hallway in Universal's Aventura Hotel

Travel Tuesday: Universal’s Aventura Hotel Review

For as many theme parks as I’ve been to in my life, it’s not very often that I actually get to stay on property at these resorts. So, while visiting Orlando back in October 2023, I decided to change that and book a stay at Universal’s Aventura Hotel — located at Universal Orlando Resort. This modern hotel (operated by Lowe’s) intrigued me in photos and included some key perks such as transportation to the parks.

What else does Aventura have to offer? Let’s take a closer look at this interesting and convenient hotel.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel (and What Makes it Unique)

outside view looking up at Universal's Aventura Hotel

Booking

Even though it would probably make sense to book directly with Universal, for this stay, I decided to use Amex Travel. I ended up selecting a Skyline View room, which looked out to Lowe’s Sapphire Falls, Universal’s Cabana Bay, and (most importantly) the Universal theme parks.

For our two nights, our total came to $515.24. Despite it not being the best redemption option, we also cashed in 12,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to bring our final total down to $431.12.

Check-in

We took an Uber to Aventura from Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin and were dropped off right in front of the lobby. Upon entering, we were greeted by a pretty lengthy line — likely due to the fact that there was a Universal Halloween Horror Night event that evening. Eventually, we made our way to the desk and were helped by a very friendly team member.

Our room wasn’t quite ready so we dropped our bags at the bag desk and set off for the parks. Per usual, while on the way to City Walk, we got the text that the room was ready. Luckily, the team member did give us our keys ahead of time, so I didn’t need to revisit the desk again (but did need to get my bags, of course).

Something else to mention about the lobby is that you might spot a wandering robot. Apparently, this little guy can be used to fulfill amenities requests — but we didn’t get a chance to try him out. Nevertheless, the robot presence adds to the theme and vibe of this property.

entryway to room at Universal's Aventura Hotel

The room

Upon entering the room, I was immediately taken by the decor, including the lamps that called to mind Dyson fans. The layout of the room was intriguing, with small dividers sectioning the bedroom from the vanity. To the right was a set of closets (that kind of looked like lockers) as well as a coffee station. Under the TV, there was also a built-in desk, complete with a chair in the corner, which was convenient enough for working. While all of this felt a bit weird, I have to say I was a fan overall.

iPad controls for electronics in a room at Universal's Aventura Hotel

Another unique aspect of the Aventura is the iPad controls. Rather than offering a traditional television remote, the TV can be controlled by this tablet. Similarly, the lights and A/C in the room can also be adjusted using the iPad. Meanwhile, it can also be used for such things as looking up park info, requesting items, viewing dining menus, and more.

Although I like the idea of the iPad controls and they worked pretty well overall, it can be a bit annoying at times — like when you need to unlock the iPad and navigate to the TV remote app to adjust the volume or change the channel. In these instances, I can’t help but think a normal remote would have been easier. Still, props for trying to be modern.

bathroom view of shower in a room at Universal's Aventura Hotel

As for the bathroom, it had a great standing shower that I truly appreciated. The only thing that would make it better is if the bathroom on the whole was larger as the toilet was a bit cramped (but not as tight as at Dolphin).

Finally, I don’t have many notes on the beds, but I definitely slept well both nights we were there. Speaking of “night,” I really loved watching lit-up rides, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, go by while I looked out my window. I’m not sure what the price difference is for a Skyline View room, but this aspect alone might make it worth the upgrade.

Transportation to the theme parks and City Walk

Aventura Hotel sign on City Walk

One of the perks of staying on Universal property is the ability to hop on one of their complimentary transportation options and head to City Walk or one of the theme parks. In the case of Aventura, the bus stop was located just a few steps from the lobby (there’s a walkway to Volcano Bay water park as well, but we didn’t go there on this trip). From what I could tell, the buses seemed to run pretty frequently to and from City Walk. On that note, be sure to pay attention to the signs when heading back to the hotel so that you end up on the right bus.

Another trick that my friend clued me in on is that, while Aventura isn’t directly serviced by the water taxi service at the Resort, Lowe’s Sapphire Falls is. As a result, you can take a boat from City Walk to Sapphire Falls, follow the directions to the lobby, and take the short walk across the way to Aventura. Also, since this isn’t really advertised, we’ll keep it our little secret.

build your own wok bowl

Dining

For a hotel that isn’t that large, Universal’s Aventura has a surprising number of dining options. Just beyond the lobby, there’s a food court called Urban Pantry featuring several different stations, grab-and-go options, and more. During my stay, I tried both the build-your-own wok bowl station and the pizza spot. Both were delicious — although I think the pizza was probably a better value. Unfortunately, it also seems as though it has more limited hours as it wasn’t open when I went down for lunch (luckily, I wanted a wok bowl that day anyway). I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s a Starbucks location in the lobby as well.

While I had a chance to try those options, some others I didn’t get to experience include the rooftop bar called Bar 17 Bistro (the ’17’ comes from the floor it’s on), the lobby bar barVentura, or the pool bar Bar Sol. I guess what I’m saying is you shant thirst while staying at Aventura.

Of course, in addition to these options, there’s plenty more food to be found at the neighboring hotels as well as at City Walk. I recently had a chance to try Bigfire at City Walk and found the Signature Bison Burger to be quite tasty. But, if you feel like staying close to your room, you should be able to find something you’re craving nearby.

Final Thoughts on Universal’s Aventura

view from a distance of Universal's Aventura Hotel

Having never stayed on Universal property before, I didn’t really know what to expect — or where to stay, for that matter. But, I think I did pretty well in selecting the Aventura. For one, I really liked the overall vibe of the hotel (even if the iPad controls were a bit unnecessary). Second, the boat-to-Sapphire Falls hack turned out to be a great perk. Plus, I loved the on-site dining options at Aventura, including the Starbucks.

Of course, there are some cheaper options on property that may present a better value. Yet, on the dates we selected, the upcharge to stay at Aventura was minimal. If that proved true again in the future, I’d definitely consider another stay at this property. In fact, since we happened to stay during a Horror Nights event, I suspect I might even be able to find a better rate at other times.

Overall, if you’re planning on a multi-day visit to the Universal Orlando Resort, I think Universal’s Aventura is a fun, convenient, and all-around attractive option.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Founder ~ Moneyat30
Kyle is a freelance writer - including being the head writer for Fioney.com. He also serves as editorial director for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com. In 2015, Kyle and his wife Bekah moved from Los Angeles to Springfield MO in pursuit of greater financial freedom. Together, the pair enjoy travel, coffee, and spending time with their dog Rigby. Additionally, as of 2023, they become first-time homeowners.

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