3 Days at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel & Universal Orlando Resort, Florida
When pulling up to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, you will truly feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy. From gorgeous fountains and gelato, to secret courtyards and stunning colorful Italian style architecture, this hotel has it all. The proximity to the Universal Oralndo parks makes this hotel even more appealing. Not to mention, the spacious and comfortable rooms with amazing views, 3 pools, 7 restaurants, complimentary express passes, and… we could go on and on. We enjoyed our time here so much that we’re still talking about it to this day and we can’t wait to get back again. Let’s dive into the details of this amazing resort!
A perfect place to celebrate “La Dolce Vita”- the sweet life
After parking our car, we arrived to the reception area and were immediately greeted by the smiling staff asking if we needed help with anything. We did visit during covid, so there were temperature checks right by the main entrance door. This made us feel very safe, as each day every hotel guest had their temperature checked and were given a specific color wristband.
We arrived a bit early for check in, so we did the same thing we always do when we land in Italy – headed for a creamy gelato. You can find this in Harbor Piazza (the hotel’s most dreamy spot, complete with little fishing boats, a few restaurants, and even a Starbucks). This harbor is also where you will catch the boat to the parks, but we will touch more on that later.
After exploring the hotel for a bit, we got the text that our room was ready. We couldn’t wait to see the room. Our expectations were quite high after walking around and falling in love with the property. When we arrived to our room, we were not disappointed!
“Decadent Gelato - Strawberry & Mint Chocolate Chip”
“Gorgeous Fountain in the Lobby area”
The hotel has 750 elegant rooms, including 45 suites. There are 4 different room types to choose from: Garden View, Bay View, Deluxe, and Club Rooms. Each room offers custom designed furnishings and marble accents, complimentary WiFi, and 24 hour room service. We stayed in a Bay View room and absolutely loved it. The room was spacious, the bed was very comfortable, and we had a view of the Harbor Piazza and Portofino Bay.
All guests no matter the type of room, are given complimentary Universal Express Passes as a perk for staying in the hotel. *Valid theme park admission tickets are required*. In our opinion, this was completely worth it. If you’re debating staying on the Universal Orlando property we highly recommend staying here and taking advantage of this offer. We saved countless hours of waiting with these express passes.
There are some other exclusive guest benefits, including:
- Early Park Admission (to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before parks open)
- Free shuttles and water taxis (you CANNOT take a water taxi to Volcano Bay. You must take the shuttle. The water taxis are to access Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk). The water taxi ride is breathtaking!
- Convenient resort-wide charging with your room key
- Priority seating at select Universal Orlando restaurants
- & more
Our Harbor Room with 2 beds
Stunning Harbor Room View
When it comes to dining & recreation at Portofino Bay Hotel, you’ll never be left wondering what to do. There are 7 restaurants, 3 themed swimming pools, a 12,300 sq. foot spa, and a fitness center.
We didn’t have time to dine and drink at all of the restaurants, but here’s a quick rundown of each one:
- Mama Della’s Ristorante – enjoy traditional Italian specialties while being serenaded by tableside musicians
- BiCE Ristorante – with a view of the Portofino Bay you can expect an exquisite culinary Italian experience
- Trattoria del Porto – a casual breakfast & dinner spot
- Sal’s Market Deli – Italian meats, cheeses, salads, antipasto, and brick oven pizzas
- The Thirsty Fish – a harborside wine bar
- Bar American – specialty drinks & Italian Grappas
- Splendido Bar & Grill – poolside eatery serving burgers and lighter fare
Enjoying a swim at the Villa Pool
The Villa Pool - a wonderful place to relax before & after the parks
Although, when you think of Universal Resort, you probably think of children and families, this resort really brings out the romantic vibes as well. It is the last stop on the water taxi and gives a secluded, laid back and slow pace energy (which is especially great after visiting the busy parks all day). My husband and I came and really felt the true romance and magic of Italy. We would recommend this hotel for families, couples, and even girl’s trips!
The Perfect Photo Op - In Harbor Piazza
Romantic afternoon stroll
We visited all 3 parks during our stay and recommend that you do the same, if you’re able to. Each park offers something completely different and they are all 100% worth a visit. Let’s break down the differences between the parks and how to get there from the hotel.
- Universal Studios Orlando – This park is an actual film & TV studio that features rides based on movies like Harry Potter, Shrek, Despicable Me, E.T., Transformers, The Mummy, and so much more. If you are a film & TV lover, this park is definitely for you! We went on almost every ride and really loved them. Our favorite rides were Rip Ride Rockit (roller coaster) and The Mummy.
- Islands of Adventure – This is our favorite theme park in the entire world. The magic of the theming in this park is extraordinary. This park has 8 themed “islands” including Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Skull Island (this is new and the King Kong ride is AMAZING), Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. I cannot begin to tell you our favorite rides in this park because every. single. one is epic! *Jurassic Park has a new roller coaster opening up this summer 2021* We didn’t get the chance to ride it, but it looks really fun.
- Volcano Bay – This water park was just opened 4 years ago and it was our first time visiting. We loved the theming of this park. There are many rides, including raft rides, river rides, aqua coasters, and more.
Getting to the parks from Portofino Bay Hotel – Like we mentioned earlier, there is a free shuttle bus and free water taxi to take you from the hotel to any of the parks as well as to CityWalk. The water taxi picks up from the right side of the Portofino Bay. You can use the water taxi to get to all of the parks except for Volcano Bay. You must take the shuttle bus to get there. The bus picks up in the little bus station in between the lobby and the self-parking lot. If you don’t know where to go, there are many wonderful staff members around to help you find your way!
Universal's Volcano Bay
The Magical Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure
All in all, we had a wonderful and relaxing stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and an unforgettable time at the 3 parks. We can’t wait to get back again & we hope you can visit soon!
Book a room at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: http://bit.ly/PBHDeluxeRoom_thedaydreamdrifters
*This was a gifted hotel stay, but all opinions are our own*
Drop a comment or feel free to DM us on Instagram if you have any questions!
Carrie & Javi