This luxury hotel is built around a man-made harbor/marina and recreates a gorgeous and colorful harbor fishing village actually called Portofino located on the Italy Riviera.
It's really spectacular! We had a really good time.
As you can see, it seems as though we practically had the whole place to ourselves. Although there were quite a lot of people there the hotel is big enough we weren't falling over each other.
The 'boats' in the 'harbor' are just props.
Features of the hotel are outdoor cafes, boutiques and cobblestone streets.
It's an easy walk along a shaded picturesque canal path to Universal Studios and the boardwalk. Along the way we visited a very well maintained butterfly garden (I picked up a few pointers, one of them being weed more often) and walked through a standing of mature bamboo trees that rattled as the rather chilly wind rustled through. Very cool.
The canal water isn't photoshopped, it's really that color. They probably tint it to mirror the Mediterranean's turquoise colored water. No expense spared here.
Barges take you back and forth between the Portofino, Hard Rock Hotel and Universal.
This swimming pool is amazing. I believe we counted three pools in total scattered about the hotel. It features what appears to be a replication of a ruined castle, or maybe just old city walls. Since the actual Italian town of Portofino has a castle - Castello Brown (16C) - perched on a hill overlooking the village, this is probably where the idea came from....it's a nice touch. The archway to the right with the water cascading down reminds me a little bit of the old 'Traitors Gate' at the Town of London, except there is no portcullis in sight and the water is a clear, aqua blue.
A lonely little duck swam around in the pool all by itself closely watched by the vigilant lifeguards!
When we got home I was thrilled to find this decorative dish which was made in Italy. It reminded me of the Portofino Bay Hotel so much, I just had to have it!
The real Portofino village in Italy was - according to Pliny the Elder - founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.
The photos are beautiful and you can see how much effort was put into the hotel in Orlando to replicate the pastel colors, authentic charm and ambience of the Italian seaside town. Trouble is I want to visit the real Portofino now! Viva le vacanze!