Sheraton Universal Hotel is one of the two hotels near Universal Studios Hollywood. While there is a complimentary shuttle, you can walk to the theme park entrance in a matter of minutes. This convenience is largely why families choose it, as there aren’t a ton of large hotels in this part of Los Angeles.
However, during a recent stay, we were pleasantly surprised by the old Hollywood decor throughout, the quality of our room, and delicious in-room dining. In this review I’ll go over room choices, onsite amenities, dining, and how to book.
Note from Katie: I mention hotel booking resources I know offer the best prices via membership programs or ones that are popular with readers. Mentioned pricing and amenities are subject to change. If you book through links on this page, I may earn a small commission.
Save with the Marriott Bonvoy Rate
It is usually best to book Sheraton Universal City directly through Marriott.com using the discounted Bonvoy rate.
WHAT I LOVE
- Old Hollywood glamour
- Shuttle service to Universal Studios Hollywood and City Walk
- Location within walking distance of Universal Studios
- To-go Starbucks coffee and snacks inside
- Club lounge with complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres
- Pool area with cabanas and bar
GOOD TO KNOW
- Rooms can overlook the freeway (ours did not have noticeable noise)
- The California’s restaurant feels a little tired
- This hotel has a more intimate feel than the Hilton next door
- It’s often referred to as Hotel of the Stars due to celebrity sightings
You definitely feel like you’re in Hollywood when at Sheraton Universal Hollywood. Memorabilia, celebrity photos and reminders of Hollywood’s Golden Age are sprinkled throughout the hotel.
Sheraton Universal Hotel Location
Sheraton Universal Hotel is located right off of Highway 101 at Lankershim Blvd, just steps from Universal Studios Hollywood. Easy freeway access, means that it can be a good base for a Los Angeles vacation.
Universal City is about 10 miles to downtown Los Angeles, 8 miles to Beverly Hills, 20 miles to Santa Monica, and 40 miles to Disneyland Resort by car. How long it takes to arrive at any of these places depends on the famous LA traffic that you’ll likely encounter wherever you stay. Avoid rush hour and, usually, you’ll be fine.
An alternative to driving is the Metro Red Line trains which you can actually take from the nearby Universal Studio/Studio City station all the way out to Santa Monica and various places in the Los Angeles area.
Shuttles run on a consistent loop throughout the day to Universal Studios Hollywood, City Walk, Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, and Sheraton Universal Hotel. The hotel also runs shuttles to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Burbank Airport, both for an additional fee and with a reservation for those who prefer to go carless.
It’s one of the two hotels within walking distance of Universal Studios Hollywood. It takes about 10 minutes or so to reach the entrance (part of the walk is uphill, but not too strenuous).
Sheraton Universal Hotel Rooms
Sheraton Universal Hotel offers three types of rooms and also several suite types. Amenities in each include a seating area, television with premium channels, coffee maker with Starbuck’s coffee and Tazo teas, empty mini fridge, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Beds are extremely comfortable and despite its location close to the freeway, noise in our room wasn’t an issue.
Traditional rooms come with a king or two double beds and are approximately 325 square feet. We booked into a Traditional King room and it was nice for a short stay. My daughter particularly liked chilling out on the sofa seating area against the wall. The bathroom is white and contemporary with a shower and a large single sink.
I hold Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy (SPG, at the time of our stay) and was not granted the upgrade but they did remember to place complimentary water in the room which was much appreciated. I actually asked for more which was granted swiftly by housekeeping without issue.
Premium (Pool View)
Pool view rooms enjoy the same amenities as Standard rooms with a handful of differences. These rooms are slightly bigger at 350 square feet and have the option of a king bed or two queen beds. They’re located on the first three floors and surround the pool. Ground floor pool view rooms open up directly to the pool area. However, the pool is still gated so you’ll need to still pass this extra level of protection first. Pool View rooms on the second and third floors have small balconies with seating.
Corner King rooms are 335 square feet and have two sets of windows in addition to a seating area in the corner.
Club Level Rooms
If you will be in the hotel at a time where you can enjoy the evening hors d’oeuvres and breakfast, this is a worthwhile upgrade.
Rooms on Club floors require key access, an extra layer of security and exclusivity. Guests of Club level also enjoy complimentary continental breakfast, midday snack and evening hors d’oeuvres (cocktails and wine are an additional cost) at the 9th-floor club location in the main tower, boasting views of Universal Studios Hollywood and San Fernando Valley. These rooms have king beds and are 325 square feet.
Club Junior Suite
These king bed rooms have access to the Club lounge and are a larger 525 square feet.
Club Executive Suite
Executive suites come with either a king bed or two double beds. Guests enjoy the 600 square feet of space and Club lounge access.
Restaurant, Lounges & Room Service
You have a few options for dining at Sheraton Universal Hotel.
The California’s is the all-day dining venue with a buffet breakfast. At the time of our stay, the buffet was $34 per adult and offered a variety of baked goods, bagels, toast, cereals, eggs, and other hot dishes. I believe you can order other made-to-order items but we didn’t have any need.
As the name implies, the menu is California cuisine with all-day options including the likes of Cobb salad, penne pasta pomodoro, Santa Fe grilled chicken quesadillas and more. Reservations are encouraged for dinner.
When you’re hungry after a swim, Poolside Lounge offers up a Cajun menu and, of course, plenty of festive drinks to pair with it.
In the Mix
Located on Lobby Level, In the Mix is the Art Deco-inspired lounge and bar with an eclectic food menu. The bar specializes in vodkas and on the back side has a very small grab-and-go section with Starbucks coffees, pastries and snacks.
After a long day out we ordered in-room dining and were pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of our quinoa kale salads with salmon.
Swimming Pool and Fitness Center
Work off your theme park treats at the hotel’s modest fitness center with free weights, cardio equipment, and strength training equipment.
A highlight of the hotel though is its outdoor heated swimming pool and cabanas (available for rent, which would be a nice reprieve during an LA summer). We didn’t have a chance to use the pool during our stay, but Southern California sunshine encourages year-round pool use.
Shuttle and Other Amenities
The shuttle to Universal Studios Hollywood and City Walk runs consistently all day so not to worry about getting to the park.
Sure, City Walk is a bit touristy but look out for a few gems including Dongpo Kitchen, Voodoo Donuts and Mini Monster for boba with a cotton candy topper. Part of the reason (in addition to avoiding the drive back to La Jolla) why we do like spending the night when visiting Universal Studios Hollywood is to finish the evening at City Walk.
A hotel gift shop sells snacks, souvenirs and other things that you may have forgotten to pack.
Sheraton Universal Hotel vs Hilton Universal/Los Angeles
These two hotels near Universal Studios are right next to each other. We’ve stayed in both.
When deciding which hotel to choose, one important consideration is the loyalty program that is most advantageous to you: Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors. Where you can earn or redeem points often drives whether to stay at Sheraton Universal Hotel or Hilton Universal/Los Angeles. And, that’s completely fine.
If you aren’t tied to either loyalty program, here’s some additional information. I prefer the room decor at Sheraton Universal Hotel. It feels a bit more up-to-date, and I like the old Hollywood glamour vibe throughout the hotel.
Its lobby also feels more intimate and upscale. I know that people in the industry frequent the hotel or live/have lived there, probably for this reason.
Hilton Universal City has a couple of nice rooms for families with king beds and sofa beds. It’s a bigger hotel also, with a larger pool area and a shorter walk to the theme park. The breakfast buffet is nicer. You can read my full review to learn more about it.
How to Make Sheraton Universal City Reservations
You can bundle discounted Universal Studios Hollywood tickets with your hotel stay in a vacation package for even deeper savings.
However, if you are a Marriott Bonvoy member it may be best to book directly through Marriott.com
DON’T FORGET TO BUY DISCOUNT TICKETSYou do not have to pay full price on Universal Studios Hollywood admission. Use my discounted tickets or save with a Go Los Angeles sightseeing pass.
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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