PORTOFINO BAY HOTEL INFO...FAQ`s and more.......

jcvalenti

Wine Snob
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Just got back from a 5 Night stay at Portofino for our first "all Universal" trip. We've stayed at Portofino Bay before and enjoyed it, but this was our first stay in a Club Level room. We went Club Level because the cost increase at the time we booked was negligible. Let me say after this experience, I may never stay anywhere other than Club Level again at this hotel - what a wonderful experience. The staff was INCREDIBLY friendly and the space they have was very well designed and meticulously tidy. The food offerings, while not overwhelming, were all extremely well done (the menu posted just the other week was accurate during our stay). During cocktail hour, the wine they offered was head and shoulders above any other "house pour" I've had when traveling. Being able to stop by every day on the way into the park and grab some drinks and light snacks was a welcome benefit. Also, for you coffee fans, they had an incredibly fully-automatic machine that made all the basic coffee and milk drinks - so you can factor in that Starbucks habit into deciding whether Club Level is worth it to you. The last Disney club level stay I had was Polynesian in December 2017 - while we really enjoyed that, purely on the food and snacks, this club wins.

As far as the hotel itself, our room showed a little wear and tear, but was super clean. The massive bathroom eats up a lot of space, but overall the room was super spacious. We had a pretty great view of the Villa and Beach pools and once you learn the sprawling hotel layout, getting to and from the boat launch is simple. The housekeeping staff came daily (a welcome change from current Disney operations). Every single hotel employee we encountered was friendly and helpful. My favorite thing from this stay ? The Universal Hotel Concierge text number. I found myself texting basic questions all night long and always had a great response within a minute. One day we went to Volcano Bay and it took a LONG time for our bus to come - after 25 minutes I texted the number and they immediately went to work on finding out the problem and getting a new bus dispatched. Super helpful !

All in all a really good trip. Universal is not Disney, but that's not all bad. We had just been to Disney a month prior, so we really had a chance to compare and contrast this trip. There were a lot of things I noticed that Disney better be super worried about if anyone at the company cares about long term satisfaction anymore. Of the "new" rides, Hagrid's and Velocicoaster were both amazing - my wife and son both said Velocicoaster was more fun that anything new at Disney (and it went from announced to open in 1/4 of the time of Guardians. We also noticed Universal's bathrooms were impeccable - much cleaner than Disney's on the last couple trips. Planning the trip was also significantly less of a hassle - no park pass BS, no need to spring awake and pay extra for Genie+, no staring at my phone all day in the park. The "value" of Portofino Bay compared to any Disney Deluxe level resort is obvious - as nice (if not nicer) of a room, somewhere around 1/3 the rack rate price. Factor in that Express Pass perk and it's a no brainer - stay at Universal if you can.
 

hultrain

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Is there a way to do online check in or do you have to do it in person? If they do online check in, how do I access it? Is there an app or something?
 

iona

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Having a last minute panic… Is the mini fridge big enough for a bottle of wine or should we bring a bottle of red?
 

Tink Fans

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 9, 2002
Having a last minute panic… Is the mini fridge big enough for a bottle of wine or should we bring a bottle of red?
Yes!! They gave us a bottle of white wine and chocolate covered strawberries in the club lounge on our last night and it fit in fridge. ENJOY!!!
 

jf256

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
We have an amex fine hotel rate booked for march.
Anyone done this recently and give us a review - we are only doing the one night - hoping to get there around 7am from disney drop bags off and make use of early entry and passes and then check out at 4pm the day after and storing bags.
I think the deal is getting $100 dinner credit - how does this work?
 

jcvalenti

Wine Snob
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Having a last minute panic… Is the mini fridge big enough for a bottle of wine or should we bring a bottle of red?
The mini fridge doesn't get real cold though (not that you should drink most whites too cold). However, if you need to speed chill some white, just grab some salt packets, dump them in the ice bucket, fill with ice. Then wet a hand towel with the coldest water you can get from the sink, wring it out, wrap your bottle with it, and put it in the ice bucket covered with as much ice as possible. About 10 minutes later, rapid chilled white.

Sincerely, a guy who always forgets to chill white wine before the company comes over.
 

Minnie1222

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Can I still purchase annual passes or park tickets in the lobby? I may go to Universal in a few weeks. Thank you.
 

Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
We have an amex fine hotel rate booked for march.
Anyone done this recently and give us a review - we are only doing the one night - hoping to get there around 7am from disney drop bags off and make use of early entry and passes and then check out at 4pm the day after and storing bags.
I think the deal is getting $100 dinner credit - how does this work?
This is how we stayed at Portofino twice so far. AMEX Platinum card booked through AMEX fine resorts. The dinner credit is taken off your bill at the end of stay if you charge it to your room. If you charge it to your card it's credited back to the card. You also get breakfast for 2 every day including checkout day. It's so worth it. Made to order omelets and other breakfast items buffet style but they will cook to order also. You will also get a $200 statement credit. Best deal going right now. We arrive this Saturday for 7 nights. Can't wait!
 

PinkPixel

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
Just got back from a 5 Night stay at Portofino for our first "all Universal" trip. We've stayed at Portofino Bay before and enjoyed it, but this was our first stay in a Club Level room. We went Club Level because the cost increase at the time we booked was negligible. Let me say after this experience, I may never stay anywhere other than Club Level again at this hotel - what a wonderful experience. The staff was INCREDIBLY friendly and the space they have was very well designed and meticulously tidy. The food offerings, while not overwhelming, were all extremely well done (the menu posted just the other week was accurate during our stay). During cocktail hour, the wine they offered was head and shoulders above any other "house pour" I've had when traveling. Being able to stop by every day on the way into the park and grab some drinks and light snacks was a welcome benefit. Also, for you coffee fans, they had an incredibly fully-automatic machine that made all the basic coffee and milk drinks - so you can factor in that Starbucks habit into deciding whether Club Level is worth it to you. The last Disney club level stay I had was Polynesian in December 2017 - while we really enjoyed that, purely on the food and snacks, this club wins.

As far as the hotel itself, our room showed a little wear and tear, but was super clean. The massive bathroom eats up a lot of space, but overall the room was super spacious. We had a pretty great view of the Villa and Beach pools and once you learn the sprawling hotel layout, getting to and from the boat launch is simple. The housekeeping staff came daily (a welcome change from current Disney operations). Every single hotel employee we encountered was friendly and helpful. My favorite thing from this stay ? The Universal Hotel Concierge text number. I found myself texting basic questions all night long and always had a great response within a minute. One day we went to Volcano Bay and it took a LONG time for our bus to come - after 25 minutes I texted the number and they immediately went to work on finding out the problem and getting a new bus dispatched. Super helpful !

All in all a really good trip. Universal is not Disney, but that's not all bad. We had just been to Disney a month prior, so we really had a chance to compare and contrast this trip. There were a lot of things I noticed that Disney better be super worried about if anyone at the company cares about long term satisfaction anymore. Of the "new" rides, Hagrid's and Velocicoaster were both amazing - my wife and son both said Velocicoaster was more fun that anything new at Disney (and it went from announced to open in 1/4 of the time of Guardians. We also noticed Universal's bathrooms were impeccable - much cleaner than Disney's on the last couple trips. Planning the trip was also significantly less of a hassle - no park pass BS, no need to spring awake and pay extra for Genie+, no staring at my phone all day in the park. The "value" of Portofino Bay compared to any Disney Deluxe level resort is obvious - as nice (if not nicer) of a room, somewhere around 1/3 the rack rate price. Factor in that Express Pass perk and it's a no brainer - stay at Universal if you can.
What did you do besides Hagrids and velicoaster ? Curious thanks
 








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