Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
A re-creation of the exclusive Italian fishing village, right down to the jut of its ferry dock and the rusty hue of the buildings, Portofino Bay has some of Orlando’s largest rooms (at least 450 square feet apiece), with terrifically soft beds. The 750 rooms, decorated in a combination of Italian-villa and southern-plantation style, have curvaceous, carved- and inlaid-wood headboards and armoires, and elegant fabrics. It’s no more than a 10-minute remove from the theme parks; however, the hotel is less suited to families than to romance, also evidenced by the Mandara Spa and the nightly opera performances on the quay. Guests here can skip the lines at both Universal parks’ attractions.
Tip: Rooms that face the Riviera-like port cost only about $25 more than those facing the parking lot.
Room to Book: The elaborate 2,725-square-foot Presidente Suite has a prime vista of the harbor, plus a study, a fireplace, and an outdoor terrace.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.