Take a look at the best kid-friendly hotels in Universal Orlando.
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).
Popular with families visiting the Universal Studios theme parks, Loews Royal Pacific Resort is a 1,000-room, four-pearl resort with a Pacific Island/Balinese theme. Modern rooms here range from Standard units to Suites, and some have kid-pleasing decor themes such as Jurassic Park. As one might expect from a theme park resort, most of the amenities here are geared toward families, from the huge lagoon pool to the busy kids' club. However, there are also plenty of restaurants with food that adults will enjoy (think sushi and sashimi), plus a business center and lots of meeting space. Visitors may want to compare rates and amenities at one of the other Universal hotels, such as Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, which has an on-site spa.
An amusement park in itself, this enormous, 1800-room upper-middle-range property is inside of Universal Orlando and within easy walking distance of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Rooms are
decked out in zany colors and there are plenty of family-friendly suites with wet bars. With an enormous pool area equipped with waterslides, plus a bowling alley, arcade, and early admission to Universal, the hotel is geared toward families, much more so than the neighboring sister property Loews Royal Pacific
Resort. Although it has a couple of bar areas and large fitness center,
business guests and adults without children might find Cabana Bay a little loud and kitschy.
Modeled after the real Portofino Bay on the Italian Riviera, this 750-room Loews hotel has nightly singers in the piazza, great Italian restaurants, and a waterslide that resembles a Roman aqueduct. It's the most expensive of Universal's four resorts, but that's because of its bigger, more beautiful rooms, gorgeous spa, and three pools, including two quieter ones for couples.
Bright rooms (renovated in 2009) are the highlight at this otherwise unremarkable 742-room Doubletree across from Universal Studios. The courtyard pool is small; the service is bare bones; and Uno Pizza Express is the best on-site dining available. It's fine if all you want is a fresh, clean, and fairly inexpensive place to sleep -- and it has some decent business amenities -- but leisure travelers can do better elsewhere.
The Best Western Plus
Universal Inn is a chain hotel with 70 rooms in a convenient location within
walking distance to Universal Studios. There are a small fitness center and an
outdoor pool, and the free breakfast includes hot and cold items, though the breakfast
area is small. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the nearby theme park, but it
has a limited schedule. Guest rooms are clean, and come with flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges. Families looking for more amenities may want to check out SUNSOL International Drive, which has a big outdoor pool and splash park and a staff fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
The large, moderately priced Holiday Inn & Suites Across From Universal Orlando is an adequate and value-priced base of operations for families with theme parks on the agenda. The 256 rooms and suites all feature coffeemakers and safes; Full Rooms add microwaves and mini-fridges and suites have kitchenettes. A pool and mini splash park for kids and an on-site TGI Fridays where kids under 12 can eat for free make this a good pick for families. Alternatively, guests may want to check out the similarly priced Cabana Bay Beach Resort on site at Universal, which offers retro style and tons of fun family activities, including a bowling alley.