Seems noone has answer for you.LOL I think because there's really nothing negative to say about these luxury resorts. This includes me I love them and could sing there praises page after page but nothing bad to report. I think this is a no news is good news post you asked. Welcome to the boards.
I really think it's all a matter of personal taste. HRH is well the rocking hotel, and PBH is a romantic itlaian flare sort of place. It's just breath taking really. Your kids would love either one so go with what interest you and what you want to be surrounded by for your down time. The resorts are beautiful and your only regret will be not booking an extra day to really enjoy the hotel more. We love PBH and each time we stay we always felt me needed that ONE more day. We have found that 4 nights make us happy at a minumum but you have to realize we've been 4 times since July and we are ready to not run to the parks and enjoy the hotels now. The spa at PBH is wonderful you may want to check into that for yourselve or your better half. Both have great kid's clubs onsite camp little rock and PBH kids club.
My first time onsite in Universal was May of 2001 and like you I went there first and then to Disney, onsite at the Dolphin.
After you've experienced Universal Express it will be very hard to stand on those lines at Disney. Is there any way you can change your vacation to have Disney first then USF? Just a suggestion...
No matter, all of the Loews properties onsite at USF are remarkable. Everyone has their favorites, depends on your personal likes and dislikes. I agree with Tammy, though, the Portofino IS breathtaking! It is the flagship property and you know it by just looking at it. It IS the Grand Floridian of USF.
The Hard Rock is fun and highly themed for the music lover! I work at a radio station and felt right at home there!
The Royal Pacific is themed like an island getaway. It, too, is a breathtaking property.
The HRH is a five minute walk to USF, the RP is closer to IOA and the Portofino is a boat ride away from Citywalk. If the location is a consideration for you, you might think about that.
I agree totally with Robinrs - if you can do Disney first - do it! You will not want to stand in those lines once you've done Universal Express. It will be brutal. Two years ago, we stayed at the Disney Beach Club for four nights and then Hard Rock Hotel for three nights. Last year, we went to Portofino Bay over Labor Day weekend and skipped Disney altogether. We just couldn't face the lines at Disney. At the Universal parks, we go to the front of the line and love every minute of it.