Have you ever pictured what it’s like to vacation like a rockstar?! Well then you’ll want to spend a weekend eating, sleeping and jamming out at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando! This Universal Orlando Resort will bring back all the nostalgia as you hear classic tunes blasting throughout and will have you living like an A-list celebrity with their unique amenities! The Hard Rock Hotel is one of Universal Orlando Resort’s 6 on-site hotels just steps away from all the wild fun at Universal Studios theme parks and Universal’s CityWalk! And even if the music isn’t your thing, you’re going to appreciate relaxing at this premiere resort that’s filled with California cool vibes and plenty of
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
As you pull into the Hard Rock you’ll drive up a long winding driveway lined with tall Beverly Hills-like palm trees that lead to the grand entrance of the hotel, which was designed to replicate the Eagle’s ‘Hotel California’ album cover! As we got to valet we were greeted with enthusiasm and high fives as they helped us with our luggage. The staff at the hotel has a very laid back vibe that isn’t all in your face with overly peppy customer service. Everyone there is super chill but still wants you to have a great time!😎🙌🏼
If you’d rather not valet, they also have a self-parking lot for easier access to your car.
Self-Parking at the West Parking lot$27 plus tax per night, per vehicle
Valet Parking $36 plus tax per night, per vehicle
When we first walked into the hotel we noticed the smell of sweet cologne and instantly fell in love with
As you walk past the Hard Rock logo on the ground by the entrance doors you’ll notice a clock projection from the ceiling! They even have a huge projection showing classic music videos in the lobby! The graphics and designs mixed with the upscale details throughout the hotel give off a swanky yet funky vibe. And at select times, you can lounge around and enjoy listening to live music right in the lobby! 🎶
Right in front of Michael Jackson and John Lennon is the check-in desk! Don’t let the crazy colored hair and tattoos alarm you, everyone here is ready to give high quality service and willing to amp up your experience to the next level!
One of the most unique features at the Hard Rock Hotel is the option of renting your own Fender Guitar or Crosley Turntable! Through ‘The Sound of Your Stay Program’, you can rent these items to take back to your room! They have 20 Fender Guitars to choose from (upon availability) and it’s first come first serve, with $1,000 deposit for a guitar and $250 deposit for the vinyls. Even though we don’t really know how to play, we think it’s super fun and unique so of course we picked out a Candy Apple Red Fender Guitar along with some classic vinyls to jam out in the room! How cool?!🎸😎
And don’t forget when you check out to get your guitar pick souvenirs made from your room keys!
Car Rental/Luggage Services
On the other side of the lobby in front of Gwen Stefani and Elvis Presley is where you can talk to concierge, vacation planning, and luggage and car rental services. At vacation planning you can save some time and purchase your tickets to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme parks or ask any questions about Universal’s CityWalk.
🌟Tip: As a benefit of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, each room key is automatically linked with Express passes to use on most rides at Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This saves your family $79 per person! What’s a better theme park experience than getting to skip all the lines?!👏🏼
The hallways up to the room have such Las Vegas hotel vibes! As we waited for elevators to our room, we loved reading the fun facts and admiring the costumes and props of all the famous musicians!
We got a standard room with a pool view, so of course, when we walked in the first thing our eyes went to were the windows!😍 Besides the stunning views of the pool we also got some incredible views of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios.🎢 It’s amazing especially at night as the rides and pool are all lit up! Another favorite part of our room was the floor length mirror that has the height of famous celebrities like like Stevie Nicks (5’2), Beyonce (5’6), Elvis Presley (6’0) and Snoop Dogg (6’5), so you can see who you’re as tall as! Kristina was as tall Lady Gaga and Nikki is the same height as Beyonce!😱
Our room had two very comfy queen sized beds and we loved the pops of colors from the throw pillows and the graffiti mirror above the nightstand. The pillows were fun and read “Be Nice” and “Quiet, Please”!
The room has a contemporary media storage unit with a flat-screen TV and drawers to put your belongings in. To the right of the TV is the desk area which is more like a bar top with tall bar chairs. We loved the wall art above the desk of Dj turntables!
Soon we heard a knock on the door and our beautiful 1979 Candy Red Fender Guitar arrived in our room along with an amp and the turntable! The guitar itself is well kept and just plain beautiful!🤩🎸We also got a leather case with 10 classic rock vinyls including Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, and more to play on a the turntable! We had so much fun getting ready and jamming out to the records, now we want one for our home lol!🤪
Each room comes with a mini bar area that reminded us of what you would find in Vegas hotels. To the left theres a spacious closet with extra blankets, an iron and ironing board, a safe for your valuables, along with some fun leopard print hangers to go with the rockstar theme!🐆🤘🏼
The bathroom has a spacious vanity that’s great for getting ready although it wasn’t very well lit, so we ended up getting
For a hotel that’s very pricey, we did notice that the bathroom was a little outdated compared to the rest of the resorts at Universal Orlando. They have a shower curtain in the bathroom where as most of the other hotels have a contemporary glass door instead. This didn’t bother us though, and we can see major changes coming soon as Universal Studios is continuously updating!
The Hard Rock always knows how to take it up a notch and makes even the simplest things really fun! From the breakfast room service menu that reads “Always a Great Opener” to the “B-Sides” on the toilet paper roll (the less important side of a record), everything relates to the rockstar theme! 😎🤘🏼
The soaps and shampoos have the same signature scent that we smelled when we first walked into the hotel and they are available for purchase in the Rock Shop in the front lobby!
Dining at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 7am-10pm, Friday & Saturdays 7am-11pm
Head down the grand staircase towards the pool and grab a bite to eat at The Kitchen, which is filled with culinary-themed memorabilia and photos of their biggest celebrity guests! And come with a big appetite because here at the kitchen they have everything you can think of, from American classics, Pan-Asian cuisines, to the South of the Border favorites all with a creative twist!
Acoustic Brunch: Every Sunday 10:30am-2pm
💲Prices: Adults $35, Children Ages 3-9 $13, Children Ages 10-14 $17
(Starting April 28, our Acoustic Brunch will be at the new price of $39 for adults which will now include the bottomless mimosas and bloody mary’s)
The Acoustic Brunch is in full force at The Kitchen and if any place can do a breakfast buffet the right way, it’s here! Grab your favorite traditional options like pancakes, waffles, sausages, and potatoes or go all out and build your own omelet! They also have their signature French toast, Pecan Sticky Rolls, Southern favorites like Chicken
And if you’re ready to get the party started early, BYOBM a.k.a. build your own bloody marys! Or go with the classic, bottomless mimosas!🥂
Grab your mini bottles of vodka and head over to the bottomless bloody mary bar, where you can customize your bloody mary with things like horseradish, capers, celery sticks, and different types of stuffed olives like bleu cheese, pimento, pickle stuffed, and pepper stuffed. And since its bottomless, you can even double up on the vodka if you want! lol🤪
The restaurant also has outdoor seating with pool views to enjoy the warm Florida weather on their patio!☀️ If mimosas or bloody marys aren’t your
Our brunch favorites were their guitar waffles (which they can make upon request for you) and the ‘Elvis French Toast’, which is two baguette slices, topped with bananas, peanut butter, and a delicious caramel sauce! Yum!😋
Lunch/Dinner at The Kitchen
You know if we eat at a place multiple times during our stay it has to be good!😛 For lunch we ordered the shrimp tacos and a grilled salmon & salad. The shrimp tacos typically come battered and fried, but we decided to go with grilled and it still tasted great. The grilled salmon & salad was flavorful and light, which was perfect!👌🏼
For dinner at The Kitchen, they serve complimentary kettle chips with their signature blue cheese dipping sauce as a starter. We also ordered the brussel sprouts for an appetizer, and they were
For our entrees we ordered the ‘Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice’ and their ‘Mediterranean Salad’. The cauliflower rice is
And if you have room for dessert, get ready for all the options that are brought out on a cool guitar-shaped serving tray. You’ll want to give The Kitchen a standing ovation!👏🏼
The Kitchen also offers “Kids Can Cook” on select nights, where kids can work with one of the chefs to make their own pizza!🍕
The Kitchen has a funky ambiance with photos of celebrities and memorabilia hanging all around! The food is pretty standard but still enjoyable. Our favorite meal was definitely the brunch! We love the creativity of the options and love trying different dishes. And thanks to the staff, because it’s fun yet casual atmosphere are the reasons why we ended up here for almost every meal during our stay! 🍽😋
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-10pm, Sundays & Mondays 5pm-9pm
This iconic steakhouse is known for its high-end food options and it’s overwhelming amount of celebrity caricatures. We weren’t able to dine during our recent visit but we received excellent customer service from the manager. He gave us a quick walkthrough of the restaurant and told us stories and fun facts about The Palm!
The Palm restaurant currently has 22 locations, all family owned! It started in New York in 1926, when they couldn’t afford to decorate at first, a struggling cartoonist became a regular and would virtually pay for his meals with wall art of famous celebrities and entertainers. Eventually, because of his designs, the celebrities started coming in to eat and signing their faces of the caricatures on the walls that are now a signature for the chain! The Palm dedicates themselves to treating every guest like family all while serving the best food in town! We could see ourselves enjoy a nice steak and a martini here in the future!🍸
Hours: Everyday 5pm-1:30am
If you were Born To Be Wild, you’ll want to bring your squad out to the Velvet Room! Head here for a cocktail at happy hour with some of the raddest bartenders around!🤘🏼
And if you’re a true fan of rock n’ roll, check out Velvet Sessions which takes place in the lobby of the hotel every month! Be sure to check their Facebook page for the date, time and featured artist! Velvet Sessions are Orlando’s only rock n’ roll cocktail party featuring legendary performers like Brett Michaels, Sugar Ray, Joan Jett, Foreigner, and more! Each ticket includes the show, complimentary themed cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres to get the crowd fired up! And for every ticket sold, $1 will be donated to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, which exists to improve lives through the power of music by funding locally-driven music programs across the globe! 🎸🙌🏼
The Hard Rock will be revamping the Velvet Bar space this fall, so be sure to catch the last show of 2019 with Brett Michaels on Friday, August 2nd!
For more info about the Velvet Sessions at the Hard Rock:
Hours: Everyday 11am-10pm
If you’re in the mood for some food while hanging at the pool, the beachclub has got you covered! You can hang out in the shade on their patio or order your meal from one of the servers as they come around by the pool! They are serving classic fares like salads, sandwiches and burgers, to delicious smoothies and summery cocktails.🍹
And who doesn’t love live music!? Well at the Hard Rock Hotel, you can enjoy listening to a live band or Dj performing on the stage that goes right out to the pool! And every night you can watch a movie while lounging around!
Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace
Hours: Everyday 6am-10pm
Grab a cold treat at Emack & Bolio’s before heading out to enjoy the Florida sun at the pool! Based out of Boston, this ice creamery has a cool rock n’ roll history! They have fun twists on their flavors like Vanilla Ice Ice Baby, Stairway to Heaven (vanilla ice cream with marshmallow swirl & white chocolate chips), Build me up Peanut Butter cup (chocolate peanut butter) Back in Black Raspberry (black raspberry yogurt with chocolate chips) which you can get on a cereal covered waffle cone!🍦😋 Inside the shop, they also serve Starbucks coffee, candies, alcoholic beverages, pastries, sandwiches and some super cool souvenirs!
Hours: Open Daily 8am-10pm
“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” if you haven’t checked out the pool at the Hard Rock!😉 From the lobby go down the grand stairway to the pool, and don’t’ forget to stop and admire the hanging saxophone chandelier.🎷 If you and the group need a break from all the excitement at the parks, take a dip in their 12,000 square foot pool and relax while jamming to some tunes. And if you like to splash in the water, the pool has underwater speakers so you won’t miss a beat!
This pool here is so cool that even the band KISS made an appearance!😎🤘🏼
There’s plenty of lounge chairs by the pool to lay out on, or live like music royalty and reserve a private cabana! They are complete with sofas, lounge chairs, and flat screen tv’s for the ultimate place to relax all while enjoying the outdoors!
They also have a waterslide, two hot tubs (1 of them is for adults only), a kiddie pool, and splash pads! 💦 Along with some fun poolside games like volleyball, ping pong, and shuffleboard!
No need to worry about a thing if you left a few pool items at home! Visit the stands by the pool for all your needs like floaties, sunscreen, sunglasses and more. Or if you want to look like the star of the show, they have fun stuff like hair wrapping and airbrushed tattoos!
Right behind the pool we found a pathway with beautiful trees and Spanish Moss, perfect to go for a little walk and get some shade!
Body Rock Fitness Center
Hours: Open Daily 5am-10pm
Ready for a sweat sesh? Head over to the Body Rock Fitness Center and get to work!💪🏼 This gym is on the small side but has all the equipment you need to achieve your fitness goals. And if you don’t want to work out because you’ve been getting all your walking in at the theme parks, stop in for a glance of the original king of rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley’s Work Out outfit!
The gym is also complete with locker rooms to secure your items while you work up a sweat. And if that’s not enough, add some detox time in the sauna or the steam room!
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 7am-11pm, Saturdays & Sundays 7am-12am
Being a rock star doesn’t have to end at the Hard Rock Hotel, take home some swag and souvenirs to remember your stay! Or stop in and
Conferences and meetings don’t have to be boring especially at the Hard Rock Hotel! They have 2,964 square foot ballroom and over 6,000 square feet of functional space indoors. And if you need to plan something outdoors, Woodstock lawn will be perfect for your event!
Hours: Open Daily 8am-Midnight
If you and the kids still have a lot of energy after running around at the parks all day, challenge them to something fun at the game room! We love that this game room is designed with all the funky hard rock graphics and decor. It looks like a Vegas casino but kid-friendly!
We’ve mentioned many times about the memorabilia throughout the resort. We think it’s such a unique feature and love seeing the outfits and crazy costumes worn by our favorite musicians! They even have gold records, rare photos, and instruments that have been collected to highlight the amazing achievements made by award winning artists. For anyone that’s a huge fan of music history, you’ll love admiring all the priceless treasures!
Ways to Get to the Parks
The Hard Rock Hotel is the closest resort to Universal Studios with just a few steps to all the fun at Universal’s CityWalk or the Theme Parks!
Butterfly Garden & Walkway
The way we prefer to get to Universal’s CityWalk is by walking through the beautiful butterfly garden walkway!🦋🌸🌷 It was still early Spring during our visit so some of the flowers still needed to bloom, but we saw plenty of pretty butterflies and even a few cocoons!
We’re all about convenience and we love that there are plenty of pathways by the pool to get you from the Hard Rock to all the action at the Universal Studio theme parks and Universal’s CityWalk!
Catch a ride on the shuttle bus at Abbey Road, named after The Beatles 11th album!🎶 The shuttle bus takes you from the Hard Rock Hotel to Universal’s CityWalk.
Walk to the lower level of the hotel and head towards the Woodstock lawn for a short relaxing ride on the Water Taxi to Universal’s CityWalk.
The water taxi is usually our favorite option but we think it’s completely unnecessary when staying at the Hard Rock Hotel! The walk is scenic and super short!
Benefits of Staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
- Early Park Admission – If you’re looking to get a head start before the crowds, enjoy early access to select attractions Universal Studios or Universal’s Island of Adventure 1 hour prior to the regularly scheduled park opening.
- Express Pass is Included – One of the biggest perks of staying at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is that each room key is automatically linked with express passes for the entire family to use on most rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure!
- Complimentary Transportation to the Theme Parks & CityWalk – It only takes a matter of minutes to get you from the hotel to the adventure at the Universal theme parks with their complimentary water taxi, shuttle bus, and walking paths.
- Priority Seating at Restaurants – Skip the wait at most of the restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk! Just show your Hard Rock Hotel room key to the hostess and you’ll be at your seat in no time!
- Pay with Your Room Key – Don’t worry about bringing too much with you to the parks, simply just use your room key to make purchases while you’re out!
- Shopping Made Simple – Get your merchandise from the parks delivered right to your hotel from most of the shops across Universal and CityWalk so you don’t have to lug it around with you!
- The rooms are spacious and we love that you can request a Fender Guitar or Crosley Turntable and vinyls through The Sound of Your Stay Program! It’s such a unique experience!🎸😎🙌🏼
- The Hard Rock is pet-friendly so you don’t have to leave the furry ones back home!
- We love the memorabilia and the musical facts throughout the hotel!
- There’s so many features that are unique to the hotel like the scent throughout the resort, or that you can turn your room key into a guitar pick when you check out!
- The bathrooms are a bit outdated for a hotel that is considered a premium resort. Universal Orlando Resort is continuously improving their hotels and we have a feeling the bathrooms will get an update soon!
- It’s very pricey, sometimes on average around $500/per night which is steep considering that breakfast and parking aren’t included with the rate.
Our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel was such a cool experience! We love the California cool vibes and the tall lush palm trees throughout the resort! And just being a short walk to Universal Studios theme parks and CityWalk, it’s the most ideal location compared to all the Universal Orlando Resorts. It truly is one of our top favorite hotels because of the show stopping energy from the staff! So if you’re looking for something grand yet casual then a weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando will be a smash hit!
**Thank you to Universal Orlando Hotels for hosting our stay & sponsoring this blog post!