From the moment I pulled up to the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando, I knew I was in for an experience. The doorman poked fun at my shirt, which happened to have another hotel's logo on it, and we had a good laugh. What a terrific first encounter with a staffer at the Loews Hotels-managed Hard Rock, one of a trio of themed meeting properties at Universal Orlando Resort. My delight continued as the front desk clerk, chipper but not too chipper, filled me in on what to expect at the Hard Rock: music throughout the hotel and resort complex all the time.
My natural high continued as I entered my room, decorated with early Beatles and Hendrix photographs, and saw the recycling bags. Earlier that week, on Earth Day, all three Loews hotels — the 650-room Hard Rock, the 1,000-room Royal Pacific Resort, and the 750-room Portofino Bay Hotel — became certified members of the Florida Green Lodging program. The voluntary program encourages guests and employees to be more environmentally responsible, and the hotels take greening a step further by allowing guests to recycle plastic bottles, newspapers, aluminum cans, and office paper in their rooms. An energy-management program ensures programmable thermostats and high-efficiency lighting in all 130,000 square feet of meeting space across the three properties.
I later found out why the hotel's employees were so responsive: Loews has trained staffers to anticipate guests' needs. And there are other reasons meeting planners keep bringing meetings back: the walk to Universal Orlando theme parks (Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure) and to Universal CityWalk, a restaurant, club, and retail complex. Blue Man Group, for example, performs daily. And hotel guests need only their room keys to get to the front of the rides with Express Ride at the theme parks.
For a special VIP event, book your group at the Hard Rock Hotel on the third Thursday of the month. The property transforms its lobby into a concert venue and features name talent for its Velvet Sessions. Nothing like hanging out with rock stars to feel like one.