Sheraton Universal is an on-site hotel at Universal Studios Hollywood, within walking distance of the park and CityWalk, and a short drive from Los Angeles. In this hotel review, I’ll share photos from the refurbished rooms, and overhauled common areas of the Sheraton Universal Hotel.
Truth be told, I never planned on writing this review. In fact, I was apprehensive about booking the hotel myself, after reading a slew of negative reviews about the datedness of the hotel, among other complaints. However, I needed a place to crash before a sunrise hike at Griffith Observatory, and this was the best option. (Its location makes it convenient for Griffith Park, North Hollywood, Burbank, and Glendale in addition to Universal Studios Hollywood visits.)
Once we checked into the hotel, we discovered that it was in the midst of a top-to-bottom refurbishment, and the front desk attendant informed us that the floor we were staying on had just been released to the hotel that day, and we were the very first guests to stay in our room. Given that, and because our experience with the Sheraton Universal Hollywood was dramatically different than other reviews I had read, I figured I’d do a quick write-up on the property…
When I say the reviews are negative, I mean it. As of right now, only 64% of guests recommend the hotel and give it a 3.5/5 score on sheraton.com. Ouch. Usually, reviews on a hotel’s own site are a bit more forgiving. On TripAdvisor, it ranks as the #119 of 350 hotels in Los Angeles, which is not too bad…until you consider just how shady many of the hotels are in L.A.
In any case, our stay here was nothing but positive. We only had a few encounters with staff, and they were all pleasant. Likewise, the finished renovations looked impressive. Sheraton Universal’s site has a page about the renovations, so you can keep updated on progress, and see some staged room photos.
Beyond the renovations to the rooms, the hotel’s lobby and other common areas are being overhauled. As of our stay, this was mostly finished, with only minor work being done on the outskirts of the main lobby.
The style was perfectly befitting of a Hollywood hotel, with a stars/stargazing motif and a fun old Hollywood vibe. We thought this worked really well and was a natural extension of Universal Studios Hollywood.
While the decor incorporated old Hollywood into it, the style felt very contemporary. A lot of texture, trendy finishings, and nice furniture. Somehow, this all came together nicely and worked well.
Our room had a view of the pool, which looked nice, but we never went down there to use it. Per Sheraton Universal’s site: “Soak in that Southern California sun at our newly renovated outdoor terrace and pool. This refreshed space offers a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Sheraton Universal’s pool is surrounded by lush greenery and lounge chairs.”
The style of our guest room felt like a continuation of the lobby. An old Hollywood flavor thanks to photos and other touches, but with a mostly-contemporary feel.
This room was fairly small (pretty much standard for Los Angeles unless you get into high roller territory), but made great use of space. It might not be readily apparent, but everything was compact. From the couch to the light fixtures and even the doors on the closet, it seems like a concerted effort to save space was made.
As you can see, the doors on the closet were actually a thin, see-through fabric material. I’m not quite sure how I feel about these–normally, we throw all of our ‘mess’ into the closet to keep the room looking nice, but at this hotel, the mess gazed back at us, quietly judging us.
An unequivocal plus of this space was the lighting. Not only was the closet backlit, but those dishes at the top are also lights, which I found to be about the coolest thing ever. (I’m easily impressed with anything that lights up.)
There was a lot of empty floor space thanks to the smaller design of the desk and table below the television (they could’ve gotten rid of this completely).
As with the lobby, the room also had a lot of texture and detail. It was obvious they weren’t skimping with this refurbishment.
The bathroom was likewise nicely renovated and felt quite modern. Basin sink, walk-in shower, and other nice details. I particularly liked the opaque glass (far left in the photo), which was a nice touch. I’m not sure how great this ‘detail’ would be if one person were using the bathroom and another were trying to sleep in the bedroom (see photo below), but it looked cool.
As with the bedroom, the bathroom was a bit cramped. Again, par for the course with mid-tier Los Angeles hotels.
Most importantly, the bed was incredibly comfortable. The mattress was plush; the sheets and pillows were high quality. No complaints whatsoever.
I’d say the nightly rates of the Sheraton Universal are fair by Los Angeles standards if you get a renovated room. I suspect those prices will be bumped up a bit once the renovations are completed, in which case it’s still a good option for visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood, but not the area, generally. Also keep in mind that parking is $28/night, which is undoubtedly a result of its location adjacent to the theme park. If you were so inclined, you could find a hotel in Glendale or Burbank that had a lower–or no–parking fee.
Ultimately, I’d recommend staying at the Sheraton Universal Hotel if you’re serious about doing Universal Studios Hollywood, and want a convenient spot located a short walk from the park. The location is also solid if you’re primarily spending your time north of Downtown Los Angeles; just keep in mind that you’re going to pay a premium for the theme park-adjacent location. We found the new rooms to be very nice, and were clearly a marked improvement based upon the complaints of online reviews. Our stay here was in late August 2017, so if you’re contemplating a stay at the Sheraton Universal in the next few months, I’d definitely make a point of requesting a renovated room, as it would seem that makes all the difference.
If you’re planning a trip, check out our Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles or our California category of posts. For even more things to do, The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas is an exceptional resource, which is written by other locals. If you enjoyed this post, help spread the word by sharing it via social media. Thanks for reading!
Have you stayed at the Sheraton Universal Hotel? If so, what did you think of your experience? Was this prior to the refurbishment? Any additional things to add that we didn’t cover? Would you stay here again? Any questions about the rooms or this hotel? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!