Guide to Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
What Is Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando?
Hard Rock Hotel is an award-winning on-site hotel at Universal Orlando. It is one of five different on-site hotels that you can choose from when you stay on the Universal Orlando property. Hard Rock Hotel is a Premier Hotel, which basically means that it is in the highest hotel class at Universal Orlando. (The only other Premier Hotel is Loews Portofino Bay Resort.)
If we were to sum up the Hard Rock Hotel's theme in just three words, it would have to be: cool, fun, and classy.
The exterior of Hard Rock Hotel reflects California mission-style architecture. There are broad, massive walls, tiled roofs, terraced bell towers with domes, and other common elements seen in Alta California missions. The 19-acre plot that the hotel sits on is heavily landscaped, making it seems as though you are in some kind of tropical park when you stroll around the property.
The rest of the Hard Rock Hotel has a distinct rock 'n roll theme. There is an elaborate guitar fountain near the hotel's porte cochere, and the inside of the property is home to a priceless collection of authentic rock 'n roll memorabilia that contains more than 80,0000 pieces. Even the stores, bars, and restaurants have an undeniable rocker vibe.
Things Covered in This Hard Rock Hotel Guide
This UO Fan Guide to Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando tells you what you need to know about Hard Rock Hotel before you book. More specifically, we'll cover the details that are most important to the average vacationer, including:
- Hotel Location
- Room Types
- Pet Policy
- Rock Royalty Rooms
- Standard In-Room Amenities
- Sound of Your Stay Amenities
- Theme Park Benefits
- Seasonal Room Rates
- Room Occupancy
- Pool and Poolside Activities
- Dining, Bars, and Room Service
- Character Dining
- Special Events
- Camp Lil' Rock
- Meeting and Function Spaces
- Parking Fees
- Getting to Hard Rock Hotel
- Getting from Hard Rock to the Theme Parks
- Transportation to Nearby Attractions
- Booking a Hard Rock Hotel Room
- Hard Rock Rewards Program
- Hard Rock Hotel vs. Other On-Site Hotels
- Tips for Hard Rock Hotel Guests
Hard Rock Hotel Location
The Hard Rock Hotel is located right on the Universal Orlando property. You can find it between Loew's Portofino Bay Resort and Universal Studios Florida.
Some other basic information about Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando:
- Address: 5800 Universal Boulevard Orlando, Florida 32819-7888
- Phone: 407-503-ROCK (7625)
- Fax: 407-503-ROLL (7665)
- Website: www.hardrockhotels.com
Hard Rock Hotel Room Types
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando has 650 rooms total, including 29 suites. The hotel opened in January of 2001 and has since undergone several renovations, including a $6.8 million room renovation in 2006 and a multi-million dollar room and lobby renovation in 2015.
Let's take a closer look at the types of rooms available at the Hard Rock Hotel:
- Standard Room: Each standard room at the Hard Rock Hotel has two queen beds, one bathroom, and 375 square feet of space. The views from these rooms are limited.
- Garden View Room: Hard Rock Hotel's garden view rooms are also 375 square feet with two queen beds and one bathroom. These rooms have views of the hotel's landscaped grounds.
- Pool View Room: The pool view rooms at Hard Rock Hotel have two queen beds, one bathroom, 375 square feet of space, and a view of the lavish pool area.
- Deluxe King Room: At 400 square feet, the deluxe king rooms at Hard Rock Hotel are a little larger than the standard rooms. There is one king bed, one bathroom, and an extra seating area.
- Deluxe Queen Room: The deluxe queen rooms at Hard Rock Hotel are the largest non-suite rooms. They feature 500 square feet of space, one bathroom, two queen beds, and a pullout couch.
- Hospitality Suite: Designed primarily for private entertaining, the 1,250 square foot hospitality suites at Hard Rock Hotel feature a king bed, one bathroom, an entertaining area with lots of seating, a pull out sofa, a kitchenette with a bar, and a dining room table. The suite also connects to a second 375 square foot bedroom with two queen beds to create a total of 1,625 square feet of space.
- Kids Suites: The 800 square foot kids suites are designed for families with younger guests. These suites feature one bathroom and two bedrooms. The first bedroom has a king bed for adults, and the second bedroom has two smaller beds for kids. The kids room, which does not open up into the hallway, has child-sized tables and chairs, stuffed animals, and other design elements that will appeal to children.
- King Suites: The king suites at Hard Rock Hotel have 650 square feet of space. There is one bathroom and one king bed in addition to extra living space with a dining room table and a sleeper sofa. You can book king suites with a connecting room containing two queen beds.
- Graceland Suite: The presidential suite at Hard Rock Hotel is known as the Graceland Suite because it is fit for The King. This luxury room has 2,000 square feet of space. The master bedroom has a king bed, and the bathroom is appointed with a Whirlpool tub and a WaterTile Body Spray marble shower. Other notable features include a living area, baby grand piano, glass encased-double sided fireplace, walk-in closet, and special furnishings. The Graceland Suite is on the seventh floor and includes access to the Rock Royalty Lounge. A second, connecting room with two queen beds can be booked with the Graceland Suite.
Hard Rock Hotel Pet Policy
The Hard Rock Hotel does allow pets in standard rooms. There is an extra charge of $50 per day, with a maximum charge of $150 for the duration of your stay. Prices are subject to change and some restrictions may apply. You should contact the Hard Rock Hotel at 407-503- 7625 to learn more about their pet policy.
Rock Royalty Rooms at Hard Rock Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel has special rooms on the exclusive seventh floor. These club level rooms are known as Rock Royalty Rooms. Five of these rooms are suites (king suites, kids suites, and the Graceland suite), and the other 90 are sized like standard rooms at 375 square feet but are called Hard Rock Club Rooms. All of them have a garden or pool view.
Rock Royalty Rooms are a little more expensive than the average room because they come with special amenities in addition to the standard in-room amenities. Every guest gets a fluffy cotton robe, personal concierge service, and discounts on pool cabanas. Rock Royalty guests also have exclusive access to a 1,200 square foot lounge (on the seventh floor). The lounge is open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. It has plenty of seating, rock 'n roll magazines, and a complimentary computer and printer.
The best part about the lounge is the free food and drinks. Coffee, tea, and soda are available throughout the day. A continental breakfast with things like oatmeal, cereal, fruit, toast, pastries, milk, and juice is served each morning. Snacks (like chips) are available in the middle of the day, and hors d'oeuvres, including cheese, crackers, vegetables, dips, and finger foods (like wings) are served with beer and wine between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. At night, from about 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, there are numerous sweets available, including cookies, fruit, ice cream, etc.
Hard Rock Hotel Standard In-Room Amenities
Although there are many different types of rooms, there are some standard amenities that you can expect to find in every Hard Rock Hotel room. They include:
- 300-thread-count, 100% cotton bed linens
- Flat panel television with HD channels
- iHome clock radios with iPod docking stations
- Complimentary wireless internet access
- Two telephones
- In-room safe
- Iron and ironing board
- Hair dryer and make-up mirror
- Rock Spa skin and body care products
- Mini refrigerator
- Keurig coffee makers
- Coffee and assorted teas
Daily newspaper delivery and complimentary turndown service are also available upon request.
Hard Rock Hotel's Sound of Your Stay Amenities
Hard Rock Hotel has one other unique music related amenity program that is free for all hotel guests. Known as the Sound of Your Stay, this amenity program includes:
- Picks: Each guest has access to a room service menu featuring 20 Fender guitars. Just "pick" one (pun totally intended), and it will be sent to your room with headphones and an amplifier.
- Tracks: When you check-in, you can choose from three different downloadable playlists that feature curated songs selected by well-known musicians.
- Mix: This amenity allows you to use a Traktor Kontrol Z1 controller (a small pro DJ mixer) and a laptop to mix your own music that can be played on headphones in the Hard Rock Hotel lobby. A resident DJ can show you how to mix if you've never done it before.
Theme Park Benefits at Hard Rock Hotel
Guests of the Hard Rock Hotel receive special theme park benefits. The biggest benefit is Universal Express Unlimited. These express passes (one per guest) allow you to skip the regular lines for most theme park rides. Skipping the regular lines can significantly reduce wait times, allowing you to experience more at Universal Orlando Resort.
Other special theme park benefits include:
- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hard Rock Hotel guests get early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure OR The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. (Note: you don't get to choose; Universal Orlando Resort determines which park is opened early to guests.)
- Resort-wide charging privileges. Your Hard Rock Hotel room key can be used to pay for food and merchandise throughout the hotel, theme parks, and CityWalk. Purchases are charged to your room and must be paid for upon check-out.
- Free merchandise delivery. All of your theme park purchases can be delivered to your Hard Rock Hotel room so that you aren't laden with bags of merchandise all day as you tour the parks.
- Complimentary water taxi and shuttlebus transportation. This free transportation service takes you from Hard Rock Hotel to CityWalk, which is conveniently located next to both theme parks. It also takes you from CityWalk to Hard Rock Hotel. Water taxis and shuttlebuses start running before the parks open and run continuously throughout the day until shortly after CityWalk closes.
- Complimentary shuttlebus transportation to nearby attractions like SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Wet 'n Wild. The shuttlebuses pick you up in CityWalk and drop you off in the same spot after you have visited your desired destination.
- Priority Seating. Hard Rock Hotel guests get priority seating at many restaurants throughout Universal Orlando Resort.
- Golf Universal Orlando. Hard Rock Hotel guests get preferred tee times and complimentary transportation to Grand Cypress Golf Club.
Seasonal Rates at Hard Rock Hotel
Room rates at Hard Rock Hotel are based on availability and the type of room you get. But the biggest contributor to room price is the season. Like the other on-site hotels, Hard Rock Hotel has seasonal rates. The cheapest rooms can be found during slower seasons, like January, September, etc. The most expensive rooms can be found in the summer and during spring and winter holidays.
Hard Rock Hotel Room Occupancy
One other thing to keep in mind is that all advertised room rates at Hard Rock Hotel (and all other on-site hotels) are based on double occupancy (i.e. two people per room). If you have two adults, plus two children, the children stay in the room for free. But if multiple adults (more than two) are staying in a single room, you will need to pay an extra fee per person per day. Fees vary by hotel and season, but typically start at $25 per person per day. So, for example, if you have four adults in one room, you will need to pay $25 extra per day for the third adult and $25 extra per day for the fourth adult.
Also, all rooms have a maximum occupancy. For example, a room with two queen beds has a maximum occupancy of five people (two people in each bed and one person in a rollaway). There is a $25 fee per day for the rollaway. Be sure to check with the hotel to see what the maximum occupancy is for the room you want to book.
Hard Rock Hotel Pool and Poolside Activities
The 12,000 square foot pool at Hard Rock Hotel features a sand beach, a 260 foot slide, and speakers that pump music straight into the pool so that you don't have to stop rockin' even when you're swimming. Near the pool, you'll find a beach volleyball court, two hot tubs, a kid's play area, and interactive fountains.
Hard Rock Hotel also hosts a number of poolside activities - from weekly poolside movies, DJs, and live music to ping pong tournaments, arts and crafts, hula hoop contests, and water balloon tosses. Be sure to check with the front desk to find out what will be going on during your stay. You can also find a calendar of events near the pool.
Poolside cabanas are available for rent. Fees vary depending on the time of year. All cabanas include a ceiling fan, HD TV, phone, wireless internet, and a mini-fridge stocked with beverages like water and soda. For a little bit extra, you can rent one of two themed cabanas: The Yellow Submarine or Stevie Wonder's Musiquarium. You can call 407- 503-2236 to make rental arrangements of learn more about cabana prices.
Hard Rock Hotel Dining and Bars
Hard Rock Hotel has several on-site restaurants and bars that serve everything from full meals to snacks and cocktails. Let's take a closer look at all of the hotel's food and beverage options:
The Kitchen restaurant serves American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the morning, guests can order off the Breakfast A la Carte menu or try the breakfast buffet, which includes an omelet station and a griddle station. An unlimited bloody mary and mimosa bar is also available with the buffet on Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays.
The lunch menu at The Kitchen contains everything from burgers and salads to Florida gator tail and bacon-wrapped meatloaf sandwiches. The dinner menu features many of the same things as the lunch menu along with fancier entrees like grilled filet mignon and pan seared snapper. The Kitchen also serves drinks, including a wide selection of wines.
You'll find a special section in The Kitchen that's just for kids. Known as the Kids' Crib, this area of the restaurant gives youngsters a place to chill while their parents eat dinner. The Kids' Crib has a big screen TV, bean bags, and kid-friendly furniture.
Every now and then, a visiting rock star stops by The Kitchen to perform a cooking demonstration at the Chef's Table. These appearances are never guaranteed, but are a fun surprise when they do happen. You can check out past rock star chefs by visiting the "Apron Wall" while you're in the restaurant.
Reservations are not always required at The Kitchen, but can reduce wait times during busier seasons. You can make reservations at The Kitchen through Open Table. Private dining is also available for up to 90 people.
Palm Restaurant, also known as the Palm, is a classic American steakhouse. The original Palm restaurant opened in New York City in 1926. Like the New York version, the Palm at the Hard Rock Hotel is known for its steak, lobster, and Italian dishes. (See the full Palm Restaurant menu.) It is also famous for the cartoon caricatures of celebrities that are drawn on the walls of the dining area.
The Palm opens daily at 5:00 p.m. The dress code is resort casual or business casual, which essentially means no sleeveless shirts for men and no beachwear for men or women. Reservations are highly recommended. You can make dinner reservations on the Palm website. We also recommend bringing your appetite and a wallet full of money - dining at the Palm isn’t cheap.
If you'd like a more intimate dining experience, private dining rooms are available for 10 to 55 people. You can learn more about private dining experiences by calling 407-503-2384.
Part bar, part lounge, the Velvet Bar is undoubtedly Hard Rock Hotel's coolest, swankiest place to hang out. There's lots of unique furniture and a chic bar inside not to mention a very cool veranda with outdoor seating. Happy hour takes place daily between 5:00 and 7:00 pm.
Velvet Bar has an impressive drink selection that includes everything from chilled martinis and heavy metal cocktails to ports and absinthe. You can also order appetizers, sandwiches, salads, or even a steak to go with your drinks. In true rock star style, Velvet Bar sells Marlboro cigarettes, cigars, and hookah hits. See the full Velvet Bar menu to learn about all of the offerings.
Emack and Bolio’s Marketplace
Emack and Bolio’s Marketplace is primarily an ice cream parlor, but it also sells Starbucks coffee, candy, snacks, and hot and cold breakfast items. Examples of signature ice cream flavors include Deep Purple Cow and Bye Bye Miss American Mud Pie.
The very first Emack and Bolio’s opened in Boston in 1975 by music lawyer Bob Rook. It began as a basement hangout where rock stars could go to mellow out and eat homemade ice cream late at night after performing their gigs.
Emack and Bolio’s rock 'n roll background and collection of rock memorabilia on the walls make it a good fit for the Hard Rock Hotel.
Beachclub is Hard Rock Hotel's poolside bar and grill. It features outdoor seating, Cabo Wabo cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and light snacks. Besides Emack & Bolio’s Marketplace, Beachclub is definitely the hotel's most casual and modestly priced dining option.
Hard Rock Hotel Room Service
In addition to all of the on-site restaurants, Hard Rock Hotel also offers 24 hour in-room dining. The room service menu is pretty extensive, and prices are on par with in-room dining options at other hotels.
Character Dining at Hard Rock Hotel
Character dining experiences are available at The Kitchen in Hard Rock Hotel. There is a character breakfast on Tuesday mornings and a character dinner on Saturday evenings. These dining experiences include dinner as well as the opportunity for autographs and meet and greets with Universal Orlando's theme park characters.
Special Events at Hard Rock Hotel
You can find several different music related events at Hard Rock Hotel, including:
- Velvet Sessions: On the last Thursday of every month from January through October, the Hard Rock Hotel hosts Velvet Sessions. This event is an all-inclusive rock 'n roll cocktail party that combines free cocktails and tapas with live music from legendary rock stars like Foreigner and Joan Jett. You must buy tickets and be at least 21 years old (no exceptions) to attend. Tickets are usually cheaper if you buy them in advance online rather than at the door. Prices vary by show but start at $29 per person. See photos and FAQ about Velvet Sessions.
- Velvet Unplugged: The Velvet Unplugged events at Hard Rock Hotel combine drinks with live acoustic performances. The first round of drinks is usually on the house for guests with table tickets, but there is a charge for additional cocktails.
- Wine Riffs: This quarterly event at Hard Rock Hotel combines wine, food, and music into a unique culinary experience. Wineries are invited to tell wine-related stories while you eat a special five-course dinner paired with wines. You must be at least 21 years old to attend this separately ticketed event. Tickets cost about $125.
Hard Rock Hotel's Camp Lil' Rock
Hard Rock Hotel offers a special service for guests who want an evening without the kids. Known as Camp Lil' Rock, this service will supervise kids age 4 through 14 in an activity center that has computers, movies, video games, board games, and arts and crafts. Reservations are required. The service costs $15 per hour per child. There is an additional charge of $15 for every meal your child eats. You should call 407-503-1200 to learn more about Camp Lil' Rock or make reservations.
Hard Rock Hotel Meeting and Function Spaces
The Hard Rock Hotel has 6,000 square feet of meeting and function space that is divided as follows:
- Pre-function space - 1,600 square feet
- Avalon ballroom (can be divided into 3 separate sections) - 2,964 square feet
- Apollo boardroom - 648 square feet
- Fillmore meeting room - 620 square feet
There is also a 1,024 square foot private room overlooking the hotel pool and a 9,000 square foot area known as Woodstock lawn located near the boat dock. Additional meeting and function space is available at Hard Rock Café and Hard Rock Live in nearby CityWalk.
Hard Rock Hotel Parking Fees
There is a fee to park in the Hard Rock Hotel parking lot. Self-parking is $22 plus tax per day for overnight guests and $24 per day for day guests. Valet parking is $29 plus tax per day for overnight guests and $34 plus tax per day for day guests. These fees are per vehicle. There are 650 rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel and 500 parking spaces, so the lot can get tight when the hotel is at capacity.
Getting to Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard Rock Hotel is just a short drive from Orlando International Airport. You can use these driving directions to get from the airport to the hotel. Shuttle services are also available if you do not have a car. The most reasonably priced service is SuperStar Shuttle, Universal's shuttle service. You can call Universal Travel Operation Department at 1-866-604-7557 to make the required shuttle reservation. Kids under three can ride for free; everyone else will need to pay a fee to ride. A couple of other fee-based shuttle services in Orlando include Mears Transportation and SuperShuttle.
Getting from Hard Rock to the Theme Parks
There are three different ways to get from Hard Rock Hotel to the Universal theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure):
- Walk. Hard Rock Hotel is very close to the theme parks, particularly Universal Studios Florida. You can walk on the provided garden path (which is labeled with signs and nicely landscaped). This path takes you right to the gates of Universal Studios Florida (the other park, Islands of Adventure, is just a short walk away from the USF gates). In most cases, walking is the quickest way to get to the theme parks.
- Ride the Free Water Taxi. There is a free water taxi that takes guests from the lagoon at Hard Rock Hotel to the lagoon in CityWalk, which is just a short walk away from both theme parks. This water taxi runs continuously throughout the day until about 2:30 a.m. (shortly after CityWalk closes). You can also catch a ride from CityWalk back to Hard Rock Hotel at any time throughout the day. Wait times for water taxis are usually minimal.
- Ride the Free Shuttlebus. There is a free shuttlebus that takes guests from Hard Rock Hotel to the bus drop-off at the entrance to CityWalk (near the Universal parking structure). This drop off area is not as close to the theme parks as the water taxi lagoon or the garden path exit, but it is still just a short walk away from both theme parks. The shuttlebus also runs continuously throughout the day until about 2:30 a.m. (shortly after CityWalk closes). We do not recommend this method of transportation unless you hate walking or riding in boats.
Transportation From Hard Rock Hotel to Nearby Attractions
Complimentary shuttlebus transportation from CityWalk to nearby attractions like Aquatica, Wet 'n Wild, and SeaWorld is also available to Hard Rock Hotel guests. You must make reservations ahead of time to use this free transportation option. Reservations can be made at the Attraction Ticket Center located in the hotel lobby.
Booking a Room at Hard Rock Hotel
There are a few different ways that you can book a room at Hard Rock Hotel. You can make reservations over the phone by calling 1-888-464-3617. You can also book online through the Hard Rock Hotel website.
If you'd like to book your hotel room as part of a vacation package, you should visit UniversalOrlandoVacations.com.
If all of these options sound like too much work, you can just call a travel agent. Most agents can book your room, get your park admission tickets, and take care of other vacation planning tasks at no extra cost to you.
Hard Rock Rewards Program
We highly recommend signing up for Hard Rock Rewards if you plan on staying at Hard Rock Hotel, especially if you think you will stay more than once. This rewards program allows you to earn 10 points for every dollar you spend on a Hard Rock Hotel room. Points can also be earned at the Hard Rock Café and Rock Shops. You get a $15 reward coupon every time you earn 5,000 points. These coupons can be used to pay for future hotel rooms, food at the Hard Rock Café, and much more.
Hard Rock Hotel vs. Other On-Site Hotels
When it comes to theme park benefits, Hard Rock Hotel outshines some of the other on-site hotels, including Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. These two hotels do not offer the Universal Unlimited Express Pass, which can help you skip the regular lines for theme park attractions. Cabana Bay is also missing the free water taxi transportation that comes with all of the other on-site hotels.
The other two on-site hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Resort and Loews Royal Pacific Resort, are comparable to Hard Rock Hotel when it comes to benefits. In fact, the theme park benefits at all three of these hotels are exactly the same.
The main thing (other than the theme) that sets Hard Rock apart from the other hotels is the price. During certain seasons, it is the most expensive hotel on property (when comparing standard room prices); during other seasons, it is the second most expensive property. To see exactly how the prices stack up, compare seasonal rates at all on-site hotels.
If you want to choose an on-site hotel room based on price alone, it is important to keep in mind that the rooms at the Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, and Portofino Bay are more expensive because they come with Express Passes, which are valued at $89 per person per day. Of course, this amount reflects the peak price of Express Passes. An Express Pass can sometimes be purchased separately for much less, particularly during slower times of the year, like the value seasons.
Be sure to count the number of people who will be in your room, determine whether or not you need an Express Pass, determine how much it would be to buy an Express Pass separately for everyone in the room, and then compare prices at various hotels so that you can determine whether or not the extra room price at Hard Rock Hotel is worth it to you. It may be cheaper for you to stay somewhere else and buy Express Passes separately. On the other hand, Hard Rock Hotel may provide the best value for you and your family.
Tips for Hard Rock Hotel Guests
Some of the other things you might want to know before you book a room or stay at Hard Rock Hotel:
- Hard Rock Hotel is a non-smoking property. However, there are designated smoking areas on the outdoor grounds of the hotel.
- The Hard Rock Hotel has a Rock Shop with apparel, hard rock themed souvenirs, and other merchandise.
- Pool supplies, temporary tattoos, hair wraps, and other random items can be purchased at a place called Synergy near the pool entrance.
- There is a game room on site with classic and modern arcade games.
- All guests get complimentary access to Body Rock, an on-site fitness center with cardio and circuit training equipment, locker rooms, showers, and sauna and steam rooms.
- Hard Rock Hotel features lavishly landscaped walking and jogging paths.
- There is a butterfly-shaped garden on site with a gazebo and fragrant flowers.
- You can hold your wedding and reception on the Hard Rock Hotel property. Packages are available for large and small ceremonies. Learn more about Hard Rock weddings.
- If you feel like resort hopping, you can use your Hard Rock Hotel room key to get into other on-site hotel pools. Universal Orlando also offers a free dining shuttle to make it easy to experience other on-site hotel restaurants.
- You can rent a car on-site from the Hertz Rental Desk near the hotel's Attraction Ticket Center.
- Guests have access to a full-service business center Monday through Friday.
Hard Rock Hotel Image Gallery
See pictures of Hard Rock Hotel in this image gallery.