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0 Dining at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal

31 Jul 2014 | 06:30:00

Orlando . 2014 . Apr 29 - May 5


This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

We have stayed at Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal for 7 days during our recent Orlando Trip, and this is where we get most of our dinners from after a long day at the Premium Outlets, at Universal Studios or at Islands of Adventure.

Fantastic 24/7 Gallery Menu

We love the 24/7 Gallery Menu at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal. As indicated by its name, the Gallery Menu is available at any time of the day (and night), and guests would just need to make a call to the reception to place their orders.  The only catch is that we have to go down to the lobby to collect it though.

Bowl of Soup and Half Salad.  My creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup with Half Chicken Caesar Salad. Highly recommended.



BBQ Chicken Flatbread.  Large enough to feed 2.






Pepperoni 8” Thick Crust Pizza. Looks tempting and taste good!


We can’t resist ordering the caesar salad again.

Tomato Basil Bisque and Sunrise Croissant. Great for a lighter meal.


If you ever tire of food from the Gallery Menu (which we never did), there is a TGIF outlet at Holiday Inn just 3 minutes walk away from the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal.

Breakfast at Hyatt Place

The stay at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal comes with complimentary breakfast, but food at breakfast pales a little in comparison when compared to the gallery menu.



There’s still a good variety of juices, fruits, pastries and hot items - at least enough variety to keep us satisfied for our lengthy stay.







Now, it's time to enjoy a good meal! :)



We love the meals at Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal. Do check out our full hotel review too.

This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


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0 Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal

28 Jul 2014 | 12:33:00

Orlando . 2014 . Apr 29 - May 5


This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


At our recent vacation at Orlando, Florida, we made two hotels our base . While we had a week of fun at Walt Disney World, we stayed at one of Disney Value Resorts - Pop Century Resort .  We moved on for another week’s worth of stay at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal which was closer to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.






Speedy Check-in

Check-in at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal was speedy and when the hotel reception found that it was our first time at Orlando, they very graciously gave us a complimentary upgrade to a King bed as a gesture of good will.





Entrance of Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal.



Reception area at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal.



Spacious Room

I must say we were more than pleased with the room.  In fact, this was one of the best and the most spacious room we had stayed in during a vacation (the other good one that evokes such a pleasing sense is the Vibe Hotel at Gold Coast).


An open concept suite, it consisted of a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom and vanity area, a small study area and an extra wash basin at the study.  It feels so much like a home away from home that it inspired dreams of purchasing a studio apartment to furnish it exactly like this.



The room was not just spacious, but also very thoughtfully laid out, artfully demarcating the study area/living room area from the sleeping area to allow for more privacy.  The large TV screen is on a swivel stand, so it serves both the living area and the bedroom.  It also helps that the room was bright and spotlessly clean.


If I must really find something to pick on, then it must be the small size of the bathroom.  Even for a petite Asian like myself, I have difficulty closing the bathroom door without having the door hit my feet (if you would like a bigger bathroom, then you would have to look at the accessible rooms).  But nevertheless, the bathroom and its installations were very clean and acceptable.








The view out of our window.  Look how close the Premium Outlets International Drive were to us.




I loved this private cove at the door allowing each guests privacy as they open their own doors.


Complimentary Shuttle Service to Universal Studios Orlando

Most people who were staying at this part of Orlando do so because of its proximity to the Universal Studios theme parks.  Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are just next door to each other.  On the map, both theme parks are opposite to Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal, but we have never tried walking to both parks, and unless you enjoy the sun or enjoy walking, we would not recommend that you attempt to do so.



Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal teams up with 2 other neighbouring hotels to provide a shuttle service to Universal Studios.  Taking into consideration the time taken to pick up passengers from other hotels, the journey to Universal could take up to 15 - 20 mins.  Because there were limited seats on the bus, Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal operates by issuing boarding passes at their lobby.  There is a bus schedule that you can get from the reception counter, and boarding passes are available one day before at another counter.  This counter only operates in the morning, so it would be better to plan early and grab the passes for the next day.



Return bus bay at Universal Studios.  Keep the ticket stub with you when you board at Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal, because you will need it for the return trip from Universal Studios.




Friendly Service

Generally, most of the hotel staff that we came into contact with were helpful and friendly.   However, we must say that for reasons unknown to us, some of the staff here looked like they would rather be elsewhere.   Take for instance the staff issuing boarding passes for the shuttle bus.  She did not bother to inform us that the buses come a distance away from the back door and not the front as most people would normally assume.  And so consequently, we missed the bus and only found out when we asked.

Great Location to Universal Studios and Orlando Premium Outlets

Orlando is a huge place, and even if Universal Studios appear to be just opposite to the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal on the map, it is actually quite a good walking distance away.  It is alright if you love to walk, but I like to minimise my contact with the sun, so the shuttle bus it is for me.

It is a case of so-near-yet-so-far for the Premium Outlets at International Drive is actually only across the expressway from the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal, but it is not possible to walk across the expressway to get to the Outlets.


The easiest way is to hire a taxi from the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal (flat rate of USD $12 per taxi, one way arranged with the hotel)

You could take the I Ride Trolley at the Trolley Stop G4 near Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal too. I Ride Trolley costs about USD $2.50 per person for one way, but its frequency is rather poor.  Each bus arrives once every 20-30 minutes, and to get to the outlets, you will need to transfer once, eventually turning that 10 minutes journey into a 1-hour one!

I Ride Trolley (Credits: http://www.iridetrolley.com/index.html)


Nice Amenities

Tommy and I had a free day on our itinerary and therefore, we spent it leisurely at the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal. The gym was small but well equipped and as it so happens we had the entire gym to ourselves in the morning!


All the machines feature LCD touch screens, giving us the freedom to watch a show and track our exercise progress at the same time.


Complimentary personal ear pieces were provided as well!


The outdoor pool - not very large, but with many deck chairs for that sun-tan.


There are also complimentary computer stations at the lobby to help guests print their boarding passes.





Final Verdict:  The Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal exceeds all expectations, and we had an exceedingly comfortable stay.  In fact, we wished that we could have stayed longer.  If you do not wish to pay a premium to stay at the Universal studios hotels, then the Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal is a wonderful alternative.  We will definitely stay here again!

Hyatt Place
5895 Caravan Court,
Orlando, Florida, USA, 32819
Tel: +1 407 351 0627
Web: http://orlandouniversal.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

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Follow us next as we explore the dining options at Hyatt Place Orlando / Universal!

This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To receive notifications on updates, subscribe to our blog via RSS feed and email.

Like us on Facebook @ Discover. Book . Travel and follow us on Twitter @Discoverbooktra!

Do check out our Flickr photos & Youtube videos too!

0 Restaurant Review: Three Broomsticks @ Islands of Adventure, Orlando

25 Jul 2014 | 20:55:00

Orlando . 2014 . May 2


This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

If you have read the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, there’s no way you will miss the Three Broomsticks mentioned in the novels.  In the world of Harry Potter, the Three Broomsticks is nestled within Hogsmeade, the only non-muggle community in the magical world.  In real life, at the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, the Three Broomsticks is also located in the make-believe Hogsmeade village, next to Hogwarts castle.  In  fact, its structure blends in so well with other houses at Hogmeade that if not for the crowd clustering outside its doors, we would never have noticed it.

Notice the ‘signboard’ that hangs over the entrance - made of 3 broomsticks positioned to form a triangle.






At Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, the magical World of Harry Potter is easily the most popular section, and very rightfully so too, because the twin attractions of the majestic Hogwarts castle and the beautiful Hogsmeade village is too much to resist.  Put in some exciting ride and you get a world class attraction.


Still, despite the many other attractions at the magical world of Harry Potter, the Three Broomsticks is a must-go.  It is done up as closely as possible to the movies and to its description in the novels, and even if you are not a Potter fan, it is worth having a meal in here just to soak in the atmosphere.



Imagine lunching with fellow wizards and witches at the Three Broomsticks. I did that!





The Service

The Three Broomsticks operate by a counter-system, where you queue to place your order at the payment counter.  Once you are done, you collect your food from the kitchen counter, and then a staff is present to direct you to a table according to your party size.  It is quite a good crowd management system, in my opinion, and a very clean touch-and-go system.  However it means that there is not much service and interaction with its service staff, so there is not much of a good service to talk about.  Their main objective was to move customers along quickly for a quick turn-around so that they can sit as many customers as possible.

Menu of the Three Broomsticks.




The popularity of this restaurant means that there is a horrendous queue here during meal times, so the trick is really to go during off-peak hours, if you can survive the hunger pangs. Otherwise, if you are just looking for a drink, the Hog’s Head has a much shorter queue.

Plastic mock-ups of the menu on offer on display at the queuing area, so that we could make up our minds before reaching the payment counter.








The Food

In terms of pricing, we are talking about quite high prices for minimal service and quite mediocre food. The food is not too bad, but it is not that good either to justify that kind of pricing.

Our lunch at the Three Broomsticks.




Tommy ordered Smoked Turkey Leg with Wedge Fries (USD $13.99).




While I ordered a Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Platter served with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes (USD $10.99).  Looks quite identical to its plastic mock-up.



Our two main courses, together with a souvenir cup Butterbeer and a souvenir bottle Pumpkin Juice comes up to a total of USD $45, although I would say, the bulk of that cost came from the Butterbeer and its souvenir cup (USD$11.99).  But well, never leave Island of Adventure without trying Butterbeer and Pumpkin juice.



I love my pumpkin juice.  Tastes a little like apple cidar. And I love the little pumpkin cap for the bottle. However, price wise, at USD $5.99, I think it is an absolute rip-off.





Tommy prefers his Butterbeer.  Butterbeer is a little like root beer topped with a thick layer of cream and caramel.  I guess making Butterbeer involves a bit of art as well, because this version tastes a lot sweeter than what we had at the The Making of Harry Potter Studios Tour at London Watford.  We still like the London Watford version better.




Both the Butterbeer and the pumpkin juice are available at the streets of Hogsmeade and at the same price, last time I checked.  The pumpkin juice is also available at Honeydukes (the candy store) at Hogsmeade.

Verdict

I am a self-confessed Harry Potter junkie.  To visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Three Broomsticks is like a dream come true for me.  Not to mention that we get to drink Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice just like the students of Hogwarts. So yes, even if it costs a bit more, I will definitely visit again if I have the chance.  You should too... :)

This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To receive notifications on updates, subscribe to our blog via RSS feed and email.

Like us on Facebook @ Discover. Book . Travel and follow us on Twitter @Discoverbooktra!

Do check out our Flickr photos & Youtube videos too!
 
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