Universal Orlando opens their sixth hotel on Thursday, and while it might be easy to gloss over the news of its launch, the property can’t be ignored. Hypable attended an eye-popping media preview earlier this week!
Powerful iPads in every room; a spacious rooftop bar with sweeping views; and a sleek overall design that is the total opposite of its sister hotel, Cabana Bay. These are the surprising features of Universal’s Aventura Hotel, which can’t be found elsewhere at the theme park resort.
Comparisons to Cabana Bay are necessary for one reason: despite how different the two hotels are from one another, Aventura and Cabana are both in the “prime value” hotel category — in other words, their rooms are going for the same rates.
Going into this preview, I actually had no idea that this hotel was on the affordable side of the Universal hotel spectrum. Based on the size (small) and design (sexy) of the hotel, I assumed it was going to be one of their most expensive properties, limited to the upper class who may’ve deemed the neighboring Sapphire Falls, Univeral’s now-second-newest hotel, not fancy enough. But that is not the case at all.
The inside of Aventura Hotel lives up to its exterior. An expansive lobby leads to a Starbucks and a food hall called Urban Pantry. Inspired by “the great food halls of the world,” you’ll find four themes: pizza, sushi, rotisserie, and burgers. All of the food was delicious, with my boyfriend calling the dumplings the best he’s ever had. Prices appeared to range from $10-$15 for a meal, and none of these food options were your typical theme park food.
Burger, wok, and pizza samples available during the media preview — Not your ordinary theme park food!
Off to the right is the ground floor pool and Bar Sol, featuring frozen moscow mules. The bar is covered by the hotel overhead but skirts the edges of Aventura’s single pool. Too hot? There’s a bar inside the lobby too.
Aventura Hotel boasts three types of rooms: a standard, deluxe, and kids suite. Rates start as low as $116 per night and include benefits like early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and free transportation to the parks.
All three room types are very white and smooth, with brown hardwood floors to warm the place up. While the standard rooms will feel like your average hotel abode, the deluxe rooms and kids suites take advantage of Aventura’s unique footprint. Just look at those wrap-around windows:
Photo credit: Inside Universal
All rooms at the hotel boast floor-to-ceiling windows, but the curved walls of the deluxe and kids suites offer a breathtaking look at the surrounding area. What’s more, the room’s walking path run along the windows, giving your stay a unique experience. We can only imagine how special it’s going to be to wake up to those sweeping views.
And while the sleek and sexy aesthetic is nice, the issue with these rooms — and to some extent the property on a whole — is the lack of character or charming theme. Aventura attempts to combat this with repeated usage of its emblem in the entryway of the rooms, on public carpets, and in little touches around the property, but the overall sleekness is still a tad overpowering. This is a first world problem that ultimately doesn’t affect someone’s stay, but it feels like the one misstep in putting this place together.
Universal has been heavily promoting the technology side of the property, and for good reason. Unlike the five other hotels on the resort, Aventura boasts several unique technologies.
The highlight is the in-room iPad which, as one representative put it, lets you get in bed and stay there. The bedside tablet (two of them if you’re in a kids suite) lets you control your TV, the temperature, and turn on/off the lights. And the TV isn’t your average hotel television: the iPad lets you beam your own Netflix account to the television, so your binges can continue while you’re on vacation. Looking to browse the web? The iPad’ll let you do that, too. (You’ll automatically be logged out of Netflix and your web history will be cleared upon checkout.)
The iPad will also let you order food or toiletries to your room, make reservations, and chat with a hotel representative.
Power is plentiful throughout the room too. In addition to standard outlets, we counted at least a half-dozen USB ports in every room.
Finally, every room has a bluetooth speaker. One less thing to pack! What’s the fun in getting ready for a day at the park or a night out at CityWalk without your favorite playlists?
Bar 17 Bistro is named after its 17th floor location and offers a nearly 360 degree view of the surrounding area, making this one of the most exciting parts of staying at Aventura. I had the chance to spend an evening here and didn’t want to leave!
Unsurprisingly, the bar gives you an incredible view of Volcano Bay, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure, including an epic view of Hogwarts Castle. There’s ample space up here to get cozy and watch the day go by. I can only imagine how fantastic the views of Universal’s nighttime shows — Hogwarts’ “Nighttime Lights” and Universal Orlando’s “Cinematic Celebration” — will be to watch from up in the air.
A Can’t-Miss Hotel As Universal Expands
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Aventura should be the first hotel you consider when visiting Universal Orlando or the greater area.
While Cabana Bay offers a reduced price for a less-sexy stay and Sapphire Falls, etc. give you a higher quality stay for a higher price, Aventura hits a surprising balance between affordability, quality, and high-end features. It’s hard to imagine why you’d want to stay anywhere else, especially when you consider this hotel has the added benefit of being sparkling new.
Whether or not you’ve been to Universal, now’s a great time to consider a visit. In recent years Universal has added jaw-dropping nighttime shows at Hogwarts Castle and in the Universal Studios lagoon (the latter show has a surprising number of incredible effects). They’ve also launched King Kong and Fast & Furious-themed attractions.
Notably, Univeral has opened three hotels since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley opened in 2014, and yet another — even cheaper! — hotel will be opening next year, Endless Summer. The rapid growth is thanks in part to the huge success of the Harry Potter lands.
Endless Summer and Aventura signal Universal’s belief that demand will continue for decades to come. That new Harry Potter ride currently under construction at Hogsmeade and the forthcoming Super Nintendo World will surely help fill all these new rooms too.