We had the opportunity to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando for our last trip to Universal Studios and we had an amazing experience! If you are looking into staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando then hopefully this review of our stay will be of help to you!
I know this post is about my stay at the Hard Rock Hotel but I just wanted to give a little background information on why we decided to choose Hard Rock Hotel…
One of my secrets for keeping your marriage alive as new parents is to spend quality time together, and even try to get away for a day or two. My husband and I were celebrating our 4-year anniversary and we wanted to take a mini vacation for some much needed time together. It just so happens that the Orlando Informer was having one of their amazing Meet Ups around the time that my husband and I were planning to go to Florida. (The Orlando Informer is an amazing group that hosts these exclusive ticketed events in the Universal Studios Florida parks.) This year in June they were having an event that both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure were going to be closed to daytime guests and only open to the event attendees from 5:00pm-1:30 am. So, my husband booked our tickets for the event to celebrate our anniversary. (You can read more on my experience at the Orlando Informer Meet Up here!)
Now, to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel is not cheap, but because we were attending the Orlando Informer Meet Up we were able to take advantage of their discounted group rate for rooms at Universals onsite hotels. We chose to splurge on the Hard Rock Hotel!
Now let’s get down to our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel!
In 4 words- we absolutely loved it! And here’s why:
Hard Rock Hotel has a fantastic location in the Universal Studios Resort Property! It is the closest hotel to the parks and is literally a 4 or 5-minute walk from the pool to Universal Studio’s main gate. There is a boat that also takes you to City Walk and is a lovely little ride. I’m used to staying at Disney onsite resort where the hotels are usually far from the parks and you need to take a bus to get there so this was a super treat for us!
The service at the Hard Rock Hotel, in my opinion, is fantastic. They have great luggage services where you can store your bags while you wait for your room and then have your bags sent up to your room when you are ready. The housekeeping service is great as well! We had the option to change our towels and sheets daily or conserve water and reuse them. We received changed towels daily but I opted out of changing the sheets. I assumed the housekeeping was only going to switch the towels out but they also deep cleaned the room every single day. The shower, sinks, trashes and floor was cleaned to sparkling! Even though they didn’t change the sheets they still remade the bed, fluffed the pillows and arranged the throw pillows. Room service was phenomenal and the variety of foods were awesome (and also reasonable).
The staff at the Hard Rock Hotel were phenomenal! Every single staff member we encountered were nice, kind, helpful, and always offered a smile. When we arrived the staff at the entrance of the lobby were quick to take our luggage and help us to the check-in desk. The host at the check-in desk was sweet, energetic and very informative. We arrived at 10 am, which is wayyy before check in but the staff was very accommodating and gave us a list of options we could do while we waited for our room. She gave us our room keys and told us she would text me the room number as soon as the room is ready and we can use the keys to enter (bypassing visiting the check-in desk again to get our room keys.) The staff at the pool were super helpful too. They would anticipate when we needed something and would come to us with fresh towels and water periodically. They always held gates open for us as we walked through the pool area and offered us food and beverages. There are waiters and waitresses that go around the pool deck asking if you want to order food or drinks and they bring you what you ordered to your seat- so you don’t have to get up to order food or wait on a line! We also ordered room service and the staff member that can to the room was amazing! She set up the food on the table and arranged our drinks and food for us. I do not have any complaints whatsoever about any of the staff!
We did not eat at any of the sit-down restaurants in Hard Rock Hotel because we took advantage of being so close to City Walk and ate most of our meals there. We did purchase ice cream at their little market, called Emack & Bolio’s, and it was wonderful. We also ordered room service on the morning of our departure and the breakfast was OUTSTANDING! My husband is not a breakfast person at all and he even said it was the best breakfast meal he’s ever had! He got steak and eggs and it was absolutely fantastic! I had the American breakfast that came with eggs, bacon, hash brown cakes, fruit, and a waffle. The presentation was lovely and the food was delicious!
As mentioned in the staff area, the pool staff were amazing. The pool itself is quite marvelous as well! It has a zero-entry side where you can sit and just wade in the water. The pool has an amazing slide too that is so much fun! Every day that we went to the pool there was some sort of entertainment that was fun. The first day there was a live band, the second day there was an entertaining DJ and on the third day there was a team of staff doing games and trivia. There is also a beach area by the pool that has lounge chairs in a sand area with umbrellas. There was a lot of seats but during the pool busy hours, it was kind of hard to find 2 chairs next to each other so I would advise finding a seat early. The Beach Club is a poolside restaurant that has waiters/waitresses who will take your food or drink orders at your chair and bring you the food to where you are. I’ve even seen some people ordering drinks from the pool and the server would bring their drinks to them while sitting in the pool! We loved the pool so much and went every single day of our stay. We would head to breakfast and then go to the pool for a few hours before hitting the parks or we would go to the park early and head to the pool in the evening. We tried to work into our day some pool time every day!
The Hard Rock Hotel is one of the 3 hotels on the Universal Studios property that gives you FREE Express Passes for Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. If you are unaware of what express passes are- it is essentially a pass that allows you to skip the regular line and leads you straight to the front of the line! The express pass goes for about $180 per person per day if you were to buy it separately. But the beauty of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel is that you get these amazing passes for FREE with your stay. And for every day of your stay! You use your room key as the express pass. When you go to a ride that has the express pass option you simply show your room key and that’s it! My husband and I took advantage of this awesome perk! We are used to going to Disney World and booking Fast Passes and we know that Universal Studios doesn’t have a free version of express passes like Disney does. Every time we visit Universal parks we try to do so in a low season so we don’t have to wait long times because the express passes were too expensive for us to buy. But having these passes for free during this stay was a MAJOR plus! I’m tempted to stay at one of the 3 onsite hotels that offer this perk every time we go just so I can get the express pass!
We stayed in a Double Queen Pool View Room and it was beautiful! The room came equipped with a Keurig and complimentary hard rock coffee k-cups, a mini fridge inside of a cabinet, a desk and flat screen TV, a wireless phone, 2 armchairs in front of the window, and a bathroom vanity separate from the toilet, sink, and bathtub. There was a large closet next to the door what was able to fit our suitcase and enough hangers for me to hang most of our clothes. The room smelled fresh and clean. We were on the 4th floor and a little way away from the elevator but the hallway was quiet for most of the time and we hardly ever heard the family next door. We enjoyed the sophisticated music look of the room but also felt it had a very “homey” feel to the room. The beds were so comfortable and the pillows were a soft, fluffy memory foam. Even after being out all night and waking up early for our departure flight we felt rested.
As mentioned, we stayed in a pool view room and it was beautiful! The view was amazing- overlooking the pool with a view of Universal Studios right behind it. At night you can see the park lights and a few of the rides running. We enjoyed waking up and opening the curtains to see the crisp pool below us and the sun rising behind the park rides. We also loved to hear the music from the pool. The first day of our stay there was a live band from 4:30-9:00 pm and it was so nice to hear the band in the distance while in the room. The pool noise is not loud at all- it did not keep us up at night or wake us in the morning. There was no noise that was a nuisance or extremely loud.
Transportation from Airport:
We are used to staying at a Disney resort where there is complimentary transportation from Orlando International airport (MCO) to the Disney resort. Universal does not have a complimentary transportation service. They do offer transportation for a fee- I believe we were quoted $45 per person round trip. We decided to opt out of the transportation that they offered us and just take an Uber to and from the hotel. We did not need to rent a car because we knew we were only going to stay on property for the vacation. Also, we wanted to save money on parking because if you have a car there is a nightly parking fee. We chose to save that money and just put it toward eating on property. But if you have a family and it makes financial sense to rent a car and pay the daily parking fee to be able to get to the nearest store to go shopping or be able to visit other attractions in the Orlando area then do what works best for you!
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel! It was comfortable, clean, and we felt like royalty while staying there. If you ever get a chance to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando I highly recommend it!
Have any questions? Feel free to drop me a comment below!