Best Hotel In Orlando: Aloft Orlando Downtown
With its convenient location, modern rooms, and a stunning outdoor pool, its no wonder this is our choice for the best hotel in Orlando. Set in the Thornton Park neighbourhood, this hotel is close to restaurants, bars and Orlandos top attractions. Theres also an in-house restaurant and a stylish lounge bar.
Orlando is a large city located in Central Florida. Home to more than a dozen colourful and fun theme parks, exciting animal attractions and exhilarating outdoor adventures, Orlando is packed with fun for travellers of all ages, interests and budgets.
Divided into 125-plus diverse neighbourhoods, theres plenty to see and do in Orlando. Which is why choosing where to stay is incredibly important.
In this guide, well break down the top five neighbourhoods by interest.
Starting with downtown Orlando. At the heart of the city, downtown Orlando is bursting with culture and history, shopping, dining and entertainment. Here youll find plenty of after dark fun, from sporting events to discotheques and dancehalls.
Set to the east is Thornton Park. A lively and popular neighbourhood, Thornton Park is where youll find a myriad of hip hangouts and trendy boutiques.
Head south from the city centre to Southwest Orlando. Home to theme parks, aquariums, museums and galleries, this part of Orlando is a major tourist destination and packed with fun for the whole family.
Still not sure where to stay in Orlando? Dont worry, weve got you covered.
Why Stay At A Universal Orlando Hotel & How To Pick The Best One For Your Family
Post last updated May 25, 2021
Planning a Universal Orlando theme park vacation not only includes determining how much time to spend at each of the theme parks but also finding the perfect home away from home.
If youre a first time visitor, you can count on spending the majority of your time at the parks, but youll also need a comfortable and clean place to unwind and relax because park days can sometimes be very exhausting.
If youre contemplating whether a stay at a Universal Orlando is worth it, this guide will explain everything you need to know about their resort hotels including amenities and dining options available at each resort, room rates and other benefits of staying on site.
Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resorts Family Suites
Cabana Bays Family Suites have separate areas for sleeping, eating and relaxing after a day at the parks or the hotel pool complex. You can even have pizza delivered directly to your room.
These 430-square-foot rooms sleep up to six people via two queen-size beds and a pullout sofa. They also include a sliding privacy partition and a compartmentalized bathroom that allows three people to get ready at once.
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How To Stay On
Its no secret that Universal Orlando Resort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With its two amazing theme parks Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure as well as the new water park Volcano Bay, theres something for everyone at Universal Orlando Resort. And with so much to see and do, it can be tempting to stay off-site.
However, if you really want to enjoy all that Universal Orlando Resort has to offer, one of the most important things you can do is book a hotel on-site. Whether its grand hotels near Universal Studios Orlando or the closest hotels to Universal Studios Orlando, staying on-site gives you a number of important benefits that simply cant be found elsewhere.
Our Top Tips For Adults Visiting Universal Orlando Resort
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Top Benefits Of Staying At Universal Orlando Hotels
1. Location, Location, Location!
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls, Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort are all located on Universal Orlando property. Meanwhile, Universal’s Endless Summer Surfside Inn & Suites and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites are located just on the opposite side of Interstate 4, only a quick shuttle ride away.
The rest of the Universal Orlando hotels are all within walking distance of each other, the Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk. On my last visit, I jog-hopped to each one of them for a bit of exercise. The proximity to other major Orlando attractions and the International Drive area is another Universal Orlando hotel benefit.
In terms of proximity to the theme parks, the Hard Rock Hotel is the closest to Universal Studios Florida. Loews Royal Pacific Resort is closest to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Aventura Hotel are closest to Universal’s Volcano Bay and have their own separate entrance to the water park. All official Universal Orlando hotel guests can use these entrances, but if you’re not staying at one of these hotels, it’s easier to take the bus.
2. Variety of Universal Orlando Hotel Room Types and Budget Options
3. Fabulous Universal Orlando Hotel Amenities
4. Early Park Admission
5. Free Universal Express Unlimited
7. Priority Seating
Prime Value Category Hotels $$
The Prime Value Hotels are a notch higher on the price ladder. These are still budget hotels, closer to the parks and have a few more amenities than the Value Hotels. Again, there are are two hotels in this category:
- Universals Aventura Hotel starting at $120.00 per night + taxes based on a 4-night stay.
- Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort starting at $120.00 per night + taxes based on a 4-night stay.
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Things To See And Do In Downtown Orlando
Catch the Orlando Magic NBA team in action at the Amway Center.
Dance the night away at Aero Rooftop Bar.
Down a pint at Lizzy McCormacks Irish Pub.
Enjoy carefully crafted cocktail at the Magnolia.
Explore Church Street, the unofficial centre of the city.
Get lost in the music and electric atmosphere at Tier Nightclub.
Grab a drink at Hansons Shoe Repair, Orlandos first speakeasy.
Hunt for treasures at East End Market.
Party all night long in Wall Street Plaza.
Sample dapper cocktails at the Courtesy.
Spend a night at kitschy and colourful The Lodge.
Why Stay At A Universal Hotel
There are three compelling reasons to book an on-site hotel at Universal: proximity, perks and theming.
The most obvious pro of staying at a Universal hotel is how close you are to the theme parks Universal Studios Florida, Universals Islands of Adventure and Universals Volcano Bay and the entertainment and dining hub known as CityWalk.
You can walk to the parks or CityWalk from several of the on-site properties. Or, you can take a complimentary shuttle bus or water taxi, depending on whats available at the hotel you pick.
FOR NO-COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT UNIVERSAL VACATION, CHECK OUT TPGS THEME PARK BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.
Then, there are perks.
Guests staying at all of the Universal Orlando resorts get early access to select theme parks and theme park attractions each morning. Exactly which park and attractions you get access to can vary by day, but youll get a 30-minute head start at Volcano Bay and a full hour at Islands of Adventure and/or Universal Studios.
This can make the difference between a short 15-minute wait for Hagrids and a less-magical 255-minute wait.
Next up, there are the Express Passes. Guests at Universal Orlandos Premier-level hotels get included Universal Express Unlimited passes. The three eligible hotels include Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. With this pass, you get to skip the regular line at participating Universal rides.
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Universals Aventura Hotels Kids Suites
Aventura Hotel has a number of room types, but there is one that is fantastic for families of four or five who want a little bit of privacy from one another.
Here, the 575-square-foot Kids Suites are uniquely arranged in a way that provides some personal space to every member of the family. The main bedroom features a king-size bed, a second room comes outfitted with two twin beds and a separate area offers a couch that can convert into a memory foam bed.
Best Hotel In Celebration: Melia Orlando Hotel
Located in charming and quirky Celebration, this hotel is surrounded by modern amenities, great restaurants and delightful shops. Guests of this four-star hotel can enjoy a Jacuzzi, a swimming pool, a sauna and a golf course. The elegant rooms come complete with air-conditioning, an iPod docking station and a kitchenette.
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The Best Hotels Near Universal Orlando In 2022
- Best for Proximity to Parks:Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
Why We Chose It
Lots of resort amenities, including water taxi access to the parks and Universals largest pool, make this affordable hotel a standout.
Pros & Cons
Four restaurants and cafes on property
Huge pool with sand beach and kids activities
Free access to parks via bus or water taxi, plus early park entry
Larger resort has some long walking distances
Paid parking: $28 per night
Pet fee: $100 per stay
With a tropical island feel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort has true vacation vibes, and the kind of pool youll be dreaming about long after your trip is over. The largest on property, Sapphire Falls pool has a sand beach, a waterslide, cabanas, and kids activities. The resort has a poolside restaurant, a coffee shop, a full-service restaurant and a tapas bar specializing in rum cocktails that has a rum specialist to guide you. This property offers water taxi service to the theme parks, as well as bus service and an easy walking trail, and early entry into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with park admission.
- Guest perks for theme parks
Why Should You Stay At A Universal Orlando Resort
There are 8 resorts to choose so its likely there is one that fits your budget.
Each resort has a different theme with decor, pool areas, and food courts and restaurants matching the theme. Looking for a hotel with a little Polynesian flair? Then consider a stay at Loews Royal Pacific. If youre looking for a retro beach resort vibe, then Universals Cabana Bay Resort might fit the bill.
Families who have stayed at a Disney World resort hotel will be happy to know that the benefits of staying at a Universal Orlando resort hotel are similar.
All of the following perks are available to Universal Orlando resort hotel guests staying at any of the 8 properties:
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Best Affordable Luxury Stay In Orlando: Luxury Riverside Cottage With Private Pool
This incredible 8 bedroom property can hold up to 18 guests meaning you can invites all your mates over for an unforgettable vacation. Here youve got the whole house for yourself including a fully kitted out kitchen, large and airry dining/ living room and most importantly a private hot tub and pool! This luxe cottage is right on the riverside providing a relaxing, beautiful and tranquil location for your trip.
Break Out The Poodle Skirt Or The Mini Skirt
Universals Seuss Landing wows the tots, and The Incredible Hulk draws thrill-seeking teens. Likewise, Mom and Dad, or even Grandma and Grandpa, will get a kick out of the theming at Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando. The entire hotel is an ode to the more mature grown-ups childhoods: Groovy 60s-style guest room artwork, rounded 50s-esque retro architecture, and odes to those eras like the Swizzle Lounge.
With 1,800 guest rooms, many of them family suites, Cabana Bay was able to invest in major recreational enticements. Take one look at the 6,000-square-foot beach with the 8,000-square-foot zero-entry pool, the sparkling lazy river and the steep water slide, and you may choose to put on a bathing suit and stay right where you are. Hula Hoop contests and character visits only add to the fun.
When you need a spell in the A/C, put on your Ralph Kramden and go bowling. With neon-colored balls, a playful throwback look and table-service foods, Galaxy Bowl is a great bet for a friendly family competition along with a burger and beer.
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Resorts Near Universal Studios Florida
- 50 mi from Universal Studios Florida
- 50 mi from Universal Studios Florida
7.4 miles0.8 miles1.2 miles1.3 miles4.2 miles1.7 miles7.2 miles0.9 miles5.0 miles6.3 miles0.7 miles6.0 miles6.2 miles7.1 miles4.5 miles3.6 miles6.2 miles6.5 miles7.7 miles6.1 miles6.4 miles5.8 miles4.2 miles5.4 miles4.2 miles5.6 miles2.0 miles7.2 miles6.7 miles7.3 miles13.7 miles0.6 miles0.2 miles0.5 miles1.5 miles6.4 miles9.5 miles
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
The original hotel and Lowes flagship property at Universal Orlando Resort is the Portofino Bay Hotel, themed for the Italian Riviera seaside village. Its an incredibly well-themed, luxury resort further removed from Universal CityWalk and the theme parks, giving it a secluded feel. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has fewer rooms than the Royal Pacific Resort, but a larger footprint to the property. Families will find three different poolsBeach, Villa, and Hillsidewhich range from sandy bottom to quiet and secluded. In addition, there is a full-service Mandara Spa at the resort. Of course, it wouldnt be Italy without fine dining, and Portofino Bay has nine different dining locations from a signature experience at Bice Ristorante to the Gelateria bakery serving Italian pastries and gelato. Standard rooms have pillowtop beds, and at 450 square feet, are some of the largest at Universal Orlando Resort. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is suited for families looking for an upscale, luxury resort experience, and is priced accordingly. All rooms include the free Unlimited Express pass.
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Benefits Of Booking Through Trough The Park Prodigy
- Free concierge service to take care of every aspect of your trip including dining reservations
- Always save vs booking directly with Universal
- Free daily park plans to save even more time in the parks
- We are Universal experts committed to helping you plan an amazing family vacation
The best part is right now The Park Prodigy is running a promotion for anyone who books a 2 night or more Universal Orlando vacation package for anytime in 2022! Simply check out all available hotels on our Universal Orlando package page and use promo code Magic50 at checkout for an additional $50.00 off our discounted packages!
Related Page: Discount Universal Orlando Vacation Packages
Lowes Royal Pacific Resort & Lowes Royal Pacific
Lowes Royal Pacific Resort is ready to take you away to a Polynesian paradise. Its incredible lagoon-style pool is just one of the benefits of staying at Lowes Royal Pacific. Whether youre relaxing in your cabana with a tropical drink or playing in the interactive water area, you might actually forget about going to the parks. With kids camps and a torch lighting ceremony, theres always something fun going on making it one of the best Universal Studios resort hotels.
Rooms at this resort start at $262 and have beautiful garden views. When youre ready to have a meal or enjoy a drink, youll find a wide array of options, from American fare to Pan Asian food and even a sushi bar.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort Dining
- Islands Dining Room
Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort
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Best Ways To Book Universal Orlando Hotel Stays
You have more options for booking Universal Orlando hotels with points than you do with Disney resorts.
Heres an example of pricing in cash and points for a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder booking at Surfside Inn and Suites within Universals Endless Summer Resort.
With the Sapphire Reserve, you get a return of 1.5 cents per point spent on travel via the Chase booking portal, so a $107 room would cost about 7,100 points for the night with that card.
Or, you can use a card that awards miles you can use to wipe out the travel charge. For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, travel charged to the card will net you 1 cent in value per mile earned. That means a $300 hotel stay charged to your eligible Venture card could be offset by redeeming 30,000 of your Venture miles.