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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
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
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
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.
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