call at your convenience.
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Jensen Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
356 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Easter weekend may not be a good time to visit the theme parks in Orlando, but we booked the four nights. Yes, this is on the expensive side, but a family gathering in Orlando is not a frequent happening. The initial room cost is somewhat reduced by the inclusion of the Fast Pass for both theme parks at Universal which if bought separate is a cost per person of $90 per day, although it no doubt has this built into their pricing structure.

Location is perfect, the boat shuttle to and from the theme parks is a big plus. More than adequate restaurants, see my restaurant reviews.

However, although there are more positive points, the biggest reason for it not getting my five star rating is The American Bar. I have never in all my worldly travels, at many upscale hotels, have I found a so called Lobby Bar location as The American Bar is, to close at such an early time. Business people like to perhaps relax after a fine dinner with an aperitif or just a simple beer in a cozy setting, quiet and comfortable surroundings. Perhaps even a watering hole for some parents after a long day at the Theme Parks.....no, closed at 10:00pm. Then to add insult to injury, they are not even open on a Monday or Tuesday. Oh how we longed for an Irish Coffee after dinner at Bice.

It is over the top with most of it's pricing structure, but then it is a case of location, location.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank scouser1077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton, Bermuda
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2014

My family (my husband, my 3 kids aged 5,4, and 2, and myself) recently returned from a week's stay at Portofino Bay. It was our first time staying in a hotel with our kids, as we usually rent a vacation home when visiting the Orlando area. We were a bit nervous about the size of the room given that we have only reserved a garden-view double queen. We shouldn't have been nervous - the room was extremely large for a basic room with enough space for a crib for our youngest and plenty of play space on the floor as well as at the wonderful little table they provide. There was great storage in the bureaus and the closets which helped us to clear away all the luggage and the bathroom was huge. 2 of our 3 kids got ill whilst on the trip and housekeeping was quick to respond with more bedding and towels and the like and even though it was unfortunate, it was short-lived and luckily didn't impact our trip much at all. It could have been much worse with poor customer service. The resort itself has fabulous ambiance and they have done an excellent job in making it seem like you are in Italy! The resort had many great amenities including numerous restaurants and a gelateria (all of which we enjoyed immensely) and a great pool area with kids splash pool and pirate ship play structure. The resort is large enough to make you feel secluded and apart from any hustle and bustle, but small enough that you can get anywhere you need to go with short walks. We were probably the furthest guest wing away from the pool yet had no problems getting their quickly and easily with all 3 kids and all their toys etc. The pool was perfect for our family as it wasn't too large or busy and the little waterside was fabulous as my 2 oldest could go on their own! The boat that takes you from the resort to CityWalk and Universal Studios / Islands of Adventures was a highlight for our kids and the Captains even let our little ones honk the horn on their last trip back to the resort. The express passes to Universal Studios (given as complimentary) were of excellent value as well! We never waited to get onto anything despite the parks being busy! The concierge desk helped us to book in-room babysitting (which was fabulous!) and we were able to get away to enjoy a few nights of the park on our own and the fabulous restaurants the surrounding resorts had to offer (The Palm and Emeril's Tchoup Chop). We had a rental car and parked it in the self-parking area and we always found a space close to the elevator to the hotel and then it was a quick walk to our room. Some nights there was wonderful Italian singing from a balcony overlooking the piazza and we also enjoyed a character dinner at Trattoria Del Porto. Take-out pizza was quick and fabulous from Sal's Market Deli. All in all, it was a fabulous vacation and we couldn't recommend the hotel highly enough! Great for young children, teenagers, romantic getaways, couples and even business. We will be back!

Room Tip: We had a room backing an elevator - which I originally thought would be loud and keep our kids up, b...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank islandgirl61212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LPBHManager, General Manager at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, responded to this review, 23 April 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth review! We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay and we truly appreciate your sharing the experience with others. We are proud to be an oasis of serenity, walking distance from the excitement. When you would like to indulge in ‘la dolce vita’ – the sweet life – once again, we’ll be ready to welcome you back with open arms. Until then, ciao!
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Additional Information about Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

Property: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Address: 5601 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819-7880
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
#15 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#18 Green Hotel in Orlando
#27 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#45 Business Hotel in Orlando
#54 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#80 Family Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando 4*
Number of rooms: 750
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy a luxurious escape inspired by the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy. Perfectly appointed rooms and suites, gorgeous vistas and incredible cuisine welcome you to celebrate la dolce vita-the sweet life. Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is in the heart of the excitement of Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Guests of this hotel enjoy exclusive theme park benefits. Skip the regular lines at most attractions with FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access - a benefit worth $89 per person, per day**. You can also take advantage of Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens, and more! (valid theme park admission required.) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Loews Portofino Bay Resort
Portofino Orlando
Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel At Universal Orlando Florida

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