Discussion in 'Universal Orlando Hotels' started by Elizabeth.June, Oct 2, 2012.
Hard Rock by far. I love everything about it.
I stayed at Royal Pacific this time. It was....meh
My favorite used to be Portofino but after my most recent stay at Royal Pacific, it might honestly be a tie. While Portofino is definitely "nicer", Royal Pacific has such a great, relaxed atmosphere. One of my favorite hotel memories ever is sitting on the beach of the water taxi lagoon, overlooking Dr Doom, and having a few drinks while waiting for HHN to start. Such a great vibe, and the pool-grounds are really nice and well-decorated too. I also love Hard Rock, though, and I have yet to stay at Cabana Bay.
It's time to add Cabanna Bay. Ive stayed in Royal, Portofiono, and Cabanna. My favorite seems to be Cabanna Bay. Portofiono is better than Royal.
Having stayed at all four multiple times now, my favorite is still Royal Pacific. My friends new fave is Cabana Bay. Who knew?
Cabana bay is really good, especially the pools & lazy river. Suites are very comfortable but I wonder how long the furniture will hold up since it's a bit flimsy.Great value for the price. I stayed at Royal Pacific for the first time this Fall. I liked the resort, especially the restaurants. But, to me, neither resort is anywhere near the quality and ambiance of Portofino. We stopped over the Portofino one day during our Fall vacation, since we kind of missed it, and we realized that Portofino was far above the Royal Pacific. It's really worth the extra money if you spend as much time as we do at the hotel resorts. We only do 5 or 6 hours a day at the parks. The rest of our time is at the hotels & Citi Walk.
We stayed at the portofino our last trip down (a couple of weeks ago). I have to say I was a little disappointed. The room was A+, but the pool area was in really bad shape. There was standing water in all the sand areas, which made those areas mud pits. We did not have our kids there but if we had, no way I would have let them play in it. That is a easy fix, pump the water out and go to home depot and get more sand. Their excuse was, we have had a lot of rain lately, really in Florida, and your not prepared for that. Also, the main Bar on the property, The Thirsty Fish, does not open until 5, even on a Saturday and Sunday in the middle of football season. We had a joke about it, why is the Thirsty Fish thirsty??? Because the bar is never open. Being that it is their premium resort, I just dont think its worth the extra money over HR or RP.
I have never stayed at any of the resorts and Im thinking of doing so pretty soon. I remember the podcast talking about their favs awhile back but what are yours that you have experienced?
I have stayed at all four numerous times and my favorite is The Hard Rock
+ Express Pass!!!
+ Closest walk to the park
+ Good swimming pool and good pool service
+ Several Bars that are actually open (dont get me started on the Thirsty Fish at The Portifino)
+ Range of good restaurants (including one of the best, The Palm)
- can be a little pricey
- some of the rooms and hallways need to be updated. But that is in progress already and may actually be completed.
- if you dont like noise, there is always music playing everywhere (that is actually a pro for me)
I dont think you can really go wrong though on any of the resorts. Its just whatever your preference is.
I think it has a lot to do with your age, whether you have kids and what type of atmosphere you enjoy. I've been to Portofino for apx. 35 nights total, 8 nights Royal Pacific, 6 nights Cabana Bay. If you are going during a time of moderate to busy crowds, you really need to do the three deluxes since the Express Pass makes a world of difference. My views: Portofino: By far the most luxurious & opulent. Huge rooms (450 to 490 sq. ft.), great ambiance, especially with numerous beautiful piazzas. It's very relaxing, quiet, and there generally are few children present. Best & most beautiful collection of pools (three) & slide at Universal. Excellent spa and very good restaurants, but they are basically Italian of course, which limits your food diversity. The quick service deli, Sal's, has some of the best Pizza & food you'll find anywhere. This is a great choice for older adults that prefer a quiet, laid back, relaxing resort.The walk to the parks is the longest of the deluxes, but it is also the most beautiful walk.....Hard Rock; Haven't stayed there because we're not really fans of hard rock music blaring 24/7 everywhere. But, we've visited it and it seems like an excellent resort, especially if you're a young couple or have teenagers. Shuckers' reasons to go there seem right on.....Royal Pacific: Real nice resort. Like the Hard Rock there's only one pool, but it's themed quite well. Rooms are also the size of Hard Rock rooms, (similar to WDW deluxes at 335 sq. ft). Interesting lobby and beautiful landscaping. In my opinion it has the best collection of restaurants at the Universal hotels. A great value is the Happy Hour at Emerils. You can get a great selection of appetizers for only $5 a selection. The walk to the parks is only about 8-10 minutes. The one thing we didn't care for is the rooms are very dated (we were there in Sept. 2014) and really need a refurbishment. The best value of the three deluxes. You'll save $60 to $100 a night by staying there.A really good family resort, lots of kids here.....Cabana Bay; A very big surprise to us. We really loved the resort. The major difference is no Express, but you can't really expect that for the prices you pay to stay there. This is a great choice for a vacation during the slow times of the year. Or if you have a long vacation, do as we did last fall, combine days at Cabana and finish up at one of the deluxe resorts. This resort is quite beautiful in the evening, especially the original pool area. Both pools are very good and so is the Lazy River, a big plus. The Bayliner Diner is ok, but it would have been nice to have a good sit down restaurant too. But once Sapphire Falls is finished, that problem will be solved, since it will be a very short walk to SF sit down restaurant. Bus transportation was excellent. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a bus either way. The walk way is open now, but that walk is long like Portofino's.....All in all, you will really enjoy the experience of staying on site at Universal. It makes a vacation relaxing & leisurely. No hassles & no planning needed. We park our car and usually never use it till the day we leave, unless we do a shopping trip. And of course, you can't beat the absolutely beautiful boat rides at the deluxes. And we enjoyed the walks along the paths, for a change of pace, also. The walkways are breathtaking.
I love Portifino. It has the most secluded feel of any of the hotels and actually captures the feeling of an Italian harbor. They also have the best pools in my opinion, and some great dining options (sals for pizza, BICE for more expensive cuisine).
The other resorts are good too, but I'm not a huge fan of Cabana Bay because of the lack of express and a more tacky theming (again, my opinion).
Depends on when you're going.
If you're going during the offseason, I'd go with Cabana Bay. Great theming throughout, good bars, good food, speedy shuttle service, and it's the newest.
My favorite is Portofino, great ambiance and the rooms are extremely nice. The pools are nice and restaurants are good too, plus sometimes they have a live guitarist in the courtyard at one of the bars.
I think Royal Pacific is next, nice rooms, beautiful walk and the onsite restaurants are pretty good. Tchoup Chop was one of my favorites before the new menu that started in September, I preferred the old menu.
I think that up next would be Cabana because of the excellent price point, activities (bowling and lazy river), oddly enough the rooms feel more modern to me than the others, and I love the style. Downsides here are no real restaurant to speak of, everything closes early, and the necessary buses.
Hard Rock is a good hotel but I feel like it is slightly overpriced and you are paying a lot for the Hard Rock name. The pool and pool area are pretty awesome, and I've heard the restaurants are good but have never tried them.
The only drawback of the Portofino is the long walk to the parks, but you can always take the ferry.
The theming is great, restaurants great, ambiance great, it feels like a real sprawled out Italian village on a harbour.
Three pools, Express, great rooms.
I've only ever stayed at the Portofino and the Hard Rock. The Hard Rock just feels dirtier.
I'd love to stay at Cabana Bay; the theming looks great, I love the space-age/googie design look, but the only thing holding me back is Express pass. If Cabana Bay offered Express it'd easily compete with Portofino.
I'm choosing Cabana Bay for my family's future trip, because of the lazy river alone.
Cabana Bay would also be my choice for the offseason.
If you want express, I'd go for either Royal Pacific or Hard Rock. While Portofino is a fantastic hotel, the distance from Citywalk and the parks is a bit much for me. Walking it feels like going on an epic adventure and the boat taxi can take quite a long time to make the trip; I imagine it would be disheartening to walk out and see the taxi leaving. By comparison, RPR and Hard Rock are short walks away from the parks and the boat taxi trips are very short as well.
RPR vs Hard Rock for me basically comes down to price and restaurants. RPR is a bit cheaper, while I greatly prefer Hard Rock's on-site restaurants. Tchoup Chop at RPR is incredible, but that's about it imo - I'm not too high on Jake's and Islands. At Hard Rock, I've found both the Palm and Kitchen to be great.
Ultimately, I prefer Royal Pacific. It's the cheapest of the express hotels while still maintaining a high standard of quality. It's a short walk or boat taxi ride away from Citywalk, and I always eat at Citywalk or the parks so the restaurants aren't a huge deal to me. Dat Tchoup Chop though...
Note - I'm not really a pool guy so I can't factor those in. I also don't hang around the hotels much (just mainly use them to recharge) so amenities aren't factoring in much either.
Royal Pacific. Next!
It's subjective but my personal favorite is Royal Pacific.
I'm poor so Cabana hahaha...seriously though either that or Royal Pacific as it has that island getaway feel..
Portofino is just gorgeous though and I would certain take a special someone there for an event...
Hard Rock or Royal Pacific in terms of best overall.
Portofino's price point is stupid because literally all 3 Loews hotels are exactly the same. There's nothing fancier about being at Portofino except the price. The rooms are the same. And they're all pretty tiny for what you pay if I'm being honest. And for being luxury hotels, all 3 lack a bathroom fan.
Cabana is pretty amazing for the price though considering cleanliness, perks, facilities and access to the parks.
Hard Rock and Royal Pacific rooms are pretty close to the same.
Portofino's rooms are way nicer and way more plush, nicer beds, bigger rooms, can get lost in the bathroom.
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