Free water taxi or shuttle to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk
Children's pool, plus Camp Lil' Rock kids' club for ages 4 to 14 (fee)
Game room with air hockey, Guitar Hero, arcade games
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Smoke-free property (a con for some)
Pet-friendly (for a fee)
Fee for valet and self-parking
Daily resort fee
The 650-room upscale Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort is a fun, funky, rock-and-roll-themed hotel that offers priority access to the Universal theme parks. Designed to give guests the "rock-star feeling," there are tons of kid-friendly activities, including a kids' club, arcade, and children's pool. For adults, there are a huge resort-style pool, extensive fitness center, and a Fender guitar lending library. Guest rooms are big, spotless, and contemporary, with lots of extras and modern bathrooms. The nearby Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando is a touch more luxurious (and expensive).
Busy, fun, and edgy -- delivers the full "rock star" experience
The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort embraces the rock-and-roll theme and works to give guests the "rock star experience." A stay at the Hard Rock is like a visit to a music museum. The hallways and common spaces are adorned with cool rock memorabilia, and the hotel's most unusual service is it's Fender guitar lending library -- guests can pick from a detailed guitar menu, and an instrument will be delivered to their rooms.
The lobby sparks with energy, thanks to the vibrant design with its rich purples, greens, and other bright colors, with metallic accents, and rock-music-themed sculptures and fountains. The costumed characters wandering the premises are likely to thrill young children, and the kids' check-in gift gives them a fun surprise. The vibe is busy and energetic, with music and contests held by the pool, all-day snacks in the lobby, a wide variety of food and drink choices including an ice-cream shop, and, of course, easy access and perks at the Universal parks. Even the meeting rooms are funky, done in edgy black, white, and red, and hung with black-and-white portraits of great musicians. The Hard Rock is a fun family destination, with enough verve to satisfy grown-ups, even those without children in tow.
The closest hotel to Universal Studios, in a safe, pristine neighborhood
The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort is ideally located for visiting Universal Studios theme park; there's no closer hotel in the area. The hotel runs free water taxis and shuttle buses to the park, as well as to the Islands of Adventure and CityWalk, but the parks are also within about a 15-minute walk. Easy to reach from the main road, the Hard Rock is in a safe, well-lit area with clean, wide streets. There is a golf course two miles away. The Orlando Premium Outlets are nine minutes from the hotel by car, and SeaWorld is an 11-minute drive from the property. Orlando International Airport is about a 40-minute drive from the hotel.
Funky and luxe, with music-themed decor and adorable kids' suites
The 650 rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort come in a variety of sizes and categories, but all are spacious, with lots of little touches that make a stay here special. Standard Rooms have limited views; others have garden or pool views. Aside from this, all the rooms are bright and fun, with huge headboards, good-looking wall-to-wall carpeting, and funky accents like graphic throw pillows, gingham curtains, and rock-and-roll-themed artwork such as sculptures made from colorful drumsticks. The colors are contemporary: grays, whites, and blacks with cotton-candy pink chairs.
Even the bathroom mirrors are fun, with ladders of rock star heights against which guests can measure themselves. There are real wine glasses and coffee cups to use with the Keurig coffeemakers, another thoughtful touch. Playful kids' suites are available, with adorable character beds and other toys. Bathrooms are modern, with shower/tub combos. All rooms include 32-inch flat-screen TVs with pay movies, iPod docks, in wall safes, and toiletries. Connecting rooms are available upon request.
Theme park perks, resort-style pool with cabanas, ice-cream parlor, and guitar menu
The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando's offers a variety of perks, including express-line privileges at the Universal theme parks, priority restaurant seating, and early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The hotel runs free water taxis and shuttle buses to the Universal parks, as well as to SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Wet n' Wild. Golfers may participate in the Golf Universal Orlando Program, which offers preferred tee times at guests' choice of courses.
The resort's 12,000-square-foot pool is surrounded by sand and equipped with an underwater sound system and a long waterslide, with a nearby beach volleyball court. The poolside beach club features a pool table, bar, and private music-themed cabanas with waiter service and flat-screen TVs (fee). Dive-In movies are screened at the pool in the evenings for guests of all ages. There's a children's pool and kids' club, Camp Lil' Rock, for children ages 4 through 14. The hotel's special Character Breakfast is fun for kids, who get to have pancakes (or whatever) with their favorite fictional creatures.
The hotel's restaurants include the Kitchen, which serves an American menu in a dedicated kids' dining area. The Palm is an outpost of the famous New York steakhouse, complete with celebrity caricatures on the walls. The sexy Velvet Bar is furnished with zebra-print chairs, plush fabrics, and gold and platinum records. Each month the bar hosts the well-known Velvet Sessions cocktail party, featuring specially themed cocktails and live music. The Hard Rock holds occasional Concert Nights, with either a DJ or live music, and, in the summertime, screens concert films by the pool. Emack & Bolio's Marketplace is an ice-cream shop with a gourmet sweets menu.
The Rock Shop sells musician-inspired clothes and souvenirs. The coolest and most distinctive feature at the Hard Rock is its Fender guitar menu, offering a choice of 20 instruments, which can be delivered to a guest room for the duration of one's stay. The Body Rock fitness center is a full-size gym with plenty of cardio machines (equipped with cardio theater), circuit training, and weight equipment. There are also walking and running trails on the grounds with measured loops for guests who like to keep track. In-room massages are available for soothing aching muscles or tired feet. Wi-Fi is free throughout. Over 6,000 square feet of event space and wedding services are all available.
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