Loews Portofino Bay Hotel At Univeral Orlando, Florida - My Family Travels
East Harbor at Loew's Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando.
East Harbor at Loew's Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando.
Aerial view of the Loew's Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando.
Despicable Me "Minions" kids suite is one lodging option for families.
Campo Portofino kids program meets nightly so adults can have a break.

The fantasy world they create, combined with the perks provided at the Universal Orlando themepark, make the Portofino Bay and other Loews hotels (Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and the three newest properties (Cabana Bay Beach, Loews Sapphire Falls and Loews Aventura), a good choice for families. The Portofino Bay, especially, is a magnet for business travelers, meeting groups and conventioneers who bring their families along, so it’s well set up to provide playtime for guests with infants and toddlers.

Loews Has Kids Amenities for Ages 6-months to teen

All three hotels participate in Loews family-friendly programs, including Loews Loves Kids which provides welcome gifts, loaner toys and books, and special menus for the under-10s. Babies get cribs and crib sheets, child-proofing kits, and even night-lights; teens have exclusive snack bars, a library of board games, and WiFi. All ages will enjoy the character breakfasts with favorite Universal figures.

Did we mention the pools? There are three Roman themed pools: the Beach Pool has an aqueduct style waterslide; Villa Pool has more adult-oriented private cabanas; and the Hillside Pool is the most secluded. Dining options include fun, homestyle Italian at Mama Della’s, chic bars, and fast food deli you can picnic on.

Portofino Bay Hotel for la Dolce Vida

The 750-room Portofino Bay Hotel is considered the most luxurious hotel of the several hotels that partner with Universal Orlando. As its name suggests, the Portofino is a charming re-creation of the pastel stucco village of Portofino in Italy, built around a large, manmade harbor dotted with old fishing vessels. It is also well designed for reunion groups, with colonnaded nooks ‘n’ crannies with comfortable couches, and a large array of attractive hospitality suites, perfect for gathering the clan.

Portofino Bay facilities run the gamut from upscale wellness treatments at the posh Mandara Spa to the boisterous childcare for ages 4-14 each night (for a fee) in the Resorts’ Kids Camp supervised activity center. We love the live music nightly around the piazza in front of the resort. Friendly staff are everywhere: dispensing oversize pool towels, making the turn-down service rounds with chocolate, serving as lifeguards at the three pools, tending the gardens and reception areas, always attentive to the guest who has lost their way around this deceptively large property.

The layout of the resort’s two- to six-story wings makes it feel un-crowded and unhurried; honeymooners can even book a private cabana at the Villa pool.

New moms can take babies to play in the sand adjoining the zero-entry Beach pool and enjoy other ‘baby-friendly’ facilities at this resort, which has won many awards.

Tell the kids this is the place for summer-time Dive-In Movies, when a big screen is set up poolside so families can enjoy a film outdoors. The broad pathways, open-air cafes, lovely landscaping and Italian lakefront feel make the Portofino Bay pleasant to stroll around with infants and fun for children of any age.

Spacious & Fun Family Loews Guestrooms with Kids in Mind

Large guestrooms have plush linens and very comfortable beds, spacious working tables with two chairs, good bedside lighting, functional closets with bathrobes, coffeemakers and safes. The super-size bathrooms include a tub and separate glass shower stall, double sinks and a large vanity area, and a set of louvered doors that allow those in the bedroom to converse with anyone in the bathroom. Rooms with balconies or patios allow the Florida breezes in.

The crazy cast of “Despicable Me” has moved into the kids suites: you’ll find Gru’s Laboratory, with playful minion characters rapelling from the ceiling and custom-designed missile beds with Minion-inspired bedding. The design and style of the two-room suites also offers plenty of space with a king bedroom for the parents and two twin-sized beds in the child’s suite. Instead of having a door open to the hallway, access to the children’s suite is only available from the adult’s room, allowing for added safety and peace of mind.

Universal Orlando Perks for Portofino Bay Hotel Guests

Although the Portofino Bay is more expensive than many area hotels, it delivers a lot more. Families can park the car, check in and be at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or CityWalk with no problem. They can also use the kids club and other facilities at any of the hotels, multiplying the pool possibilities after a long day at the themeparks.

Located along the landscaped lagoon which winds among all three hotels is a free water taxi service, bringing guests to and from CityWalk for dining and shopping, to the theme parks, or to the other resorts. The length of each trip is literally minutes, though you may have to change boats depending on your destination. Don’t feel like waiting for the water taxi? Then just walk along the landscaped pathways or take the free air-conditioned shuttle bus service. The beauty of these on-site resorts: location, location, location.

Also worth noting is the free transportation provided to guests who want to visit SeaWorld or Aquatica. Transportation for a fee is also available throughout the day and evening to all the Walt Disney World parks and the airport, with advance reservation.

Loews resort guests also enjoy special Universal Orlando theme park benefits, such as Universal Express ride access, so you can walk right to the front of each attraction and cut about 45 minutes off your wait time! That means less time standing in line, and more time riding the Flight of the Griffendorf in Wizarding World of Harry Potter, my personal favorite. And when you’re on vacation at a themepark, saving time is priceless.

The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (407/503-1000) at Universal Orlando is located at 5601 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819.

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