The Best Universal Orlando Resort Hotel 2023: Complete Pros and Cons Guide


The Best Universal Orlando Resort Hotel 2023: Complete Pros and Cons Guide

This is your complete guide to the Best Universal Studios hotel 2023. Your family has made the big (and exciting!) decision to have a Universal vacation and now it’s time to find the best Universal Studios Resort Hotels to accommodate your best vacation ever. While we like to say every Universal Studios’ hotel is the best Universal Studios Resort hotel, we know that every family and every visitor has different preferences and needs.

So, whether you’re looking to stay at the best Universal Orlando hotel, like Portofino Bay, which offers a Free Express Pass for every guest, or Cabana Bay, which is within walking distance to Volcano Bay – we’ve got you covered! We’re also experts at staying at hotels on Universal property, as we are Passholders and have stayed at every single one!

We hope you find this post helpful in searching for the best Universal Orlando resort! No matter whether you’re looking for the best universal hotel for families, the best universal hotel for adults or a Universal hotel that will meet both criteria. There is something for every family at Universal Orlando.

We hope you find this post helpful! Our goal at The Park Prodigy has always been to help you save time and money on your next Universal Orlando vacation!  If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando be sure to check out the latest deals on all of our Universal Orlando vacation packages

So if you’re ready to learn more about all of the amazing Universal Studios Resort Hotels read on!

SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re looking for the best time to book a Universal Orlando vacation be sure to check out our crowd calendar below!  

Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar

What are the Best Universal Orlando Hotels in 2023?


The very best hotels near Universal Studios Orlando resort happen to be the ones that exist right on property, which are called on-site hotels. We happen to think that the 8 on-site hotels are the best hotels in Universal Orlando, and we’re here to give you information on all of them! So, we hope with our guide you can find the very best hotels in Universal Studios Orlando for your next vacation.

Universal Orlando breaks its resorts into four different categories. Let’s take a quick peek to see where the current eight Universal resorts fall in those categories. Guests looking to get an idea of the current prices to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel can check them out on our Universal Orlando vacation package page! 

What are the Best Universal Studios Resort Hotel Categories 2023?

  • Premier (Universal Deluxe Hotels): Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • Preferred: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
  • Prime Value: Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Aventura Hotel
  • Value: Endless Summer Resort’s two constituent hotels- Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites

Related post: Guide to Hotels Near Universal Studios Orlando with Free Shuttle

Ranking The Universal Orlando Hotels

  1. Loews Portofino Bay Resort
  2. Hard Rock Resort
  3. Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  4. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
  5. Universal Aventura Resort
  6. Universal Cabana Bay Resort
  7. Universal Endless Summer Resort

As you can see, we are big fans of the Premier hotels and think they are the best Universal hotels for 2023. We love that you get incredible perks at these best hotels at Universal, which we are going to talk about next.

Related Page: Best Universal Hotels Within Walking Distance

What are the Perks of Staying at the Best On-site Universal Studios Hotels?


Before we break down the best reasons to stay at each of these resorts, let’s look at some important perks that apply to all of the Universal on-site hotels. And there’s a LOT of perks to even the most affordable Universal Resort. Typically, we’ve found that onsite hotels at Universal tend to be a little bit more expensive than staying at surrounding hotels.

We find that to be okay because the amenities at the best hotels at Universal Orlando to make it worth it. There is nothing like Early Park Admission and free transportation around the Universal parks.

What are the Benefits of Staying Onsite at Universal Orlando 2023?

  • Early Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay (get in before all other guests to avoid long lines!)
  • Transportation to all three parks and CityWalk, which are also in walking distance
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card and delivery of merchandise purchased
  • Character appearances
  • Non-smoking rooms with flat-screen TVs, hairdryers, safes, irons and ironing boards and coffee makers
  • Free basic Wi-Fi
  • Heated, themed pools with lifeguards on duty
  • Game room
  • Fitness center
  • Laundry services
  • Supervised children’s activities

Which Universal Studios Resort Hotels Include Free Universal Express Passes in 2023?

  • Hard Rock Hotel
  • Loews Portofino Bay Resort
  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Another common question we receive is, which Universal Orlando Resort hotel offers free express passes? And, there are three Universal Orlando hotels as of 2022 which still include the Unlimited Universal express passes for free. Those hotels are the Hard Rock, Loews Portofino Bay Resort, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Which is the Best Universal Orlando Hotel With Free Express Passes?

From our experience helping our clients book discount Universal vacation packages Loews Royal Pacific Resort stands out as the best Universal Orlando hotel offering free Express Passes. The main reason being it is typically the cheapest of the three Universal Orlando premiere hotels. In addition to the price value that it provides, Loews Royal Pacific Resort provides a range of exceptional amenities, such as a lagoon-style pool, various dining options, and convenient water taxi transportation to the theme parks.

Benefits of Booking Through Through The Park Prodigy!

  • Free concierge service to take care of every aspect of your trip including dining reservations
  • Always save vs booking directly with Universal
  • Free daily park plans to save even more time in the parks
  • We are Universal experts committed to helping you plan an amazing family vacation

The best part is right now The Park Prodigy is running a promotion for anyone who books a 2 night or more Universal Orlando vacation package for anytime in 2023! Simply check out all available hotels on our Universal Studios Resort Hotel package page and use promo code Magic50 at checkout for an additional $50.00 off our discounted packages!

Related Page: Discount Universal Orlando Vacation Packages

Value Resorts – Best Universal Studios Resort Hotels 2023


As you can see, these Universal onsite hotel benefits are pretty spectacular in and of themselves! Now, let’s help you determine the best Universal hotel for you by looking at each resort separately. Because we truly see the benefits of each resort, we’re going to review them from least expensive to most expensive and let you decide which is the best resort at Universal Studios for you.

Universal has two brand-new hotels to choose from when comparing the best value resorts in Orlando!

What are the Best Universal Orlando Value Resorts 2023? 

  • Endless Summer Resort Surfside Inn and Suites
  • Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites

Surfside Inn and Suites

Surfside Inn and Suites is the smaller of the two sister resorts and we love its look! This resort is decorated in with a laid-back beachside vibe and plenty of surfboards for a photo-op. Surfside Inn and Suites is perfect for the family on a budget! With bright, open rooms starting at only $96 a night (and family suites starting at $136 a night), you’ll be able to spend your money on other things – like wands from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or an extra night stay or two.

This resort, considered one of the best hotels near Universal Orlando, is located away from the parks on the other side of Interstate 4. A quick bus ride will take families to the hub of CityWalk for access to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, making it one of the best Universal Studios hotels. Another bus will take guests directly to Volcano Bay. Dining here is quick and easy with a food court, pizza delivery, and coffee/pool bars. For non-park fun, dive into the surfboard-shaped pool, play a few games in the game room, or work out in the fitness area. If you’re looking for the best place to stay near Universal Orlando, this resort offers convenient access and enjoyable amenities.

What are the restaurants at Surfside Inn and Suite?

  • Beach Break Cafe 
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Sand Bar 
  • Starbucks 

Dockside Inn and Suites

Dockside Inn and Suites is the larger of the two value resorts, boasting more than 1,500 rooms! Like Surfside Inn, its rooms are value priced to make sure you get the best deal for your dollar. There are many different room options for whatever your party needs are. Prices range from $91 for a standard double queen room to $147 for a double queen suite with a pool view.

Inspired by sand, sea and beautiful sunsets, this resort will make any family feel like they’re staying in at a coastal hotel that has a theme park across the street!

Amenities include a pool and splash area for the kids, with a beach bar and lounge for the adults wanting to unwind.

What are the dining options at Dockside Inn and Suites?

  • Pier 8 Market
  • Sunset Lounge
  • Pizza Delivery
  • The Oasis Beach Bar
  • Starbucks

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Dockside Inn and Suites 

Want to see a review of Universal Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites? Be sure to check out our complete room review to one of the best value resorts at Universal below!

If you’re looking for the best hotels in universal studios Orlando for travelers on a budget (or travelers who only need a place to sleep after being in the parks all day), either one of these will fit those requirements.

Prime Value Resorts – Best Hotels on Universal Property 2023


Universal has two fan favorites to choose from when comparing the best prime-value resorts for your next Orlando vacation!

What are the Best Prime Value Resorts on Universal Property 2023?

  • Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  • Aventura Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort


Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a favorite among many with its incredible theming and great pricing. It won’t take you long to feel like you just stepped back in time to the glory days of the 50s and 60s. Everywhere you look, you’ll see retro and iconic amenities and décor brought into modern-day conveniences. Here, standard rooms start at $140 a night (or $172 for a family suite), and are decorated to look like classic resorts from another time, but with modern amenities such as plenty of USB ports and flat-screen TVs.

This resort, known as one of the best resorts at Universal Orlando, has a lot of great food options, too. From a classic diner to bar and grill as well as a lounge, you’re sure to be able to belly up to some good, hearty delicious food. If you’re looking for a fun stay-at-the-resort day, you’ll love either soaking it all up outside at the Cabana Pool and Lazy River in a rented cabana, or lacing up your bowling shoes for a fun round of bowling inside. As one of the best Universal Orlando hotels, this resort offers a perfect blend of dining and entertainment options for a memorable vacation experience

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Dining Options:

  • Bayliner Diner
  • Delizioso Pizza
  • The Hideaway Bar & Grille
  • Atomic Tonic
  • Galaxy Bowl Restaurant
  • Swizzle Lounge
  • Starbucks

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Aventura Resort


Aventura Resort is one of Universal’s newer resorts. This stylish and modern resort is a favorite for couples and families on a budget. Of all of the Universal Studios onsite resorts, this one boasts clean and simple décor, meant to help you just chill out and relax while taking a break from the parks. Its rooms provide amazing sweeping views of all three parks and provide plenty of room to move around. Starting at just $140 a night, it fits into most budgets. It also has a fun kids suite with bunk beds starting at $232 a night and what kid wouldn’t love sleeping in a bunk bed while on vacation?

“The “high” light of this resort, recognized as one of the best Universal Studio hotels, is its spectacular rooftop bistro. This unique dining experience offers commanding views of all three parks, allowing guests to take in the breathtaking scenery while enjoying gourmet cuisine. Whether you’re watching the sunset over the parks or gazing at the twinkling lights at night, the rooftop bistro provides an unforgettable ambiance that sets this resort apart as one of the best Universal resorts.

Aventura Resort Dining Options:

  • Bar 17 Bistro
  • Urban Pantry
  • barVentura
  • Bar Sol
  • Starbucks

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Aventura Resort

Preferred Resort – Best Universal Studios Resort Hotels 2023

What is the Best Preferred Resort on Universal Property 2023? 

  • Loews Sapphire Falls Resort 

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort


Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is a great mid-range resort offering a few extra amenities while not breaking the bank. Inspired by the islands, you’ll find yourself walking by waterfalls and palm trees while listening to steel drums as your stroll around. You’ll feel like you’re at an island paradise. Rooms start at $210 a night.

One of the great perks of Loews Sapphire Falls Resorts, considered one of the best hotels at Universal Orlando, is the water-taxi available to and from CityWalk. This convenient transportation option adds to the resort’s appeal, making it a top choice for those seeking the best hotel at Universal Studios. In addition to the water-taxi, this resort also has incredible food options, including the well-reviewed and fan-favorite, Strong Water Tavern.

Whether you’re a food connoisseur or simply looking for a satisfying meal, the dining experience here adds to its reputation as one of the best hotels in Universal Orlando. Hang out at the tavern while the kids enjoy the 16,000 square foot pool with sand beaches, a water slide, and a children’s play area. With these amenities, Loews Sapphire Falls stands out as a premier destination for families and travelers seeking the best hotel experience near Universal Studios.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Dining Options:

  • Amatista Cookhouse
  • Strong Water Tavern
  • New Dutch Trading Co
  • Drhum Club Kantine
  • Room Service

With it’s reasonable price and fun amenities, many families consider this the best hotel to stay at in Universal Studios Orlando for families.

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Premier Resorts – Best Universal Studios Resort Hotels 2023


Before we dive into each resort that falls in the Universal deluxe hotels category, let’s talk about the main reason your travel party may want to reserve your perfect vacation stay at one of these resorts. Guests who stay at these premier resorts receive two incredible perks that other resorts’ guests do not receive with their stay.

Benefits of the Best Premier Universal Studios Resort Hotels

  1. Free Universal Express Unlimited Ride Passes for Each Guest – The Universal Express Unlimited Pass allows guests access to skip the ride lines for most rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and can cost around $100 per person per day. If you have a larger party and especially if you are visiting during a high peak time, this benefit alone can make it worth the higher price of a room.
  2. Priority Seating – Enjoy this perk at select restaurants and first-available seating at others. If there are popular restaurants that are a must-do on your vacation, this perk will help you get in the door and seated.

Now that you know that incredible information, let’s look at each premier resort choice.

What are the Premier hotels at Universal Orlando Resort?

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • Hard Rock Hotel
  • Portofino Bay Hotel

Related post: Guide to the Best Luxury Hotel Near Universal Studios Orlando

Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Best Hotel at Universal Orlando


Loews Royal Pacific Resort is ready to take you away to a Polynesian paradise. It’s incredible lagoon-style pool is just one of the benefits of staying at Loews Royal Pacific. Whether you’re relaxing in your cabana with a tropical drink or playing in the interactive water area, you might actually forget about going to the parks. With kids camps and a torch lighting ceremony, there’s always something fun going on making it one of the best Universal Studios resort hotels. 

Rooms at this resort, recognized as one of the best hotels in Universal Orlando, start at $325 and have beautiful garden views. This competitive pricing and scenic accommodation make it a top choice for travelers seeking the best hotel Universal has to offer. When you’re ready to have a meal or enjoy a drink, you’ll find a wide array of options that further enhance its reputation as one of Universal Studios’ best hotels. From American fare to Pan Asian food and even a sushi bar, the culinary diversity caters to all tastes and preferences.

Whether you’re a food enthusiast or simply looking for a comfortable and luxurious stay, this resort stands out as a premier destination, solidifying its status as one of the best hotels in Universal Orlando.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort Dining:

  • Islands Dining Room
  • Jake’s American Bar
  • Orchid Court Lounge and Sushi Bar
  • Tuk Tuk Market
  • Bula Bar & Grille
  • Room Service

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort

The Hard Rock Hotel – Best Universal Hotels


The Hard Rock Hotel is definitely the most popular kid in his class. With its edgy, music-driven décor, anyone who’s anyone will want to stay at this resort. Where else in the world can you sit in the same love seat as John Lennon or see the booth where Elvis recorded his first song? Rooms are spacious and begin at $372 a night, not too bad for a rock star! As a guest, you can even request having a guitar sent to your room to jam the night away making it one of the best Universal Studios resort hotels. 

For families with tweens to young adults wondering which hotel at Universal Orlando is best, they might decide this one tops their list with music memorabilia on display throughout the resort as well as the ability to listen to music even when under the water in its 12,000 square foot pool.

What are the Hard Rock Hotel Dining Options?

  • The Kitchen
  • The Palm
  • Emack and Bolio’s Marketplace
  • Velvet Bar
  • Beachclub
  • Room Service

If you’re looking to book the Hard Rock resort be sure to take advantage of our current promotion for anyone who books a 2 night or more Universal Orlando vacation package for anytime in 2023! Simply check out all available hotels on our Universal Orlando package page and use promo code Magic50 at checkout for an additional $50.00 off our discounted pages!

Related Page: Discount Universal Orlando Vacation Packages

Loews Portofino Bay Resort – Best Hotel at Universal Studios 2023

Premier Hotel Universal Orlando Resort

Did we save the best for last? That’s up to you to decide! The Loews Portofino Bay Resort will definitely take your breath away. This expansive resort, designed to make you feel like you’ve traveled abroad to Portofino, Italy, with its outdoor cafes, cobblestone streets, and shops along the harbor, will charm its way into your heart. This resort has the most pools, the most restaurants and the most shopping venues so if you stay here, you’ll want to allot the time to explore all the different areas and amenities.

Rooms begin at $388 a night, with the ability to upgrade to Club Level or Suites. And these rooms are like no other. Standard rooms have 450 square feet making them some of the largest rooms on property and come with pillow-top beds. This resort is great for families seeking an upscale, luxury place to stay while on their Universal Studios Vacation.

Loews Portofino Bay Resort Dining:

  • Mama Della’s Ristorante
  • Bice Ristorante
  • Trattoria del Porto
  • Sal’s Market Deli
  • Splendido Bar & Grille
  • The Thirsty Fish
  • Gelateria
  • Starbucks
  • Room Service

Related Page: Check Out Pricing for the Loews Portofino Bay Resort

Pros & Cons of All Universal Resort Hotels 2023


Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Rates start at: $325.00
Transportation: Boat, Shuttle, walkway

  • Pros: In our opinion, guests receive the best amenities at this resort for its price point. For the same price as one of Disney’s Moderate Resorts, you have access to an enormous lagoon pool, a variety of restaurants, and free Universal Express Unlimited.
  • Cons: Due to its close proximity to Islands of Adventure, this resort can get quite noisy at night so this may not be the best option for those traveling with babies or young children.
  • What’s the vibe? An upscale Southern sea escape, with tropical wonders and a Polynesian paradise.

Universal’s Loews Portofino Bay Resort

Rates start at: $388.00 per night
Transportation: Boat, shuttle, walkway

  • Pros: This resort has the largest amount of guest rooms on both Disney and Universal property. Guests also receive the Universal Express Pass, which lets you skip the regular queue lines. The resort is massive with plenty of dining and entertainment options.
  • Cons: The restaurants are a bit pricier than you will find throughout most of the other resorts and even at Universals City Walk.
  • What’s the vibe? Romantic and picturesque relaxation in a the beautiful city of Portofino, Italy.

Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel

Rates start at: $372.00 per night
Transportation: Boat, shuttle, walkway

  • Pros: This resorts Rock n Roll theme makes it a great choice for those who love music. It is the only resort where you can actually listen to music while underwater at the pool! There is also supreme culinary establishments unlike any of the other Universal Orlando resorts.
  • Cons: This is one of the more lively resorts, so this is not the resort for you if you are looking for a more quiet and relaxing vacation.
  • What’s the vibe? Posh, rock n’ roll luxury with vibrant and exciting musical theming.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Rates start at: $210.00 per night
Transportation: Boat, shuttle, walkway

  • Pros: The resort is home to The Strong Water Tavern, a one of a kind restaurant. They offer a variety of rare vintage rums to make you feel completely immersed in the Caribbean vibe.
  • Cons: This resort does not include the complimentary Universal Express unlimited pass, which is included with the premier resorts.
  • What’s the vibe? Contemporary Caribbean with scenic views.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Rates start at: $140.00 per night
Transportation: Shuttle

  • Pros: An affordable, fun family resort with unique theming. This resort has its very own bowling alley, Galaxy Bowl!
  • Cons: Wait times for the shuttle can be extremely long depending on what time you leave the resort, so plan accordingly.
  • What’s the vibe? Vibrant retro, beach-y family fun

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Rates start at: $140.00 per night
Transportation: Shuttle

  • Pros: This resort has its own virtual reality game room, so it is a great option for those traveling with kids!
  • Cons: There is no Universal Express Pass offered. There is also not as many pools as other value resorts.
  • What’s the vibe? Modern, stylish and sleek with cool technology

Universals Endless Summer Resort 

Rates start at:$96.00 per night
Transportation: Shuttle

  • Pros: Very affordable pricing with incredible room designs
  • Cons: Farthest resort from the Universal Orlando Resort parks, which comes with a long shuttle wait.
  • What’s the vibe? Sand, sea and sunsets at an affordable price

We truly believe all Universal Studios on site hotels have great reasons that they may be the best Universal Resort hotel. If you’re still having trouble deciding which is best hotel to stay at Universal Orlando, let us know. We’d be happy to help you make the best choice for you!

Related post: 14 Hotels Within Walking Distance Of Universal Studios Orlando (30 Mins Or Less!)

Best Universal Resort Hotels 2023 FAQ


Q: What is the Most Luxurious Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando?

A: Another popular question we receive when trying to help families pick the best Universal hotel is, what is the most luxurious hotel at Universal Studios Orlando? We do find the Loews Portofino Bay resort to be the most luxurious hotel at Universal Orlando. With one of the main reasons to be the high end room, which are very modern and sleek. We also find as a general rule of thumb we would suggest that any hotel that offers the free Universal Express Passes will be considered the most luxurious.

You can also check out our complete guide to the best luxury hotels near Universal 2023.

Q: Which Hotel at Universal Orlando is Best?

A: The best hotel for Universal Orlando is Portofino Bay, which is their signature hotel. Of course, any hotel at Universal offers free transportation and Early Park Admission, but Portofino Bay has the nicest accommodations, amenities, recreation and offers a free express pass!

Q: Which Universal Studios Resort Hotels Include Fast Pass?

A: There are three on-site Universal Orlando hotels that offer complimentary Express Passes: Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Portofino Bay Hotel.

Q: What is the Cheapest Universal Studios Resort Hotels?

A: As of October of 2022, both of Universal’s Endless Summer Resorts – Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites – are the cheapest Universal Hotels. They both start at $91 per night.

Q: Which Universal Studios Resort Hotels are the Closest to the Parks?

A: All of the on-site resorts are super close, but Royal Pacific is the closest – at least to Islands of Adventure. The hotel actually offers rooms that look out directly to Islands of Adventure, and on average it takes less time to walk there from this specific resort.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Universal Orlando?

Our Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We breakdown the park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices by day, and average temperature.

Are You Ready to Plan Your Next Universal Orlando Trip?

If you’re ready to plan your trip to Universal Studios, be sure to check out our Universal Orlando Tickets! All guests who purchase their tickets from The Park Prodigy will get Early Park Admission to Universal Orlando! This could save you a ton of time in the parks and avoid buying express passes!

And to stay up to date on everything going on inside the theme parks be sure to check out our partners at!