Which Express Pass Hotel?

It will be my family’s first time going to Universal Orlando and I’m having a hard time deciding which hotel to choose. I have it narrowed down to either Royal Pacific or the Hard Rock. The biggest thing on my list is the ability to easily walk to the parks from the hotel and I know each of these fulfills that. I think I would enjoy the theming at RP more than HR, but I also know that RP has no slide at its pool but HR does. Which resort do you think has a better pool? I really don’t know which one would be better overall – does one have superior service and amenities over the others? More comfortable rooms? Thanks!

1 Like

We love Hard Rock. I believe the rooms are bigger there. The slide isn’t that impressive. The pool area is lovely but I can’t compare to RP because I haven’t stayed there.

1 Like

Between the two I would pick HRH. It’s my kids favorite UOR hotel. It’s an easy walk (or boat ride) to the parks. The room are fabulous. The pool is huge.
We stayed at PR once and it was fine, but I wasn’t overly impressed (the pool was not very clean).

I also would pick HRH. We like the pool better there, and also the location is great. The rooms are bigger as well. Personally I like Portofino the best of the 3, we take the boat so don’t walk it. HRH we usually walk.

1 Like

I’ve stayed at both several times, and I slightly prefer the theming and dining options of RPR. It’s a little quieter, and it’s on the IoA side. HRH is on the US side. The pools are pretty similar to me.

1 Like

My family really enjoyed the RPR. The dining was great. We enjoyed the pool. The walk was enjoyable. We walked to the parks, and took to boat back.
So far we haven’t booked at HRH.
We had a horrible experience at Portofino. I’ll never go back to that hotel.
Good luck with your choice @meatsquatch78!

Hard Rock is closer to CityWalk and the parks compared to Royal Pacific (which is still close, just not as close).

1 Like

Portofino doesn’t appeal to me at all, but I’m really leaning toward RPR. It seems like the distance to the parks is minor and the theming appeals to us more.

Thanks for the input, everyone!

Another question: Is the Universal Dining plan a good option? We normally like to do the Disney Dining plan because it makes the vacation feel all-inclusive, but have no idea how the one at Universal works or even if eating at sit down restaurants is a must-do there like at Disney.

I think you can pool hop at Universal, so if you want to try the HRH pool while staying at RPR you can do it!
Anyway i’ve only stayed at RPR and definitely loved it :smiley:

1 Like

I feel like there must be a really good story here! We have had wonderful experiences there, so sorry to hear you did not.

I don’t think so. The food inside the parks is not particularly good, we tend to eat at City Walk which has many different restaurants, both table service and quick service type. Also, know that the restaurants in UOR inside the parks are not like at WDW where they stay open until park close or later. Most of them close up before the parks even close (which is frustrating if you don’t know that before you go, this happened to us a time or two), so don’t wait on your evening meal until too late. There is much less lingering in the parks there at closing time, they want you to head out of the parks and eat in City Walk.
In City Walk we enjoy: Cowfish (favorite), Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Margaritaville, and Toothsome for table service (want to try Antojitos sometime), and like Moe’s for quick service. In the parks Mythos is good for table service.
,

4 Likes

Thanks for the info on the UOR dining closing before the parks close. I wonder why that is?

1 Like

Maybe to encourage people to eat in City Walk?

2 Likes

My vote is Hard Rock, but both are great options.

It gets everyone out to Citywalk, and the park employees can finish their evening shut down procedures and be out of work on time.

My only experience was Portofino and we loved it. But I see what you mean about a closer walk. I envied the people who were able to stop at the HR when we were walking back to Portofino.

1 Like

Here is a great thread regarding the dining plan that you should read:

1 Like

Thank you!

1 Like