DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando review
Researching the best places to stay near Universal Studios Orlando lead us to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando for our visit to Universal Studios. It all came down to the hotel’s handy location less than 10 minutes walk from Universal Orlando, value for money and excellent facilities for couples and families alike.
When planning a trip to Universal Studios, you may start asking yourself about the possibility taking out a second mortgage, especially if you visit in peak season like our family. We discovered that costs can quickly add up when you visit Orlando and were beginning to wonder if we could afford to visit. Then we discovered the more affordable option of staying at an off-site hotel. If you’re looking for a hotel near Universal Studios Orlando that offers plenty of bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with this hotel.
We checked into the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando for two nights for our one day visit to Universal. Arriving at the hotel, the first impression we had was very positive. The light-filled lobby was far more stylish than we expected, and a smiling greeter directed us to reception which had loads of service staff waiting to assist us. After a quick check-in we were handed a bag of the delicious warm chocolate chip cookies which are a signature DoubleTree welcome gift.
The hotel consists of two towers with 742 rooms and 19 suites in total. Although this is an older hotel, a significant refurbishment was completed in 2017 and it is looking fresh and modern. Our room was a Parlor Suite located on the 16th floor which consisted of two rooms; one was a standard bedroom tastefully decorated in taupe, grey and cream with crisp green accents. The other was a lounge and living area with a fold out bed and a door separating both rooms.
The three of us had been squishing into a standard hotel room to save money for a couple of weeks by this time on our trip, so having some extra space was wonderful. The bedroom featured a comfy Sweet Dreams plush-top king bed, 50-inch television, large work desk, and coffee maker. The adjacent parlour area was extremely large and contained everything a family travelling with a lanky teenager could ask for, namely plenty of space and a separate space for him to sleep.
The parlour had a large wrap around lounge with sofa bed, plus fridge, dining table, another 50-inch television plus an ensuite. We loved the modern décor and spaciousness of the rooms but the bathrooms appeared a little old and tired compared to the fresh look of the rooms. I also wasn’t a fan of the bathtub/shower combo and prefer a shower stall. However, a bathtub is handy if you are travelling with young children so I can understand why the hotel has these instead of a shower stall.
One bonus of being on a high floor are the views over Orlando and the Universal theme park. There is a theme park service desk in the lobby to help with bookings or any queries you may have. The hotel also offers free transport to Universal at set times, with the timetable available at reception. We liked the fact there was plenty of seating in the lobby for those waiting for the bus. When you’ve been doing a lot of walking around Orlando’s theme parks, any opportunity to sit down is very welcome, even if you’re young and fit.
With the transfers from the hotel to Universal Studios, you do have to book at the service desk as there is limited space and the bus only does the transfers at set times throughout the day. We had a booking but no one checked the names off when we boarded the bus in the morning. It could be worth waiting to see if there is space available after everyone else has got on if you don’t have a booking. There were also hotel greeters in the lobby who chatted with hotel guests who were waiting for the Universal bus, helped with arrangements, and generally just made people feel welcome.
This was one of the things we loved most about this hotel. The service was consistently excellent and everyone went above and beyond to ensure guests had a good holiday experience at the hotel and at Orlando in general thanks to the hotel staff’s help and good advice. If you have some energy left over after you’ve been to Universal Studios, you can go for a swim in the large hotel pool or chat with friends around the fire pit which is located directly across from reception. There are also plenty of nice spots to sit outside if the weather is warm.
It was decidedly chilly when we visited Universal Studios so there weren’t many people relaxing outside during our winter stay. However, this area would be lovely during the warmer months. We made good use of the amenities at the hotel which included a laundry (you can get quarters at reception for the machines), pool, gym, convenience store, and a Starbucks coffee shop. Dining at the hotel is available at Sunshine Café, Angelo’s Pizza and American Grill. We didn’t have the chance to eat at the restaurants and took the opportunity with our busy schedule to grab a coffee and pastry at Starbucks in the mornings and have dinner at Universal CityWalk.
There is also an ATM and car rental desk located in the foyer. This hotel also has no resort fee which was great as we weren’t at the hotel to use the facilities anyway. Parking is not included and there is limited space so it is best to pre-book a spot if you’re driving. It is only a 10 minute walk to and from the hotel to Universal Studios, just follow the signs or ask someone if you get lost.
If you’re after somewhere to dine out near the hotel there are a few restaurants a short walk away and also a small supermarket and liquor store. More dining options are available at the Universal CityWalk located near the entrance of the studios with too many dining choices to mention, plus shopping if you have some energy (and money) left after spending the day at Universal.
Overall the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando was an excellent hotel, not to mention one that offered unbeatable value for money. I would also highly recommend the suites for families as these are great value for money and perfect for relaxing in after a big day at Universal Studios. Having a Starbucks downstairs was excellent for a quick breakfast so we could get to Universal Studios early and start having fun.
Disclosure: The writers paid a media rate for their stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando. They would not hesitate to stay at this hotel again and are still craving those delicious DoubleTree cookies.