Ranking the Best Universal Orlando Resorts | Universal Orlando

If you follow us, you know that we LOVE Universal Orlando.  We have stayed at (almost) all of the resorts and there is something that we love about all of them.  But, we definitely have our favorites (and good reasons for them).  In today’s post we are going to rank the BEST Universal Orlando Resorts (in our opinion) and reasons why!  So keep reading to find out which Universal Orlando Resort is the best!

We stayed at every Universal Resort (almost) just for this post!

This past summer we booked a night at Universal’s Aventura Hotels JUST because we wanted to say that we’ve stayed at EVERY Universal Orlando Resort.  But, then they opened Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn & Suites after we left.  They will also be opening the sister resort Dockside Inn & Suites in March of 2020.  So, basically we can’t say that anymore because I was too late to write this blog post.  However, we HAVE stayed at all of the MAJOR Universal Orlando Resorts so we have a lot of information to share with you anyway.  While we were at Aventura we were talking about how we would rank the best Universal Orlando Resorts and for the most part we were all on the same page.  So here it goes…

#5 & 6 (Tied for last place):  Hard Rock Hotel & Universal’s Aventura Hotel

It’s not that these are BAD resorts.  We truly think ALL of the resorts at Universal are great that we’ve stayed at.  But these two are tied for last place with the Lau’s.  Ryan said Hard Rock Hotel is his least favorite, Ashtyn said Universal’s Aventura Hotel was his least favorite, and I could have left them both.  These are two resorts at Universal that we have decided we wouldn’t stay at again for one reason or another.  Let me go a little more into our explanation as to why…

Hard Rock Hotel

The Hard Rock just wasn’t our cup of tea.  Ashtyn said that he liked the location of the resort so that’s why it wasn’t in last place for him (it’s VERY close to the parks).  However, we didn’t care for the theme there and it was more of a party type environment.  If you are into that type of thing (loud music, parties, and rock and roll decor) then you probably would like it!  If you’d like to check out our full review of this resort click HERE.

Hard Rock memorabilia
You can rent a guitar to play while staying at the Hard Rock.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Aventura wasn’t BAD, it just wasn’t GREAT.  It’s super modern and high tech which was cool.  Another plus is that it’s right outside of Volcano Bay!  But other than that we were kind of bored with it.  The pool area is very small and it sort of felt like a hospital almost because it was so sterile feeling.  I’d rather stay at another resort in the same price range that’s more fun and vibrant (we’ll get to that one later).  If you’d like to check out our full review of this resort click HERE.

Aventura lobby
The lobby reminded me of a hospital check in desk. But a little more fun.

#4 Loews Royal Pacific Resort

This resort is one of the best Universal Orlando resorts for value.  If you stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort you will have Universal Express Unlimited included with your stay which is EXPENSIVE, but completely worth it!  It has a tropical theme, which I like, but the pool area is sort of small and boring.  Ashtyn doesn’t like it because it doesn’t have a slide!  Overall it’s usually the resort that I recommend for first timers going to Universal because of it being a great value, but it’s not our favorite.  If you’d like to check out our full review of this resort click HERE.

Royal Pacific Courtyard
On a sunny day the courtyard is beautiful!

#3 Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay was hard to place in this ranking of the best Universal Orlando Resorts for many reasons.  This is where it ended up, but it actually probably could be a little higher in the ranking depending on certain factors.  We like this resort because it’s fun and the pool area is awesome (it has a lazy river)!  It’s super close to Volcano Bay which is also a great perk.  We were in the Volcano View Rooms and that was Ashtyn’s favorite hotel room EVER!  It doesn’t include Universal Express Unlimited however, and that is a big downfall for us.  It’s also a bit far from the parks for our spoiled tastes, but it really is a wonderful resort (especially for kids).  If you’d like to check out our full review of this resort click HERE.

Volcano view Cabana Bay
The view of the Volcano really is amazing.

#2 Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

We only stayed at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel for 1-night, but it left us wanting more.  So much so that we are staying there again this FALL!  After we stay there for a bit longer we may change this post, but for now…  Portofino is #2 on our list of the best Universal Orlando Resorts!  When we stayed here we got upgraded to the Despicable Me Minions Suite!  This resort is BEAUTIFUL and made me feel a bit like I was in Italy (even though I’ve never been to Italy).  The sunrise and sunset over the bay was so beautiful and the smells of all those yummy Italian dishes were wonderful.  Universal Express Unlimited is also included in this resort, but it is a little bit farther away from the parks.  We can’t wait to stay here for longer and really get to experience everything the resort has to offer!

Sunset Portofino Bay
The sunset over the bay at Portofino was beautiful.

#1 Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

Sapphire Falls is our FAVORITE and we think the BEST Universal Orlando Resort!  So to be fair, this COULD be because it was the FIRST Universal Resort that we stayed at and when we fell in love with Universal.  But I’m not sure, because we have been back to “visit” this resort and I get the same feels.  It is just SO beautiful and bright!  I love the blues and all of the bright tropical colors.  The pool was big, clean, & Ashtyn said had the best slide.  But BIG downside…  it DOESN’T include Universal Express Unlimited!  Even with that I still consider it my favorite Universal Orlando Resort – even though we probably won’t stay there again.  It still holds the #1 place in our hearts!  If you’d like to check out our full review of this resort click HERE.

Sapphire Falls pool
That pool was AWESOME.  This picture doesn’t do it justice!


Ranking the Best Universal Orlando Resorts

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Carrie Hurst

    Love this! So which one WOULD you stay at again? I absolutely love Portofino. I think that is my favorite.

    1. Taryn

      I think we agreed we’d stay at Portofino & Royal Pacific during busy times (for Express passes) and Cabana Bay & Sapphire Falls during slower times! 🙂

  2. Martina Roy

    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

    1. Taryn

      Thank you so much for reading! I’m glad you found it helpful!


    We stayed at the Portofino Bay when it was new and loved it!

    1. Taryn

      It’s so beautiful!

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