Portofino bay or Hard Rock hotel?

Discussion in 'Universal Orlando Resorts & Hotels' started by Dean1972, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Dean1972

    Dean1972 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2012
    Hey, planning my first trip to Orlando to visit WDW & Universal Studios from Australia
    My wife & I ( no kids ) but young @ heart will be staying for 4 nights @ universal property
    Any suggestions on the Portofino vs the Hard Rock?
  2. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    You can't go wrong with either of them, but truthfully if it is just you and your wife I would go with Portofino.While there are still plenty of families at Portofino, there seemed to be less than at Royal Pacific or Hard Rock ( Hard Rock pool was packed with kids when we went there- but you can pool hop to any of the onsite pools).Portofino also has a very romantic Italian theme to it.
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  4. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    pbh rooms are usually larger than the ones at hrh in case you have room size as a priority.

    hrh is closer to the parks than pbh if you are walking.
  5. dvcdisney

    dvcdisney DIS Veteran

    Jan 7, 2008
    Our family stayed for 7 nights at Portofino a year ago and we loved it. The kids LOVED the pool. We didn't even consider pool hopping. We spent most afternoons at the resort. It was very quiet, which we preferred. However, we did go in August and the heat made the walk a little uncomfortable. We did use the boat a couple of times.

    Now that we're only staying for 4 nights, we decided to stay at HRH since it's much closer and we probably wouldn't be able to enjoy the resort as much. I don't think it will be like the Portofino Bay, but I think we'll have a great time at the pool as well. And I think we'll just have to expect it to not be as quiet.
  6. kingken

    kingken LOVEFLORIDA

    May 5, 2011
    stayed at HRH august, very nice hotel but looking a bit tired and can be noisey, pool was always packed with the kids, easy walk or boat ride to citywalk, i believe PBH is jst a couple minutes longer but much quieter the HRH
  7. heidijanesmith

    heidijanesmith DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2010
    We stayed at PBH July 2010 and HHR Aug 2012

    Pros PBH:
    1-very nice big rooms
    2-Large pool, not crowded at all
    3-lovely theme
    4-very quiet, even in the busy summer season

    Cons PBH:
    1- our room was far from the pool, lobby and boat launch
    2-too far to walk for us on a hot, humid summer day. Boats were often full, 2 deep. We used rickshaws everyday (very convenient but they work on tips and the extra cost added up over 3days x4 times a day x4 people)
    3-had bad experience with unfriendly unhelpful staff, I am sure this is not the norm, just our experience
    4-not great food options for us, ate at City Walk often

    HHR pros:
    1-very close to the parks, I timed my walk from the Pool exit to US 3.5 minutes
    2-Great food options
    3-room was very close to elevator, pool and lobby
    4-great experiences with staff
    5-fun, cool hip vib. Loved all of the rock and roll memorabilia
    6- my teens were in heaven, much more teen friendly

    HHR cons:
    1-pool very, very busy. Could not find a chair to sit on, more less shade. I would rent a cabana if we were spending a lot of time at the pool
    2-small bathrooms, for a family of 4. Seemed like our stuff everywhere

    We liked HHR better than PBH as it was so much closer to the parks. We take a break every day and it was so much easier to walk to and from HHR. My teens loved HHR.

    Either way you go, staying on site is so worth it. The unlimited express pass was amazing and the hour early into WWoHP makes touring so much easier.
  8. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    i totally agree with all the replies to your question.

    hrh is the smallest hotel onsite.
    it has way less rooms than the other two hotels.

    op, what are your priorities in a hotel?
    eateries on the hotel grounds?
    room size?
    lobby or other sitting areas outside of your room?
    the hotel grounds?
    quietness of the building?
    distance to the parks or city walk?
    room costs?

    if you could return and list priorities, you might receive more replies.

    there are some differences betwen hrh and pbh.
    if you plan to spend time in your room or at the hotel, you might want a hotel that offers more room.

    no matter which hotel you pick, you will have a fabulous time at the darkside.
  9. Dean1972

    Dean1972 Mouseketeer

    Aug 24, 2012
    Many thanks to all for your opinions. I don't mind a bit f a walk to the parks.

    Are we talking 10 mins from Portofino? Or much further ?
    We would prefer the quieter of the resorts ( less kids ) & are happy to dine @ City Walk if that is where the best restaurants are?
    We do want to try Emeril's @ city walk tho. Price of rooms are not an option ( especially when compared to Disney prices which are much $$$)
  10. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Apr 21, 2003
    suggest you look at www.universalorlando.com and check out the hotels.
    also the www.loewshotels.com website for their orlando hotels.
  11. MarkMichaels

    MarkMichaels Mouseketeer

    Jan 17, 2001
    If room price isn't an issue, I'd suggest staying club. My family loves it when we splurge for club level, especially at the HRH. We'll grab breakfast and late afternoon appetizers at the club and have a really nice lunch in the parks or City Walk.

    As far as the hotels go, we love HRH or PBH, but I'd tip my hat to the HRH. Its a 12-15 minute walk from PBH, (make sure to find the shortcut thru the HRH parking lot) which isn't bad, but after a long day in the parks, it makes a difference.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either, PBH staff has always been the absolute best staff I could imagine,rooms are great, pools are fantastic, tough to find a complaint.

    Sometimes the laid back attitude at HRH gets on my nerves, but normally we have the same great service we get at PBH. Bottom line, stay at either, you'll love it!

  12. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    Some people can walk it in that; we couldn't. But we've lost a bit of weight since our last Universal visit, and I bet we'll be able to walk faster now, so I think that was behind our slowness compared to other people.

    We LOVE Portofino, but there are kids there. If we're there, our son is, and there are other kids as well. Evenings in the "piazza" can involve kids running around and being silly, for instance. :) We love the food from Sal's, though 2/3 of our experiences there have been extremely marred by them forgetting about us. In the future we'll dine IN the restaurant, not have it to go, and hopefully that will solve the problem.

    When DS and I pool-hopped to HRH, even though there were lots of kids there, I still *felt* like it was an adult vibe. I wasn't the biggest fan of the pool there, since it is SO shallow you can't swim properly. The slide is good, though, DS absolutely loved it. And the place was packed, even during a slower time (I think it was a September when we went, though we've also been in Feb, and I just can't totally remember when we hopped to HRH's pool)

    If it were just me and DH, we would probably choose RPR or Portofino. Having extra space in the room isn't as important with just the two of us, so we might actually go with Royal Pacific and do Club level for fun. Portofino would be second on the list, though.
  13. keishashadow

    keishashadow Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!

    Dec 30, 2004
    imo Portofino is the quietest overall onsite resort and the most elegant of the three:thumbsup2. When you make the bend and the boat approaches the hotel it's hard to believe you've left a theme park area 5 minutes ago via the boat launch.

    The main pool does get lively in the afternoon hours, the villa pool not so much. I've never walked over to the much smaller hillside pool but told it's very sedate.

    The restaurants at Portofino are among the best. Make sure to try Mythos in IOA. The risotto and french onion soup are very good.;)

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