Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (January 2012)|
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando is a resort hotel and spa located at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Added as part of a major resort expansion of Universal Studios Florida in 1999, it was built along with Islands of Adventure and CityWalk to turn the single theme park into a multi-day, resort destination. The resort is touted as Universal Orlando’s flagship resort and was the first hotel on Universal Orlando property. It was designed to offer the ambiance of an Italian seaside village with many of the guest rooms overlooking the resort’s own lake, Portofino Bay. Loews Hotels is the owner and operator of this resort, as with Portofino Bay’s sister resorts, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
Plans were revealed for the Portofino Bay Hotel by Loews and MCA (the original owners of Universal Studios Florida) on May 3, 1996  with a planned opening date of 1999. Described as being a new luxury 750-room resort recreating a Mediterranean fishing village, plans also called for over 65,000 square feet of meeting space in addition to a complete health spa. Construction for the resort began in 1997 and was completed by 1999. With the announcement of this property, it became a significant milestone in the multi-billion dollar growth program for Universal City Florida. The resort officially opened in September 1999.
Delfino Riviera, Portofino Bay’s former upscale and flagship restaurant, opened with the hotel in 1999. It was located above the Harbor Piazza, overlooking the Bay. It was voted Orlando’s best romantic restaurant by Scott Joseph of Orlando Sentinel in November 1999. In early 2004 the restaurant was closed for unknown reasons, only to be replaced by Italian chain restaurant BiCE on July 1 of that year.
Dining and shopping
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando offers three full service restaurants, two quick service restaurants, a bakery, and two lounges. Shopping at the resort focuses on Universal parks merchandise, resort-specific specialty merchandise, convenience items, and authentic Italian products.
Recreation and Entertainment
- Beach Pool, Villa Pool, and Hillside Pool - The resort offers three swimming pools.
- Mandara Spa – the spa is located between the Beach and Villa pools. This is the second Mandara spa located in the Greater Orlando area, the being other located at the WDW Swan and Dolphin.
- Fitness Center - Located within the Mandara Spa.
- Jogging and Walking Trail – a jogging and walking trail runs the perimeter of the resort in addition to the pathways that connect the resort to the Hard Rock Hotel, CityWalk, and the Royal Pacific Resort.
- Campo Portofino- Campo Portofino is a supervised children’s activity center offering activities for children, including themed entertainment, crafts, movies, and meals.
- Game Room – The resort has an arcade with a small collection of video games and physical skill games
- Musica della Notte – translated as “Music of the Night” is a special event where a variety of music is played live in the piazza.
- "Loews Hotels and MCA Inc. Unveil Plans for Two New Luxury Hotels at the New Universal City Resort to Open in 1999". PRNewswire. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "Arrivederci Delfino Rivera". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved 2012-01-13.