As we continue to try out more hotels in the Orlando area, we came across Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando Near Universal. Here’s how our stay went.
The Home2 Suites Orlando Near Universal is about as convenient as an Orlando hotel gets. Near I-4, of course, Universal Studios Resort (City Walk, theme parks, hotel and water park) and the ubiquitous International Drive. 15 minutes (without I-4 traffic) from the airport, 50 minutes from the Space Coast and (at most) five minutes drive from Universal theme park entrances, Home2 has an excellent location just 8.6 miles from the center of Orlando.
For those also visiting Walt Disney World Resorts during their stay, it’s less than 10 miles from the Happiest Place on Earth, however, with I-4 traffic that could be 10 minutes or 45 minutes, transport times vary depending on traffic and the time of day.
Address: 5910 American Way, Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: +1 407-519-3151
The property is a blended concept of Select Service and Extended Stay. As such, some rooms are larger, they offer suites with kitchenettes, and more of a small apartment design for those staying longer, but with fewer amenities than a standard Extended Stay or full-service business hotel might.
On the note of the entrance to the hotel – it looks and feels like a side door. It isn’t, it’s the front door, on the side of the building with a small awning overhead. We actually drove around the hotel twice debating on the location of the entrance.
The fitness center is a small room to the left of the entrance. I didn’t include photos as there was always someone inside working out and it was impossible to exclude their faces from photos or take a shot without it feeling like I was taking a photo of them working out. Trust me, it’s there, and it has a few pieces of cardio equipment and free weights.
There’s an outdoor pool, but I was only at the property at night and there will children in the water at the time, no photos there either. That said, it was about the size of a standard in-ground pool in backyard, perhaps 20 ft by 8 ft.
The property offers free parking though the vehicle must be tagged, and free wifi throughout the hotel. Home2 offered a continental breakfast with a variety of carbohydrates (bagels, toast, muffins) and some Jimmy Dean sausage breakfasts. I was out early at a meeting so I didn’t sample this, my family stuck around for it but didn’t find it photo-worthy.
Checkin times at Home2 Suites are 3:00 pm and check out times are at 11:00 am. Staff was knocking on the door at 11:10 am though we have a later checkout approved. I wouldn’t expect a substantial diversion from these times.
Through my American Express Business Platinum credit card I hold Gold status with Hilton good enough for an upgrade from the paid rate of about $145/night during my stay. The suite accommodates up to three comfortably, two in the bedroom and one on the pullout couch. Two kids might be able to sleep on the pull out but not two adults; the hotel does not offer rollaways.
I found the suite to be spacious, room enough for my family to spread out however, there were a few pieces that suggested a lack of detail. I am going to provide those now. One example is that the outlets were not properly affixed to the walls and stuck out. While it may not be a big deal, it is a family-focused hotel and we have small children, I’d hate for something to happen with a kid and an outlet because they didn’t just take the time to install it properly.
Then there was this weird black stain on the back of the chair at the desk. It made me feel like cleanliness wasn’t that important and that staff might be going through the motions but not really looking at everything in a room. Things get overlooked, I get that, but it seemed the details were a consistent problem in an otherwise serviceable hotel.
There was more than enough space in the living room of this suite. Upon entering, a hallway with coat wardrobe is to the left which leads to a kitchenette (full-size fridge), then a work space, and ultimately a dress with TV opposite a pull-out couch.
The kitchenette including dishwater for at least four, a microwave, coffee maker, and sink, as well as a dishwasher. A hotplate/hob is available from the front desk upon request. Had we stayed longer, I would have requested one.
The living room has a small dining table too, and access to the bathroom without having to enter the bedroom.
This suite bedroom offered a queen-sized bed, wardrobe, and ensuite access to the bathroom.
Bedside chargers include USB, and standard US outlets, though these looked to be fully installed.
The bathroom had plenty of space and a unique shower design. It really felt well designed, especially for a Select Service hotel. The toilet had two flush settings to conserve water when possible, toiletries were mounted on the shower wall. As mentioned before, access to the living room is great whether it’s a shared sleeping space, or it’s for guests one might be entertaining.
We work hard here at Live And Let’s Fly to establish the value of points every year, and Hilton has been consistently around the $0.004/point ratio (0.4¢/point) which aligns with this property. That’s not to say every valuation should make it a push, but if our number is right, it should be close (assuming Hilton keeps a constant valuation as well.) In this instance, dynamic rates for the property were about $120-145/night, and the redemption rates between 30,000 and 39,000. That more or less makes the use of points or cash equally beneficial, so one should consider if they’d rather have the money or the points at the end of a stay.
While we appreciate the suite upgrade, it had plenty of space and more amenities than I had expected, it wasn’t an outsized value in the way that other properties are in the area. For that reason, I likely won’t return to this property any time soon.
What do you think?