Loews Portofino Bay Hotel holds a very special place in my heart. When I first started working at Universal Orlando Resort in 2008, I learned that a big perk of working for the destination was getting some pretty good rates at our hotels. For my mom’s birthday that year, I booked a weekend with her and my sister at this incredible hotel. We had a room on the ground floor overlooking the piazza. A fond memory of our stay was sitting outside on some chairs just outside our room – taking in the sound of the water, the sights of people heading to take a Water Taxi to Universal CityWalk. It brings a tear to my eye thinking about this special memory.
Fast forward a few years later, my husband and I took a trip to attend a wedding in Italy. Amazing, right? While we were there, I just had to visit Portofino, Italy and compare it to one of my favorite hotels. I remember getting there and thinking, “This looks just like my favorite hotel!” …only minus the Water Taxi and amazing theme park benefits but! Still full of luxurious boats and the bustle of the little seaside village.
As you can tell this hotel is one of my absolute favorites. From many fond memories with my family to visiting the real place and being able to pretend I’m back in the “real” Italian village whenever I come to this hotel. Not only that, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has three incredible pools, a spa, it’s steps (or Water Taxi) away from Universal CityWalk, Universal Islands of Adventure AND Universal Studios Florida. You also not only get Early Park Admission but you also get a Universal Express Unlimited pass which lets you skip the regular lines on most rides!
I also absolutely love eating at this hotel! Some of my favorites are the Benedetto for breakfast at Trattoria Del Porto. This dish is two poached eggs, prosciutto, bruschetta, tomatoes, toasted ciabatta, pesto hollandaise. I love having a margarita pizza on the piazza with a glass of cabernet from Sal’s Market Deli. I also love eating at Mama Della’s (it’s an Annual Passholder favorite). At Mama Della’s I love to get the Bisteca – Filet mignon, truffle mashed potato, roasted wild mushroom, broccolini, braised cipollini onion, baby carrots, black pepper candied bacon. And you can end the day with some delicious gelato at the Gelateria, and an espresso from Starbucks. My mouth is watering and I just had lunch!
Now, 15 years later, I get to experience this hotel through the lens of the camera while filming the next episode of Checked In. It was a surreal experience to think back to all the memories I’ve had at this amazing hotel and watch as the cameras roll, the crew calls action, and Leyla gives us a full tour – including some of my favorite things like wine and pizza on the piazza and lounging in the Villa Pool.
Now don’t just take my word for how incredible this hotel is, watch our next Checked In episode featuring Leyla giving you even more perks about staying here!