We just returned from a Disney/Legoland vacation from March 15-21. I chose Homewood Suites mainly because our trip was somewhat last minute and it was the best rate I could find that could accommodate a family of our size (2 adults, 4 small children, 1 infant). I was a little apprehensive at booking because the last few times we've stayed in the Disney resorts or at the Marriott time share resorts in the area and were just overwhelmed each time with how awesome they were. This year we were on a tighter budget so our options were limited. Also, I know the area well and was a little concerned about the area as I-Drive isn't what it used to be and having a Motel 6 and Super 8 so close by can never be a good sign. But I have to say, I could not have been more pleased with this hotel and I would come back again. It far exceeded my expectations. We had a suite with 2 queen beds and the living room had a sofa bed. The suite was clean, spacious and the bedroom had plenty of space for the pack & play the hotel provided for our infant son. Kitchen area was small but it was great having access to a full kitchen to keep milk cold, prepare bottles, etc. Living room also wasn't huge but honestly, we didn't do anything more than sleep in the room so never actually had to use the living room 'AS' a living room. It was just extra sleeping space. It was nice to be able to spread out a little.
Breakfast was always busy and depending on what time you went down there, tables were at a premium. We always got one, but it wasn't easy. They have a few high chairs available for little ones. There was a nice patio near the pool that had a few more tables if the inside got too crazy. The food selection was good. Eggs everyday, a waffle station, fruit, cereal, breads, coffee, juice, and varying selection from day to day of breakfast meats, or biscuits & gravy, or potato pancakes. Each day was different. Staff was overwhelmed from time to time just keeping up with it all and ensuring all stations were stocked, but they were friendly and hard working. An added hand wouldn't hurt them. They offer a light dinner on weeknights, but we did not take advantage of it as we were never back from the parks in time. They post a dinner menu on your refrigerator in the suite.
Housekeeping did a good job keeping the suite clean and we didn't have any issues. The staff was very friendly and all the staff members we encountered said hello and were friendly. At check-in it was a breeze (late at night) I was advised of all the hotel had to offer, breakfast times, etc. Never had an issue finding parking during our stay but it was apparent that Homewood and their sister property HGI next door were close to capacity. If you stay on an upper floor the elevator closest to the lobby was a little slow so if your room is in the middle of the hallway, recommend the rear elevator. It was a little faster - and you can get good parking right near the door. Lobby isn't huge but its welcoming and they have a nice little waterfall/water wall that separates the check in area from the breakfast area. There is also a Universal ticket office in the lobby to buy tix to the parks. Laundry rooms had 2 washers and 1 dryer; found that a little odd. I ended up having to dry clothes on separate floors just to get the 2 loads dried with out draining $$'s on the single dryer. Used the Business Center to print our discounted tix to Legoland (buy online and save and don't wait in line). Biz center was small but had 2 computers and 2 printers available. Hotel also has a game room for the kids and nice fitness center. Not huge but has all the necessary equipment. Wi-fi in the room worked well and never had any problems with it.
Hotel location is good That was one of my apprehensions prior to coming, but it really is a super quiet area and I felt safe. Back entrances required a key swipe to get in and there was an evening security guard (only saw the night I arrived but apparently they are there all the time). Hotel is walking distance to Wet & Wild and plenty of restaurants nearby. But to be practical, you need to rent a car if you stay here. Universal is close and they offer a shuttle but times seemed inconvenient. Disney is about a 15 minute drive, Universal about 2 mins, Airport about 15 mins. Stay away from I-Drive/Sand Lake intersection. That light has always been a disaster and 20 years later, it still is. Use the roads near Universal to get on/off I-4. WAY easier. There is a 24 hour Walgreens around the corner. Beware, its very understaffed and overwhelmed with late night foreign customers who slow the one line down trying to figure out American currency. It has all you need and is convenient but try to avoid the 11pm - Midnight hour. There is a Super Walmart about 5 mins away as well.
The last day we enjoyed the pool and jacuzzi (pretty much had it to ourselves). The water temperature was comfortable, it was clean, and kids had a blast. Plenty of towels and chairs, as well as some 'cabanas' - they are not really cabanas, more like stylish tents, but they do provide shade if that is your thing. There is also a basketball court which is a nice addition if you have older children. Each night there were teens playing, but it never got too loud (occasional sound of ball bouncing heard from the 4th floor but court lights go out by 10pm I think so it isn't a big deal). Our room faced towards I-Drive. Other reviews say these are a little quieter than the ones facing I-4, but I don't know that for sure. We never had a problem with noise. Also the patio I mentioned above has 2 fairly new Weber grills so if BBQing your own meal is your thing, this is a nice amenity.
When making your hotel selection, if you are looking for great value, good location, and clean, spacious rooms this place will fit your needs, especially if you are looking to accommodate a larger size family without breaking the bank. For $125/nt where else are you going to get that rate inclusive of free hot breakfast, free parking, free wi-fi, and all the amenities described above (WITHOUT a resort fee)? Hard to find a value like that during peak travel weeks, especially when booking somewhat last minute. This place exceeded our expectations and I recommend you give it a shot. The proximity to Universal is a big win for this hotel. We didn't do Universal this trip due to the younger ages of our children, but being so close to the park is definitely a perk of this hotel. I look forward to visiting again when the kids are ready for Universal!
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- Also Known As:
- Homewood Suites Orlando-Nearest To Universal Studios Hotel Orlando
- Orlando Universal
- Suites Orlando
- Homewood Orlando
- Homewood Universal Suites
- Orlando Homewood Suites
- Homewood Suites By Hilton Orlando-Nearest To Univ Studios Florida