When we traveled to Universal Orlando Resort in October, we were definitely ready for some time to relax and recharge. After a year of pain and growth, it was great to finish 2018 on a high note. By the time we boarded our flight, we couldn’t wait for a getaway. We needed to be rejuvenated from the physical and emotional damage we’d both endured that year.
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While planning our trip, we discovered that Universal had just opened the Aventura Hotel. We jumped on the opportunity to be among the first to stay there. You know how we feel about hotel germs, so we loved the idea of staying someplace brand new. Still, you never know what to expect from a new property, so we were a little nervous. Fortunately, the hotel was amazing!
Gorgeous, Spacious Lobby
We rented a car at the airport and made our way to the Aventura Hotel. It took about 20 minutes and it was a nice, easy drive — even with the late afternoon Orlando traffic. Tall, shimmering, and majestic, we immediately spotted our hotel towering over the other properties. Don’t get me wrong, all of Universal’s hotels and resorts look unique and attractive in their own way, but I really loved the modern look of the Aventura.
We found a spot in the on-site parking (available at an additional, nightly cost), entered the hotel, and discovered a bright and spacious lobby. This is ideal for properties where you might have to deal with large check-in crowds. Although, we were there during the popular Halloween Horror Nights event we never felt like there wasn’t plenty of room.
The check-in experience was absolutely amazing and we received excellent service from Dev. We hope that, when we return to the Aventura Hotel, we’ll have the chance to see him again!
With our room keys in hand, we went over to the next desk and were able to grab our park passes in what felt like less than a minute, before finding our way into the official Universal Studios Store in the lobby. Even though we did some shopping in the parks, we actually bought quite a few souvenirs from here.
Aventura Hotel Food Options
The ground floor of the hotel is also home to the Urban Pantry, a giant food court-style eating area that connects to the pool. There are so many tasty options here, including wood-fired pizza, noodle bowls, and burgers, but Josh particularly enjoyed the gelato he had on his birthday!
Before heading up to our room following check-in, we grabbed a few things from the conveniently-located Starbucks near the front desk (this was a go-to spot throughout our trip!).
This energy boost from the snack was essential because, while I was happy to spend time with Josh, I had a date with a bigger, greener man – The Incredible Hulk! More on that in a few!
Clean, High-Tech Room
As some of you may know, I live with obsessive-compulsive disorder. My concerns about germs and contamination, along with my rituals, can make traveling very difficult — especially when it comes to hotel rooms. I was really hoping that I’d feel comfortable so that Josh and I could enjoy our couples getaway without me stressing, and I can happily say that we will definitely be returning to the Aventura Hotel!
The design was very minimalist and we loved it! Clean lines, ample storage, and plenty of surface space to lay out our gear and snacks made us happy travelers. Plus, hockey season had begun and Josh appreciated the fact that he could still see the television from the shower. He watched his favorite team secure a win on his birthday! Bonus points for the glass shower door instead of a shower curtain. It made my OCD brain rejoice — hallelujah for keeping my travel anxiety under control!
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Another cool feature was that almost everything in our room could be controlled with an iPad. Not only could we stream from our own Netflix account, but we could adjust the lights, thermostat, and television plus request things from housekeeping, order room service, or look up park information among other things. This, along with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows, made it hard to believe that the Aventura Hotel is considered a “budget” property — but it is!
Need one more reason to check out the Aventura Hotel? Your room key comes with the ability to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter one whole hour before it opens to the public.
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We took advantage of this perk and it was incredible; we were the ONLY people in line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts so we decided to go on it TWICE! Talk about making the most of our together time!
Rooftop Dancing in the Moonlight
We stayed on the 16th floor and really enjoyed the incredible views, but that paled in comparison to what we found on the 17th floor. Anyone staying at the Aventura Hotel will want to check out Bar 17 Bistro, a rooftop hangout spot where people can enjoy food, drinks, and even a live DJ on the weekends.
While we were too full from a great meal at Antojitos to get anything to eat, we did enjoy the ambiance. There’s an observation deck and we arrived just in time to see the fireworks display at Walt Disney World. It was romantic, and a perfect way to end our day!
Free Shuttle Buses
When we checked in, there was only an hour before the parks closed. I was determined to get to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, though! Four years ago, I watched my oldest son go on The Incredible Hulk Coaster over and over again by himself. I wished I was brave enough to do it, too. I knew I had to get on that ride and I couldn’t wait another minute.
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With so little time, we worried that we wouldn’t make it. Fortunately, the shuttles make it quick and easy to get to the parks. With a little bit of a hustle, we made it to the Hulk in time to ride it twice! There was even time to ride Jurassic Park River Adventure and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey before the park closed!
We also learned about a shuttle boat that goes from the Universal CityWalk (read our post about where to eat!) to the different resorts. It didn’t go all the way to the Aventura Hotel, so we hopped off at the Sapphire Falls Resort.
We enjoyed a walk under the stars to our hotel, which was right next door. With the lights reflecting off the water and a warm breeze on our faces, we held hands and savored the moment. Bliss!
Close to Volcano Bay
We’d heard that the Aventura Hotel was close to the Volcano Bay water park, but we had no idea how close. Somehow, Universal found a way to tuck a gigantic water park directly behind the hotel! In fact, from the ground level, you can’t even see it. There’s no noise, no crowd, and no sand!
Having spent a super romantic day at the water park, we were grateful that the walk back to our room was short. We were showered and resting within 15 minutes of leaving Volcano Bay!
Close to Disney
We love Universal Orlando Resort, but we did want to make our way to Walt Disney World during our visit. Thanks to a well-planned schedule, and the ability to park hop courtesy of one of Josh’s friends (a Disney employee), we managed to visit all four parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios — in one day!
It was really easy to get to Disney from the Aventura. We drove our rental car and it took just about 15 minutes! The location could not have been more convenient.
Aventura Hotel Review – Stay Here!
Overall, we highly recommend Universal’s Aventura Hotel for couples seeking a fun, budget-friendly getaway. The staff was amazing, the room was fantastic, the location was great and the perks. You can’t beat being able to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour early!
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