The 750-room Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando recently underwent a massive renovation to enhance the property’s Portofino, Italy theme. The guest rooms were completely redone and now feature a palette of cream colors matched with terra cotta-colored marble and shades of aqua that represent the Italian seaside village. The Universal Orlando theme is also inherent throughout Despicable Me-inspired hotel suites. These 2-room suites bring Gru’s house to life, featuring missile beds and Minions, that rappel from the ceiling.
Prevue spoke with Kathy Cattoor, VP, resort sales for Universal Orlando Resort about the renovation and what it means for the meetings industry.
What are some of the renovation highlights that will stand out to meeting attendees?
Cattoor: This renovation was the most extensive and luxurious in the history of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel here at Universal Orlando. Our guest rooms were completely renovated from top to bottom with a new look that reflects the upscale, sun-drenched resort of Portofino, Italy, and its historic harbor along the Italian Riviera. We completely refurbished the trompe l’oeil on the hotel’s exterior. It was a $22 million renovation and the property looks better than ever.
How does the property stand out compared to others in the area?
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is onsite at Universal Orlando Resort, and we are connected to the theme parks by a scenic waterway. Our guests enjoy special benefits in the theme parks along with resort-wide transportation. The hotel is also connected by the resort waterway to Universal CityWalk, a dining, shopping and entertainment area. Planners love this easy access because it means they do not have to plan every minute of the attendee experience; there is built-in entertainment at our back door. That certainly sets us apart. Another distinction is the theme of our hotel. The property is a recreation of Portofino, Italy, complete with cobblestone piazzas, outdoor cafes and a nightly music show performed from a balcony overlooking the picturesque harbor.
How does the property provide a true Orlando experience?
The Universal Orlando theme parks are just a short walk or water taxi ride away from the hotel. You can travel from our luxurious and relaxing hotel to the excitement of the theme parks in just minutes on the resort waterway or the resort walking path. You will also see the Universal Orlando brand infused into many aspects of the guest experience.
What is the most popular meeting space at the property and why is it the most popular?
Our most popular space is the Tuscan Ballroom, with 15,000 sf of space, 27-foot ceilings and a spacious prefunction area with natural lighting. Its fixtures are reminiscent of Tuscany’s ornate metal work and its pre-function area opens onto our Citrus Piazza. Planners love the flexibility of this space and the themed environment of our outdoor Citrus Piazza.