We stayed here for 2x weeks from 8th-22nd Dec and so thought I'd give my scattered attempt at some balanced thoughts for anyone considering it. Overall, we really liked it and it exceeded our expectations in most every way!
The first visual impression of the hotel as you pull up from outside was much better than YouTube vids and photos online, I really liked the look of the entrance doors and the huge Aventura Hotel signage.
The lobby area itself is a nice clean, open space and even the much derided Xmas decorations really looked much better and seemed appropriate in person.
The check-in staff were always friendly and helpful, they seemed to want to be impressing during the bedding-in period.
Everything we ate from Urban Pantry was great, but special mention must go to the teriyaki stir fry noodle bowls, these are YUM!!! Again, the staff here were always very friendly and chatty to us. One thing I would say to prepare for if you've stayed at Cabana previously is that what would be a $10 main at Cabana will almost certainly be a $15 main at Aventura. No biggie for a short stay, but that adds up for a longer trip. We actually got the kids meals a lot at $8, which were always plenty of food that filled us every time.
We bought the refill cups for our length of stay which were fantastic value and this ties in to my main love for this hotel, something that I feel is a major advantage compared to the others. EVERYTHING is so close here! You can leave ANY room in the hotel and be at the cup dispensers or in the pool within 3 minutes. Those who've stayed at Cabana in rooms away from the food hall will know that this can easily push a 10 minute round trip just to get some sodas.
The lifts themselves work great and I really liked the introduction of guests needing a room kept to access any guest floor. In 2 weeks we didn't get a single dodgy pizza menu under our door.
The pool area felt much bigger than I expected and had a really nice vibe to it. Lifeguards seemed professional and were friendly. Didn't try Sol bar, but one complaint i did have was that the freestyle machines next to it were basically defunct for our full stay (giving out carbonated water with little/no cordial added). I raised this with staff a few times and it was never resolved or had 'out of order ' signs placed on it, they just said they'd report it through and either failed to do so or there is a fault in the repair chain.
Entrance to Volcano Bay cannot be understated as an incredible part of this hotel's offerings, we could be in the park genuinely within 5 mins of leaving our room.
we stayed in Room 901 at the hotel which is the closest to the lifts and has a bit of an extended piece of floor space inside due to the buildings shape. We were really pleased to get this as it made it feel very different to our previous Cabana Bay rooms, so it felt more unique.
The rooftop bar is very nice. It was cold when we went up one night and they distributed blankets around, which I thought was a nice touch (as well as a good way of keeping you drinking there, i guess!). We were comped a free dessert (the ice cream selection) by our drinks server on the first night when we mentioned that we were there for a longer stay, I guess to get us to come back again, but we really appreciated the gesture.
We took the boat from Sapphire Falls for most trips in to the parks. This was mostly by choice as we love the ride in on them. Walk to and from the dock was about 7 mins each way and nice easy route through the Sapphire lobby. Buses were fine each time we tried them too, but one thing I'd add is that the route for the buses is that they stop at Cabana Bay first before hitting Aventura and then on to the parks. This can mean that in the morning the buses are sometimes standing room only by time they arrive at Aventura and the stop at Cabana can add a bit of time in the evening if you're tired after a day at the parks. Pretty minor inconvenience, but something to keep in mind if you'd prefer to skip it by taking the boat or walking instead.
We'd definitely stay here again, it ticks all the boxes for a quality Universal on-site stay. If the price for a stay here was the same as the price for Cabana Bay, then sure, we'd choose CB ahead of this place for lower cost meals and a more preferable atmosphere (this is obviously subjective), however, the price isn't going to be the same. If you'd rather put that couple hundred bucks towards another part of your vacation (or booking a follow up one!), you can't go wrong with giving this place a spin and seeing if it pleasantly surprises you too!
They started booking endless summer so that is the low price now. These two are sisters, Sapphire is high end of the class and RPR is low of the deluxe with Porto reigning over all. Not a bad system.Yes on the Christmas decorations. They looked chintzy in photos, but seeing them in person they were fine and fit the theme/decor of the hotel quite well.....One major pricing issue I've noticed when searching for alternative dates at CBBR or Aventura to balance out the bulk of my vacation days at one of the deluxe restaurants...It appears that standard rooms at CBBR & Aventura are now the exact same prices. Aventura is no longer a cheaper option.
That's interesting. They're obviously happy with guest feedback and how the 2 hotels stack up against each other in terms of perks and location to make that decision so quickly.They started booking endless summer so that is the low price now. These two are sisters, Sapphire is high end of the class and RPR is low of the deluxe with Porto reigning over all. Not a bad system.
I was surprised to see that myself. CBBR has a stellar reputation, especially value for it's price. As you suggest, for Universal to give Aventura an equal cost probably indicates guest feedback has been decent.That's interesting. They're obviously happy with guest feedback and how the 2 hotels stack up against each other in terms of perks and location to make that decision so quickly.
I had a sandwich from Starbucks each day....Cabanna Bay and Sapphire had the better breakfast IMODecided to stay here in Nov. for HHN and to check out Hargrids. Anyone have an opinion on breakfast options? I wanna eat and get moving in the morning as quick as possible. Might even stop at a grocery store since we were told there are mini fridges in the room.
My fiancé and I are both keto, so YMMV, but the "Roast" section at Urban Pantry was pretty solid. The "All American Breakfast" comes with eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes, for $13 (we had them substitute the potatoes for sliced ham). It was too much for me, I dropped down to the kids portion - price isn't listed on the website, but I keep thinking it was about $10. Still a ridiculous amount of food.Decided to stay here in Nov. for HHN and to check out Hargrids. Anyone have an opinion on breakfast options? I wanna eat and get moving in the morning as quick as possible. Might even stop at a grocery store since we were told there are mini fridges in the room.
Yeah don't get their pancakes. They taste nasty like paper. Overall CBBR has a better breakfast IMO. I'm staying at sapphire this year so I'll know which is better out of the 3.Decided to stay here in Nov. for HHN and to check out Hargrids. Anyone have an opinion on breakfast options? I wanna eat and get moving in the morning as quick as possible. Might even stop at a grocery store since we were told there are mini fridges in the room.