As I’m sat here writing this I’m already wishing we were back in Florida relaxing by the pool drinking a cocktail or two… or three. We have honestly had the best experience from our holiday and we’re already looking forward to saving and planning our return visit.
This post will be all about our stay at Universal’s newest hotel; Universal Aventura. After staying here for ten days we have been able to try out all that this hotel has to offer and more.
So if your planning on staying here or looking for inspiration for your next holiday trip, then just keep reading.
Airport transfers to hotel
So we booked our holiday through Virgin holidays (which I highly recommend) and with that came free transfers from the airport to our hotel and a return journey. When we arrived at MCO airport we found the Virgin holidays desk where a friendly team member was waiting with our information pack filled with everything we needed. The team directed us to the bus rank where another easily signposted Virgin holidays desk helped us check in for our transfer. We did have to wait about thirty five minutes for our bus to get going but it was nice to sit down and get excited for our onward journey to the hotel. The bus also plays some great films whilst you wait, we watched Moana which helped pass the time.
The hotel is only a twenty minute drive from the airport but it does stop at few other hotels along the way making the journey perhaps 45-50 minutes in total.
Tip 1. If you can, take a drink with you for your travels to the hotel, it’s thirsty work sitting in an air contained plane and bus!
Check in here is very easy. As soon as you walk in, the desks on the left are where you need to be. The reception staff greeted us with smiles all round and explained where everything in the hotel was and how to get around. They also gave us a printed map of the parks and the surrounding areas. In total check in took a speedy 10 minutes and we left feeling excited and ready to explore the hotel. We were given two hotel room keys which they explained were needed to get in to the hotel rooms and the pool area so keep it handy on you at all times.
Tip 2. Check in is from 3pm and check out is at 11am. There is a handy dandy luggage storage next to reception where we left our bags on our check out day so we could relax without having to carry them around.
When booking our holiday we chose a double queen bed room as it has more room/space than the single bed room. We were on floor 7 of the 17 floor hotel there are plenty of lifts to take your straight to your floor.
As the hotel is shaped like a trefoil (a three pronged shape), there are three different directions your room could be.
Tip 3. Take note, each corridor has its own colour coding to make it easy to know where to go – Just look at the colour of the floor when you get out the lift!
The rooms are bright and clean with an ultra modern theme of cool greys and whites. As mentioned we had two double queen beds (which were possibly the comfiest beds in the world) and one nightstand in the middle. There is plenty of wardrobe space with plenty of hangers, an ironing board with iron, safe (which is free to use) and fridge. The fridge was great as we were able to keep some food and drinks in there to take out and about and remained cold.
The bathroom was white and bright with a shower, sink and toilet. We had daily amenities of shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and face soap which were fantastic quality and there was always plenty of towels and flannels. The highlight for me was the hairdryer! It was so powerful and dried my hair in minutes – I’ve already added one to my Christmas list.
The hotel prides itself in being super tech savvy and we absolutely loved it! Everything in the room from the lights, air conditioning to the TV is controlled by an iPad. You also have a lot of helpful options on there such as theme park information, hotel maps, request items such as coffee etc, dining reservations and a handy chat option where you can chat to the hotel staff. We also loved the fact that if you bought anything from the hotel and charged it to the room, you can also view the balance on the iPad!
Rather than restaurant style dining, the hotel boasts a food court style eatery with a number of different food options from burgers to sushi and pizza to stir fry. We only ate here on our first night as it was convenient as we were exhausted but what we did have was delicious! We opted for stir fry as it smelt incredible as we walked past, you can fill your bowl with as many veggies as you like before choosing your meat option and broth. At the time I had a cold so the broth worked wonders for me! I highly recommend!
There is also a Starbucks and small grocery section where you can pick up some last minute snacks and drinks.
This is definitely a hidden gem that we highly recommend! Located on the second floor of the hotel you will find the V hub. This is a Virgin holidays guest only lounge that has comfy seating, a Virgin holiday representative, TV’s, tea and coffee, pastries, fruit, muffins and yoghurts.
This was so lovely considering we booked room only. We used the V hub almost every morning to get some breakfast of tea and fruit etc and we were ready to start our day. You can also use the space in the afternoons where they change up the pastries for some other sweet treats. When you could easily pay $7-$8 dollars for a tea and coffee in Starbucks, you can get it included here. I do like a money saving tip.
We had a lovely chat with the Virgin holiday rep who gave us some leaflets and vouchers to use around Citywalk and the surrounding area. She also gave us two vouchers for Hard Rock Cafe on Citywalk that gave use 15% off our bill which was fantastic!
Pool and outside area
The pool area is beautiful. There are plenty of sun beds with parasols, we didn’t have any trouble finding a bed whatever time of day. The pool wraps around the side of the hotel with a hot tub a little further along the pathways at the back. There is no kids area but that suited us fine as it is more of an adults hotel. At eight o’clock each night they have a film playing on a giant screen by the pool where you can float around and watch a movie – that was lovely of an evening when we weren’t in the parks! They also have a few fire pits where you can sit back, relax and cook s’mores each Friday. The pool also had 2-3 lifeguards on duty at a time who were so committed to there roles, it was fantastic to see. They also performed a training drill whilst we were there which was great!
Tip 4. I know some people have mention they think the pool is too small and there are no slides. The pool is a lovely size and was NEVER full so there is plenty of room for swimming and playing room for children. If your wanting a more kid friendly atmosphere, Volcano bay is literally a second behind the hotel through the hotel gates or Cabana Bay hotel has a kid friendly vibe.
Vacation planning desk
This is situated in the reception area, just passed the check-in desk. From here you can pick up any park tickets or purchase any tickets for the parks. We picked up our 2 night Halloween horror nights tickets that we’d ordered from Floridatix but after chatting with the super helpful staff, we decided to upgrade them to Frequent fear pass for only $20! This meant we could go as many times as we wanted during our stay! This was a lot more cost effective than buying a fast pass and meant we could do all the houses and take our time!
*Please note, we had already purchased our 2 night HHN tickets at full price, the upgrade price was on top of this. For more information, speak to a Universal team member who could help you upgrade yours!
Everything about the hotel was spotless. The hotel staff are always busy making sure it looks perfect. Our room was cleaned beautifully and left fully stocked with soaps, towels and coffee each day! They always said hello wherever we were in the hotel and nothing was too much trouble.
In all, we truly adored our stay here, from the location to the design, we will definitely be returning in future. I highly recommend. For more information on Universal Aventura click here.
Make sure you check out my previous post on my personal tips and tricks for a holiday in Florida, CLICK HERE.
Let me know if you guys are planning your trip to Florida and where you’re staying! I’d love to know! Don’t forget to follow me on my social channels to keep up to date with the latest!