I had the chance this week to visit Universal’s new Aventura Hotel which is the 6th hotel opened up by Universal and Loews Hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort. Aventura opened August 16th, 2018 as the second prime value hotel, that is to say as one of the two most affordable hotels on site.
Aventura is a small hotel by the standards of the resort with 600 rooms in a single 17 story tower. It is located right by Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and across the street from the other prime value hotel in the group Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Aventura will be one of the most affordable hotels at Universal only for the next year. Universal opened up the Endless Summer Resort hotel in 2019 which was its first value hotel, priced less than Aventura or Cabana Bay.
While Aventura is lower-priced, it is the most sleek and modern looking than any of the existing hotels. The hotel’s designer said that the design was a natural evolution from the two towers of Cabana Bay. Any resemblance of the trefoil hotel design to a fidget spinner was strictly coincidental.
The guest rooms are smaller than the rooms in the higher-end properties but the floor to ceiling glass and views should give the guests more of a feeling of space than the square footage would suggest.
We viewed 3 different rooms, a standard, a deluxe and a kids suite. Both the standard room and the deluxe have two queen beds. The deluxe suite was at the end of one of the three arms of the hotel with some of the best views. The kids’ suite (of which there are 13) has a queen-size bed, 2 twin beds in their own alcove and a fold-out couch and TV in a separate alcove.
Every guest room comes with an iPad that can be used to control the lights, control the TV, order room service, control the temperature, request that item you forgot from the front desk, get information about the resort, and chat with the front desk via text. The TV allows access to regular cable TV but also to web radio, YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and whatever video content you have on the devices you brought via Google Chromecast.
Aventura has a fast-casual food hall on the first floor called Urban Pantry with stations for sushi and noodles, pizza, burgers, and a “roast kitchen”. We sampled some of the dishes and I was pleased with the burgers, fries, and paella which was flavorful and a bit spicy. The salmon pizza also received high marks from members of the press.
You can also find a Starbucks and a Universal Store in the lobby for all your carination and souvenir needs. There is also an onsite car rental desk.
The pool is outside the lobby on the 1st floor with resort-style pool, a nice sitting area outside the pool, including a fire pit, a kids splash area, and a hot tub.
The bar just outside the pool area is bar sol. It offers a collection of cocktails including frozen cocktails.
One unusual feature of the bar and pool area are tables with built-in charging pads for your electronic devices. It is yet one more sign that while Aventura may be the least expensive of the hotels at Universal Orlando Resort, it is the most advanced technically.
Aventura also has a fitness center and a high-tech game room on site.
One of the features of Aventura that is bound to be a favorite is the rooftop bar Bar 17 which is, as the name suggests, on the 17th-floor roof of the hotel. The hotel is the tallest structure around so the bar offers a lovely place to enjoy a drink, some good food and also enjoy the view.
We sampled some of the bar’s food menu and the favorite by far was the braised pork belly bao.
Universal representatives said that in guest surveys “our happiest guests are guests that stayed on-site”. This is because guests who stay on site get some obvious benefits:
- Early theme park admission – Don’t underestimate the value of this. I visited Volcano Bay starting at 7:30 am with early park admission and had ridden most of the rides I wanted to before the rest of the visitors were allowed in a 9:00 am. On a busy Summer day, that is valuable.
- Complimentary shuttle bus transportation to the theme parks
and Universal CityWalk. I think you will also be able to walk across the street and take the boat from Sapphire Falls.
- Resort-wide charging privileges with their room key
- Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to their hotel
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