We Stayed at Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Time for another hotel review! Hot off the press, Universal’s Aventura Hotel has only been open about a month. We booked our stay here a couple months ago for our opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) shenanigans.

We arrived in the evening around 7PM and the line to check in wasn’t too bad, especially for the weekend it was.

The lobby is pretty basic, it’s a very sleek modern hotel with cement floors and white and blue walls and accents. IMG_0577It still smells brand new, like the new car smell or a fresh coat of paint. One of the first things I noticed was how quiet it was. Normally when you walk into a hotel lobby it’s loud with all the noise from families waiting for their rooms and people at the lobby bars. That was not the case with this hotel. There were people in the lobby but I am just assuming with how open it is the sound doesn’t get trapped in one area.

Check in was easy, and our team mate that helped us was incredibly nice. So nice that without us knowing, upgraded our room! I’ll get to that in a bit. After we checked in we moved over to the ticketing desk located to the right of the check in desk and bought our HHN tickets. Super simple and easy. If you haven’t bought your park tickets or need help with anything definitely just go down to the ticketing desk it will take your stress away.

The rest of the lobby area is home to the Universal Store, a Starbucks, a lobby bar and their food area called Urban Pantry.

Outside you can find outdoor seating for Urban Pantry, a fire pit, the pool, the pool bar, a recreation area and a splash pad for the kiddos.

Onto the room!

When we booked, I just booked the Standard 2 Queen room with my Annual Pass discount which ended up being about $150 a night after taxes and fees. After we opened the door to our room though, to our surprise we got upgraded to a Deluxe 2 Queen room, FOR FREE! We didn’t ask for it, the only thing we asked for was a view of Volcano Bay. Our room was on the 10th floor and the view was AMAZING.

The set up of this room is slightly awkward, because the hotel is shaped like a fidget spinner there are no square corners. This caused them to have to get creative with the room layouts on the rounded edges. But because of this, the room we were in was slightly bigger than the standard room and offered almost panoramic views of Orlando.

The last row of pictures above is what we saw from left to right in our room. We could see I-Drive, Volcano Bay, Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Islands of Adventure. Bonus: you can see Magic Kingdom’s fireworks perfectly from this room.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to relax to this view?!IMG_2904 3The beds were extremely comfortable and the pillows were great. At least they were for me. Mike didn’t like the pillows because they were too fluffy. So if you are like him and like your pillow to be a sheet of paper, bring your own pillow.

Other than the size of this room, everything else was pretty standard. The bathroom was nice nothing really all that special. Other than a simple metal bar in the shower that was clearly designed by a woman for a foot rest for shaving. Props to that.

The coolest part of these rooms is the iPad. Every room comes with a fully equipped iPad that controls everything in the room.  This was the first thing we went for after we finished drooling over the view.

You can control the lights, the air conditioning, the tv and more. You can even sign into your Netflix, Hulu or AmazonVideo accounts which is awesome. Once you check out everything you have entered into the iPad erases before the next guests check in.

You can also request normal items like extra pillows or towels, and chat with the front desk via a chat feature.  IMG_9544IMG_0763The ONLY thing I wish this room had was automatic blinds that you could open and close with the iPad as well. With a room so technologically advanced you would think that would be a thing it would have.

Something I was very curios to find out was if these rooms would end up being louder than other hotels because of the wood floors. They are not, honestly I think it was quieter. They must have put extra layers of something in between the rooms.

Let’s talk about the food!

Urban Pantry is one of the best cafeteria style food ares I have been too and eaten at. We didn’t really expect much from it because of its set up, though we did hear good things. We were able to eat breakfast and linner (the in-between lunch & diner time) here.

For breakfast I got their french toast with eggs and sausage. IMG_4927The french toast was really good, it was thick and fluffy and had a great taste. But you could tell that it wasn’t made on the spot it was probably sitting in a warmer. The sausage was really good, it wasn’t your generic Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, it actually had flavor to it. The eggs were just eggs, nothing special there.

Mike got the Belgium waffle with bacon and breakfast potatoes.IMG_8094The waffle is freshly made on the spot, you can add powdered sugar, chocolate chips and whipped cream as well at no extra cost. The potatoes were really good, they had a different seasoning than a normal breakfast potato. The bacon was bacon, cooked perfectly though I will say that.

I can compare this breakfast to Cabana Bay’s because it is the only other hotel breakfast I’ve had at the other Universal’s hotels and Aventura’s blows it out of the water. There is no competition there.

Linner was also really surprising. They have different sections at Urban Pantry: Wok & Sushi, Burgers, Pizzas and Roasts.

I chose the Wok & Sushi area for my linner. I made my own Teriyaki Stir Fry Bowl and it was bangin’. You are able to pick everything you want in this dish down to the type of noodle.

I picked snap peas, carrots, chives, chicken and ramen noodles. The picture of this dish doesn’t do the size of the bowl justice. IMG_3805Mike got a pretty basic bacon cheddar burger but the taste was definitely not basic. It was really juicy and the flavor was on point. It came with all the fixins on the side and seriously delicious fries. IMG_9968The one negative I have to say about Urban Pantry is it’s expensive. My Teriyaki bowl was $18 with a drink and I believe the burger was the same price. I should mention this price was after our AP discount, which is accepted at Urban Pantry.

The star of this hotel though is Bar 17, the roof top bar! Aventura is 17 stories tall, it towers over all of the hotels around it other than the Double Tree off Universal property, but that is besides the point. When you get off of the elevator and walk onto the roof of Aventura your mind in blown. There aren’t many places to get a view like this in Orlando.

The bar is sleek just like the rest of the hotel. It has a decent amount of seating and a full menu as well. We didn’t get to try any of the food this time around but hopefully we’ll be back soon to give it a try. I have heard it is pretty tasty!

Other things I noticed while staying here: It’s definitely for adults, there isn’t much to do for kids. They have a VR arcade but there are only a couple machines and it’s $10 for 5 minutes of play which is very pricey. It is perfect for attending Volcano Bay as they have not even a 5 minute walk to get there thanks to the access door by the pool. And you can either take the bus to the parks or walk across the street to the boat at Sapphire which is really awesome to have both options.

Overall, we had a fantastic experience at Aventura and we would definitely choose to stay here again. I did read some reviews prior to our visit that had me a little nervous. But after staying here it seemed those people just experienced new hotel jitters. A lot of their issues were solved by the time we stayed.