Hard Rock Hotel

5800 Universal Blvd., Universal Studios Orlando, Florida, 32819, United States

Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor

Music rules in this mission-style building, from the darkly amusing Hotel California quote above the entrance, "You can check out any time you like...But you can never leave," to public areas decorated with rock memorabilia, including Elvis' PJs, a Madonna costume, and Shakira's t-shirt. Guests can live like rock stars in stylishly modern rooms, with deluxe bed linens, an entertainment center with flat-panel TV, and lots of accessible media device plugs. The rock and roll artwork in the rooms includes a wall mirror etched with the heights of famous musicians and a drumstick sculpture. Hotel key cards allow guests to enter parks early and skip the lines.

YOU SHOULD KNOW While there is no resort fee at this hotel, the parking fee is $22 a day for guests.


The rooms are decorated with modern furniture, and the background colors are shades of gray, all the better to highlight the rock-inspired art. Two signature queen-sized Sleep Like a Rock beds have deluxe linens and duvet style bedding. In addition, two armchairs and a small table sit at the window, where views could include roller coasters at Universal Studios. A work station with two chairs, Wi-Fi, and plenty of plugs ensure lots of space to charge and use devices. A mini-fridge and coffee maker with fixings, and a large, flat-screen TV round out the amenities.

YOU SHOULD KNOW If you choose to drink that bottle of water in your room it will cost you at least $7. Buy some water at a nearby grocery or drug store and pop it in the mini-fridge.


The roomy bathroom is in two sections. A single-sink vanity with enough room for your own toiletries and the Hard Rock's signature bath amenities, is separated from the toilet and shower/tub by a door.


If you are into rock 'n' roll memorabilia, you can spend hours wandering this lobby, which is given over to dozens of displays of instruments, clothing, and other items connected with world-famous rockers.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Music is everywhere in this hotel, whether you are in the lobby, in the pool, or in your room, where one channel has guitar lessons, and a dozen others have endless musical choices. There are moments when silence is golden.


The 12,000 square foot pool, set amid palm trees surrounded by the hotel's wings, features a sand beach, two hot tubs, sand volleyball court, and underwater speakers so you don't miss a note of the constant music. For the kids, there's a play area and a 260-foot long pool slide.


No spa on site, but you are welcome to use the beautiful Mandara Spa, just a water-taxi ride away at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.


The Body Rock Fitness Center on the first floor features ample cardio fitness and circuit training equipment. It also has a steam room and sauna room, in addition to locker facilities.


The Kitchen serves up New American cuisine in a casual setting, with a wall of cooking apparel used by visiting rock stars who sometimes do cooking demonstrations at the Chef's Table. This is also the spot to book a bunch of minions to surprise the kids for a character breakfast. The Palm steakhouse offers a more formal experience, and serves prime steak and seafood. The Beachclub offers up light fare and drinks by the pool, and room service is just a phone call away, 24-hours-a-day.


Velvet is a sophisticated watering hole, where martinis and craft cocktails are the libation of choice. It offers indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the pool, and live music on Fridays. Cocktails, wine and beer are available in a more casual setting at Beachclub.


The Hard Rock is fun for adults; however, the hotel makes sure the kids have lots to do, including a supervised children's activity center, so the adults can have a grown-up evening. Called Camp Lil Rock, the service offers games, arts and crafts, stories, movies, and other activities.


Getting Around

If Universal's parks are your focus, there's no need for a car or transportation at this hotel. CityWalk is an easy stroll away, or a leisurely boat ride, and you enter the parks from CityWalk. If you want to get anywhere else, a ride sharing service or taxi is your best bet. Parking is pricey at the hotel, but if you prefer the independence of a car, a rental agency is right there on property.


Universal CityWalk (5-minute walk, 10-minute water taxi ride), Universal's dining, drinking and entertainment district, offers a party vibe with lots of nightclubs and bars, along with dozens of restaurants, from fast food at Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Panda Express or Hot Dog Hall of Fame, to a sit-down meal at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, or an upscale evening at Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando.


Universal CityWalk (5-minute walk) offers an array of nightclubs and bars where you can sample all sorts of beers, wines and cocktails, including Margaritas at, where else, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville; tequila-based cocktails at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food; Red Stripe beer at Bob Marley, A Tribute to Freedom, an authentic Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's; or drinks at any of a dozen other watering holes.


Front of line privileges and early entry at Universal's theme parks, which are just steps away, is the hotel's greatest plus, but comfortable rooms, an energetic music-based vibe, plenty of activities and a great pool make it a good choice.


650 rooms
Gym, Pool
Parking Lot


Phones: 407-503–7625;800-232–7827

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