Want to visit Universal Studios Hollywood with your family? It's a real working movie studio and theme park. My family loved it.
Universal Studios Hollywood is a world-class theme park vacation that's fun for families. We thought it was especially good for families like ours who love movies and who have older kids that will enjoy the big thrill rides. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a fun new addition in California.
I asked my partner, Get Away Today to help us find a family hotel near Universal Studios Hollywood, and they sent us to the Sheraton Universal Hotel. The hotel is next door to the park, and right in the heart of almost anything else you might like to do in Hollywood. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is also close by.
We spent two nights at the Sheraton Universal. Read our experience to help you decide if it's a good fit for your family.
The best thing about the Sheraton Universal Hotel is its location. The hotel is located just below Universal Studios Hollywood and offers a complimentary shuttle to and from Universal CityWalk, adjacent to the theme park entrance. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes throughout the day.
We often chose to walk instead of take the shuttle because it was less than 10 minutes walk from the hotel to the park. There is a short, steep hill in between, but as long as I was pointed downhill, that was no problem.
I really loved staying so close to Universal Studios Hollywood. We didn't have to deal with traffic or parking on the morning of our visit. The shuttle delivered us to the park entrance well before they opened the turnstiles nearly 30 minutes early. We walked on to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey twice before the park's official opening time!
We wanted to bring a day pack and my son's new Harry Potter Interactive Wand into the park, but didn't want to deal with the lockers guests are required to use for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Universal's other top thrill rides. The pack and wand stayed in our hotel room in the morning, while lines for the thrill rides were short, and it was easy to go back for it later in the day.
We were given a newly renovated Lanai Poolside room on the first floor. The pool was right outside our patio door, which was convenient. I loved the new modern decor and old Hollywood art.
I thought that our room – which was slightly larger than the hotel's standard guest room – was comfortable, but small for a family of four. The beds were doubles, not queens. The closet was large enough for one suitcase and there was just enough floor space for the rest of our luggage to maintain a clear path between the bags and the beds.
Sign up for Sheraton's free loyalty club when you check in, if you are not already a member. Membership will get you free Wi-Fi for a limited number of devices during your stay. I felt that it was a bit of a hassle, but it worked and we didn't spend a lot of time in our room anyway.
Our first stop after check in at the Sheraton Universal Hotel was the pool. It was the perfect welcome to our Hollywood vacation because the pool was large and warm, with retro furniture and decor that made me feel like a movie star in old Hollywood.
The Sheraton Universal Hotel has a restaurant, but we did not try it during our stay. There are a lot of fun restaurants at Universal CityWalk – from fast food to full service – and we ate there. Pink's and Voodoo Doughnut were a couple of our favorites.
The hotel does not offer a complimentary breakfast – except with certain packages – but there was a mini-fridge in our room. We kept a few provisions there. Between that and Voodoo Doughnut, breakfast was covered.
The Sheraton Universal Hotel is currently undergoing a complete renovation. The lobby was under construction during our stay, but I understand that it is finished now. You may experience construction noise and other inconveniences during your stay.
We had no problems with the construction, since we were in the theme park all day. The hotel was quiet in the evening. The staff was always gracious and accommodating.
Find out more about the renovation at Sheraton Universal at www.sheratonuniversal.com/renovation.
Overall, I enjoyed our stay at the Universal Sheraton Hotel. I wish the standard rooms were bigger, but I love how close it is to Universal Studios Hollywood. I also love the retro Hollywood glamour of this hotel.
Disclosure: Our stay at the Sheraton Universal Hotel was sponsored by Get Away Today Vacations for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
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