Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel - Holiday in the Harbour and Perfect Holiday Fun

5:03 PM

This time last weekend, we were blessed enough to be staying at one of the most gorgeous hotels I have ever had the opportunity to visit. If you are headed to the Orlando area to experience all the holiday fun that Universal Studios has to offer, you could not choose a more perfect hotel full of breathtaking details and plenty of holiday fun for the whole family!

{The Rooms}

Check in at the hotel was a breeze and I waited no more than a few minutes to be helped by a very friendly staff member. A short walk away was our room. The lobby was decorated with a massive tree and a festive feel was in the air. The detail around this resort is amazing and everywhere you turn, you are instantly transported to an Italian Riviera town, where everything moves at a slower pace and life is simply enjoyable.

The rooms are decorated well and with the same Italian detail that can be found throughout the rest of the hotel. There is a beautiful shuttered window that looks out into the room from the bathroom and the boys got quite a giggle out of it. The beds are possibly the most comfortable I have ever slept in and I loved the bedding. The bathroom had a separate tub and shower, which made bath time for the boys a breeze and there was a wonderful Keurig machine with a great selection of coffee, tea and hot chocolate for guests to enjoy.

{Hotel Guest Benefits}

There are some benefits to staying at one of the Universal Studios on-site hotels. First, you get early entry into the Harry Potter section of Islands of Adventure each morning, an entire hour before the regular park opening. This enabled the boys and Matt to go on the ride there with only a 10 minute wait and for us to wander the shops while they were virtually empty on Saturday morning.

You also get to use the Express Pass lines for most attractions throughout both parks. This will save you tons of wait time. We were able to walk on any ride we wanted using this feature. Packages can automatically be sent from park gift shops to your hotel room as well and the parks are only a short boat trip away, so no fighting for a parking spot.

{Holiday in the Harbour Events}

If you are headed to the area for the holidays, I highly recommend you take advantage of the Holiday in the Harbour package at the Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel. The package is available on select nights December 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24 for a cost of $75 for adults and $25 for children, with ages 3 and under free. This is a true bargain when you understand what is included.
  • Restaurant voucher for Mama Della's Ristorante or Trattoria del Porto
  • Horse and Carriage ride
  • Family Portrait printed on a ceramic tile
  • Holiday treat and hot chocolate at Babbo Natale's Sweet Shop
You get all of this for one low price, along with all the regular nightly free holiday entertainment in the Harbour, including a visit with Babbo Natale (Santa), acrobatic elf shows, storytelling and a free scavenger hunt for kids, which ends with a complimentary treat at the sweet shop.

{Our Holiday in the Harbour Experience}

For dinner, we went to Mama Della's Ristorante and it was wonderful! The bread basket was full of variety, the boys got hot chocolate with millions of marshmallows and the meals were to die for. Matt's tenderloin with gnocchi fries made my mouth literally water. I had a cold and couldn't taste much of my entree, but it surely looked amazing! The one thing I love above all else is the authentic nature of everything here, from the olive loaf bread to the spoons that are served with your pasta for "twirling." The service was superb and the boys thoroughly enjoyed the roving musician and his accordion. 

After filling our bellies, we headed off to have our family photo taken. There was no line and the process was quick. We were told we could go pick up our tile in a little bit at the Family Art Photography shop across the Harbour. We went back later to pick it up and this was the result. The boys loved being able to watch the tile being printed. 

Next up was a horse and carriage ride. I had never been on one of these, but it was loads of fun and our whole family actually fit in one carriage! The grounds are beautifully lit at night all ready for the holidays and it was a fun experience for the whole family, especially when the boys started giggling because they noticed the horse had a bag under its rear to catch its droppings. Ah, the joy of having boys.

We enjoyed a gingerbread cookie and hot chocolate at the sweet shop, and then had a quick visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who were sitting by the beautifully decorated tree in the Harbour. Again, there was no line, but sadly, I could only talk Jordan into going for a visit.

After taking in the acrobatic elves, some caroling and a few imaginary spins on the Vespas, we headed to bed to get ready for a day of fun in the parks the next morning. This was a wonderful holiday experience and the hotel truly is one of a kind. If you are headed to the area for the holidays or anytime in the future, I would encourage you to consider staying at this Universal on-site hotel and experience all the beauty and relaxation it has to offer for yourself.

You Might Also Like


  1. That looks like a totally fun experience, the food looks so good!!

  2. What beautiful pictures, looks like fun!

  3. LOVE the Holiday in the Harbor events; love it!

  4. It looks and sounds like y'all had a fabulous time!

  5. It sounds like a great time, and something different to do around the holidays for the whole family.

  6. Just look at that, what an awesome vacation. I've only been one time to Universal Studios and that was many years ago. The hotel asnd entire trip looks fantastic!



Stats and Resources