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Florida Guide > Accommodation

Universal's Hard Rock Hotel

Last October we decided to spend the first two nights of our holiday at the Hard Rock Hotel before heading off to our villa (mainly because we had guests in the villa that wanted to extend their stay!)

It felt very strange driving from the airport and not automatically knowing the way!

We decided to opt for a club room on the hotel's 7th floor. There is a special lounge area only for guests in these rooms where you can enjoy complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine, plus desserts in the evening. Other amenities include an extensive music library, library of rock n' roll books, game table for backgammon, chess, checkers and chess, two separate TV viewing areas (including one large screen) plus the Personal Concierge available from 7:30am - 11:00pm. Club Rooms also include unlimited use of the fitness center.

All sounds great, however in reality we paid an awful lot extra for these facilities and ended up never being in the hotel at the right time or for long enough to take advantage of them.

What we did think would be really useful was the “On-site Universal Express” basically you can use your room key card like an Express pass for all the rides that offer this facility. But again as it was the first two days of our holiday, we were up early and at the park as soon as it opened so there were very few queues! It was more useful in the afternoon when the park started to get more crowded.

We decided to try out the hotels restaurants and on the first night ate in The Kitchen, supposedly called, as it resembles the kitchen in a rock stars mansion. The service and food were great, we all had variations of burgers with different toppings and side orders, and I do remember that the Margaritas were particularly drinkable!

Instead of having dessert in the restaurant, we decided to visit Emack and Bolios, the ice cream parlour, where you can sample flavours such as Bye Bye Miss American Mud Pie, Deep Purple Cow, and Jumping Jack Grasshopper Pie – all of which taste better than they sound!

On our second evening we ate in the Palm Restaurant. With it’s polished wood floors, and cartoon caricatures of celebrities drawn on the walls, which hearken back to the original Palm Restaurant's roots in the newspaper district of Manhattan, where famous cartoonists would often exchange drawings for their meals, it has a great atmosphere.

The restaurant is renowned for it’s prime steaks and Nova Scotia lobsters, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Again the service was excellent and we will definitely return to the restaurant even if we don’t stay in the hotel.

Our teenage son decided he wanted to go back to the room and watch a movie, so after settling him down with complimentary milk and cookies, we headed off for a nightcap in the Velvet Bar. There is seating both indoors and out and as the air-con was freezing we sat outside and enjoyed a few drinks knowing that at least tonight neither of us was driving!

The next morning we checked out of the hotel but could still use our room keys on the Express rides so decided to return to Islands of Adventure and do some of our favourite rides again before heading off to our villa.

Author: Caroline Barnes (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 21 July 2004
Viewed 4220 times since 1 September 2008.

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