Great Location, Pet-Friendly: This Holiday Inn is Worth a Look
Written: Jan 2, 2009 (Updated Jan 2, 2009)
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Great staff, good location, well-kept.
Cons:Limited off-property dining choices nearby.
The Bottom Line:
Clean, comfortable property in a good location with upgrades for Priority Club members. See you again soon, Holiday Inn & Suites Universal Studios!
I stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites Universal Studios on December 26-27, 2008. It was my second visit to this property in the past several years.
Both of my experiences with this hotel have been quite positive.
The Holiday Inn Universal Studios is located off of Interstate 4, the main artery with which you will become very familiar if you visit the Orlando area. As the name implies, the location is very convenient to Universal Studios-- it's located quite near the main gate.
Universal aside, the location of the hotel is a pretty good launching point for an Orlando vacation. You are, more or less, halfway in between Disney World and Downtown Orlando.
Interestingly enough, this hotel has been here for many years-- even before there was a Universal Studios in Florida; for you Orlando veteran travelers, it is next door to what used to be the Mystery Fun House. Having said that, don't worry-- this two tower hotel has been kept up nicely. I would argue that it exceeds Holiday Inn standards (and I am a Holiday Inn regular).
Believe it or not, the famed Intercontinental Hotels Group owns the Holiday Inn brand these days; their frequent guest program is called Priority Club. Before you stay at this Holiday Inn, be sure to join the Priority Club. At this property, Priority Club members get great treatment, little extras like the best parking spaces in the hotel lot.
In fact, on both stays (in 2008 and in 2005), I was upgraded to a suite just by being a member of Priority Club. Not a bad deal for $105 plus tax per night!
If you have a pet, this is a pet-friendly hotel. While the pet fee is steep ($50 one-time charge), the staff seems to welcome pets as much as it does its two-legged guests. Further, there is a large grassy field to walk your dog (or dingo, heyena, or coyote, I suppose) immediately adjacent to the hotel.
In the case of many hotels, the pet-friendly rooms are tired and old-- and often smoking rooms. Not so here. In both cases, the suites I got were first rate.
This is not your rock and roll party hotel. Expect to see plenty of families and middle-aged and older couples. Still, I have yet to see gangs of six year olds yelling and running down the hallways at this property (either with or without mouse ears). The design and construction of the hotel is substantial, so noise from other guests never seems to be a problem.
Again, the staff members I encountered were very nice and helpful. They were genuinely friendly-- a rare thing in a tourist mecca like Orlando.
The restaurant on the property is a TGI Friday's, rather than a typical Holiday Inn restaurant. This is not my favorite chain, but it is fine for a meal or two. No complaints here.
In fact, perhaps the only downside of this hotel relates to food. There aren't any other good restaurants nearby besides the Holiday Inn's TGI Friday's. Still, if you want lots of cheap restaurants within walking distance, perhaps an International Drive hotel is better for you-- although I don't exactly dig staying in the midst of the tacky "I-Drive" insanity and don't like the restaurant choices, either.
The Holiday Inn & Suites Universal Studios is one of my favorites for what it is. I would much rather stay here than many of the upscale hotels I have stayed in over the years-- and nearly every other Holiday Inn I have experienced!
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