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Loews Royal Pacific vs, Portofino vs Hard Rock

Universal Orlando: Which resort is best overall for food, atmosphere, service, accommodations and accessibility to parks?

From Justin M
Posted April 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM
I want to plan a two night stay at one of the resorts. I did a quick check online and they are all around the same price with Portofino being the most expensive by roughly 30 dollars a night. I have been to IOA and UO multiple times but never stayed on-sight. Which is the best and why? I’m in my 20's with no kids.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Amy Smith
Posted April 27, 2012 at 1:56 PM
It really depends on what you like. They all include unlimited express access and early entry so it really comes down to the little details:

Royal Pacific is usually where families with younger children stay because it has the calmer family pool, Hard Rock is popular with teens and 20-somethings because of the rock theme with the music piped in everywhere even underwater. Royal Pacific and Hard Rock are also the two to decide between if you want the shorter walk to either Islands of Adventure (Royal Pacific) or Universal Studios (Hard Rock). Portofino is the fancier hotel with an amazing lobby but much longer walk to the parks (however you can take the boats as long as it isn't lightning out).

They are all amazing, so it really comes down to which detail means more to you. I will say though, that if Portofino is more I would go with Hard Rock over Portofino. One isn't worth more than other they are pretty equal in terms of quality.

From Nick Markham
Posted April 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM
Portofino is the nicest hotel offered, but, as said above, it truly depends on what you look for in a hotel.

For you (20's, no kids as you said) I feel it comes down to Hard Rock and Portofino. So let's compare:

Food: PORTOFINO - Portofino doesn't even have contention when it comes to food. Hard Rock does not have awful options, it just simply can't compare to the far more numerous, far higher quality options at Portofino.

Atmosphere: PORTOFINO - As I write this, I'm starting to get the feeling Portofino's going to win. Hard Rock Hotel is far more like a typical hotel (it is unique, but not quite so much as Portofino) whereas Portofino literally transports you to the beautiful riviera of Portofino, Italy.

Okay, I would go on, but there is really only one area Hard Rock has a slighter edge on Portofino: Accessability. And even then, the only edge it truly has is being located closer to the parks and Citywalk geographically. Portofino still offers beautiful paths to walk to the resorts, as well as bike taxi and of course water taxi.

My vote (or best suggestion) is for Portofino. Truly an experience you will never forget!

From James Koehl
Posted April 27, 2012 at 4:35 PM
I've only stayed at the Royal Pacific, but we had an absolutely wonderful time. Food was outstanding, service was over-the-top friendly, atmosphere was immersive and decor was drop-dead gorgeous. The walk to and from IOA was relaxing, but the water shuttle was also fun and an extra attraction. The complimentary fruit drinks in the lobby were addicting, and the breakfast buffet in one of the restaurants (sorry, forget the name) was nearly the best I have had anywhere. The other hotels might be better in some areas, in some opinions, but you will not go wrong with Royal Pacific.

From Melanie Howe
Posted April 28, 2012 at 6:23 PM
Just got back from the most recent of many trips to RPR, and I've also stayed at Portofino twice. Both are very nice and you can't beat the convenience and relaxation of being onsite (not to mention the express pass!!).

Due to the slight difference in price, we tend to stay at Portofino when we feel like splurging and RPR for all our regular visits. Portofino has slightly larger rooms and definitely larger bathrooms. The theme is lovely and the ambiance is wonderful. But, honestly, I think I actually prefer RPR. The south Pacific theme is so relaxing, the lobby and fountain area is large and pleasant to hang out in, and the area outside Jake's bar near the waterfall is a fantastic place to sit and relax with a drink during the evening after a long day at the parks. Plus, when you feel like taking the boat instead of walking, RPR has the best, most shaded place to wait for it.

So, if it were me, I'd pick RPR.... but be sure to use the $30/night you save to have dinner over at Mama Della's at Portofino!!!!

From N B
Posted April 29, 2012 at 6:57 PM
That is a hard choice. Portofino is more upscale, Royal Pacific seems to have younger families and Hard Rock had quite a few families with tweens / teens.

I have stayed at all three, but Hard Rock gets my vote. Keep in mind it is a couple minute walk to the Universl gate / CityWalk and a few minutes more to IOA.

If the water taxis aren't running, be prepared for a hike from Portofino if you have to walk. Royal Pacific ins't as bad but it is easily ten minutes by walking path.

We stayed at Hard Rock last year and are going back again this year in June. We never took a water taxi once because it is faster to walk. The place is hoppng at night around the pool and people seem to be more social than at the other two hotels.

All three are first class and super clean, so you can't make a bad decision. If you look at the entire resort on Google Earth, you will see how close each one is to the parks and CityWalk.

From Rob P
Posted April 30, 2012 at 6:12 AM
James just about wrote everything I was going to write. All I could add is that the Royal Pacific is also that bit less expensive than the other two.
We don't have kids so didn't really pick up on the "more family friendly" issue but suffice to say that we've stayed there twice now ,love the laid back ambience of this Resort and would certainly go again.
There's no better recommendation than multiple visits.........I wouldn't go back to somewhere that didn't deserve my custom.

From Justin M
Posted April 30, 2012 at 9:50 AM
They all sound great, and it seems you cant really go wrong with any of them. I guess im leaning slightly towards Portofino as that seems to be their flagship resort.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted April 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM
My personal favorite of the three is Hard Rock. It's the closest to Universal Studios of all the hotels. IOA is not that much farther. Whenever we've stayed there we never bothered with the boats since it was so close.

From Doug Jenkins
Posted May 1, 2012 at 1:02 PM
You can't go wrong with any of them, but at your age The Hard Rock is the way to go. They also have one of the best steak house restaurants in the south, The Palm. Portofino Bay is one of the top 3 hotels in Florida.

From chris cona
Posted May 1, 2012 at 8:22 PM
I've stayed on site twice at universal at the royal pacific and at the hard rock but have also been to the bay for dinner one night. I pesonally can't decide between the two. They're both amazing hotels. The pacific is more kid friendly and the hard rock is more adult friendly. The pacific had lots of activites small walk and great pool and food. The hard rock from what I remember had a cool pool with a slide awesome lobby and ok food.

From Justin M
Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:42 AM
Doug,

I had a chance to dine at the palm last october and it was great (exspensive though)! Best steakhouse in the South is Berns in Tampa IMOP!

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