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Loews Portofino Bay Resort in Orlando, FL

Loews Portofino Bay Resort in Orlando, FL

Specialties

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel presents value as the new luxury near Universal Studios, an ideal Orlando luxury hotel for business and leisure guests.

 

Company Info:

Rating: 3.86

Address: 5601 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL, 32819
  • Mon: Open 24 hours
  • Tue: Open 24 hours
  • Wed: Open 24 hours
  • Thu: Open 24 hours
  • Fri: Open 24 hours
  • Sat: Open 24 hours
  • Sun: Open 24 hours

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Comments (133):

1. Freddy R.
I will say this, if you got some money then please please go to this hotel. It is clean, service is good, the beds are comfortable, the view is spectacular (if you get a bay view). The food is delicious, bathroom are big, can fit a twin bed in the bathroom. The concierge is so helpful, I say this because my wife wasn't content with the view they gave us of the bay so I went downstairs and told them that I need to change it, they look at the reservations and accommodated me to go to a different room, they ask me if i wanted help with my bag, gave me a big smile, treated me like if I had millions of dollars (which I don't). My wife still wasn't content so I ask for the same room that we had before and the gentleman did not make any faces what so ever, great customer service or what!!!!. The beds are magnificent, after a day at the parks I wanted to lay down and be comfortable for the next day, and that is exactly what these beds are. The ferry is one of the best parts of the amenities you will always take advantage of these boats. There are also buses or bicycles that can take you to the parks but you need to give them tips. The restaurants close early but the pizza was amazing but too expensive. The pools are great and the jacuzzi (outside) are a little to hot but are very nice. I guess the only thing that I can say that I dislike about this hotel was the guest. Many of them Caucasians and just look at us wrong as if we were the help, we actually ran into someone in the elevator and he said do you mind helping me with the bags, I give great tips, mind you that I was carrying my own bags and my niece of 10 was next to me. In another occasion we went to the pool and when we got in (and I am not being ridiculous) all Caucasians gave us to much room as if we were going to kill them or something, incredible! I was so annoyed at the stupidities of some people. I don't pay attention to those things but it did make me upset a little but did not stop me from enjoying the pool and many other parts of this beautiful hotel. If you come to the Universal make sure you visit portofino hotel.

10/04/08 | Link | Rating: 4.0
2. Roger S.
Does a wonderful job at creating a European flair, but since I love a tropical atmosphere much better, I would rather stay at the Royal Pacific Resort while visiting Universal Studios.

25/03/09 | Link | Rating: 4.0
3. A N.
We love this hotel. There is some much great entertainment going on it is fun to take some time to just hang out at the hotel instead of the parks.  We love the pool and always plan on one whole day there.  We also Love to watch the movies at the pool at night.

20/06/09 | Link | Rating: 5.0
4. Erin H.
Discrimination at its best... If you have cancer, don't disclose it!! I was turned away yesterday for a massage because I had cancer, even after their staff member reviewed my medical card and confirmed that I was not undergoing any chemo or radiation treatment. He said I was good to go. He took me and my daughter back to the lounge, and we robed up. We used the facilities, and forty minutes later, my daughter went back for her massage, then a massage tech came out to apologize to me, but that because I had cancer they would not be able to service me (its brain cancer mind you, nothing lymphatic, nodal or otherwise, or anything that would be hurt by a massage, as I have had many and am encouraged to do so by my doctors). I was shocked. She had me go to the manager, in which he told me it was a new Policy (5 months old, lol), but when I asked to see the policy, he said he couldn't show me one, and handed me a sticky note with a Risk Management company number on it. I was livid. There was no disclosure. Nothing on the medical sheet. And even their own STAFF did not know this.. Seriously??? I was a three day Hotel Guest at the Loews Portofino Hotel. I have never heard of such a thing. He refused to show me any policy nor did his staff know of such a thing. Good luck. I am taking this further, and when I filed a complaint with the hotel, they were in shock and got the same reply from the manager. They are now taking this up with the company as well.

24/07/12 | Link | Rating: 1.0
5. Steve W.
I stayed for a work function and I was thoroughly impressed.  The rooms were great, the food was good and it's just a short ride from some nightlife at Universal Studios (their main street, or something like that).  

The decor and design of the hotel are both impressive with an obvious Venice theme.  From a work perspective their facility was large enough to accommodate our big group and it was well appointed.

Something (and it's bugging that I can't figure out what) is keeping me from giving the Portofino 5 stars, but overall it's a great resort.

02/08/07 | Link | Rating: 4.0
6. Ms. T.
I would've given this place a 5 star, but it would not have been fair since I did not stay here. I happened to discover this place by accident on one of my strolls. I noticed what looked like a small town out of Italy. I saw a lake and what looked like boats and maybe gondolas. Looking at this magnificent hotel and their grounds made me feel like I was in Italy. I noticed they had a beautiful pool for their guests. They had a few restaurants which were all different and the choices could fill anyone's palette. I ate at one of their restaurants, Mama Della's and the place was amazing. It looked like Mama's kitchen with beautiful wood inside and Italian pottery decorating the whole restaurant. The ladies who worked there even wore clothes that resembled an older Italian Mama. They as well had live music and singers that would come to your table and sing Italian songs for you. Probably one of the best restaurants to take your loved one and you'll find yourself falling in-love again.

22/05/10 | Link | Rating: 4.0
7. Kim P.
We spent a week here and really glad we picked this hotel. Lovely clean rooms,big bathrooms and wonderful attention to details. The staff was helpful and the maid service was excellent. We usually stay at cheaper places but this year we wanted to treat ourselves and this was well worth the higher price. The boat ride to City Walk and the Universal parks made it so much easier...no dealing with parking and walking miles in. The front of the line with room key was another great perk. You won't be disappointed and I am fairly picky so that's saying a lot!

15/11/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
8. victoria r.
Prob. one of the best hotels in Orlando, if not the best. Clean up-to-date atmosphere. Italian style. Customer service is good. Room service food... ehh. Suites are great and standard bedrooms are also more then enough. Bathrooms are very spacious. *One plus for staying here is you can use your room key as an  Express pass for the rides at Universal Studios.
  There is an adorable ferry that brings you to and from Universal and the hotel (for free). The restaurants are ok; over priced yet decent food. Gift shops could be better but I guess for Universal they are good. Valet is fast. Romantic or good for families. Views are amazing... truly makes you feel outside of the country.
  Have been about 4 times and never had a complaint except for the room service). You can buy your tickets, for the park, by the lobby to save time. Will return to again.

30/12/07 | Link | Rating: 4.0
9. David F.
The VIP Express Pass in the parks is worth the price of admission on their own! The hotel is very nice! The Club level could stand to take notes from the Mouse (which has it beat) but the hotel is great!

05/08/11 | Link | Rating: 5.0
10. Jamie H.
We love coming here! It's perfect to bring the kids to their lavish pool, but it's also nice to know there is a somewhat private one without the kids as well. The courtyard area looks like a mini-Italian plaza and the service is just fantastic. We loved skipping ahead of the lines too at the parks with our room key!

06/08/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
11. Kevin A.
BELLISSIMA

I love the Portofino.  Yes, the Italian theme can see a bit cheesy and manufactured at times, but consider the alternative.  Would you rather sit out on by the harbor and watch the ducks and sea gulls or hang out a hotel with a Bennigan's in the lobby?  

The staff is consistently friendly and helpful, the water taxi is convenient for trips to Citywalk, and the lake is perfect for a relaxing jog.  The Mandara spa is pretty good as far as hotel gyms go, but unfortunately it's not included in the price of the room.  

The food is okay, but nothing spectacular; I'd suggest going to Citywalk to eat instead.  If they can address that, this could be a 5-star place.

27/01/08 | Link | Rating: 4.0
12. Michael N.
I really wanted to give this place a better rating, but they just didn't deliver for me.  Bottom line: The hotel itself was nice looking and the pools were very good, but the service was siginificantly below what I was expecting for a place getting a 4.5 star average on yelp.  Looks to me that they put many millions of dollars into building the place, but then forgot to spend the money to staff it properly.

As much as the bricks and mortar are impressive, the staff need to be equally as impressive to get a 4.5+ star rating.

To start: I was apparently invisible for approx. 10 minutes upon my arrival by car -- I pulled up to the porte cochere (at approx. 1pm) and waited behind the one other car in front of me, which was being actively unloaded.  Certainly not an overloaded / busy situation with just the one car ahead of me.  There was one valet person helping that vehicle in front of me and no other help to be found.  I waited a few minutes and since my existence had yet to be acknowledged, I pulled around and parked in front of this other vehicle and opened my trunk, hoping that this would be an obvious signal that a new guest had arrived, but to no avail.  I unloaded my own bags and flagged down a second valet person walking by (I think he was probably on his way to retrieve another vehicle) and told him I needed help and then he did stop and take my car for valet parking and load my bags on a cart.  Not the greatest arrival experience, but I was willing to look past this.

My room was ready at around 3:30pm -- it was in the "West Wing".  The bellman got our bags and led us to our room by going outside in 90 degree plus heat and schlepping across a plaza.  I would later find out that the West Wing was actually connected to the main building and we could have gone from the lobby to the room completely inside with air conditioning.  Not sure why we went outside through a plaza in oppressive heat or why the bellman failed to mention I could stay inside -- you will see why this point is important as you read on...

Upon entering the room, there was a half empty can of Sprite and a half empty mini vodka bottle that someone had taken from the mini bar in the room.  Also, our room was next to an elevator and a loud ice machine.  I called the front desk to tell them about the Sprite and vodka so I wouldn't be charged, and I also asked for a different room due to noise of the ice machine, but the person said they were "fully committed" and couldn't move us.  I went back to the front desk (walking again through the hot plaza -- not yet knowing I could have stayed in the A/C the whole way) and then again requested another room.  This time, they had another room, but it wasn't quite ready yet and they would call me when it was ready, and I said that would be fine.  But they said I would need to bring my bags back to the lobby by MYSELF -- they said they knew that this was inconvenient, but to please do this, since they didn't have anyone that could help.  Unbelievable.  I walked back out outside and across the hot plaza back to my room, packed up, and lugged my bags by myself back to the lobby -- again all outside in the blazing sun.  When I found out I could have stayed in the A/C the whole time, I was angry!

I caught up with my wife, who had gone to the spa for a massage at a cost of $180 + automatic 20% gratuity for a total of $216, but she said it was just OK.  She has had better massages for much less.  Not worth it.

I will say the pools were very nice and I liked the drinks and food at the bar by the main pool, which had a great water slide.

One of the big reasons to stay at one of the three Universal hotels is to get in early to the park.  It is important to beat the crowds and this was very helpful.

So in summary, I would say to go to this hotel for the pools and to get into the park one hour early.  But don't come here expecting great service.  I really did not feel I was treated well for the high cost of staying here.  They put the money into building the place, but then got cheap on running it.

15/09/12 | Link | Rating: 2.0
13. Rita L.
An awesome hotel! I felt like we did go to Italy! It was such a classy hotel...Soo fun! The boats to go to universal was fun too!!!! Ahhh...I wish were on our honeymoon again!

06/09/08 | Link | Rating: 5.0
14. Amanda B.
This hotel is well done without being over the top as is par for the course at some theme park hotels.  Our room was in one of the far off wings so it did seem like we walked for a while to get to our bed sometimes, but the rooms were nice and clean.  That makes me happy.  The little square area is cute and the gelato shop is delicious.  The bar area in one corner is an excellent place to sit late night as you wind down.  They sometimes have live music here.  

The water taxi to Riverwalk is nice and it makes getting to the parks, shops, and other restaurants easy.  The walk is pretty though so you should do it at least once.  Also make a stop at the Hard Rock Hotel to look at the rock memorabilia that they have inside.  

The pools at the Portofino are great!  There is one standard pool that I never saw anyone at and a second pool that is beach style that was really fun.  While husband was busy at his work conference, I took advantage of a quiet weekday pool, ate nachos to my heart's content and drank many tasty fruity drinks.  The waitress was excellent and the kids that were at the pool seemed to enjoy the large water slide.  It was definitely a fun place!

18/12/08 | Link | Rating: 4.0
15. Christine G.
My husband and I just came back from a 4 night stay here and we had a fantastic time. Spacious, clean rooms and the Villa Pool was excellent. The convenient water taxi was wonderful for getting around, but the walk to the parks and CityWalk wasn't too bad either. Nice, beautifully landscaped path to enjoy if you need a quiet stroll. Food poolside from Splendido was perfect for an afternoon snack, but Mama Della's for dinner was less than inspiring. We had a club level room with the extra perks of free fitness room access as well as lounge access with continental breakfast, early afternoon snack, late afternoon wine, cheese and small appetizers and finally, evening dessert and coffee. Except for the 1am alarm on the Saturday morning about a potential emergency, all was well.

23/05/11 | Link | Rating: 5.0
16. Lance H.
I stayed here while in Orlando for a conference. You are impressed when you drive up to the hotel. You go by the lake and get a sweeping view of it. This hotel was well done in almost every way.

Staff went above and beyond. They did a great job of arranging fresh flower for my room.

The only thing about this place is it was so big. To walk from self park to your room could be a long way.

The pools were amazing.

The water taxi was a nice touch and well used. It takes you to Universal city walk.

The rooms were elegantly decorated, spotless and well appointed.

The Portofino Bay Hotel was a top notch place to stay. When I return to Orlando it will be to the Portofino Bay Hotel.

30/11/08 | Link | Rating: 5.0
17. Jerry K.
Not an amazing hotel or anything but the water taxi is really convenient. Typically very expensive all around as is a typical tourist geared hotel. I'd stay again but for the same price or less you can stay at the Gaylord palms or something. I'd recommend it overall though if someone wanted to stay on site.

05/08/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
18. Thao T.
We only walked around here after already getting dinner at citywalk. This side looked much quieter and being a replica of a town in Italy, it looked so pretty! There were even boats in the water and the architecture looked pretty European. The water taxi was great to get us there from city walk and all of it is free, so I can't complain. I think if you are planning on being at citywalk or around universal studios, you should hop onto the water taxi and come check out this place. Looked like there were some good restaurants to choose from

07/04/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
19. Piper D.
Beautiful hotel, great pool, lovely atmosphere, and just a nice place to stay.

16/10/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
20. Samantha S.
BEST hotel I've ever had the pleasure of staying in.  I stayed here this past Thursday through Sunday with my aunt and brother.  We were in town to check out Harry Potter.  We arrived at the hotel around 12:30 AM, and were exhausted.  As soon as we neared the hotel, however, our exhaustion turned into excitement when we saw how amazing the place looked.  We had the rental car valet parked and went to check in.  The lobby was so beautiful.  Marble floors, great lighting, fountains, comfy leather seats, a table with complimentary limoncello (non-alcoholic).  The concierge was so pleasant and helpful, and even upgraded our room to one with a view of the harbor, which was a totally unexpected and lovely treat.

We had a room in the east wing.  We walked through the lobby and out to the harbor to get to the east wing.  It's a pretty long walk when you're laden down with luggage, but it gave us a chance to see what the hotel looked like. The hotel is situated around a central harbor, with old boats docked permanently, and all are named after Italian girls' names, like Isabella.  The door to the east wing is automatic, which is super helpful when you have lots of luggage.  Our room was on the fourth floor.  We had two queen beds -- they were so comfortable and plush.  The room had a flat screen television, a Keurig coffee maker, a table with two chairs, another chair in the window, and a huge bathroom.  The bathroom had plush robes, plenty of towels, a real blow dryer -- not the travel ones most hotel rooms come with -- and plenty of toiletries.  We were very impressed with the room quality.

This hotel had tons in the way of restaurants, pools and shops.  We had breakfast each morning at the Trattoria Del Porto.  They had a great breakfast buffet -- granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, croissants, biscuits, bacon, potatoes, French toast, freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee and more.  All delicious.  They even offered orange juice and coffee to go, which was so nice and thoughtful.  We also had dinner here one evening, and sat outdoors.  It was so pleasant and we enjoyed the view of the harbor.  They had a great chianti, and served foccacia rolls that were very tasty.  I had the make your own pasta - they had tons of toppings to put in the pasta and several sauces.  So good.  I also had a salad with a great sundried tomato dressing.  We also had lunch at Sal's Market Deli one day -- they had great pizzas, salads and paninis.  Try the margherita pizza!  My aunt and I also enjoyed the Thirsty Fish bar.  They had great glasses of wine and music.  We enjoyed sitting amongst the Vespas,

The pools at this hotel were great.  The Beach Pool has a sand beach with a water slide.  There's music playing and it's very lively with tons of children.  It's not really a relaxing atmosphere, but fun.  I liked the Villa Pool much more.  It was very tranquil and beautiful.  The water was so wonderful and there weren't many children around.  There were comfy chairs and umbrellas.  A beautiful bathroom facility is nearby, which is appreciated.  There are towels available at the pools with your room key, as well as water with lemon.

Staying in this hotel had its perks -- we were able to use the water taxi to get to the parks.  It was a relaxing and calm journey and was very convenient, dropping us off right at CityWalk.  They came every fifteen minutes or so.  We also used our room keys as Universal Express, and were able to skip the lines on most rides.  We also got in an hour early in the morning to Islands of Adventure, which totally eliminated lines for us at Harry Potter.  We also were able to have all our purchases sent directly to the room, which was nice because we didn't have to carry any bags with us around during the days.

This hotel is first class, with amazing and attentive staff members. It was such a pleasure to stay here and I hope to return!

04/04/11 | Link | Rating: 5.0
21. Loïc D.
Went for 1 Year anniversary and the wife liked it so I have to give it four stars. There are definitely better values in Orlando like The Point, which has nicer rooms and is less expensive, but here you pay for the theme and ambiance which was very nice.

I upgraded to a Bay View and King Bed (i figure if you're going to stay here you might as well do it right), and the view was definitely nice from the fourth floor where we stayed. Service was good except poolside where it took a while to get out food and drinks.

I wouldn't necessarily stay here again a second time, but i would recommend it for a first.

10/08/09 | Link | Rating: 4.0
22. katie h.
This place has really gone down hill. It used to be well maintained and have a wonderful staff. This past weekend, our stay was marred with poor customer service and A MOLDY ROOM!

Beware- the parking is way more costly than their posted rates. We will not be staying at this property again.

27/09/11 | Link | Rating: 2.0
23. Lawrence C.
An okay experience.  Pro: even though the hotel was "fully booked" 650/750 rooms with 100 undergoing renovation at this time per front desk, it felt extremely quiet and is a nice escape from universal studio madness.  There were three pools two of which were very quiet and clean.  The water taxi works very well.  If you have a chance, you might ask for room 2677.  It is a two queen bed room with a nice view over the bay and a balcony you can sit on.  Rooms are in good repair and the beds are very comfortable.

For those who pay for the club level, please be aware that there is no designated block of rooms.  This means you can have quite a walk to get to the lounge area.  A little bit different than what I have been used to in the past.  However, the club staff was excellent and evening hors d'oeuvres were more than just a little snack.  Evening menus might include spaghetti and meatballs, flank steak, paella in addition to a selection of wine and cheeses.  This can be great for families who have children that are not very adventurous eaters and tired parents who don't want to try to find restaurant food after a long day at the park.  Unfortunately, if you are traveling without children you will need to put up with Nicktoons on the TV, feet on the couch, and the occasional person who is gross enough to leave their half consumed drink or food on the service area counters despite the efforts of the staff to clean up as quickly as possible.  Overall it can be very worthwhile.

If you are traveling during this period Universal Studios is actually not that busy so there is limited advantage to the express pass that comes with your room.  However, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you can experience that part of the park in the morning which could make it worthwhile for many.  Please be aware that there is not anything else other than the carousel in Seuss land open early - if you want to do anything else in the park you are out of luck.  Universal itself is looking a little tired.  I guess I'm just used to Disney.

In comparison to club lounge, front desk staff is mediocre.  As noted above we got booked into a great room - unfortunately they did not tell us that the window in balcony were going to be totally covered with plastic and paint as they were doing maintenance.  This made the advantage of this room useless to us as it was to last for our entire stay.  It should be done now so if you get it please enjoy!  

When we went back to discuss this with the front desk there were limited options to rectify situation and a did not seem to be very apologetic or want to bend over backwards to assist.  I also got double billed for my room when I checked out - would not have known this except for having checked my credit card bill after getting home.  Since this came to over $2000 it was a bit of a mistake!

27/02/13 | Link | Rating: 3.0
24. San N.
This place is a total trip!  It looks like a Vegas hotel because of the Italian theme throughout the hotel resort and the lake.  The water taxi's to Universal Studios, bar and restaurants on site were packed and quite good.   If you are visiting US, definitely stay or visit this place!

21/11/12 | Link | Rating: 4.0
25. Joseluis A.
wow, its like youre in portofino but youre not. everything is an optical illusion.  its just wicked weird. their new old buildings recently aged to look like theyve been there for a while, the tenors singing opera in the plaza ... the fake "mamma" walking around the italian restaurant... the fake vespas parked around the fake lake and fake fiats....

i guess this is a themed hotel which is not my thing... but i can see how this hotel might be ideal for you if youre married, have 3 kids, a minivan and a puppy

other than that, the rooms were crisp clean, i had a great view, the bed was super comfortable, the bathroom is packed with great products, theres a fancy coffee maker in the room... but yeah, all of those things are standard at any hotel you pay 300$ per night. i expect that and a chocolate chip cookie by my pillow every night ... which i didnt get, by the way.

22/06/09 | Link | Rating: 3.0
26. Cindy F.
Spa review only.
Visited the mandara spa for two treatments. I was underwhelmed at this spa. It felt more like a gym with spa treatments. Very crowded. Again the massage therapist would not stop asking me questions, where I lived, how old I was. I hate telling therapist to stop talking so I just listened and answered her questions in the middle of a one hour $100 massage. Nuff said.

26/08/10 | Link | Rating: 3.0
27. Alec J.
Came to universal but the hotel was wonderful greatroom awesome atmosphere sals deli was delicious and so was the food pool side

18/11/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
28. Kevin E.
First class service, great food.  fun place to eat outside and feel like you're in Italy.

07/12/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
29. Michelle S.
We stayed (and explored) the hotel during the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is very convenient to Universal and Islands of Adventure.  They have a nice boat ride and the perks of skipping the lines on most rides in the park with your room key...NICE!  It also allows early access to the parks, but the hotel shuttle service does not start early enough to take advantage of it.  A nice employee offered to take us to the park in the hotel van, so we arrived early.  Don't get sucked in to the early park admission...only two rides are open, Shrek and Jimmy Neutron.  They don't let you go anywhere else until the regular 9am.
The room that we had was very cozy and clean.  Nice big bathroom with double sinks.  King bed was pretty comfy and a nice flat screen made our stay homey.  
I would come back for sure!

28/11/09 | Link | Rating: 4.0
30. Justin M.
First off the staff is very nice and helpful. The rooms are clean, well stocked and the very large bathroom is a nice treat. However, the money spent on the room and the concierge/hospitality was nice, but once again, not even close to a value. Staying at Marriott courtyard would have been just as nice for 1/3 the price.

Con: in the hotel, which seemed to be 1/3 full, our room was dead last and VERY far away for a suite. More money means more of a walk?

This has no bearing on my rating, but Universal does not have as nearly as much to do as Disney. Therefore, once you've done the 2 parks, not much else going on except the overpriced Citywalk.

Recap: very nice theme, upkeep and clean. It's just not worth the charge.

08/04/10 | Link | Rating: 3.0
31. Kelly F.
Want to take a trip to Italy, but can't afford to spend the thousands of dollars it would take to make that happen? Well have no fear there is a way to make it happen in a more affordable fashion without the long plane ride and numerous security checks. The answer is the Portofino Hotel at Universal Orlando.

Like most of Universal's properties, the Portofino is rather extravagant and a good replica of the real thing. Everything from the architecture and structure of the hotel buildings, the restaurants and shops, costumes of the hotel's workers, food, and the gondola ride follows suit of what you would find in the country of Italy. You can either stay the night or the week or simply go there for a romantic date for dinner a gondola ride down the river.

My favorite restaurant among those found within the hotel is the Trattora Del Porto. The mere smell of their cuisine is enough to make you drool and beg for the food...a fare that is very simple, but so good. Their pizza is tasty along with their other dishes, but what stands out most in my mind is the dessert, my favorite part of every meal. I had a chocolate concoction that was like heaven in my mom. I can't remember the name, but it was the only all chocolate dessert item on the menu at the time. Of course, I had to try the tiramisu being that it is an Italian restaurant...very good, but this dessert isn't one that I'm crazy about.

The fourth of July is a great day to check this place out if you don't have any other fans. Aside from parking, it's free to get into the resort to watch the fire works next to the man made river. So beautiful...it's perfect for a romantic outing with your significant other.

Overall, I'm a fan!

28/08/08 | Link | Rating: 4.0
32. Roxanne G.
We just returned home from 3 nights/4 days at the Portofino. Overall, this is a nice hotel. The grounds are very pretty and we enjoyed the pool area. Our son loved the slide. The hotel was better Thursday, but as it got more crowded on Friday night and then Saturday we enjoyed it less. Some issues with the hotel...for some reason the bathroom in the room has a "pass through." I assume this is so you can watch tv from the tub, but it creates privacy issues, even when the "window" is closed. For an expensive hotel, we were surprised by the noise. We were in a connecting room and woke up Friday morning at 7:30 AM to the family checking in next door (not sure why they are allowed to check in that early when guests were in the room next door). They banged doors and talked loudly for an hour, waking us up. It seemed like they were literally in the room with us. I asked to be moved for the next night and the hotel staff was very accommodating about it. They even moved our things for us while we at the parks. But the next morning we heard the housekeeping carts banging around outside the new room (not as loud). Just be aware that the hotel is not as restful as it looks. Food and parking is expensive, but I suppose that's par for the course. The real value in the hotel is in the express pass. After seeing the regular lines, I would not go back to Universal without it. We also enjoyed the boat ride to and from the park and took the pedicabs a few times (additional costs) because our son liked them. I wish there were some food options at the hotel that were not Italian themed. Yes. I get the theme, but I don't want to eat Italian for 3 days straight. The check in desk was very crowded on Sunday morning when we had questions about our bill. Last, we used American Express FHR program. Compared to other hotels we've booked through through the FHR program, we didn't think the Portofino had a great value. For instance, you can have "continental" breakfast, which meant that you could only eat the cold items from the buffet and children are not included. Really...who cares...but it just seems chintzy to make that choice. In addition, the upgrade is not nearly as good as at other hotels we've stayed at. Anyway....long review. The hotel is very pretty. The staff was nice. Pool fun. But considering the many other great hotels for the money you can stay at in Orlando (for instance...Waldorf for less than $150 or the Ritz/Marriott), I would not stay at this hotel again unless I wanted the express passes for Universal. (But then why else would I stay there to begin with...right?)

02/06/13 | Link | Rating: 3.0
33. Indy O.
This place is beyond AMAZING! I fell in love with this place and recommend to anyone.  Great for time with your significant other or with your family. My kids also loved it! The staff is also great! The very convinient water taxi to parks was a great plus.  OH! Lets not forget the fast pass for parks as well.  They have a beach/pool which kids really really loved! They have plenty of places to eat.  Just a great place I recommend to everyone!

25/10/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
34. Jennifer S.
What they are doing to their feral cat colony they used to care for is horrific.  To trap and starve these animals, when all they have known is that is their home, they previously received food...what do you expect them to do???  How dare you!!  Never ever ever will I set foot in or give any of my money to this place.  Please boycott!!!

04/04/12 | Link | Rating: 1.0
35. Pinky And The B.
A boat (water taxi)  comes to get you to go to the theme park itself from the hotel. You get VIP tickets to be first on the rides.
It was created to be a theme hotel and it is one of the few theme hotels that I have seen  anywhere that is not corny or tacky.
The rooms were very clean, service was top notch, staff was very attentive. The beds were really comfy.
I like the size of the property. You get to walk everywhere like you are really in an Italian Village. Plus the rooms are sound proof and the size makes you feel like you are the only people at the hotel.
We usually do not eat at hotel restaurants but did try a few here and the chefs are top notch.
The pool was really nice. However the water temperature was not refreshing but like bath water. I guess they can't help it with the temperatures there in Orlando.
The inside of the hotel especially the rooms remind me almost exactly of the Bellagio in Vegas which I have also stayed at.
In my opinion this is the classiest hotel at the theme parks in Orlando. It is kitschy and classy all at the same time. The hotel and everything about it is top notch. Then why only 4 stars? Because I have stayed in hotels all over the world and have to compare it to other hotels. Nothing is wrong with it at all. For Orlando it is my first choice! I really loved it!

02/07/10 | Link | Rating: 4.0
36. Ang B.
This place is amazing! Five star service, water taxi to the theme parks, and great Venitian charm. The restaurants are pretty fab as well. We got a great deal on Expedia, so the room was also very affordable.

Other perks: staying here allows you to get into the parks at Universal early, as well as take the Express Line on most all major rides. Even at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we only needed to wait around for 20 minutes!

30/08/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
37. John C.
Categorized in my Universal Orlando Guide Book as a "luxury" hotel, it is the more expensive of the 3 located on Universal's property.  This hotel definitely has a charm like quality about it as it is suppose to be a replica of Portofino, Italy.  It is said that Loewes actually brought in Italian artists to paint the facade of the buildings, which is apparently how it's done in Portofino.

The hotel consists of 3 sections of rooms: West Wing, East Wing, and Villa.  Our Deluxe room facing the Villa Pool had 2 queen size beds and a bathroom with a separate tub and shower and 2 sinks.  Clean, good lighting, friendly hotel staff.  The places to eat here, you guessed it, were mostly Italian (Pizza and Pasta).  The $13 large pizza I ordered from the Sal's Deli downstairs was rather good and was more than enough to feed 2 people.  Most of the guests used the more popular Beach Pool while the Villa Pool was much less congested, which I prefer anyway.  

The greatest perk of staying at one of the 3 onsite hotels is that is comes with a free Express Pass for each guest, which I loved.  The free water taxi comes about every 15 minutes and takes a few minutes to get to the parks.  

Downside:  our Villa room was quite far from the hotel lobby (about 3 minute walk and one flight elevator up), which was oddly located on the 3rd floor.  This may have been due to our request for quieter rooms and it did feel more serene having a room with that view.  The other downsides were that they charged a per day parking fee and an internet fee if we wanted to use internet in out rooms.  Luckily, they do provide free Wi-Fi in their lobby.

Tip: Just remember that staying here really means visiting the 2 Universal hotels and City Walk.

06/09/10 | Link | Rating: 4.0
38. Melanie F.
Great location for Universal Studios. Pools are so much fun. Great place for families. Express Pass and early entry are essential to a wait free day in the park. Comfortable beds but pull out sofa is awful. Nice and helpful staff.  Boat ride to park was very short and boats run all the time.  I really feel I got my money's worth by staying there.

02/04/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
39. Mylissa M.
My sister and a friend stayed here in July, for a HPEF conference being held in the Royal Pacific so I can't comment on the prices, as we got a group rate. But looking at the prices on the website, it seemed fairly reasonable for the type of hotel it is. You always pay more for theme park resort hotels, especially if they are nearby.

In terms of ambiance and atmosphere...it is absolutely gorgeous. I have a strong desire to go to Italy, I love the architecture and everything about it, and I really felt transported here at Portofino Bay. Everything was gorgeous. They put a lot of details into the design and it's gorgeous. Absolutely lovely.

It was a little bizarre that we had to walk across the courtyard to get the the building with our rooms. Had I really understood the distance I would have bellhopped the luggage. It's a large property, and the map does not accurately describe how big it is.

Our room was lovely, nice big comfy beds, a big bathroom, it was beautiful for a standard room and I thought it was worth the money paid. They give you bathrobes to wander around in as well which was nice.

Staff was nice, we arrived early because of the convention and it was easy to have our luggage checked and they let us check in and then gave us a call when our room was ready, far earlier than the actual check in time. I really appreciate that they prioritized us. When we checked out, someone else's charges ended up on our bill and they quickly made the correction without hassle. While some businesses don't always give my sister and me the same sort of respect they give our parents, we did not have a problem here. Lot's of bonus points for that.

We had room service one night and it was delicious pizza, quick service, faster than was quoted on the phone. Like most room service it was fairly pricey, but it was good food.

The pools were gorgeous. We only managed to have one night to enjoy the pools, just a little over an hour and I was quite disappointed we didn't have more time. The beach pool has a fun water slide, but it doesn't go very deep at all, just enough to slide into really. The villa pool across the way was also gorgeous, and had a pretty fountain to look at. We couldn't figure out the hot and cold dipping pools, neither of them seemed cold, although it could have ben due to the July Florida heat and humidity.

There is a water taxi that will take you the park/citywalk or the other hotels, but it is a bit of a wait. They provide a little bit of shade. The walk is faster and is mostly shaded.  Your room key is an express pass on most lines, a nice perk for the price you pay for staying onsite. I think it was worth it.

Internet in the rooms is a pay per day basis, and it didn't seem to be a 24 hours thing, from the time you pay, but just for the session which was a little disappointing. But, you can pick up free wifi in the lobby.

I'm planning on going back in a couple of years and absolutely want to stay at Portofino Bay again. Maybe by then, they will extend free wifi into the rooms. I feel like in this day and age all hotels should provide complementary internet access.

22/11/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
40. Jennifer G.
A group of my girls and I stayed here for my bachelorette party and it was awesome! The hotel was gorgeous, the staff was super nice, and the rooms were great! Everyone said their beds were super comfy and my best friend asked if she could take the shower home with her. The little harborside area was super cute (love the vespas!) and no one complained about the amount of noise we made at 4 am so it must have been pretty sound proof :)

Parking is a little pricey, but that's to be expected - its a theme park and all.

The water taxi to city walk was very handy. Try to talk someone into giving you a "party pass" it means you don't have to pay cover at any of the clubs.

03/09/08 | Link | Rating: 4.0
41. Veronica S.
I love the hotel!!! My family stayed for 3 nights and then we had to change to Disney Resort property. OMG, we got spoil at this hotel. It's beautiful. I love the little Piazza that they have. The pool is a beach pool, it's nice!! Love the Water taxi feature to go to Universal Studios. I will go back. They have about 4 restaurants and 3 bars at the property. You don't have to leave. The customer service was awesome!! If you do go, request with balcony. It's worth the cost. Beautiful!!!

01/03/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
42. Megan H.
Relaxation just feet away from a theme park... really!

Stayed here back in January after receiving a discount rate through the Universal annual pass and I was really impressed with how beautiful this resort is. Sadly, it was much too cold to enjoy the insanely gorgeous pools, but I did wander around and take in all of the detail they put into them.

The loooooong walk to the room from the lobby through the massive courtyard was a little bizarre but this is a huge property so it's understandable.

I would have given this a fifth star except that the times I called to order room service, I was greeted with rude people on the other end of the line. The prices they charge for room service are also pretty steep and you're better off going down to Sal's market for a quick bite. They were always super friendly down there too.

I really loved how relaxing this entire property was and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to friends and family... and hope they invite me to stay too!

21/09/10 | Link | Rating: 4.0
43. Dana F.
Man does this place know how to put on a wedding.

I went there last night for what I could describe as nothing other than a "platinum wedding."  The service from the staff at the Portofino was nothing short of excellent.  The setting was luxurious!  I felt like I was in Italy at some points during the evening (hey, a girl can dream!).  The food was defintely 5 star dining and I found myself feeling pampered with all the service.

Their ballrooms are absolutely breathtaking, especially once they are set up for a wedding.  Parking can be a little expensive, but if you're there for a special event you get it complimentary.  

I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone!

16/11/08 | Link | Rating: 5.0
44. Nobbi L.
Excellent setting. Excellent rooms. Excellent restaurants...

Highly Recommended...

28/10/08 | Link | Rating: 5.0
45. PJ B.
Although it may be politically incorrect to disagree with a fellow Yelper's review, in this particular case, the review is so off base that it merits clarification.
I must absolutely disagree with Justin M. Are you serious? Are you actually comparing this resort to a Marriott Courtyard Hotel? That's equivalent to comparing a BMW to a Volkswagen. For value, go stay at an Econo-Lodge, Geez. Although we have previously stayed here, we have been to Orlando 4 times in the past year and look forward to staying at this resort as much as actually going to the local theme parks. The architecture, service, decor, views, music, and on-site restaurants actually make you believe as if you actually are in Italy. On certain evenings, they have Opera singers that sing for your enjoyment from a balcony that overlooks the picturesque lake with small, colored wooden boats. Every member of your party receives a room key that can be utilized as a "Fast Pass," allowing you to bypass all of the lines at the attractions at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios at no additional charge. For new rides such as Harry Potter, the park opened two hours earlier than for the regular public to curtail the expected long wait lines.
Additionally, the standard rooms are 470-490 sq.ft and very luxurious. The suites are just amazing with some having their very own balcony overlooking one of their magnificent pools with a true Italian garden that includes those tall whispy pines that are found throughout Northern Italy.
As far as dining, Mama Dellas has superb Italian meals with musicians that play from table to table. Sal's is a rustic and very cozy late night pizza/sandwich/bakery shop that is a welcome site after a long day and evening at the parks. You may munch on your meatball sandwich or a very fresh large, specialty brick oven pizza, sip on a glass of wine or cappuccino and/or have a gelato for dessert as you sit outside and simply take in the stillness and beauty of this resort. My favorite and my children's favorite is Trattoria del Porto. What an amazing breakfast and dinner. They offer a breakfast and dinner pasta buffet that is absolutely fresh and delicious. For breakfast,  they offer fresh oatmeal, fresh fruits, pastries, breads, yogurt, cereal and a buffet where the chef will actually make practically any egg dish you can think of. How about a fresh spinach, ham, onion, green pepper and cheese omelet while you wait? How about some fresh roasted potatoes or French Toast or even pancakes? The price for all of this is $8.95 per child and it includes a beverage with refills. How can you beat that? For dinner, the pasta buffet is as delicious. The chef will make you fresh Alfredo Sauce or Pink Vodka Sauce to go with your linguine and shrimp, meatballs, pepperoni, bacon etc...
Although we are creatures of habit, the kids and I keep promising each other that next time, we will dine at BICE Restaurant also on-site and a bit more on the fancy side.
As already stated here by other Yelpers, the staff and service here is top notch. They greet you in Italian throughout your stay.
Although I have read and also experienced the serene water taxi to and from the parks, allow me to be the first to recommend the nature path/walk to the parks and back. The walkway actually takes you by the Hard Rock Cafe and is adorned with beautiful landscaping and different species of trees. There is even a butterfly garden on the way to Universal for all to enjoy.
If you are a Florida resident, there are special resident rates where you can book a standard room for as little as $189.00 per night. However, with taxes and valet ($22.00) per evening or self park rate of ($18.00) per evening and the other misc. Florida fees, the rate does creep up a bit. Nonetheless, there is so much more I could say, in fact, as it stands, this is my longest review of any establishment. This place merits it and you deserve to treat yourself and family to this wonderful resort. This is our home away from home.

22/11/10 | Link | Rating: 5.0
46. Alana E.
If you're looking for a hotel that has:

- An awesome pool with "real sand"
- Multiple Pools
- Amazing views
- Quality Food
- High-class staff
- Roomy business and conference space
- Water taxi to Orlando theme parks
- full service spa
- Rooms complete with robes, HUGE bathrooms and views

I came here for a work conference and had the luxury of staying the "villa" area. I was in shock at how beautiful the hotel was and also the overall "feel" of being in a mini-city. You can stroll through the grounds, sit outside in one of the cafes, hang out by the pool, go to the spa, and just feel classy overall.

Wonderful. If you want to come with your family, or just with a special someone, this place is amazing.

30/01/11 | Link | Rating: 5.0
47. Debra C.
Great service, Beautiful rooms.

22/11/12 | Link | Rating: 4.0
48. Bob H.
Over priced no free Internet

18/08/12 | Link | Rating: 2.0
49. Bryan D.
This is a great hotel. Everything is beautiful, the staff is great, ferry to city walk is quick, pools are awesome. The only bad thing I could say about this place is it can get noisy at night of you have ignorant neighbors

22/12/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
50. Tom B.
A beautiful place to visit and eat at.
Wonderful appetizers, great wines, incredible views.

I felt like I was back in italy.

11/11/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
51. T K.
For the price of the room, I expected better from this hotel.  It's a bit run down.  I know that it's an older hotel but that's no excuse because I have stayed at the Contemporary, which is around 40 years old, and I loved it.  I think the only thing good about staying here are the express pass and the water taxi.  Very disappointed!!

16/08/11 | Link | Rating: 3.0
52. marie c.
Cute awesome hotel.  They're doing some fixing up right now but the service is great.  Mama Della's was true and authentic.  Don't have anything really bad to say.  would love to say there again someday!  great place to relax!

10/10/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
53. Mark H.
Stayed only one night for a quick meeting and it's a great place.  Located in the Universal complex you have easy access to the parks and other hotels by walking of boat ride.  Rooms are big and well appointed for a park hotel.  With your room key you have Fast Pass and early admission to the park (nice perk).  The hotel was built to resemble a village in Italy and does a pretty good job on the theme.  It has 3 pools, spa workout facility, something for everyone. Great place to stay if planning on visiting Universal.

27/04/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
54. Crystal Q.
I really enjoyed my stay. This resort was so very clean and comfortable. It was such a relaxing stay. The staff in general was very friendly.  The pools were clean. I went to the Hillside pool to lay out and flirt with my boyfriend because it was a bit more secluded and no kids were there (the beach pool is awesome if you want to have fun splashing and playing!) I didn't check out the Villa pool which I was told is an adults only pool. Mandara Spa was fabulous. Clean, cozy, quiet, and I loved the co-ed waiting area. I've had many massage so I tried something different...Balinese body polishing. A massage and body exfoliation. Pleasant. Oh, the food. The food was great. We had an awards reception and three breakfast business meetings and it was ALL GOOD!

10/05/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
55. Derek T.
As others have said, the benefits of staying at any three on site Universal Studios hotels is entering the park an hour early and free upgrade to express pass. Also water taxis to the park are very frequent and quick (they say every 15 minutes, but often more like right behind each other).

If you book with American Express resorts (Platinum or Centurion), you get $100 restaurant credit, early checkin and late checkout and complimentary continental breakfast each morning.

We loved the Portofino buildings and landscape design, also a great pool and slide.

Mamma Della's was a delicious experience, and Sal's Deli had some great takeout pizza.

Nicely appointed rooms (also with Amex resorts, free room upgrade if available and they accommodated our request for a king bed).

Best asset here: the staff - amazingly friendly and gracious and outstanding service all around. Haven't been treated this well, pretty much anywhere else.

30/04/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
56. Will H.
Nice hotel but the perks that usually come free at other hotels cost you here. For instance a fridge stocked full of booze and goodies for sale and no space to keep anything cold. Overall rooms are nice beds very soft and clean. Pool area is kid friendly with slide and lawn chairs are very comfortable. I would recommend this place again just for the pool area. Full bar and constant service as well as life guards, save your money and upgrade you will like this place. A must if doing universal studios. Would have gave it 5 stars if beds would have been bigger and if the fridge actually served a purpose besides enticing you to be lazy and buy their products. If you want convenience this is the place but you will pay for it.

27/06/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
57. Ed K.
Thanks to a great rate deal for season pass holders, we took advantage of the opportunity to stay at the top end of the three on-site hotels at the Universal resort.  Overall, the choice was well worth it.

The hotel has a lot going for it.  The room we stayed it was quite large and the beds were extremely comfortable.  The view we had of the "bay" was quite pleasant and the curtains did an excellent job of blocking out light when we wanted it dark in the room to sleep.

The staff at all levels - front desk, luggage storage, housekeeping, everyone, was pleasant and extremely helpful.

The overall property itself is dramatic and they went to great effort to try to bring the feel of Italy over to the resort.  There are two main pool areas.  The big pool is set up like a beach and has both a "zero depth" section as well as the deeper part that goes down to about five feet.  This deeper section has a somewhat donut shape to it and in the middle there is the exit for a sizable water slide that is a lot of fun.  This area also has a ping pong table, a pool table (bring some $1's for that one), as well as two hot tubs and the Splendido bar.  There are also three cabanas available to rent in this area.  We enjoyed several afternoon breaks from our park touring in this area.  The food available from the bar is adequate and pricey as you would expect for a hotel.  Drinks were also pricey, but well prepared.  I did find the service from the roving waitstaff to be on the slow side, though.

One afternoon, the kids just wanted to hang out in the room, so my wife and I took the opportunity to check out the other pool area.  This is a more conventional pool where you can swim laps and it is also generally a lot quieter and more laid back than the other pool.  Wait staff come through frequently and you can get drinks and food from the bar for this pool as well.  I generally found the staff at this pool to be better than the ones at the other pool.  I also noticed that this pool had at least a dozen cabanas to rent. This pool area also has its own hot tub and changing rooms with lockers.  Overall, it made for a nice retreat area to take a break in.

There are a couple of major perks to staying at one of the on-site hotels that we took advantage of each day.  First, on-site guests get in an extra hour early to the Islands of Adventure park to access the Harry Potter section.  The big ride there "Forbidden Journey" has no express pass line and the queue will build up quickly.  By the time the regular guests are let in for full park opening, the wait will already be between 50-70 minutes.

The other major perk is the unlimited "express pass" that on-site guests get.  Most of the rides at Universal feature an "express pass" line that bypasses the main wait.  Often times, we were able to walk on to a particular ride while the main line had 30-60 minute waits.  Typically, even on busy days, you'll have less than 15 minutes in an express pass queue.  If you are going to the parks during a busy time, the express pass perk will help you make the most of your stay and did greatly help me justify the extra expense of staying at an on-site hotel.

It's not a perfect place, and some of these are more things that you just need to be aware of, rather than purely "bad" things about the hotel:

First, because the resort is designed to mimic and Italian town, the hotel is rather short and very spread out.  Depending on where your room is, you can be in for a lot of walking down long hallways to get back and forth from your room.  There is also a lot of walking potential on the property itself getting to the pool, front desk, and boat dock areas.

Which brings up the other thing to consider with this one - Portofino is farthest away from the two parks.  There is a boat system that Universal runs to move guests from the resort to the parks.  However, the trip time for Portofino is the longest and if they are only running one boat, it can take 20 minutes between trips and we had a few cases where the line had too many people to fit on a boat.  Though, to their credit, I did notice that during high periods, they would run two boats, so that helped.

Finally, my one big complaint regarding the rooms is that they do not come with a refrigerator or microwave.  If available, you can rent them for $15/day each!  From what I could see, this was the case for all three of the on-site hotels.  It is certainly disappointing to find hotels in this price range omitting these kinds of amenities, though it also seems to be all to common as well.  Still, whenever I am at a hotel that lacks these room features, I call them out on it.  I knew this in advance at least, and planned around it.

Overall, I would definitely stay again if I planned another extended Universal trip.

05/07/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
58. Angela G.
All rooms newly renovated. The hotel is very comfortably luxurious without being stuffy. The unlimited express passes per each guest pay for the room rate alone. Convenient hotel on site of the Universal theme park property. Early admission for hotel guests. I am a huge fan of "no line, no wait," which is exactly the experience we were given. This is going to a theme park in style. VIP perks all day! The beds are uber comfortable and hotel room was quiet, A.C. got cold, and concierge staff were top-notch. 5-star vacation, for sure! Can't wait to come back.

15/05/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
59. Qype User (cardy6…)
This is a beautiful hotel. Styled on the famous seaside town on the amalfi coast in southern Italy the hotel is impressive in the scale of the buildings and landscaping. The hotel is on the universal studios park so guests benefit from a free shuttle by boat to the parks and early entry. Probably the best perk however is free express pass which gets you to the front of the line for all the rides.
The hotel itself is beautiful and you could be quite happy hanging around one of the three pools or at the spa or bars.

30/08/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
60. ems o.
What a lovely place to stay.  When visiting amusement parks, we almost always stay at one of the resort hotels. Of the three hotels, I believe this was the priciest. We took a chance and pinched some pennies to afford it and I am very happy that we did.

We've never been to Italy, but we got a tiny taste of it in Florida. Thanks Loews!

Pros
~View: Our room  overlooked the harbor piazza.  A couple of hours before sunset, the piazza came alive with the hustle and bustle of guests and the nightly singers serenading you in Italian from a nearby balcony. This was a lovely perk.
~Pool: Our 6 year old absolutely loved the pool and slide.
~Food: Ample number of restaurants (varying in price ranges and operating hours)
~Just a short boat or pedal-bike ride to the amusement parks
~Pleasant service. Everyone we encountered from the hotel staff was on their A-game.

Cons
~A bit pricey (but worth it, I think)

23/02/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
61. Toshi I.
Lovely Italian themed hotel.  The food here for all our events was excellent and the service here is 5 star!  This place is huge and never at all felt crowded considering there were two corporate events happening simultaneously.   I loved the opera singers performance at the outdoor quad during our first evening here.  
The accomodations were beautiful but what's with the extra nickel and dime-ing for the use of the gym and business center computers?  
Acoustically, I did notice that I can hear a lot from the guest in the room next door.  
If you're thinking of staying here, the room numbers don't coincide with the floor numbers and the different wings, so it can get a little confusing.  
Other than that, this place is in a great location with lots of choices with a convenient water taxi to take you to other fun places here.

28/01/12 | Link | Rating: 4.0
62. Terald H.
Awesome place!

26/07/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
63. Jenny H.
I only give the rating 3 stars because:

(1) Service: 1 star
The service was horrible. The valet people talked to eachother when their were lines of cars waiting and basically ignored people. They were understaffed in each restaurant. Despite the fact there were open tables, they were very slow and it took awhile to seat people. Our room also smelled horrible as if someone smoked and they tried to clean it unsuccessfully.

(2) Perks: 5 stars
But all the perks that go along with this make it 3 stars! You get in an hour early to Harry Potter World-which was incredibly worth it! We got to ride the 3D Harry Potter ride 2x. You also get a fast pass which means we literally got to go on so many rides so many times! This is what makes it worth it!

12/09/13 | Link | Rating: 3.0
64. Greg Q.
This is a review for the Portofino Restaurant only. We did not stay in the hotel.

Valet service is free when you eat at Portofino, which was a nice bonus. The ambiance of the resort is nice, in that adult-Disneyland sort of way. "Hey look, we're in Italy!" Only it's not really, which is what Orlando as a whole seems to be about.

Maybe I'm spoiled from living in San Francisco and eating in North Beach all of the time, but I was disappointed in the food at Portofino - and if you're going to an expensive Italian restaurant for dinner, one expects killer Italian food.

The calamari was delicious, and melted in the mouth. Some of the best calamari I've had. As an appetizer, it set the stage for what I hoped would be a great entree.

The lasagne was disappointing. Average, at best. Large, plentiful, easily cut with a fork, but ultimately mediocre. Like most of the food we had in Orlando. But at the signature restaurant of one of Loew's signature resorts, I would expect the food to be mind-blowingly delicious. Not just, "meh."

22/06/12 | Link | Rating: 3.0
65. Steffen G.
Note: I did not stay at the hotel. During my visit to the conference center to celebrate the tying of the knot of two of my best friends, the whole reception was marked by professional and friendly attention, a combination one finds rarely. The staff is well-trained and knew exactly how to serve the top-notch dishes. Staff paid attention to detail as well as the big picture. This was a night to remember. If I ever get married again then I would strongly consider this place.

11/08/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
66. S A.
Wifi. They say free wifi in the rooms but you can not connect for more then 2-3 seconds. Why say it's free if your going to be cheap and have super low bandwidth? Clearly people paying $350 a night need to work for 30 minutes at night after being off at the parks with the kids all day. Rooms were fine but I know I will never stay here again.

25/03/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
67. Nanci C.
My husband and I finally had a chance to stay here and it did not disappoint. I love the secluded feel of it, and the decor is beautiful. From the lobby, to the restaurants and bar, to the piazza, the pool area, and the rooms... I felt like I was in Italy!. We stayed in the east wing, garden view. The room was beautiful, tall ceilings, spacious bathrooms, very clean. I wish we could have stayed longer and I hope we have the chance to go back again soon.

25/06/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
68. Michael S.
If you have to go to Universal you might as well stay here.
While the place is huge and rambling the rooms are comfortable and it is well kept.
This ain't the Ritz but it ain't a Holiday Inn either.

13/11/12 | Link | Rating: 3.0
69. Shannon D.
Stayed here for my anniversary and had some problems with the room upon check-in... first off, I remembered once staying at this hotel with some friends five or so years ago and having a huge jacuzzi-style tub, big enough for a few people. When I called to make a reservation and described the tub, I was told these were the deluxe rooms, so I booked one. Came to check in, and the room's tub was just a normal sized tub... I called the front desk and found out that all the tubs in all the rooms are the same size, and I may have had a suite with my friends (and there were no more of these available). The only difference between deluxe and standard rooms, other than the price, was that they were slightly larger and the tub was separated from the shower. Since I was mainly excited about the tub, we asked to be downgraded to a standard room with a garden view. We moved all our stuff, walk into the room and the "garden" was not a "garden" but some sparsely planted bushes in dirt facing a road. The carpet was also stained and there was a strange odor in the room. I called the front desk almost in tears asking if they had anything else, since this was mine and my partner's first anniversary and we were supposed to be treating ourselves to something nice... the front desk lady was extremely kind and moved us immediately to a standard bay view room on the 4th floor. FINALLY we had a gorgeous room with an amazing view. So while our check-in was pretty disappointing and emotional the rest of our stay was more than satisfactory. The dining options were great, the hotel itself was great, the water taxis to Universal CityWalk were scenic and convenient, and the room, even for a standard, was large and felt luxurious. I loved the included Keurig machine in the room and complimentary coffee. We didn't really use the free express passes or early park admission to Universal/IOA, but those are amazing perks. The front desk gave us free parking as well, since my brother-in-law works for the valet company Portofino employs.

Some other things I disliked, but weren't too big of a deal- we were not able to use a luggage cart unless a bellhop assisted us. We did not need a bellhop's assistance, we just wanted to borrow the cart... I have never run in to this issue before at any hotel I've ever stayed in. We ended up having to carry all our stuff with our own arms, which was annoying, especially since we ended up changing rooms twice. A bellhop was offered to us each time but simply put, neither of us carry cash so even if we had wanted a bellhop we would not have been able to tip them... so instead we lugged all our stuff around ourselves. Did not want to be "those people."

I also wasn't a fan of the fridge in the room, which was filled with snacks and drinks you had to buy in order to access it. We had leftovers from dinner and drinks we brought with us from home that we would have really liked to be able to refrigerate. Instead of an overpriced vending machine, put a usable mini-fridge in there instead! I was amazed I didn't die of food poisoning from eating leftover spaghetti that had been sitting out all night, but I refuse to waste food (especially expensive food)!

There were also some issues with our refund for downgrading our room from deluxe to standard upon arrival. The refund took FOREVER to post back on my partner's card and it was very difficult to get a hold of someone to figure out if there had been a problem.

Overall it would have been a great stay had we not run in to the initial problems with the room. The problems were rectified but were still upsetting. I would probably not stay here again.

09/01/14 | Link | Rating: 3.0
70. Carrie G.
Beautiful hotel. We loved the water taxi and the pool.  Great place for kids or a romantic stay.  The deli had amazing sandwiches as well as fresh fruit.  The rooms were very clean and spacious. The towels are nice and the shampoo, soap and conditioners were great quality. If you are going to Universal, I would suggest staying here.

08/04/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
71. Rob B.
Many great things here, nice room, great service from house keeping. The Universal perks like the early hour to the park and the fast pass make it a must! We had exceptional service from the valet, keeping our leftovers in the fridge while we went o the park. The boat ride to the park perfect.
  So what not to like? Well, we only did Sal's and the pizza was terrible. The American bar was good, but so under staffed, I gave up and went to the room. The setting is pretty but lacks authenticity. I felt like I was in Vegas. Disney is more convincing, they concentrate on the details. All that said, it's the best bet for Univeral unless you don't mind the huge crowds.
Madara spa is good, but it stops there. No razors, no combs, and most of the soap dispensers empty.

24/04/12 | Link | Rating: 3.0
72. David L.
Very nice hotel and gorgeous rooms! Have been three times so far, mostly due to the fact that my girlfriend works for universal and we get a great deal on the rooms. Have a great time every time we go! Amazing food places nearby and of course there's the theme parks as well as City Walk to always give visitors something to do! As part of your stay guests are also given complimentary unlimited express to both parks which is a great add on! Only word of warning is that if you do plan on using the company discount do not expect to get the best rooms. The last time we ended up being tucked away in the last possible room, furthest away from everything. That did leave a bad taste in our mouths but for the price we paid we couldn't complain

23/10/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
73. Candido R.
In a word...expensive. The hotel has lots of amenities. Restaurants, 3 pools one with a slide and mock beach. Spa & gameroom. They also offer fast pass to universal studios which is why we stayed here in the first place. A water taxi is very convenient and drops you off at the park. The room was so-so. Not what I expected for the kind of $$ I paid. Parking was $20 plus tax, and they wanted to charge us for upgrading internet from snail to normal. They even tried to charge us for using the minibar to store medication. Apparently the moment you open it and remove an item they automatically charge you even if you put it back. The top sheet on our bed was stained and housekeeping was slow to change it. I wouldn't stay here again unless we got a great deal.

05/08/14 | Link | Rating: 3.0
74. Debbie D.
We stayed here to try one of the different hotels in the loews Universal experience.
The service was great. We had the same Loews perks.
Everyone was friendly and nice.  Its a lovely hotel.  Pets can stay in their pet rooms with you.

19/11/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
75. Sally c.
This hotel was gorgeous! The beds are super comfortable and the bathrooms are nice and big. Our hotel was right outside of the water taxis and it was awesome.

26/08/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
76. Jamey C.
One of the best resorts in orlando, and Universal's best. My absolute favorite thing to do here is the chrismas tree lighting, I look forward to that every year on black friday.

If you stay here, and you plan to keep your vacation universal exclusive, you may not have to see your car until the ride back home. There is a Water Taxi that will shuttle you from the Portofino Bayfront, to City Walk, where you can access both of the Universal Parks

In Short I would recommend, Great place for a romantic getaway

01/09/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
77. Gloria S.
This is a beautiful hotel, and the staff is very friendly. I decided to stay here because I was told by a Universal Studios travel agent that this hotel has the least number of children. However, I did see plenty of kids here... Almost too many. I stayed in the West Wing Guest Rooms and it was quiet for the most part. The Beach Pool was nice, but there is a pool table in the hallway, so if there are people playing, their voices echo and it can get a little bit loud. The hotel was reasonably priced but the drinks by the pool are pretty expensive for the amount that you get in return. (I paid $17 for a small cup of pina colada.) There are some good restaurants at the hotel, but there is basically no gluten free option. Also, I don't know how other people ordered room service because I couldn't find the menu in my room. The distance between the hotel and the theme park isn't too bad. I walked back and forth a few times. It was faster than waiting for the water taxi. I don't know if it was just during the time that I was here but I felt like the water taxi came to Portofino the least often out of all the other hotels on site.

01/11/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
78. Angela K.
My husband and I stayed here in late September, early October 2014 for his birthday trip. It was absolutely top notch for the price and the benefits that you receive. I won't rehash everything everyone else already said, but I will say that we're going again the same time period in 2015 and we've already rebooked with this hotel. The upper level pool, not the main one, stayed child free the entire time we were there which was awesome. I love that they provided a place for the kids, and a place for the adults that don't have kids. Our room was nice and quiet, the hotel staff was excellent and I can't wait to go back. As for the staff, they went above and beyond the entire time. The second day I was there my feet were covered in blisters (my own fault, poor shoe choice for all the walking you do) and we called down to ask if they had bandaids at the front desk. They did. We weren't even finished getting ready when there was a knock on the door, they brought the band aids all the way to the other side of the property for me. It was very much appreciated. The cleaning staff kept the room clean and comfy the whole time we were there and were completely unobtrusive. Our last morning there I was deathly sick and was sure I had a fever. My husband called down to the front desk again and they were at our room within minutes with an ear thermometer and the offer of medical assistance. There was nothing we asked for that they weren't eager to assist with. I absolutely cannot wait to go back!

07/11/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
79. Amanda B.
On a whim, we decided to spend a 3 day weekend at the Portofino. Not knowing what to expect, and only doing minimal research into the 3 Loews hotels on Universals property, once we pulled into the driveway our jaws dropped. This is by far the most beautiful hotel we've ever stayed at.
Modeled after the Italian city of Portofino, the buildings take on a row-house-by-the-sea look that is enchanting. There are little shoppes and restaurants along the harbor to really give you that small Italian town feel.
The hotel employees were some of the most friendly I've ever seen. Everyone greeted you with a smile and a 'Hello" or even and "Thanks for staying with us!" randomly in the hallway!
Our room was fantastic. Large enough for all 4 of us. The bathroom was gorgeous with a walk in shower, and a bathtub with a little window you could open or close depending on your privacy preference.
The property has 3 pools, so if you don't want to hang out with all the kids at the big pool with the restaurant and water slide, you have 2 more secluded ones to choose from.  
One great thing is that the other hotels on the property are all owned by Loews, so you can visit them via the water taxi. One night we had dinner at the Grand Pacific. It was a Luau buffet with a show and it was awesome. You can also choose to visit the Hard Rock Hotel. If you purchase a drink that comes with a refillable cup at any of the pool restaurants, you can take it to another pool restaurant and get the same refill price.
A few really great things exclusive to hotel guests who are going to Universal Orlando is the early access to Universal Islands of Adventure. You get in one hour before the general public to ride the main ride in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hotel guests also get Express Pass with their stay. We were there during the off season, and with our Express Pass, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes in line. That alone is worth staying at one of the Loews hotels!
Before we even left, we were already planning our vacation next year, back to Portofino.

14/12/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
80. Puja B.
My husband and I came here to visit the new Harry Potter section in Universal this past August. It was SUPPOSED to be a blissfull and relaxing anniversary/birthday celebration but besides the fun exciting aspects of the park there was nothing relaxing about the hotel or the spa. This review is about the hotel and the spa on site!

HOTEL:
Hotel and rooms are jUST OK. I had read reviews that this has nice bathrooms, and I agree. But besides really nice bathrooms, and by nice I mean big bathrooms, bigger than you normally find in most hotels now a days there was nothing "special" about this place. Walls are PAPER THIN! I might as well have left the door open and let the guests next door to us just come and talk in my ear! definitely not somewhere you want to stay if you are expecting to get some rest after a long day of park fun! First room we got smelled like VOMIT and we had to switch rooms becuase it was unbearable!

When booked and planned this trip we wanted to make sure that we got as much relaxation as we had fun! So I had planned 3 days of spa services each different on different days so that we could end our day with a nice spa treat. Boy was I wrong! My husband and I would have probably had better relaxation if we had massaged ourselves, or let the noisy neighbors next door come and massage!

Spa:
For anyone planning on going to the Mandara Spa STAY AWAY! STAY AWAY from this place like the plague! Mandara has an amazing reputation every and anywhere you go, but tHIS SPA is its undoing! Everything from the training of the technicians to services, to the actual facility is HORRIBLE, the WORST I have ever experienced in all my years of going to spas! During my hot stone, I was burned on my feet by the hot towels they use to clean your feet! The therapist didnt bother to place the towel slowly or carefully! She threw it on there! I actually pictures of the blisters on my feet I got from the burn!  I have had my arms and legs literally thrown about which normally are placed and moved around throughout the massage! I remember my technician was working on my feet towards the end of my massage and when the time was up.....she literally just threw it down and said ok done bye! My husband and I had signed up for their special manicure pedicure experience package, SAVE YOUR MONEY and dont sign up for this! it is literally an over extended manicure/pedicure!  the technicians do nothing out of the normal except take LONG breaks! We didnt get any extra massage or extra treatment. its supposed to be a 2 hour service, and it just turned out to be a 2 hour manicure pedicure! PAINFUL!

Facility in the spa THE WORST! There was literally S**t in the bathroom and remained there from when I walked in to when I left after my services! noone bothered to clean!

The perks that are offered from the hotel, like early admission, express pass etc. you can get from any of the other onsite hotels! and you wil have a better experience overall! I have stayed at Royal Pacific before and I would go back there in a heart beat next time!

I dont think this hotel is as luxurious as other reviewers have mentioned! There is nothing luxurious about it! It feels rundown, dressed up cardboard box!

Go somewhere else and have a better experience! My husband and I are already planning a return trip but we will definitely be staying away somewhere else then here!

29/10/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
81. Sarah D.
Don't you love the question "Are you travelling for business or pleasure?" My response: "Both!"

I was in town for a conference, and was staying at another property. Since the Loews Portofino was within walking distance, and since my conference didn't start until later in the morning, I thought I'd treat myself to a trip to the spa!

I visited the Mandara Spa at the Loews Portofino bright and early on a Thursday morning, and I literally had the place to myself. I purposely arrived early for my reflexology appointment so I could enjoy the amenities (a perk with any service + the fitness room).

The facilities are a bit dated, but still luxurious. The womens lounge has a sauna, steam room and showers. Chilled washcloths & cucumber slices are available for the eyes, and chilled peppermint cloths are available for the hands, feet and neck. Robes and lockers are provided. Hot tea, chilled citrus water, and fresh apples are available along with a selection of magazines. A full line of toiletries is available for use including Bliss facial scrub, mouthwash, body lotion, deodorant spray, combs and razors. The showers are equipped with aromatherapy shower gel, shampoo and conditioner -- all were very aromatic!

Near the checkout is a display of all of the Elemis products - I took advantage of some SPF sunscreen which I applied before stepping outside to the nearest pool for some more R&R.

The music throughout the spa was continuously soothing.  There was also a consistent aroma throughout the whole place, and lit candles, which created a very pleasing and calming atmosphere.

The service provider was fantastic - but some of the front desk staff seemed less than thrilled with their work.

Note: There is a 20% gratuity automatically added to your bill. Just a heads up so you don't double tip....unless you're so inclined!

Bonus: They accept SpaFinder gift cards - which you can almost always buy at a discount from Costco or directly from the SpaFinder website.

01/11/12 | Link | Rating: 3.0
82. Chris G.
Beautiful hotel, large rooms very courteous staff. Great breakfast buffet and coffee shop! A few things that I didn't like was the up charge for using the gym, are you kidding me! $8 per person per day when you are paying $300+ a night.
We did try their top of line restaurant Bice and although staff was courteous and atmosphere beautiful food was horrible!
Black group was special and we expected fresh fish instead fish was wrapped with potatoes and vegetables it seemed like a pre-prepared entree , Seafood Risotto was soggy and too rich and the worst disappointment was the Lemoncello cake, it arrived looking like a Cinnabon smothered in Lemon icing , we could only eat a few spoonfuls !  Overall, it was disappointing. We were expecting high end food and that was not happening We were supposed to Meet clients here later in week but switched to Palm across street in Hard Rock .
The location is perfect for going to Universal either walk or water taxi and get early admission perks!

08/05/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
83. Kimberly K.
There are 3 On-site Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is a re-creation of the seaside village of Portofino, Italy. There are cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes.

By staying at an On-site Hotel, you will get an early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (1 hour before the theme park opens) and a free Universal Express Pass. This will allow you to skip the regular lines throughout both theme parks (for rides and shows). Note: The Express Pass is NOT available for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Pteranodon Flyers.

You will also be given a coupon for a free complimentary alcoholic drink and party passes so you won't have to pay cover at any of the clubs in City Walk. The complimentary water taxi runs throughout the day (every 15 mins.) to take you to City Walk or any of the two parks. It also starts running early to transport hotel guests to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Check in begins at 4 pm (why so late Portofino?). We had an early flight to Orlando, so when we reached the hotel, we checked our bags into the luggage holding room. This service is complimentary. Tips are appreciated I'm sure. Though our room would not be available till 4 pm, I was still given maps, coupons, and a hotel room card. The hotel room card serves as your room key and your Express Pass, so keep it safe. The concierge will call you and provide you with the room number when it is ready. While waiting, you can walk around the hotel and admire the sights, grab a bite to eat, take a swim (there are 3 themed pools), or look through the shops. There is a Spa, Fitness Center, and Game Room within the hotel as well.  

I was impressed with the room. Everything was clean and organized. Robes were available in the closet. The bathroom was spacious and quality shower products were provided. There are speakers inside the bathroom so you can listen to the TV. The room decor is Italian style. Plenty of soft pillows and blankets were on the bed, as well as extra blankets in the closet. The balcony was a nice touch. There are alcoholic beverages and snacks stored in the mini fridge and drawer. These are NOT complimentary. You will be given a key to access or lock the snack and alcoholic beverage section. This is nice, in case you've got little ones who like to explore. Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate ARE complimentary.

Towards the night, I started to hear a loud banging sound coming from the air conditioning vent (guess it's just old). It was extremely disturbing and so I decided to call the concierge and ask for a room change. They picked up after two rings (impressive) and kindly explained that I wouldn't be able to change rooms that night but I would be given a different room the next day. I was instructed to have all luggage placed in the middle of the room and that someone would take it to the new room, while we were at the parks. When I came back to the hotel, I was given a new room key. The new room was much more peaceful.

Lowes Portofino is beautiful during the day but breathtaking at night. Each night at around 8:30 pm, live opera is performed on the Harbor Piazza. There are three themed shows offered on a rotating basis: Romantico Night, Classico Night, and Italian Festival Night.

21/08/11 | Link | Rating: 4.0
84. Jen W.
Part of the Universal Studios complex, this is their top hotel.  The lobby is beautiful and there are restaurants and bars on site as well as shopping and a coffee shop.  Everything here is $$$.  Stayed in a Princess suite (double queen with a Juliette balcony) by the harbor.  Live music is performed on the lobby terrace which we could watch from our balcony.  Live music also was available at the bar across the way.  In addition music was piped in to the piazza on the harbor 24/7 which we could hear in our room.  The honor bar was extensive with water, red bull, wine and hard liquor. The staff was very polite, professional and helpful.  Housekeeping was able to meet my request to remove some mold from the tub, but the bathroom floor was never really clean and the hallway from the elevators to the room was always in need of a vacuuming.  There are nice touches like the sheet on top of the blanket and the room itself is the largest of those available at Universal.  The Concierge staff was very willing to help us make plans and went above and beyond.  My only complaint is I would have appreciated housekeeping making more of an effort to be sure the rooms are truly clean, but this hotel is massive and easy to get lost in, so I can only image the staff is extremely busy.  Room service menu is located in the binder on the bedside table.  Lovely presentation and plenty of food.  Also had a kuerig machine in the room.  Make reservations for on-site restaurants and on City Walk for dinner (information in the binder).  If you drive in, be prepared to pay for parking.  Wi-Fi is free.  A breakfast buffet is available for a fee at one of the one-site restaurants and there is always the coffee shop for a quick bite.  An arcade is available for older children and the spa services are extensive.  The massage felt a bit rushed and no top coat was put on my pedicure, but both were satisfactory and the facilities are very nice and the staff is attentive.  There is a boat and a bus for free transport to Universal but we took the pedi-cabs (they work for tips) which was great fun and quicker.  Each cab fits three adults or a family of four if someone sits on your lap.  All in all, Universal is a fun vacation for families or couples and this hotel is a romantic and beautiful addition to the vacation.

26/11/14 | Link | Rating: 3.0
85. Michael M.
Situated on scenic Lake Universal, the "Port" is Universal's most elegant property as enhanced by three gorgeous pools serving two wings of upscale guest rooms: featuring indulgent amenities and complimented by a cornucopia of sumptuous dining experiences.

Upon that man made lake, convenient water taxis whisk patrons from lodging to  "Islands of Adventure" theme park adjoining Universal CityWalk's mesmerizing constellation of shopping, restaurants and movie theater entertainment! While vacationing at Universal property hotels, your stay entitles your party to priority ride boarding in the amusement park! Also, when checking into the Port utilizing the AMEX centurion card, you may receive a free upgraded suite (if available), late checkout (until 4 pm) and a gift basket FYI. Any stay here will allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy a vacation from mundanity.

08/09/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
86. Judi S.
When we arrived all the bellman were helping one customer and none of them even looked at us.
Sean was very nice checking us in but put us in a handicap room with no tub when we reserved (6 mo in advance) an upgraded room with a large tub.  The supervisor Matthew acted like he was doing us a favor by downgrading our room and charging us the published price for that room. They didn't offer an upgrade even with AMEX.
The club room had wild children that were not controlled by their parents or staff. One actually stuck his hands in his pants then handled the food.
We tried to order room service one night but were told it was an hour wait!!
If this were a Holiday Inn I might give it a pass but for the price I expected so much more.

27/12/13 | Link | Rating: 2.0
87. Nathaly L.
East wing more quiet. Request balcony ahead of time very limited. Stayed in room #1338 with Juliette balcony..View of bay was not as nice because this room is at the far end, which means you will be walking a long hall way to get to the elevator (there are stairs closer by)
but in exchange room is a lot quieter which is what we wanted. They are pet friendly which is always nice. I think all the on-site universal studios hotels are pet friendly as well.
If you cant afford to go to Italy stay here, you really do feel like you are in italy! not when you taste the food but the decor is and A for effort!
Even the employees who are obviously not Italian greet you in Italian.
MAke sure you redeem your express passes for the parks in the hotel lobby. (there is a kiosk)
its complimentary with your stay which also included nice 5 minute ferry rides to the parks that run every 15 minutes. Overall 2nd time as an adult visiting Universal and both times i have stayed here.

08/05/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
88. Jason F.
Very nice hotel. Got there around 11am so they check us in by giving us our individual room keys and telling us to print out our express passes and park tickets at the kiosks at the other side of the lobby. Since the room was not ready, we provided our phone number and they called us a few hours later letting us know our room is ready. There is a bag drop off spot too. All in all, the check process was smooth.

There are 2 wings (east and west) and 3 pools (beach, villa, and hill side). The beach and villa pools are by the west wing and the hill side is by the east wing. The beach pool has a beach entrance and a nice water slide. Very nice pool with a bar/restaurant and a hot tub. For a more quiet time, the villa pool is very nice. I walked to hill side pool by the east wing and there was 1 couple sitting on chairs, but otherwise empty.

There are pros and cons to each wing. The east wing is quieter but further away from everything and the west wing is noisier, but next to the main pools and closer to the water taxi. My girlfriend and I had a room on the east wing. We were near the end of the hall too so it is a decent hike, but not an issue. The room was very nice. The bathroom had a dual vanity and a shower/tub combo -- it was huge. The king bed was very comfortable and if I didn't have to get up for Harry Potter, it would be great to stay in all morning. The free Keurig cups are nice as well.

The only negatives I have about this place are the dining options. We did not have very good meals at the pool for lunch or the Italian place.

Overall I definitely recommend it as it is well worth staying on site if you are at Universal for more than a day.

29/05/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
89. Andrew M.
Would have given a better review but the check-in was so rude it tainted the entire stay.
At check-in the man told me because of the conference and/or group is was with, I was upgraded to a club level room.  When I asked when the club lounge was open, he asked me "Are you under the impression you have access to the club lounge?"  (IMHO, there are about a hundred better ways to inform me of the confusion).  When I told him, Yes; he quickly told me I was mistaken.
I am a platinum level rewards member at another national brand so I have been upgraded to club/concierge level rooms frequently but I have never been denied access nor has such an issue been raised by the front desk in such a rude manner.
Additionally, my room was not ready at check in time 4pm and when it was ready, I had to go back down to the front desk to retrieve my key (even though the same front desk employee assured me the proved room key would work without having to come back to the front desk).
The facilities were great but my first exposure was so rude it completely overshadowed the stay.
I shared my story with other conference attendees who were shocked at the questioned posed to me at check-in.

I tried to send a direct email to the property or management but was unable to find a way to share my experience online.

18/01/15 | Link | Rating: 2.0
90. Bart Y.
This is my third visit to this hotel. It is a beautiful property but this visit had issues. First I did not realize they allow pets. And pets can and will bark at night. Make sure you ask for an upper level room. No pets allowed upstairs.  Also our room had a mysterious water leak that was soaking the carpet where it met the title in the hallway.  Stepping on wet carpet in the night was real shock to the system!  Overall the hotel is is still nice but the rooms are showing their age. And like all Universal hotels this one is expensive. By the time we paid all the room service fees and delivery charges out $13 order of chicken wings was over $22. Keep this in mind before picking up the phone! I still love the hotel but I hope a refresh is in the near future.

19/01/15 | Link | Rating: 3.0
91. Carla L.
Who knew this paradise existed behind the park?  The first time I came to the hotel my jaw dropped at the magnitude of how vast and beautiful it is. It is truly an unexpected oasis.  Built to look like Portofino Italy, the details run throughout the whole hotel.

We have had the most amazing suites, really nice, the details are great.  We have been there pre and post remodeling, both times they have been really nice, I do however like the new more modern European feel.  

I actually really like the Epcot feel to the area around the ballrooms, it reminds me of the different country pavilions there and this would be in their Italy.  Its quirky and fun.  Like I said - quirky.  Its a luxury hotel dressed as Portofino.

I love the two pools and the bigger pool has a great slide, the second is a more secluded pool for guests who prefer a more quiet experience.  The hotel is also a very popular wedding hotel, we have always have had the pleasure of looking over the ceremony area and my daughter (a HUGE Four Weddings and Say Yes To The Dress fan) and I have enjoyed having a tasty beverage and watching the weddings.

We came for Mardis Gras this year and last.  Last year we were having a pizza before hitting the park and were sitting next to Kelly Clarkson at the pizzeria, she was performing that night.  Of course we didn't bother her but it was super neat, she definitely is wonderful but no hoity toity Diva.

Reasons to stay here:

-Its gorgeous, you truly are in an oasis
-Pets welcome!!
-Great Pools.
-Singers nightly in the main plaza
(I haven't been to the spa so I can't speak for it)

and best part?
EARLY ADMISSION TO ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE and EXPRESS PASSES!!!  If you hit Islands at 8am you get to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter WAY before anyone else.. or as we call them, "the plebeians"  because, yes you feel like royalty.  If you put it into perspective, the express passes alone make the price totally worth it!  The Forbidden Journey does NOT accept any Express Passes so without early admission you are looking at waiting for a while in line.

Tip: Get to WWOHP at 8, ride the Forbidden Journey, the Dragon Challenge and get out before 9, hit the Hulk, Spiderman, etc and then head to Universal for the rest of the rides if you have a two park pass.  With the express passes you are done by noon and can just hang out and enjoy the parks in a leisurely manner.  We got Men in Black done three times in 30 minutes on a weekday, no lie.

26/02/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
92. Rick W.
Beautiful hotel and friendly, accommodating staff.  Be prepared to tip everyone and pay a small fortune to eat at their restaurants, but, try to enjoy the ride.  In the grand scope of things, you're only paying about $20-$30 more per family per meal to eat on premisis.  It adds up quickly, but, it's a vacation.

I'd definitely stay here again.

03/12/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
93. Laurie A.
We stayed at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel for our (belated) honeymoon. We chose this location for the reasons mentioned by the other reviewers: close proximity to Universal Studios, complimentary Express Passes which allow you to bypass lines for most attractions at the park, free water taxis to and from the park, and early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

When we arrived at the hotel on Monday, I was a little apprehensive at first, because the hotel exterior looked like something straight out of a Universal Studios backlot (parts were painted to look like brick). However, once you get past the cheesy façade, the resort is truly stunning! We stayed in room 1486 in the East Guest Wing, with a gorgeous view of the bay. Yes, it was a bit of a walk to get to the water taxi dock on the west side of the bay, but we didn't mind. Our room was spacious and well-kept, and the bed was ridiculously comfortable. Our area of the hotel was blessedly quiet at night. (Being able to hear my neighbors arguing, snoring, or playing loud music is a common hotel complaint of mine, but not here!)

The his-and-hers bathrobes were a nice touch. The bathroom was spacious, clean, and well-stocked when we arrived. After the first night, however, the housekeeping staff got a little stingy with the toiletries. The Bamboo Crème shower gels, lotions, and shampoos provided were quite nice, and we went through them rather quickly. Fortunately, after I left the empty bottles with our tip for the housekeeping staff, we were generously given more. My only other complaint about our stay is that the toilets are of the water-conservation variety, meaning that you have to flush 3-4 times.

While we were at Portofino Bay, we took advantage of the in-house laundry service as well as all three pools. The Beach Pool has a waterslide that is probably meant for kids, but both of us loved it. We observed lifeguards on duty at the Beach Pool, and the cocktail servers were very attentive at this pool. On the opposite side of the property, the Hillside Pool is just the opposite--no lifeguards, no servers, and very few kids--ideal for those who just want some quiet relaxation.

While there, we had breakfast and dinner on the piazza at Trattoria del Porto. Yes, the food was pricey, but it was worth every penny. At night we were treated to Musica della Notte, featuring two singers performing opera (and Frank Sinatra) on the balcony. After the performances concluded, fireworks could be seen reflected in the bay. It was all very romantic! Thank you, Loews Portofino Bay staff, for a memorable trip.

20/06/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
94. Rich W.
Excellent service from check-in to check-out.  The restaurant staff from hostess to server to pasta chef all extremely helpful and pleasant.  We will definitely return next trip to Universal Orlando.

26/08/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
95. Ruthie P.
Loved it here... but when I arrived they didn't give us the room we requested and another couple was in our room :) which we had reserved overlooking the pool area.  We were gracious and took another room not nearly as beautiful but it is what is .. and mistakes can happen. The resort is very lovely.

05/11/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
96. Arlene A.
The massage I got with a Groupon was very good but I have to give 1 sta because during the checkout process I was charged twice for gratuity.  They charge a service charge which is the gratuity and then an additional gratuity that I did not authorize.  Then they needed someone else to fix this.  I thought it was a one time mistake but by looking at the reviews on trip advisor it seems this is a common occurrence and that has not been fixed therefore done on purpose.  BEWARE....  I would have gone back and used their spa again if they were honest.

06/02/15 | Link | Rating: 1.0
97. Lynne L.
Worst experience ever! Staff took forever to bring room service or blanket and silverware. Had to request a refrigerator
And it took 1 hour to arrive. Mini bar is not to be used as a fridge and it automatically charges if you take anything out. Hotel has a mold smell in hallways. Major rip off with
Prices! Glass of milk is $4.00 parking is $18 food is way overpriced and horrible! With so many less expensive options in Orlando I hope no one wastes $300 a night!

12/01/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
98. Gustavo A. L.
Had the wonderful opportunity to stay here once again, and was re impressed, if that is even a word. This place is fantastic, actually this time I had a little more leisure time so I was able to really enjoy the Villa pool and had a great relaxing massage at the Mandara Spa.

The way I see it, the Portofino provides the setting and the backdrop to have great experiences, and as guests we threw in some good attitude, wonderful expectations and an overall good vibe and the end result was a great stay and some of the most memorable days of our life.

Picture this, the Portofino is a picturesque replica of the Village of Portofino in Italy, so if you allow yourself to get transported and just go with the flow, your stay here will be extra special.

For us, our dinning experiences at Mama Della's one night and Bice the next were just the icing on the cake.
After some pretty awesome days at the Parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, where we took full advantage of our Express Passes that came with our hotel stay, we really enjoyed the parks to the fullest extent. Rode the Hulk like a million times in Islands of Adventure after having spent the morning in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Early Park Admission exclusive for us as hotel guests, made us feel like the park was open only for us. The best and only way to experience these parks.

Back to the Hotel, that Beach Pool is a lot of fun, the water slide is super fast and the poolside service was on point.

With a hotel like this with so many amenities, and 2 wonderful parks right next to it, there is only one way to really do it justice and that is to experience it for yourself.

Really, make it happen. You will be glad you did.

07/11/12 | Link | Rating: 5.0
99. Gano H.
So so service for the highly touted Biche.  Eating alone maybe a factor. Great food, didn't see much of the waiter. Not thrilled for the price.

12/02/15 | Link | Rating: 3.0
100. Robert S.
Let me start off this review by stating that we stayed here a number of years ago.  Our stay was so amazing that we decided to pay a few extra bucks to stay here again.

Our stay this time was filled with problems.  I already communicated with the hotel management.

If we had not had such an amazing time the first time, I would have given 1 star.

This time around, here were just a few of the problems:  Asked for a roll a way bed at check in.  Was told it will be there shortly.  Hours later, when returning from dinner, it still was not there.  Called and was told it was on its way.  Much later, called again.  Then, called again, etc.  You get the point.

TV was not working when we checked in.  Called and someone came immediately.  He fixed it.

Bugs crawling on the floor.

Front desk staff was very friendly.  The rest of the staff was nothing special.  We would walk by staff in the hallways and never got a hello.

A staff member stole my wife's credit card.  My wife ordered food at the pool.  The waitress did not return the card and my wife forgot to ask for it.  The card was used by a local at nearby Target, auto shop, etc.

Middle of the night, building fire alarm went off.  There was no problem (thank goodness).

Can someone tell me why I had to pay for parking?  They have their own lot and it was almost all empty (we were there off season).  Come on, give me a break.

Did I forget something, maybe.

Here are the positive points:  Pool area is nice, early admission to Universal, free shuttle boat to and from Universal.

20/09/14 | Link | Rating: 2.0
101. Bill S.
Loews Portofino Bay hotel is modeled after an Italian coastal village. Its big, spacious and has plenty of stone and marble to make if feel upscale.

The great thing about staying at any Hotel on property, you have front of the line privileges. What they means is, when its 100 degrees and people are waiting to get on The Hulk? You breeze right past and go to the front. We knocked out both parks pretty quickly with this access.

There is a boat to take you to the park, why walk there? You're gonna walk all day, save your energy...

I loved the pool, at night they had a full size movie screen showing movies? Very very cool.

So, we check in and need to buy our passes. We go downstairs and I meet with the nice lady from Long Island no less. Tell me about your discounts. Military discount? New York discount? BillySalts cool discount?? Nope sorry. nothing. She gives me the price and rings it up, I scream wait! I don't want to hop, is there a standard two day pass? Yes there is and she credits me back almost $100 bucks! Folks, this is how they get you! There is no reason to buy a two day hopper in the BillySalts world. Use this tip to save yourself some cash.

The hotel, which I love that allows dogs, is opulent and very nice. But truthfully? I like Hard Rock better. No boat is needed, better restaurants and I'm a rocker!

I had to experience this hotel for myself. Nice but give me free music downloads like the Hard Rock does.

27/07/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
102. Alex C.
The rooms here are very nice and well kept. While the outside needs a nice coat of paint, the service and quality of the entire hotel, as well as it's proximity/free water-taxi makes it an awesome place to stay.

Since I was here on a company trip I didn't have to pay. Our group rate was $200/night for extra nights so I imagine it was likely more than that regularly. If the ExpressPasses for the parks were standard with the roomrates, like they were with ours, then staying here would save you a lot of money on those passes-which are a necessity to not lose your mind waiting in lines.

04/11/13 | Link | Rating: 5.0
103. Tim P.
This hotel lives up to the expectation.  The rooms are extremely well outfitted and are perfectly maintained. The beds are very comfortable and the staff friendly.  Best of all, the setting and picturesque nature of the design really give it a feeling and atmosphere you won't easily find elsewhere.  Great stay.

02/11/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
104. Anthony L.
Wow. This hotel is amazing. Friendly setting, relaxing atmosphere and easy access to Universal Studios. You get an obstructed view of the park, but can still see the top of the Rockit roller coaster and the fireworks at night. Around 8:30 in the evening grab an expresso or gellatto and enjoy the Italian songs in the piazza. The pool is nice with the lounge chairs in the sand along the zero entry side of the pool.
There is a second pool tucked behind the main pool along with a few Bocce courts. This is a tranquil environment so you won't find kids in this pool.
The rooms themselves have the largest bathrooms of any hotel you will ever stay at. The beds and pillows are the most comfortable too.
Tech wise, bring movies on a USB drive as the tvs can read them.
Internet is free for up to four devices. It is also throttled. For 15.00 a day you get their business Internet access /speeds.

This place is expensive and I'd you lift that Fiji water bottle of the counter you will get a 7.00 charge. To fully enjoy this resort forget about costs and worry about the bill later.

Forget about your troubles and escape to Portofino!

14/06/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
105. Michael H.
The best themed and most luxurious hotel on Universal property, the Portofino Bay provides a truly memorable experience. The public spaces are incredibly well-done and offer an immersive experience unlike any other Universal hotel. When you stroll around the property (and there's a lot of strolling as this place is huge), you find all sorts of piazzas and courtyards. None are as grand as the Harbor Piazza, which makes you feel as if you're backpacking along the Amalfi Coast (almost).

Rooms are well appointed and comfortable. Corridors to the rooms were a little warm on my last visit (springtime). As a Floridian who's used to heat and humidty, it was no big deal. But visitors from other climes might find it a little too warm.

It's a luxury resort, and you certainly pay for that luxury. Room rates are pricey, and most of the resort's restaurants are on the high-end, as well.

22/05/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
106. Henry A.
NPS = 9

This hotel is very impressive!  They have very spacious rooms and the exterior decorations are very nice.  I particularly love the dock area as well as the ferry that takes you to Universal Studios.

The Portofino Bay Hotel tries to capture the essence of Italy and does a very good job while maintaining a very professional look.  Unfortunately, I was only able to stay one night in this hotel even though I wish I would have been able to stay longer.

Very nice and highly recommended.

21/10/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
107. Rebecca O.
I stayed at Portofino for two days on a company trip. You're going to pay a little more, but as many have also reviewed about, you get perks. One thing that's really helpful is you get express passes to the rides at Universal. I didn't go during peak season, but man, it feels so nice being able to skip the lines.

Another perk is if you're without a car for the weekend, they have a free water taxi that takes you to Universal and City Walk. Be careful about the no car thing, though, as it costs about $55-65 for a cab to and from the airport (that's the price each way).

The rooms are fancy and stocked with everything you need.

03/11/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
108. GM A.
I loved the place but I had the Xmas Buffett at Xmas eve at the Italian restaurant and ended up having a really bad food poisoning.

The experience was very bad because I needed to fly back to CA the next morning.

02/01/15 | Link | Rating: 1.0
109. Lorraine H.
Turn down service...they put classical music on...how rich is that..  i love this hotel!  The bedding is excellent.  We are a little confused at the very large bathroom with a little shower but overall..i love this hotel

05/01/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
110. Miranda P.
Less stress and more quality time in the parks comes at a higher cost of your hotel room, but it's worth it to get:

- Early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at 8 AM
- Discounts on park admission tickets
- Unlimited daily fast pass (worth $89/day)
- Free garage parking (worth $16/day)
- Priority seating at restaurants throughout Universal property
- Free water taxi to the parks (you can also walk or pay for a pedi cab)

This was a huge Vegas-esque hotel with a vaguely Italian façade. Might take you a day to get familiar with the winding corridors and multiple plazas. In addition to a seemingly infinite amount of rooms, there was a spa, lounges, restaurants and boutique shops - none of which I actually utilized on this trip. Maybe next time.

The rooms and bathroom were spacious enough but they definitely skimped on the shower which felt like a tiny glass closet. The beds were bellissimo! I got some great sleep the couple of nights I spent in them.

Seems to be the most family-friendly of the Universal resorts as well as I saw tons of kids running around. And that includes four-legged family members too!

03/11/13 | Link | Rating: 4.0
111. Ina V.
I am very upset that i have to write a bad review. I loved the hotel and everything in it, it's clean and beautiful, my husband loved it too. Up until check out. An authorized charges on my CC on Christmas eve just put me over the edge.
However at the check out we were informed that the hotel has no awareness to as where did our deposit, initially payed when booking through expedia, went. After 15 minutes of arguing with a very rude supervisor who than invited over a manager who at first seemed professional and said he will dispute the issue with Expedia and wished us a safe flight, as we were already running late to the airport because of the 15 minutes of prior wasted time on arguing with rude supervisor.
Than we land at home and i get a call from manager saying he called expedia and they don't know anything about the charge. Which was clearly a lie after I myself spend an hour on the phone with an expedia supervisor, who said that this hotel requires a deposit upon booking, and my booking wouldn't have been confirmed if i didn't pay the deposit. So than the expedia supervisor disputed the charges with hotel management, who wouldn't budge in. Meanwhile back at the ranch it's a day before Christmas, I'm upset about losing extra $250 especially in the biggest holiday of the year when you are already over the edge with gifts buying etc.
So here's my bad review. I am extremely disappointed that what could've been a great vacation at the end was turned into such a mess. And now i have to have my cc company dispute the charges further.

25/12/14 | Link | Rating: 1.0
112. James F.
Wow, i have been a business traveler now for over thirty years and have never been treated like this, ever. We booked early for a conference, along with multiple early day arrival to try and get a simple king size bed. Even though at reservation, our contact commented that it was good we called when we did to lock in our room, it carried zero weight. The manager at check in "Gabriel E." treated us as liars. He wanted to see our confirmation email, which we showed him. He knew that it would not directly state the room type, as he intimated. But, we make a call, prepay for our room, we are told info, and then we receive a confirmation number. Why would we think any different. The simple truth is, our conference, which i am sure booked at least 250 rooms, received a discount, so we were booted. Even that is ok, but come on man, treat us with a little respect as you take the greenbacks out of our back pocket.

17/04/15 | Link | Rating: 1.0
113. Lori N.
Having stayed at all the Universal resorts, this is sub par to what I expected. Our room wasn't cleaned very well and it was VERY NOISY! You constantly hear doors slamming in the hall. The restaurants were mediocre at best. Bice was supposed to be the "more formal" dining. The only thing that made them formal were the waiters wearing white jackets which was but at all a symbol of the service or food. The front desk staff was courteous and helpful but it didn't feel any more special than staying at a Marriott. Hard Rock remains my favorite!

15/02/15 | Link | Rating: 3.0
114. Veronica M.
I recently stayed here for a business trip and it was a pleasant experience. The rooms are very large, clean and up to date.  The bathroom is huge, probably half the size of the main room itself. The hotel has a lot to offer, shopping, a fitness center and spa, restaurants and water taxis to the Universal parks and City Walk. It also has many places to just sit and enjoy the sun. The entire hotel is nicely decorated and the hotel staff was friendly and helpful.  
 There were a couple of downsides. Whoever designed the hotel must either hate old people, or people in wheelchairs because amazingly everything in this hotel is up AND down a flight of stairs. My room was on the third floor in the east wing, and I had to go down 3 flights from the lobby (which is on the third floor) and then go back up to my room.  To get to the fitness center on ground level, I had to go up and down a flight of stairs, and to get to the conference rooms I had to go down to the first floor, up to the third floor, then back down to the first floor. I'm pretty sure I encountered a few flights of stairs that just seemed to be there for the sake of having a few flights of stairs. This hotel may be good for those who want to burn of a few more calories, but may be a nightmare for people with mobility issues.  Of course there are elevators, but their location is not always obvious.  
  The only other complain that I had was that the Hertz lady was very rude when I just stopped by to ask if my car would be ready, but she was nicer when I came back to actually get my car.  Overall, I enjoyed my stay, and would stay there again.

13/02/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
115. Patricia B.
This is my third time staying at Portofino. My husband and I love the Loew's hotel chain and this is one of our favorites. As soon as you pull up here you are impressed at how beautiful it is. The hotel is based on the Italian city of Portofino, and the bay with the little boats in it is so pretty.
The resort is huge with three pools, one of which has the most fabulous water slide. It's the main reason I love it here so much!
There are multiple shops and restaurants, which have anything you could want. Sure, it's a little pricey here but it's honestly worth it. You can take the boat to universal, including the city walk, or to any of the other Loew's hotels. There is also a lovely path you can take to walk to these places.
The rooms are well appointed and the beds are really comfy. Lots of pillows to choose from. The bathrooms are large and the water pressure is good. The keurig in the room is stocked with coffee and tea.
The perks at universal studios is pretty awesome too. You get to go to Harry Potter early and you get a free fast pass. The time saving is invaluable. I promise that.
If I was going to compare the customer service here with the other Loew's hotels, I would only give it four stars. The customer service is great here, don't get me wrong. But the other hotels go way above and beyond, setting the bar pretty high.

14/02/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
116. Bill R.
If you want to go to Italy but can't really afford it, come to this hotel. Everything about this place was great. The staff was more helpful than I'd ever expected. The man who took our bags to our room literally gave us a tour and detailed information on everything we'd want to know for our stay.

Everywhere you walk in the hotel has a great view of something. You really have to go out of your way to see anything 'normal' (which I did just for the heck of it). The main area of the hotel is such a wonderful re-imagining of Italian cafes and shops along a waterway. Heck I could just sit out there every day and have a great time.

Of course I wasn't going to do that, what with free water taxis to Universal Studios. Combine that with the free Express Pass you get just for staying there and early park admission, it doesn't get much better.

It goes without saying that the food and drink offerings at this hotel are off the charts. The first night I ate at Bice Restorante and man, I can't say enough good things about that place. Pretty pricey but worth it. Very convenient to have a full Starbucks in the plaza too.

I could go on and on about this hotel. Just go stay there, you won't be disappointed. It's a vacation unto itself, but having this place to go back to after a day at Universal is over the top.

27/02/15 | Link | Rating: 5.0
117. Sahil S.
You can hear other guests in hallways and other guests in their rooms

1 plus is the water taxis they get you to the parks very quickly.

If you have any problems make sure you don't tell Raphael the front desk supervisor or he may yell at you and tell you that you have an attitude.

Stay at the Rosen Shingle Creek much classier.

14/10/14 | Link | Rating: 2.0
118. Josie D.
Lovely hotel at universal studios. Water taxi connecting the parks plus free fast pass made our park experience super. The guys at the dock are AMAZING and super helpful.

Kid friendly hotel. Quieter than royal pacific and hard rock, my son and I really enjoyed our stay here.

Beach pool is perfect for a non theme park afternoon. Sipping cocktails, reading a book while watching my son enjoy the pool is awesome.

Good toiletries, average pillows but comfortable mattress, ok breakfast.. Nothing outstanding except for their fresh squeeze orange juice. Generally decent service. I feel it's a good deal. Will come back again.

05/04/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
119. Ben V.
Location ...full marks. Service good, but rooms need refurbishing...little room to put anything; suitcases propped up on end, small wardrobe, small desk with sockets that weren't suitable due to being old. The bathroom was very small, with no shelf space, peeling wallpaper and grubby bath. Extremely noisy central heating system. Internet daily charge costly. Have always stayed here, but will not be returning.

12/11/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
120. Erica B.
I want to give this a 4.5 but I can't, and my only complaint isn't too big of one, so I'll give it the five.

Wow. This place defines beauty. Luxurious, picturesque Italian themed. The water taxi is great, running every ten minutes. The hotel is HUGE with three pools and is easy to get lost in. Our room was a basic two queen beds, and i must say, very nice. The walls are a little thin but I think that's a complaint for most hotels so it didn't really bother me. Staying here has perks for the parks as well, which is a major plus for families with kids.

The restaurants are overpriced and my group did not dine there but they looked decent if you wanted a fancy meal. There is a Starbucks on site and a Universal store as well. The front desk staff were very friendly and knowledgeable.

My only complaint was with the housekeeping, and a little bit of the front staff I suppose. My group had called and requested a complimentary delayed checkout, at noon, versus 11 am. We were out of the room early, with most of our belongings, when we arrived back at 10:15, only to find our room being redone and torn apart by the housekeeping. We told them we had not left yet for the vacation, and that it wasn't even 11 am which is normal checkout, so we didn't know why they were in there. They apologized but also were firm in saying that they were not told of any special arrangements from the front desk and they didn't see any luggage so they assumed it was okay.

If they had a little more communication it'd be perfect. It's one of the older hotels but it stands up pretty well and it feels like a nice scenic escape.

21/11/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
121. Greg P.
The hotel is great, but the service at the grill by the beach pool was highly disappointing. The server knew we were taking the food back to the room and told us it would only be "a few minutes" but it took 45. The time wasn't the worst though because sometimes things take a while if the kitchen is slammed. The real problem was that the food finally came and I couldn't find the server to get my room key back. Even if the kitchen took 45-minutes for food that should have been "a few minutes," there was no excuse for waiting that long to bring us our check or to keep us waiting 10-more minutes while the food was getting cold. In a nutshell, inconsiderate and ineffective service, but maybe that's what should be expected when the staff is guaranteed a mandatory gratuity.

02/05/15 | Link | Rating: 1.0
122. Joey M.
Not a bad hotel for the location or the value! I particularly appreciated the complimentary water taxi and would recommend to anyone looking for a good deal in the area.

06/05/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
123. Leonardo P.
Had an issue with the room and asked to speak with the manager. I was quite upset and Nelson was quick to accommodate us. After a pretty big mistake with our room he took care of us and made sure we were happy our entire stay. That little gesture went a far way and made me forget about the mishap. This hotel is absolutely stunning the decor and views, breathtaking. I've been to Portofino, Italy before and the similarities are quite striking. Complementary water taxi as well as express passes for all guests make this a must for anyone traveling to universal. Very close to the parks and the rooms are pretty spacious and the beds are amazing, like laying on a cloud, especially a day after walking all the parks!  Bathrooms are very spacious and the bath tub was surprisingly large.

20/01/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
124. Dean C.
This is a fun place to stay. It's very convenient to the parks and city walk. They also run a water taxi service pretty much continually from 6AM to 2AM every day.

Our room was very clean and up to date. Every hotel employee I talked to was friendly and helpful.

The onsite restaurants are good but a little over priced for what you get.

25/07/14 | Link | Rating: 5.0
125. Jermaine H.
Nice hotel.

Large rooms, huge bathroom but curious why then the shower is so small? And the safe is ridiculously small.

We were in the West Wing close to the boat docks and overlooked the pool. Quick short cut thru the 3rd floor to the pool.

Pool was beautiful. Lots of life guards who were paying attention to everything and everyone.

Ate at "Sal ' s" one night. Pizza was great,  especially for a cheese only (why do most kids hate toppings?), Italian sandwich (huge again) and spaghetti and meatball.

Saw the opera singer at night. Nice touch. Missed the fireworks but told by the ferry captain best view for universal ' s fireworks is out near the pier. The ferry comes every 15 min and they only have 2 for PBH.  But when it's busy and hot, I wonder why they don't pull one from HRH as most just walk from there?

Hertz rental kept me waiting (but apologize) for 20 min before anyone showed at the counter. The lady who was running the tickets after 20 min (even though she saw me at the counter waiting didn't say anything until I asked and then told me to back to the front to have hertz paged...seriously you couldn't pick up the phone???).

All in all...Kids loved it. Wife was happy.  Will come back!

23/08/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
126. Jen S.
Really nice resort, great for families.  Pools are wonderful, especially the beach pool for kids.  We had a "garden" view which was unkept landscaping and trash out our window, but that was my only grounds complaint.  Everything here is on site, convenient to Universal Studios, ask about discount passes for multiple days or going mid-afternoon.

My chief complaint is how slow every restaurant is---even when there is no one there.  45 minutes in an empty Sal's to get a pizza, because they are also doing room service orders.  Mama's was worse at 1.5 hours for entrees, no one checking in on us for refills, etc.

My biggest complaint was lack of non-italian food.  You could only really get it at Splendido's Bar & Grille at the pool (burgers, nachos, etc.)  The service is the worst at the hotel, long waits, disappearing staff.  Why?  Two words:  guaranteed gratuity.  18% tacked on to everything, even a coke for a child.

24/02/15 | Link | Rating: 3.0
127. Tiffany L.
The Portofino is the most "luxurious" hotel out of all the Universal hotels.  With the Italian theme, it reminded me a lot of the Venetian in Vegas. The hotel has definitely been around a while, you can see the wear and tear throughout. For a newer Universal hotel, try the kitschy Cabana Bay.  This is probably the best hotel though, for adults. Here's my breakdown:

DINING (see restaurant specific reviews for details):
- Expensive as is expected for a hotel.
- Time your dinners for the 8:30pm opera show right about Sal's Market Deli!
- Bice is the most expensive restaurant, you probably will need to spend at least $50pp for dinner. Nice terrace area for dining al fresco.
- Tratorria Del Porto has breakfast buffet every morning for $20+ pp. It is a better deal than ordering a la carte, for variety and including coffee/OJ.  If you're eating outside, beware the fearless animals, particularly the squirrel and the white stork-like bird.  They are in cahoots to eat off your table.  The squirrel steals the Sugar in the Raw packets, while the bird snatches a sausage link off your plate. (This actually happened).
- For you early risers, they just opened a Starbucks in the piazza as well, opens at 6am. They weren't set up yet to take my SBucks gold card. Sad face.
- Mama Della's was my favorite dining place, for it's Lady & the Tramp-esque old school italian vibe, the table-to-table singers, and the homemade gnocchi.
- The gelato place has a $7 fudge brownie sundae which is probably the most cost-effective item I bought the entire trip.  It probably feeds 4 people.

AMENITIES:
- 3 pools, but really the main one is the best. They play movies at night!
- Mandara Spa is in dire need of a facelift. Massage service was good, but the jacuzzi was broken.
- Water taxi is KEY. Runs from 7am-2am. So easy to get to and from Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure/Citywalk.  If it's busy season, you will have to wait in line right at 7ish, for everyone wanting to get into the parks early.

SHOPPING:
- There is a souvenir/convenience store around the corner from the front desk that's open late until 11pm.  They sell random overpriced toiletries if you forget anything, as well as a stamp vending machine (quarters only).  Sunscreen is sold here, but it smells like bubble gum.  Just buy sunscreen as Universal..
- There is also a Universal souvenir store on site, of course.  There's a good selection of Harry Potter stuff -- wands, robs, chocolate frogs.  So don't buy chocolate frogs in the park and carry them around all day until they melt.

SERVICE:
- Front of desk and hotel staff overall are super-duper friendly.
- Housekeeping was probably my biggest complaint with the stay. When we first checked in, the tops of our nightstands were grimey, with sticky residue and ring stains from previous glasses. Gross. The jar in the bathroom also had a half-opened package of q-tips. Nobody wants to stay in a room that feels like someone else just left. Additionally, housekeeping threw away my souvenir Portofino cup (which gets me $5 off drinks by the pool), AND my Harry Potter butterbeer souvenir mug.  The manager on duty worked w/ concierge to replace both for me, yay!

If you're going to Disney, it's a bit of a challenge from here if you don't have a car.  You either have to take a taxi (about $45 each way), or they offer black car service ($55 each way).  Add on tips and this gets very expensive.  It's probably worth it to stay at a Universal hotel for its perks, and then switch to a Disney hotel for their perks.

Overall it was a very pleasant stay and I would stay again. If you're a Harry Potter fan and hate waiting in lines, you MUST stay in a Universal hotel -- the early park access as well as the express pass (both included in your stay of the hotel), is sooooooo worth it.

04/09/14 | Link | Rating: 4.0
128. Michelle S.
In short: We loved our stay at the Portofino.

Service: Five-star at every turn - from the front desk, the bellhop, the concierge, servers at each of the restaurants, bartenders, even the water ferry captains. Each staff member we encountered was helpful, friendly, and truly seemed to enjoy their job.

Indoor common areas: The hotel itself is beautiful, very well maintained, and extremely clean. The lobby is spacious and features a self-service kiosk for Express Pass tickets.  There is a gift shop inside the hotel, near the lobby that sell souvenirs and convenience items (chips, soda, etc.).  There is also a bar just off the lobby.

Outdoor common areas: There are three pools at the hotel, the largest being a beach theme with a slide and bar service. Each of the pools is very well maintained and clean. Hours for each pool differ and vary by season. Check with the front desk for details. During our stay, the largest pool was only open until 6 PM while the other two were open until 8 PM and 11 PM. Restaurants, the Thirsty Fish Bar, gift shop, and art galleries can all be accessed from the outdoor common area. The lake and outdoor landscaping are beautiful.

The room: At 450 square feet, the standard room at the Portofino is very large, over 100 square feet larger than the standard rooms at Hard Rock or Royal Specific. Our room was extremely clean, recently updated, and quite lovely. The bathroom is spacious and also nicely updated. The beds were extremely comfortable.  It was nice to have such a spacious and comfortable room given that we were a family of four staying in a single room.

The restaurants: We loved Mama Della's (see my separate review). The service and the food were incredible! I cannot recommend this restaurant enough! It's mid-priced (~$25 per entree). I wish that we had dined here twice during our visit. Recommendations are recommended. We were able to get a table without a reservation on a Wednesday night, but it was completely booked on the Friday and Saturday that we were there. Sal's is (comparatively) inexpensive. They offer beer, wine, soft drinks, pizza, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. A large pie is $15 and a glass of wine is about $7.  We had the pizza, mozz sticks, and a kid's meal of chicken fingers. We enjoyed everything that we ordered. Trattoria Del Porto serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We only experienced their dinner service. I will post a separate review... but in short, the food here was good but the ambiance was awful. It's really better suited for breakfast service than a nice dinner out. The prices are about the same as Mama Della's, but without the cozy and intimate ambiance. There's also a gelato shop which also serves inexpensive and tasty breakfast sandwiches, muffins, donuts, fruit, and other snacks. The kids were big fans of the gelato. There's also a starbucks on-site for an over-priced coffee fix. We did not dine at the resort's fine dining restaurant, Bice.

The extras: It's definitely worth staying at Portofino for the extras and how easy it makes the overall Universal/Islands of Adventure experience. Fast Passes are included in the stay, which can be a savings of up to $90 per person per day. The water taxi runs every 15 minutes or so and makes getting back and forth from the park and City Walk very easy.

We priced several different options for our trip to Universal, including staying off site in at a less expensive hotel. Not having to purchase and express pass, rent a car, or pay for shuttles to and from the park made up for the cost of the room at Portofino and (most importantly) made our stay so much easier and more relaxing. We will definitely stay here again!

17/02/15 | Link | Rating: 5.0
129. Hope P.
Stayed here for a wedding (special rate).

After staying in Italy not too long ago, this place looked like a hotel to me, with a lake out front.

You pay for all the extras here. WI FI, parking, pet dog, extra Kureg pod in the fridge...you pay.

**parking is 20$/day self park, and 27$/day valet, which is validated st the hotel's restaurants.
** fast passes to the resorts theme parks are a perk of staying in a hotel on premise! and there's a water taxi here that will take you to the parks.

The beds were very comfortable..but many of us couples ended up in a room with two Queen beds instead of one larger bed, and I kept rolling into my husband.

The plumbing was loud and I guess I had a gurgling drain that went off often, and Yes at night, that was bad.

They have complimentary refreshments in the lobby sometimes. And I never saw any cookies..I didn't get any at all :(

Housekeepers would try to clean the room often,
And if it's near your check out day or time , they will try to open your door relentlessly.

The staff was friendly, and the rooms are nice.
I should hope to find a nicer hotel if I'm staying somewhere fancy next time. The Bohemian hotel and Ritz Carlton/JW Mariott I can recommend as excellent stays.

10/12/14 | Link | Rating: 3.0
130. Ron R.
Wow, a mini piece of Italy in the middle of Florida!  

=== First impression ===
Upon arrival, and at first glance, I thought WOW I arrived at Hogwarts.  I mean, that was my main purpose for visiting Orlando.  To check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.  With excitement and being away from it all, I thought the main entrance somewhat resembled Hogwarts.  It had a couple of large hanging crests that I assumed was Harry Potter related, but none of it wasn't.  As was seeing the mini Ron Weasley looking car out in front.  You'll have to check out my pics.  From the outside, the resort seemed likable in many ways.  We were welcomed, and sent on our way to registration.    

The Front Desk was thorough and very detailed, with the help from Cristal.  I believe that's how her name was spelled.  She described our package deal, as well as, where to go or where to get help.  The bellhops and concierges were also very helpful from check-in to check-out.  

=== Hotel Layout ===
The Italian theme was simply wonderful.  It reminded me of Tokyo Disney Sea (see my review and pics for that).  Very Tuscan in color, and very refreshing just being there.  You can pretty much kick it anywhere at this hotel.  They have a couple of gift shops, an art gallery, several Italian restaurants, a place for gelato/expresso, a day spa, and of course a Starbucks.  This maked it all worth the price.  Well, sort of!  

As for the pools, I relaxed at two of them.  One pool had a beach theme with a bar.  A fun water-slide for kids and adults, and a spa with a heated waterfall.  The other pool was also heated and offered cabanas.  Next to that pool was bocce ball area.  Very impressive layout IMO!  Not to mention the other pampering facility called the Mandara Spa;  Your fitness center location.  

=== Garden View Room ===
So, we had a Garden View room which didn't really overlook any garden.  Our window view had tall trees blocking the beach pool.  However, I did like the layout of the room.  It was clean, and served its purpose.  The bed and feather pillows were soft and comfortable.  The bathroom was clean and very spacious as well, compared to like a Hilton bathroom.  Flatscreen TV, safe, and plenty of drawer space if you plan to stay long.  We did Room Service once, and the service was excellent.

=== From Resort to Universal ===
As for getting around, we pretty much utilized the water taxi (every 20 mins) that'll dock only at Universal City Walk;  From there you can just walk to either theme park.  If you choose not to ride the water taxi, you can also do a bike ride or simply enjoy a short stroll.  Which is actually pretty nice.  From City Walk to the Portofino, everything is within a two mile radius.

=== Last Impression ===
Overall, I enjoyed my stay here.  It was clean, convenient, relaxing, and I wouldn't mind booking here again next time.  Only next time I may just give the Hard Rock Hotel a try just to compare.

03/01/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
131. H. R.
If your destination is Universal or Islands of Adventure.....this is a 5 Star hotel and more. From the moment you check in...to the evening walk down the Italian scenic roads...to the live Sax music...to the water taxi that provides easy transportation to and from Universal...you really can't ask for anything more. Valet...Spa....and oh...major points too for Starbucks downstairs on property....choices of restaurants.....Gelato......much more...and quiet, comfortable rooms.

For Orlando standards......this is a top tier hotel. So why all the bragging and only 4 stars..... as I said....."For Orlando" this is a top tier hotel. It is not The Plaza in NY....the Fontainebleau in SoBe or The Montage in Beverly Hills.....but as I sit here with Merlot in-hand.....it is Orlando paradise.

Suggestion.....stay in the East Wing overlooking the beautiful piazza.....and at 7:30pm every evening...you can enjoy opera compliments of the live entertainment of the Italian Restaurant on premises.
Enjoy Portofino!

13/03/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
132. Megan P.
Not my first stay at Portofino but my first review...not my best stay either..so here goes...

Upon arrival we pulled up to a bus load of 90 check ins...a large group from Columbia. One of the guys working there came to us immediately and said "let me see if I can get you around this group.."  He never returned. A lifetime later I decided to go to the manager myself and ask if we could get checked in...and she said no. The hotel needs a better plan for check ins of that size. That said, the people checking us in were great.

We usually get the club rooms and did so this time as well. If you can manage it, do it. It's such a wonderful set up! The food was fabulous and the 2 hours of wine and appetizers is my favorite.  The staff is amazing and their service impeccable.  

We went to dinner one night at Trattoria del Porto and although it wasn't busy the service was horrible. We got the mozzarella and tomato with pesto appetizer and the scampi. The appetizer was flavorless and the scampi was dry and the clams were the size of a bean and dry as can be. Such a bummer.

Poolside service was great. Bartenders fun and friendly and Amy the server was sweet and swift.

When we left, the car wasn't at valet after we had called 10 mins prior so they removed the parking fee even though I didn't complain or even seem phased that our vehicle hadn't arrived yet. I thought that was pretty cool.

I love so many things about this hotel...it's beautiful, clean, and they really do seem to be all about customer service. With the exception of those couple of blips this would absolutely be a 5 Star rating from me. I love Universal and we like to get 2 rooms for our large family so I really want to feel like I'm getting my money's worth. At Portofino...I am!

26/03/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0
133. Gregg A.
It is a great place that gives the essence of a true Piazza in Portofino Italy.  The layout is huge and quite spread out. In typical Italian form, there are plenty of places to choose from when it comes to dining on-site.

This hotel site is great for lovers, families and extended families.  The rooms are quite sizable and are very clean and neat. they should have reduced the oversized bathroom and put more room into the sleeping quarters, but all is still very good for a family of 4.  

I would highly recommend staying here. But beware, if you lack heavy, the trip to your room is quite a hike. That's the only reason for 1 star down. They are so busy, they can't get to your bags quick enough and self-parking is a little bit of extra hike if you are in the East Wing.

07/04/15 | Link | Rating: 4.0