Universal's Aventura Resort: REVIEW

I want to start this blog post with a little disclaimer -- I typically don't take the time to write bad reviews on my site. I would normally forgo sharing my experience if it wasn't particularly noteworthy, however this experience was so bad that it warranted a review. My hope is to help my friends and family avoid what I feel was an exceptionally bad hotel stay (probably the worst I've ever had), while visiting Orlando.

Dan and I got to Universal's Aventura resort after a long day of connecting flights and went to check in around 7pm. We were immediately met with a throng of angry crowds and screaming children running around the outdoor area and immediate lobby. While I totally understand that loud kids are not the responsibility of the hotel, the bigger issue was that the lobby didn't have the seating capacity to accommodate the overflow of people who were unable to check in (insert angry guests here).


Which brings me to the issue of check-in and the theme-park sized line we waited in to get our room. We stood for over 60 minutes in a check-in line that never went down in length (we checked back at close to nine at night and it was even longer), amongst other angry guests. While waiting in line, we listed to the two front desk cast members robotically recite the same spiel again and again while joking with one another that it was time to go home. As a former Disney Cast Member, I completely understand the stress and exhaustion of a long day in a customer facing role, but was shocked by the lack of show and professionalism in such a prominent tourism company. They also faced multiple computer shutdowns when we finally made it to the front desk, resulting in us having to pay/recite all of our check-in information twice over an additional 20 minute period.


Once leaving the check-in line, we were burnt out and frustrated, even more so when we were greeted by another 20 minute line to take the elevator upstairs. The elevator bank has six different elevators which seemed to be mostly out of use. When asking roughly five different cast members where the stairs were (because we were on a low floor) we were greeted by a chorus of "I don't knows," leaving me to wonder how an entire resort staff could be trained to work without basic resort safety knowledge. What if there was a fire? Come on Universal! I say this having worked at a Walt Disney Resort in the past and being thoroughly trained and toured through our resort so we could be helpful to guests from the get-go, as well as informed in case of an emergency. After sneaking around and searching for ourselves, we found an obscurely marked staircase outside behind the pool bar, that eventually got us to where we were trying to go. (Nothing like climbing up a bunch of dirty stairs on your first night of vacation).


We were given a free drink each at the hotel bar on the roof as a "thank you for your check in patience" which was a nice gesture, I'll admit. The rooftop bar itself was unique and open-air, but didn't make for much of a memorable spot, because the bar staff were unfriendly and were eager to escape taking our order. (I told y'all -- I'm being REAL honest with this review. Definitely no sugar-coating here).


The rooms themselves were nice and ours was actually pretty unique in that it fell along one of the curved edges of the building. This gave us floor to ceiling windows around the entire length of our room. The rooms were also well equipped with high tech gadgets -- meaning all of our tv settings were adjustable via iPad. But while this was cool, it definitely didn't make up for the frustration of the entire check-in experience.


It felt like the newest resort on Universal property because unfortunately they were very understaffed and the cast lacked basic knowledge about the resort itself, as well as the theme parks. We even stayed at the newest Universal property to be built (Endless Summer) at the end of our trip, which surprisingly ran more efficiently and cost significantly less per night. If you couldn't tell from this review, I don't encourage you to book a stay at Universal's Aventura resort anytime soon -- unless you're alright with paying a decent amount for a frustrating experience. We were even warned by some local Universal lover's and against their advice, booked anyways based on the photos. I definitely learned my lesson!