Universal’s Aventura Hotel First Impressions
The Fidget Spinner Hotel
Since being purchase by Comcast in 2011, Universal has been expanding at breakneck speeds. Opening new rides, lands, a water park and now multiple new hotels and resorts, Universal is bigger than ever. At the time of the merger, Universal had three onsite hotels, now referred to as the “legacy resorts.” This August Universal opened it’s sixth resort, Aventura Hotel, with two more resorts opening between now and summer 2020. Universal has ambitious plans to accommodate it’s guests in addition to the masses of people expected to descend up Orlando during the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge across town at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but more on that in another post.
Aventura Hotel, is a nice enough hotel aimed directly (if not shamelessly) at the growing wallets of Millennials.
If I could sum up Aventura Hotel in 6 words it would be, “focus grouped to death millennial hotel.” Every aspect of this hotel seems like it came from a market research firm telling Universal what Millennials desire in a resort, even down to the fidget spinner shape of it’s structure. Yes, the hotel is shaped like a giant fidget spinner. As an “early millennial/late gen-xer” there are elements of this hotel that I genuinely liked (the public spaces) and elements that left me underwhelmed (the guest rooms), but overall I think Universal is trying to fill an open space in the theme park marketplace, the millennial’s who have established their careers, but can’t yet afford to spend $400+ a night on a hotel room.
Lobby & Public Spaces
Upon entering the lobby of the Aventura, guests are welcomed with large open spaces, with clean lines and an open flow. The open concept Urban Pantry food hall offers everything a millennial’s “refined palette” could desire, from the pan-asian wok station to gourmet burgers to the roast station featuring quinoa, paella and assorted meats. Of course there is the obligatory Starbucks with small “nook” gathering spaces designed to offer young adults a place to spend time when not off to the parks. Overall, the lobby and interior public places are aesthetically pleasing, contemporary and inviting, they deliver a solid first impression.
Unfortunately this impression does not carry into the guest rooms. White barren walls and bleak bedding choices take away from the otherwise pleasant Scandinavian design elements throughout the rooms. I personally prefer the “white sheet over a duvet” choice Disney has made, as it feels cleaner and more sanitary than the quilt that Universal chose for Aventura. The rooms are lacking any color or wall decor, which is in stark contrast to the neon fidget spinner carpet and wallpaper in hallways. A friend of mine slept in one of the guest rooms the night before I toured the rooms and they said the beds, while not terrible, were not up to the standards of the Loews managed Universal properties.
White barren walls and bleak bedding choices take away from the otherwise pleasant Scandinavian design elements throughout the rooms.
One caveat to the bland rooms are the spectacular views from the panoramic floor to ceiling windows. Higher floor rooms facing Volcano Bay and Islands of Adventure offer astonishing sights of rides and many attractions.
The pool and pool bar areas were simple, yet sufficient, making creative use of the space available on Aventura’s limited acreage.
The price point for Aventura is very attractive for an onsite “prime value” hotel. Lead in rates are priced comparably with Disney at $116 per night for a standard room and $216 per night for a “Kid Suite.” I will say that in comparison to some of Disney’s value resorts, the hotel is “nicer” in many regards but is completely void of any kid friendly theming. For better theming at the “prime value” price point, I suggest checking out the Cabana Bay Hotel directly across the street from Aventura.
To summarize, Aventura Hotel, is a nice enough hotel aimed directly (if not shamelessly) at the growing wallets of Millennials. While the public spaces are inviting and functional, the sterile decor of the guest rooms might turn off those with small children wanting a more immersive theme park vacation.
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