By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Review: Standard Rooms at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

By Dave Shute


Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando 3Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is one of three deluxe hotels in the Universal Orlando resort. (The other two are the Royal Pacific, reviewed here, and the Hard Rock Hotel.)

Entry to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal OrlandoThis site’s Instructions for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter suggest that families wishing to visit Harry Potter that can afford it book a room at at one of the Universal hotels.

This is because the Universal hotels give terrific perks at Universal Orlando to hotel guests.

Most relevant to Harry Potter is that the Wizarding World opens to guests of these hotels one hour before it opens to the general public.

(If you are staying just one night, this is true both your day of check-in and your day of check-out.)

Main Pool at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal OrlandoThis makes it particularly easy to fit in both Ollivanders and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey without hours of waiting.

Another great perk is that Universal hotel guests can use their room key as the equivalent of a FASTPASS for many rides at any time.  This does not apply to the Forbidden Journey or Ollivanders--the only perk that applies to them is the early entry.

Lobby Lounge at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal OrlandoAll three hotels are nice, convenient to both parks at Universal Orlando, and expensive. Loews Portofino Bay is the most gorgeous (and expensive) of them, but its village theme will go over the head of most kids.

We had the chance to stay at Portofino Bay in early March. Our stay wasn’t long enough for a full review of the hotel and all its services, so this is really just a review of our room (though as you’ll note there’s photos of the rest of the place above).


Bed Side from Window at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoWe stayed in a standard room–the most common type among Portofino Bay’s 750 rooms.

The website for this hotel claims that standard rooms have 450 square feet.  I got almost 10% less square feet than that…but have chosen not to contest the 450 square feet claim…

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Standard Room Floor PlanThe room has a fairly standard layout, other than some odd use of space in the bath, and a nicely designed desk that does double duty as a table.  See the image.

Entry Table at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal OrlandoThe entry includes a small table with a coffee maker, glassware and ice bucket, and various material about Universal Orlando and Loews.

Hall and Closet at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoFurther along this entry hall there’s a good sized closet–the closet doors are to the left of the image–and a bath on the right.

Closet at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoThe closet is good sized, and unlike standard deluxe rooms at Walt Disney, comes with robes. (Note to the sharp-eyed reader: I swear this photo is focused on something--I’m just not sure what…)

Bath at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoThe  bath is quite large, but–as you can see in  the floor plan above, does not well-use the space it has in the corner.

Tub at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoThe tub, about 5′ long, is standard -sized, but seems a bit small for the square footage available.

Bed Side at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoPast the entry hall you’ll find two queens and an easy chair on one side of the room…

Desk at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando…and on the other side a desk with chairs that also works as a table, and an object that combines a dresser, TV, and mini-bar.

Minibar at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoThere’s no regular fridge in the room, just the mini-bar.

View out of my window at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal OrlandoThese standard rooms come in two views: Garden and Bay.  Our room was a Garden View room, and the image shows the view out of our window.

These rooms overall are spacious and well-appointed.  But they have no real distinctiveness for either kids or adults, and could be anywhere, at any convention hotel.

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1 Alex { 07.10.13 at 5:49 pm }

I decided after reading all your great suggestions to stay a few nights onsite on my visit to Universal. This is our 10th anniversary trip and it will be just my husband and I. My questions is would you suggest Royal Pacific or Portofino Bay for an adult only trip. We save $180 if we choose RP but I am debating if it worth the price difference to stay at Portofinos. Thanks

2 Dave { 07.11.13 at 8:42 am }

Alex, that’s a tough call. Portofino Bay is unquestionably lovelier, but I actually think the grounds of Royal Pacific are a little more romantic. If it were me and my lovely wife, I’d stay at RP and spend the money we saved on fine dining…

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3 Alex { 07.11.13 at 1:51 pm }

Thank you so much Dave. I am really grateful for your advise. As per your suggestion, we will go to Royal Pacific and save the money for a nice dinner out. I have to tell you that I have been following your site for a few years now and I always use it to plan out my WDW trips. You have never steered me in the wrong directions. So I wonèt start now;)

4 Dave { 07.12.13 at 8:58 am }

Great Alex! Take a look at both while you are there, and let me know when you are back if you agree with my call, or would have preferred Portofino…

5 Hillary { 01.20.14 at 12:11 pm }

We will be staying here for a conference, but we also wanted to fit in some time at the Disney parks as well as doing Universal. Do you have any tips or suggestions for doing both sites at this hotel? We’re worried about how we will get to Disney from this hotel.

6 Dave { 01.21.14 at 7:53 am }

Hillary, the simple way is via cabs. You can get cabs from Portofino Bay, and the Disney parks have cabstands for when you are done. Next best is renting a car…

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