Universal’s Aventura Hotel markets itself as “sleek and stylish” and after spending three nights at the newest hotel property at Universal Orlando Resort, we can confirm that it lives up to that marketing hype.
We found the new hotel to be a gorgeous minimalist escape with an honestly soothing and relaxing vibe of simplicity. We were surprised by the dining options and the unique amenities including the close walking-distance to the Volcano Bay water park and the Smart Room tablet. The modest size also gave way to a seemingly less-crowded lodging that created a respite from the hub-bub and excitement of the parks and Universal CityWalk.
In full disclosure, we paid for the entire length of our booking but did receive a media rate discount on the overall price of the room in exchange for posting about our honest experience.
We stayed in Room 1004 on the 10th floor and found a bright comfy room that felt sleek and minimal but was still quite comfortable with tons and tons of storage space.
The bathroom sink is located separate from the bathroom which is always a helpful design practice. The sink area is admittedly a little small but cubbies in the wall create storage spaces for each member of the family to keep their personal toiletries.
Smart Room Tech
One of the best features that we haven’t had much experience with in a hotel room is an in-room tablet control system. We never even touched the wall-mounted climate control because we were able to change it from the tablet! Aside from the temperature, we were also able to control the television and some of the lights!
Other great uses for the tablet included ordering room service and housekeeping services. There’s also a guide to the Universal Orlando Resort all easily accessible through the simple navigation. The device IS locked to using its own service so you can’t do anything outside of this system… HOWEVER, you can cast to your in-room TV which lets you connect to any of your pre-existing services like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu so you can enjoy the television the same way you do at home. This was a really awesome touch.
The only drawback with the high-tech nature of the room is that we got so used to tech that we expected to be able to use voice commands in the same way we do at home! We almost half expected that we could mimic our Google Home and Amazon Alexa and say something like “Ok Aventura, What Time Does Volcano Bay close today?” or “Hey Universal, Turn Off Room Lights.” The tech isn’t there yet but surely we can’t be too far away!
Overall, the tablet was a small but very very nice amenity in the room. It made the second part of our vacation at Disney feel slightly “less than” without it!
We found ourselves in a funny scenario when we were exploring the room’s tech. As I put on my Knott’s Berry Farm boysenberry chapstick, I realized that I was using my Mickey and Minnie suitcase as a table for my Universal Studios in-room tablet. All I needed was a SeaWorld stylus to hit all the major theme park stops!
Coffee, Fridge, and Safe are all expected and standard amenities. We forgot to take a picture of the closet but you can see it in our video above. It’s a nice sized storage space with an ironing board, iron, hangers, and a spare blanket and pillow.
Perks and Facilities
If you’re a guest at Universal’s Aventura Hotel, you automatically get a few perks…
- Early Park Admission To The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with your paid admission into the park.
- Walking distance from the Volcano Bay water park.
- Direct shuttle stop that takes you straight to Universal Citywalk and the Parks.
But there’s more…
Although Universal’s Aventura Hotel is one of the only Universal Resort Hotels not located on the waterfront (and thus no boat transportation) it IS literally right next door to Universal’s Sapphire Falls Resort which DOES offer this service.
Rather than deal with the shuttles that take you to a more crowded CityWalk, we opted instead to walk over to the Sapphire Falls and take the boat! It was hardly an inconvenience considering the proximity of the two hotels to each other but if you’re looking to minimize your walking, the shuttle service is located just outside the Aventura’s main entrance.
Refreshingly, the Aventura Hotel pool is not competing for social media posts. It’s not relying on stony waterfalls and perilous water slides to grab your attention. Instead, the focus here is pure relaxation. The zero-entry pool makes smart use of the space while the kid’s splash zone and hot tub remain as distinctly separate areas creating three separate interconnected zones. There’s both sand and concrete sections with recliners to customize your lounging style.
Walking Distance to Volcano Bay
This was so incredibly wonderful. Often times, the vague estimation of what constitutes “walking distance” is fairly subjective and often liberally applied. In the case of Universal’s Aventura Hotel, it really is walking distance to the park.
To get to Volcano Bay, you simply head over to the hot tub area of the pool and take the back exit (make sure you take your hotel key to get back in!) which puts you on a walkway that connects with the Volcano Bay shuttle stop. The hotel itself is basically on the Volcano Bay shuttle stop and it’s REALLY convenient, especially considering that you can grab a couple of pool towels to take into the park with you on your way over!
We were super impressed by this dining area. Amounting basically to a food court, the wide open space contains dining pods serving different types of cuisine. Enjoy delicious flavors from four different stations: Wok & Sushi, Pizza and Gelato, Burger, and Roasts.
The menus at all locations change throughout the day for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner so there’s a constantly rotating menu of exciting options.
We had breakfast one morning at the Wok & Sushi station which featured build-you-own breakfast bowls. WOW, was this good! Our poached eggs were perfectly cooked and the freshness of the ingredients was without question. We wanted to keep coming back to this station for the fresh-fired flavors.
Grab your bowl and load it up with your choice of veggies. Then hand your bowl to the staff who will load on your choice of meats and cheeses and then take your request for how you want your egg prepared. It then goes to the Wok and you’re invited to take a seat where they will eventually come to bring you your fresh hot meal…
Conveniently located right in the lobby near the front desk and elevator bay is your reliable caffeine stop before you hit the parks.
Image © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Bar 17 Bistro
Certainly not a standard rooftop bar, the Bar 17 Bistro takes over the entire roof of the hotel offering 360 views of the surrounding Orlando areas. The menu features bold and adventurous flavors. We loved our Grilled Spanish Octopus, raved over the Fried Rice, and melted over the Prime Rib Grilled Cheese. Everything was absolutely delightful.
Grilled Spanish Octopus ($14) is paired with Grilled Broccolini, Confit Potatoes, Smoked Chili, Almond Romesco, and Herb Oil. Obviously a small portion but ever-so tasty.
Fried Rice ($7.00) features Charred Corn, Charred Brussels Leafs, Green Onion, Fried Egg, and Crispy Ham. It was magical.
Prime Rib Grilled Cheese ($14) features Vermouth Cheddar in the sandwich with a side of crispy Pomme Frites. Everything you’d expect with amazing fries. So good.
Chocolate Mousse Tart ($7) with Sea Salt and Ginger Ice Cream. It was good but we weren’t gaga for it. Great presentation, though!
The view from our seat overlooked the Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park.
A relaxing outdoor vibe with a few screens to watch or comfy lounge furniture to relax. Head further back and there’s fun games to enjoy too. And all of it with views of the pool area.
A standard hotel lobby bar. We ended up sitting in here to wait for a Lyft to arrive but it seems to provide a reliable watering hole should the weather be frightful at the nearby outside Bar Sol. It’s located just across the way from the Universal Studios Store.
More to Explore
Although we did not get the chance to explore either option, Universal’s Aventura Hotel also offers a Fitness Center and a VR Game Room that we’re really bummed we forgot to hit up during our visit!
These two Images are © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
See it for Yourself
Universal’s Aventura Hotel is available for booking. You can visit their official site for more information.
Secret Season rates are available for stays in January and February. We’re quickly finding January to be our favorite time to be in Florida not just for lower crowds but for the atypical Florida weather. It didn’t rain once during our visit and although temperatures did get a bit chilly in the evenings it was still pleasant enough to tolerate and all the pools are heated!
MORE INFO: Universal Orlando Resort’s Secret Season