Universal Portofino Bay
Universal Studios Portofino Hotel
You may have heard that there is a little corner of Italy to be found right in the heart of Universal Studios Orlando. The Porofino Bay Hotel is one of the Universal Studios theme parks hotels. Spend your days at the theme parks,your nights at CityWalk and return home to this truly exceptional hotel.
The attention to detail is amazing. Yes I know it isn't the real Portofino but just for a moment you really can believe that you are rubbing shoulders with the Jet Set of the Italian Riviera. Well almost!
Universal Portofino Bay
Photo Credit L.Sloan
You can even travel by boat to get to the Portofino (a more conventional parking lot is available too ). Just hop on board one of the boat launches from Universal CityWalk and you will be transported to the beautiful Portofino Bay. It is certainly worth a look if you are not even a guest. The 8 minute boat ride is relaxing and when you arrive you can simply soak in the sights and perhaps sip a cappuccino in the square overlooking the harbor.
But of course the Universal Portofino offers even more to it's guests. This Loews hotel is one of my favorites. Combining style with affordability this is a great choice for visitors to Universal Studios Orlando.
What are the rooms like at Universal's Portofino Bay?
There are 750 guest rooms including 45 suites at the Portofino Bay hotel. The have all the features which you would expect in a hotel of this high standard including flat screen TV,3 telephones, internet access (for a $9.95 daily fee), and turn down service.
The rooms are very tastefully decorated. You will find plush furnishings,Egyptian cotton sheets and plush comforters.
Some of the rooms have balconies. The Garden View and Bay view rooms are a generous 450 square feet. Deluxe rooms and Club Level Deluxe rooms are 490 square feet. The views from the deluxe rooms are of the villa pool or beach pool.
Want even more room for you and the kids. The Portofino Bay is a very child friendly resort. It has some Kids Suites which are 650 square feet and have 2 rooms. One room has a King sized bed and the other has 2 twins for the children. Another nice touch is that the kids room does not have access to the outside corridor.
The One and Two Bedroom Suites are also a good option. These give you 900 or 1350 square feet of space with a separate parlor.
A Villa Suite has a view of the Bay and either One or Two Bedrooms with 1110 or 1600 square feet of space.
The Hospitality Suites have a very large parlor at 920 square feet so are designed for guests needing meeting space. They are available in One or Two Bedrooms and have a choice of Villa Piazza or Garden views.
Where money really is no object then opt for either the Governatore Suite at 2755 square feet or the Presidente Suite. You do get a Bay view and your own private terrace of course.
Universal Portofino Amenities
There are 3 swimming pools at the Universal Portofino. The Beach Pool is the largest and perhaps the most fun. This is the place to take the kids. Just as you would imagine from the name there is a beach at one side with pristine white sand. There is a replica of an old lighthouse which stands on the Italian Portofino Coast. This area is going to be a favorite with the children as it has a water slide hidden in it! You will also find spa pools,a children's play area and a wading pool. The poolside bar serves great drinks and snacks. The only downside of this pool is it's popularity. It can get pretty noisy.
If you want to escape to have a little more peace quiet then head to the Villa Pool. The best way to describe this is elegant and relaxing. If you want to spring the $100 a day fee you can even have your own poolside cabana. There is pool side service for snacks and drinks. Just the place to relax.
For even more seclusion then try the Hillside Pool. It is the smallest of the pools but is usually the quietest too.
The Universal Portofino Mandarin Spa has everything you would expect from a top class hotel. A full service spa you can treat yourself to a day of treatment of just a manicure. Another fabulous way to relax and treat yourself at the Portofino Bay.
So you may have overindulged slightly on the great food here but there is no excuse not to keep up with your fitness regime. This does have a additional daily charge unless you are a spa customer, staying on a Club Level floor, or a Loews First member.
Photo Credit Kellyv
Photo Credit L.Sloan
Camp Portofino Bay
There is an excellent kids club at the Universal Portofino. So if you need a break once in a while this is a great choice.
It is very much a hotel for families whilst still allowing adults some time to themselves. From the Kids Suites, to kids menus,Fisher Price welcome gifts and a lending library of toys and games Loews really does cater to all members of the family.
Camp Portofino has supervised daily activities for children aged 4 to 12. There are also evening programs which allow the parents to have some alone time too. Hours vary by season.
Universal Portofino Bay Hotel
Universal Portofino Bay Dining
Even if you are not staying at the Portofino then it is a great idea to try out some of the dining options here. But you will have to like Italian dining. This is meant to be Portofino Bay after all!
Bice is the hotel's fine dining restaurant. Located on the third floor overlooking the Bay this is part of the gourmet chain which has restaurants all over the world. Bice was founded in 1926 in Milan. Expect high quality traditional Italian dishes with prices to match.
The Thirsty Fish Bar
Casual dining every evening from 6pm. Located on the beautiful Portofino Bay this is more a Bar than restaurant but it does serve some snacks. A good place to pass away the time and even do some people watching.
Trattoria del Porto
This casual dining establishment is open all day from breakfast lunch and dinner. This is my favorite of all the Universal Portofino restaurants. I particularly like the outside tables and have spent many happy hours whiling away some time. There is a very good breakfast buffet. For lunch there is soup,salad, sandwiches and pizza. Dinner options include pastas and panini. A particularly good value is the Friday and Saturday buffet.
Mama Della's Restaorante
Another traditional Italian favorite on the piazzza. Located right next to Trattoria Del Porto this is another great dining option. Homely Italian decor with some outside seating tempt evening diners. Traditional rustic Italian favorites are the specialty here - and at reasonable prices.
Sal's Market Deli
If you want to pick up a quick bite this is the place. Serving pizza and sandwiches and other deli items. This is a great place for coffee too. You can grab an espresso or cappuccino here and sit back and pretend that you are really on the Riviera.
Photo credit Joe Shiabotnik