Tag Archives: Portofino Bay Hotel

La Dolce Vita in Orlando

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort is one of my favorite hotels in the world. It is picturesque and looks exactly like the real deal in Italy. Only cleaner. It’s so serene and really does force you to slow down and savor the sweet life.

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Our most recent stay was longer than in the past and much more relaxing as we enjoyed the resort as much as the theme parks. We arrived in the evening and after a lovely check in were in our room in no time.

We stayed Club Level in a Deluxe room and found ourselves in the Villa Wing. Location was great, high floor which I requested and not too far from either the front elevator down to the lobby and club lounge or the back elevator which led right to the pool. We had a lovely view of the Villa pool and Bocce Ball court.

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The deluxe rooms are larger than the already very large Portofino rooms. They are 490 sq ft.  The bathroom had a tub and separate shower and is spacious as is the room.

Club Level at Portofino was wonderful. The staff is very helpful, friendly and they keep the food and drink stocked nicely. Club offers you food and beverage options throughout the day. It was easy to stop by the lounge on the way in or out to grab water or a drink.

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In the morning there is breakfast which includes fruit, pastries, cereal, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes. A coffee station as well as milk and orange juice station round it out.

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During the afternoon, snacks are available, chips cookies and the like. As well as lemonade.

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A drink station is available all day, anytime the lounge is open. Soda and bottled water are available here as well as to go cups.

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During the evening reception, 2 hot dishes are available, usually a pasta dish and something else. As well as a salad bar, cheese, crackers and wine and beer.

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Later, dessert with cakes and cookies.

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walking to the parks with my to go cup of vino

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One of our favorite features of this hotel is the pool. The main pool is the Beach Pool. There are fun pool side activities for the kids and adults, the slide is fabulous and great food and drinks can be had at Splendido, the poolside bar. The villa pool is the quiet pool, with cabanas surrounding it and in just a beautiful serene location. There is another small pool called the Hillside in the East Wing of the resort. Pools stay open late, 11pm and the main pool shows a movie at night right there on a screen on the beach in the sand. There is a lovely large hot tub at the Beach Pool as well, with a waterfall feature. Another hot tub and a small children’s splash pad rounds out the area. Music is playing all day and there is lots of activity.

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There are lots of great restaurant choices here, but it’s not far to City Walk or the other hotels either. Bar food at Thirsty Fish, comfort food from Nonna at Mama Dellas or the Trattoria, something quick from Sal’s Deli or upscale Bice. Don’t forget gelato, it’s so good! There is a Starbucks as well. Shopping for art work and unique pieces, a Universal Studios Store and the hotel gift shop with some lovely unique gift ideas.

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The walk to the parks is about 15 minutes via a lovely scenic path that takes you passed Hard Rock Hotel.  Security will be a the end of the path just before arriving at Universal Studios. The boat is quick and easy and you will go through security before boarding the boat.img_7466

A little bit of “la dolce vita” right in the heart of the theme parks!

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Portofino Bay Hotel Review

My family recently ventured to the “dark side” and added a 2 night stay at Universal Orlando Resort to our traditional Disney vacation.

Perfect add-on for families with older kids, tweens and teens!

Planning a Universal Orlando Resort trip is not quite as overwhelming as a Disney trip can be, but there is still a little planning to be done. I can help you with this too 🙂 This wasn’t my first stay at Universal, but it was our first trip as a family and with the kids . We will be back!

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We chose the Portofino Bay Hotel as our home  base for our 2 night stay. This hotel is simply stunning. It’s is a replica of the Italian coastal town of Portofino, right down to the little fishing boats in the harbor and vespa’s lining the piazza!

The hotel complex is sprawling, made up of 3 main areas. The lobby facing the main harbor piazza and then the East and West Wings. A Villas Wing extends off of the West Wing.

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The West Wing offers the best proximity to the boat dock and walking path to the theme parks and the feature pool.

Rooms at Portofino Bay are spacious and well -appointed, starting at a generous 450 sq feet for a standard room Garden or Bay view. Deluxe rooms, suites and club level services are also available.

Rooms have all the standard amenities and beds are queen sized.

Portofino Bay features  Despicable Me suites in the East Wing. 

There are numerous restaurants, all Italian, including a Gelateria and Starbucks. Splendido Bar & Grill is right by the main pool with lounge chair service. Three pools are scattered throughout, the Beach Pool being the feature pool with the Roman aqueduct themed water slide, zero entry, sandy beach, waterfalls and a small grotto. Even when busy, we were always able to find a few lounge chairs available.

Recreation includes poolside activities, bocce ball, a game room, fitness center, a spa and much more.  Be sure to catch the daily Musica della Notte show in the harbor piazza, and enjoy the sounds Italy.

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Transportation to/from the parks is so easy! There are boats running constantly from early morning till the wee hours of the night. Every 20 minutes or so. The ride is less than 10 minutes. The walking path is just past the boat dock and takes about 15 minutes at  a leisurely pace, 10 minutes if you are really trying to make it back before a downpour…we made it. 🙂 The path brings you past the Hard Rock Hotel and right to the Universal Studios entrance. They also have bicycle jitneys going back and forth if you choose.

The major benefit of staying on-site at Universal is this:

  • SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day** (valid theme park admission required)
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)

That’s right, staying at one of the 3 deluxe onsite hotels, Portofino Bay, Hard Rock or the Royal Pacific, entitles you to the above benefits. With the popularity of Harry Potter, that extra hour is much needed! And Express Pass really helps with the rest of the parks , the only place it is not accepted is for the Harry Potter rides.

We made the most of both the parks and the resort by splitting up our day with a pool break in the afternoon each day and with Express Pass and having early entry one day, we were able to see and do everything we wanted to in less than 2 full days, but would probably stay longer next time to really make the most of everything offered.

Universal offers some great packages including a Wizarding World of Harry Potter package and Stay More Save More deals. Contact me for a free no obligation quote.