“Are those really Elvis Presley’s PJs?” “Am I going to get to play an electric guitar?” “It’s just a 5-minute walk from the hotel to CityWalk and the parks?” Those were just some of the questions my family and I asked amongst ourselves during our recent stay at the 650-room Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. The answer to all, by the way, is a resounding yes…and, BTW, you can view those legendary PJs in the hotel’s lobby.
Stepping into the lobby, guests will immediately feel the playful vibe that embraces the hotel. It’s rooted, of course, in Hard Rock’s legendary music memorabilia that is on display and which makes the hotel a veritable museum, but there’s also the pops of color sprinkled throughout, the well-curated music that plays constantly in the public spaces, and the very friendly staff.
The guestrooms, too, are fun-filled with funky and colorful furniture and cute details—ours had a full-length mirror revealing celebrities’ heights, from Dolly Parton to Snoop Dogg. We were booked into a 375-sq.-ft. Pool View room, which is comfy enough for a family of four and has views of the expansive pool and theme park rides at Universal Studios Florida, but other accommodation categories, including the suites, offer more space to kick-back and relax. For clients who want extra perks, the hotel offers a Rock Royalty (Club) level.
Although, of course, your clients are going to want to spend most of their day at Universal’s theme parks, tell them to get some R&R at the hotel’s 12,000-sq.-ft. sand beach pool featuring an underwater stereo sound system, plus interactive play areas for children such as a 260-ft. water slide, and private cabanas (for rent) that come with a ceiling fan, TV, and other goodies. Other amenities include the Mandara Spa, located at the neighboring Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, a kids’ camp, and the body rock fitness center, but the most unique offering has got to be the in-room Sound of Your Stay music program, which we took full advantage of and highly recommend. We were given a turntable where we played vinyls by The Clash, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, among others; and tried our hand at playing a Fender guitar (our neighbors were obviously at the theme parks, because we didn’t hear any complaints!). Tell clients, too, to take advantage of the onsite F&B outlets, including The Kitchen, so they don’t have to beat the crowds at CityWalk, and for those opting to dine at Palm Restaurant, the famous New York steakhouse, be sure to tell them about the beautiful B&W photos lining the entry hallway. For a quick breakfast or snack, head to Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace; and lunch should be taken poolside at the beachclub.
Besides the obvious, which is that your clients are close to all the action, staying at the Hard Rock provides an unbeatable benefit: the hotel key card works as a Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure all day. There’s also early park admission, complimentary transportation, resort-wide charging privileges, complimentary delivery of merchandise and other benefits.
What’s In it For Travel Advisors
“At this time,” says Danielle Babilino, sr. v.p. of global sales & marketing for Hard Rock International, “we are focusing on building our global travel industry sales team; Rachel Mecca, director global travel industry sales, has recently joined the team, and we are laying the foundation for the work that needs to be done in this segment. Our 2020 plan is to develop a full range of initiatives to engage the travel agent community, including opportunities to experience our properties first-hand as well as to educate our partners on why Hard Rock for their clients.”
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando: hardrockhotel.com/orlando