When they say this DoubleTree Hotel is located “at the entrance to Universal Studios,” they are not joking. It is literally located across the street from the entrance to the parks and other than staying at an on-site Universal Orlando hotel, there is no place more convenient than the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando. Trust me on this; if your plan is to visit universal studios or Islands of Adventure, and you want to beat the crowds to Harry Potter Land, then stay here. You’ll save a ton of money and will have a great experience.
The hotel offers plenty of amenities for families to have fun during the day and rest and recover at night. It’s not the most luxurious hotel in the area but it does offer comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price point (so you can actually afford to stay that extra day). The hotel is located about 17 miles from Orlando International Airport (20 mins by car). They used to offer a paid shuttle service to/from the airport but due to Covid-19, this service has been temporarily suspended. However, an Uber/Lyft ride should only cost you about $35 each way so it’s not too bad. You definitely won’t need a car staying here but if you will have one, parking at the hotel will cost you $23/day.
The hotel was recently renovated and the new design aesthetic is clean and modern. The lobby area is spacious and there are plenty of common areas to meet up with friends and family members. There are numerous restaurants on-site including a bar, several kid-friendly establishments and an ice-cream shop. Masks are required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces of the hotel except while eating/drinking or in the pool.
The courtyard area is equally spacious with several sitting areas, a nice fountain and a fire pit to enjoy the cool winter nights.
On this trip, I booked a 4-night stay to visit the parks. I booked a two-queen room and was offered the same upon check-in. There doesn’t appear to be many perks for Honors Diamond members other than the recognition of status and complimentary breakfast. We were assigned room 1015, located in the South Tower, with a view of the pool.
The room was furnished with two queen beds, a desk, a small sitting area and an enclosed bathroom. Size-wise, the room was okay for the two of us but I would imagine a family of four would be a little cramped. We enjoyed our stay but we did have a couple of complaints about the room. First, I wished the room had a balcony or at least, a window that could be opened for some ventilation. The room didn’t smell bad but it did feel stuffy. And secondly, the walls were paper thin. We could hear people talking and all the doors closing outside. If you’re a light sleeper, I would bring some earplugs.
Room amenities included an LCD television, mini-fridge, safe and a coffee maker.
I really appreciated the mini-fridge for storing drinks and leftovers but a small microwave would have made this so much better for families.
The enclosed bathroom was also a little on the small side. There was plenty of counter space but a second sink or an enclosed toilet area would have made the space usable for more than one person at a time. Crabtree and Evalyn bath and body products were provided for our use. During Covid-19, housekeeping is by request only. If you need fresh towels or additional amenities, you can call or grab some at the front desk.
Downstairs, the DoubleTree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando offers a tour desk, fitness center, gift shop, video game room, coin-op laundry room and a pool complex. The pool complex offers a large pool with plenty of lounge chairs, a small kids’ water play area and a jacuzzi. The pool and jacuzzi were open during my visit but the kid’s play area was not. I’m not sure if this is because of Covid-19 or because of the winter months.
The video game and coin-op laundry rooms were both open.
And so was the fitness center. It wasn’t anything special but it had enough for any vacation workout.
For Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members, you are provided with a complimentary continental breakfast every morning from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM in the Sunshine Cafe. The continental breakfast is very basic and includes a croissant, muffin, fruit cup, yogurt and a coffee. If you want to skip the continental breakfast and upgrade to a normal breakfast, you will get half off of another breakfast item. It’s either-or, not both. Meaning, you can’t get the free continental breakfast plus half off the omelet for example. Pretty cheesy if you ask me.
This is the $14 continental breakfast (free for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members).
And this is what $16 ($8 if you forgo the free continental breakfast) will get you. Pretty sad, right?
If you need to buy Universal Studios tickets, you can do so at the tour desk located in the lobby. A free daily shuttle is offered but due to Covid-19, you must make reservations the day prior and space is not guaranteed. But like I said, if you can’t get on the shuttle; it’s okay. The walk is not bad and it will only take you approximately 15 mins to get to the entrance to the parks. I should note that the hotel is a Universal Orlando Partner Hotel but don’t get too excited as it doesn’t offer you any perks other than the shuttle.
DoubleTree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando Bottom line:
Overall, I think the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando is a great hotel for families on a budget. It’s convenient for visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and the hotel offers plenty of amenities for guests to rest and relax after a full day at the parks. We really enjoyed our stay here as it allowed us to wake up early, have breakfast, take a leisurely stroll to the park, hang out for a few hours, come back for lunch and a quick nap, and then go back to the park for some nighttime fun. It was a perfect mix of both fun at the park but also relaxation at the hotel. Best of both worlds.
Have you stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Studios Orlando? If so, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
The other posts in this series include:
- Flying Delta Basic Economy During Covid-19, Los Angeles to Orlando
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando
- Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Orlando During Covid-19
- The Club MCO Orlando Airport