The two towers of rooms near Universal Orlando Resort in Kirkman Road area stand tall. Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando offers reasonable value and services for guest wishing to visit Universal Orlando. Many guests love it. As you might expect in this style article, many guests dislike this place also. In fairness, some guests expect perfection expressing disappointment over less than fair criticisms. These reasons to dislike focus on consistent patterns that differ from other comparable places in a negative way.
In fairness, Doubletree provides honesty in pricing since they do not have sneaky hidden resort fees like many area hotels. However, their parking fees damage any budget, if you are planning to drive here or rent a car at airport, the parking fees should be considered. Currently, parking fees for standard parking costs $23/night. Valet parking costs $29/night. Yes, the parking is secured with gates. Yes, the parking area resides nearby with easy access in and out. Still, guests should pay attention to this added fee.
CHOAS OF SHUTTLE SERVICE
Significant perk of staying here involves the free shuttle service to Universal Orlando. In theme park world, there is no such thing as free shuttle service. Yes, the cost to guests is zero. However, several hoops must be jumped through.
Officially, guests need reservations to be picked up at their hotel. These reservations can be acquired 24 hours or less in advance. The concierge type area in charge of these reservations closes around 7pm each day. If you arrive after 7 pm to return to your hotel, you cannot book reservation for shuttle until the next morning. Since the shuttle runs only 4 or 5 times in morning, during busy crowd levels, shuttle reservations can be unavailable due to space. Also, being a Universal Orlando partner hotel, this shuttle makes stops at 3 other hotels before arriving at Doubletree. Even with a reservation, guests at Doubletree on busy days may have to stand on the way to CityWalk.
The return trip to your hotel from CityWalk involves no reserved seats. There are 3 or 4 pickup times from CityWalk each evening. The queue for shuttle pick-up area often resembles chaos with little or no guidance from trained staff. Also, since no hotel or Universal team members coordinate that queue, pushing and shoving might ensue on busy crowd days. Add in the confusion about whether the shuttle bus arriving serves your route or another route, the confusion after a long park day escalates.
NAVIGATION OF HOTEL
Based on hotel structure, guests state that getting from room to other hotel areas present challenges. Since this is a tower style hotel, elevators serve a primary option. During busy times, elevator traffic increases making it difficult for guests to get to lobby and/or pool area. Also, during high hotel occupancy days, waits for elevators increase dramatically.
As well, this hotel offers excellent convention space and amenities. The convention participants tend to increase crowd levels in common areas adding to hotel guest difficulty navigating to dining and/or their room.
Last navigation issue, if choosing to walk to Universal, you will need to cross a major highway or if available a tall pedestrian walkway to cross road. This process adds stress for some guests not used to crossing major roads and/or fear than a driver will not stop as directed.
Though this process exceeds some other area hotels (looking at you Cabana Bay Beach Resort!), this operation works inefficiently. This inefficiency escalates when driving to the hotel. There exists confusion among staff members on procedures in terms of instructions to guest initially. The staff ranks as very professional but not always properly informed. Yes, this happens at Universal Orlando hotels also. Still, this reason possesses validity for disliking this hotel.
True, the price point appears in reason to love list. Still, the question remains if staying here at a similar cost to staying at an official Universal Orlando “on-site” hotel makes this place worth it. For example, is it worth spending $150/night in February 2022 for Universal Orlando Mardi Gras?
This question gets more complicated when the value level Universal Orlando resorts costs $90/night. People must decide if staying at Doubletree defeats the worth of paying more a night to enjoy a value plus level hotel at Universal Orlando. Would be guests must decide if Doubletree price point measures up compared to value or value level hotels on-site.
Once, I asked an editor about doing an article about saving money staying off-site. She responded with why people would stay off-site with price point and amenities of the Endless Summer Resort (value level at Universal Orlando). Before you stay here, you should ask that question. Also, in my opinion, the dining options at the Doubletree are good. Still, price point even compared to on-site at Universal rate a bit high.
In last 8 years, my family have stayed at this hotel five times. Yes, there are valid reason to love it. However, for your next vacation, you should weigh the pros and cons before deciding on this hotel.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.