Doubletree at Universal Orlando Resort - A Review

Last weekend we did an overnight at the Doubletree Hotel at Universal Orlando, while taking in a concert at Hard Rock Live. This hotel has been around for as long as I can remember - about the mid 80's - and has flown the flag of several different chains over the years. Anyone that arrives to Orlando by car has no doubt seen this hotel, with its twin towers greeting those exiting the Florida Turnpike onto I-4. There are a few good things going for this property, but by the end of the stay I was quite happy to be checking out.

First, the good stuff: The biggest reason to stay at the Doubletree is its incredibly convenient location to Universal Orlando. The hotel lies directly across the street from the theme parks, within a reasonable walk if one desired. In fact, the full name of the hotel is actually "The Doubletree Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando." I guess they really want to drive that point home, and I can't really blame them considering the location and Starbucks in the lobby is where this list of "good stuff" comes to an end.

I had high hopes when I saw this...

Things got off to a rocky start when the desk agent informed us we were booked into a smoking room. I reserved the room through a third party website as I always do, but the potentially fatal error was skipping my call to the hotel prior to arrival to inquire what room type we received. As the desk agent searched for a non-smoking room, he politely informed us that "This is what happens when you book through wholesalers...You just get what they give you." To the casual observer, this statement would seem innocent enough, but to my ears it sounded about like "The Bird is the Word" on repeat.

During my hotel days, it was a very common practice for me to stick Priceline and Hotwire guests - neither of which I used - in smoking rooms when we were in an overbooked situation. The guests would arrive, they wouldn't be happy, and inevitably I'd say "This is what happens when you book through wholesalers...You just get what they give you." Granted, I probably said it with much more tact, but regardless, now that I am on the other side of the desk I see those statements in a different light. The damage was first impression of the Doubletree was a lecture from the desk agent, and I felt a pit in my stomach for ever having done the same.

The lobby and front desk. 

Unfortunately, things didn't get much better once we got up to our room, which did turn out to be non-smoking, on the 2nd floor of the south tower. Aside from the flat screen TV, nice looking carpet, and Keurig style coffee maker, I'm pretty sure the room had not seen an update since President Clinton's first term in office. I was however, relieved to learn that there are 5 different pizza joints which deliver to the hotel, and their menus were conveniently slid under our door and waiting on the floor for us. In addition, while I am not usually bothered by thin walls in a hotel, these were so bad that I could hear anytime someone sneezed in the adjacent tower.

The rattan headboard and mirrored closet doors were a nice touch 

The old saying "You get what you pay for" could not be more appropriate. I got a bargain, and in the end the value I received in return was about on par with what I paid. There is no doubt, however, had I paid the rate shown on the Doubletree website - around $130 - that I would have felt severely ripped off. All the welcome cookies in the world simply can't offset what comes with a hotel being stuck in 1988.

Overall, if you find a deal like I did, then the Doubletree at Universal Orlando is a fine solution for someone that simply needs a bed for one night. On the other hand, to spend a multi-night vacation at this property is something I can't imagine, no matter how great William Shatner's price may be.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~



  1. I'm laughing at the Karmic retribution of the desk clerk telling you "That's what happens when..." I always wonder why they even bother to sell rooms through Priceline or Hotwire if they're just going to alienate the customers anyways.
    As for the short walk to the park, maybe for you marathon runners. We stayed at the Hyatt Place right next door, and by the second day my kids were begging me to drive over.

  2. Just goes to show you Steve, you never know when Karma will call in what's due. I left the hotel business nearly 8 years ago!

    And yeah, no way was I making that walk...We took a cab:)


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