A major milestone was recently reached in Universal Orlando’s pandemic recovery with the December 1 reopening of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Now that the resort’s ritziest rooms are again ready for guests, join us on a stroll around the revitalized Portofino Bay for a taste of Mediterranean sunshine in the center of Florida.
The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel closed down in March with the rest of the Universal Orlando Resort, but did not reopen in June with most of the other hotels. In August, Universal announced that the property would remain closed through the end of 2020, but Portofino Bay actually reopened on December 1 to accommodate resurgent holiday crowds.
Like all the Universal Orlando resort hotels, day guests are free to visit Portofino Bay using the walking paths from CityWalk. It’s about a 10 minute stroll past Hard Rock Hotel to reach the scenic harbor that gives Portofino Bay its name.
The waterside plaza where most of Portofino’s shopping and dining options are located were mostly deserted on this weekday afternoon, with most guests off enjoying the theme parks.
Most, but not all of Portofino Bay’s restaurants have reopened, some with modifications to their menus.
In a big surprise, the upscale restaurant Bice has reopened with an unprecedented daily Happy Hour special, offering diners 30% off their entire check from 5 to 7 p.m.
Gourmets will not want to miss this limited time offer!
Trattoria del Porto is operating for breakfast through dinner, but the morning buffet has been replaced with family-style service.
Also, the “make your own pasta” dinner is currently suspended, with a 3-course fixed-price meal available instead.
Sal’s Market Deli, one of the resort’s most underappreciated quick-service eateries, is open and serving its regular menu.
Sadly, Mama Della’s — my longtime favorite restaurant at Universal Orlando — is still dark, as is Bar American in the hotel lobby.
Speaking of the lobby, Portofino Bay’s entryway has been adorned with a towering tree to celebrate the season.
There isn’t much Christmas decor to speak of around the rest of the hotel, but the resort’s public areas look bright and clean after their beauty rest.
Of course, you’ll find new health reminder signage throughout Portofino Bay, and be required to take a temperature check upon entering the main building.
The Beach Pool is back in business, but few guests were taking advantage of it on this clear December day.
Hours for the pool and attached bar are limited, and the “Dive-In” movies are currently suspended for social distancing.
Portofino Bay’s adult-oriented Villa Pool is currently closed for renovations.
Mandara Spa is also open again, and offering all massage and salon services with safety precautions.
The fitness center, whirlpool, and other facilities inside Mandara Spa are free for registered hotel guests; however, the exercise equipment is closed for cleaning several times each day.
Finally, when you are finished with your visit to Portofino Bay, hop aboard one of the free water taxis back to CityWalk.
Plexiglass partitions were recently added to all the resort boats, increasing carrying capacity by allowing every row to be used.
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.