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Portofino Bay Hotel and Dockside Inn and Suites are opening


The seesawing year for Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels continues with yet another sudden tilt in the status quo: the last two resorts to never have reopened after the COVID-19 closure, Portofino Bay Hotel and Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, are finally getting their moment in the Florida sun.

This is, in particular, a big deal for the latter venue, which, it can be argued, has been the biggest victim of Universal’s pandemic shutdown. Both Dockside Inn and Suites and its sister property, Surfside Inn and Suites, were originally revealed all the way back on April 5, 2018, with a projected opening date of sometime in 2020. That would later get refined to the month of May, and then moved up, actually, to March 17 – for its first phase, at least; the whole other side of the massive resort was planned for sometime in the third quarter of the year (July to September).

All of that changed, of course, once COVID arrived. All seven of Universal Orlando’s hotels were shuttered along with the rest of the resort on March 16, and while five of them reopened alongside the parks two-and-a-half months later, the final two – the posh Portofino Bay Hotel and the still-unopened Dockside Inn and Suites – would remain dark for at least a little while longer. That little while, unfortunately, continued to get elongated – first to July 26, then August 14, then the 31st, and then all the way to October 31. Along the way, Sapphire Falls Resort and Aventura Hotel were added to the temporarily shuttered mix. Then the final nail in the hotel coffin landed on August 20, when Universal pulled the trigger on what was seen as the inevitable by that point: guests’ reservations were relocated and cancelled through the end of the year for all four venues.

All of which makes today’s announcement so delightfully surprising. Perhaps seeing an increase in guest demand – or, maybe, just expecting one for the holiday period, which starts at Universal on November 14 – the company has today made an about-face and revealed that Portofino Bay will open on Tuesday, December 1, and Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites on Tuesday, December 15.

This is something of a grand occasion for both properties. Portofino had started undergoing a slow-and-steady refurbishment process at the beginning of the year; all of those renovations were completed during its lengthy downtime, meaning that guests will be able to stay in a freshly updated resort. Similarly, Universal was able to finish all of the construction on Dockside, negating the need for a multi-phase opening; now, once the venue gets its grand opening next month, the massive overarching Endless Summer complex will be complete, and another 2,050 value hotel rooms will be added on to Universal Orlando.

Portofino Bay Hotel will open for the first time since March 17 on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites will open for the first time ever on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

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About Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz is the former editor of Orlando Informer.