Travel n Tour

Universal Orlando nails cheap-chic with Aventura Hotel


In February, Vince LaRuffa, senior VP of advertising and marketing, and Russ Dagon, vice president, and government project director, sat down with me to chat about the forthcoming Aventura Hotel, the 6th on-belongings inn in the Universal Orlando Resort portfolio.

The 600-room all-glass behemoth opened on the agenda on Aug. Sixteen, turning into Universal’s 1/3 Prime Value property. At our assembly, Laruffa talked about the hotel’s smooth, cutting-edge design and enchantment for a younger target market — possibly young couples without children, agencies of buddies on holiday collectively, or bachelor/bachelorette events. “The Aventura is extra like [where] my 25-yr-old daughter and her boyfriend might want to stay: They’re young, present-day, West Elm shoppers,” he stated.
Universal Orlando Resort’s new Aventura Hotel opened to the public on August 16.
Universal Orlando Resort’s new Aventura Hotel opened to the public on Aug. 16. Photo Credit: Cliff Alejos.

After the preview of the hotel just earlier than the beginning day, I’d say this is approximately right. I was wowed by the upscale, elegant vibe of the motel with its glistening open spaces, which completely included technological advances in hospitality, a cool meals corridor eating idea, and a 360-degree rooftop view of Orlando’s burgeoning, almost-Vegas skyline.

One of the first stops on our preview tour was the Urban Pantry food corridor. Instead of a signature eating idea, executive chef Mouhssine Benhamacht relished the concept of setting together separate dining stations. There might be something for everyone, and each guest should try a distinctive cuisine every night of their stay. “Urban Pantry was stimulated by using the amazing food halls of the arena from Amsterdam to San Francisco,” says Benhamacht. Four essential principles comprise Urban Pantry: the continental Asian station, an American burger bar with locally made buns and locally raised farm animals, a roast station serving rotisserie chook and top rib, and a Neapolitan-style timber-fired pizza station.

Steamed dumplings served on the Urban Pantry meals corridor idea at Aventura Hotel.
Steamed dumplings served on the Urban Pantry food hall idea at Aventura Hotel. Photo Credit: Cliff Alejos

Universal Orlando nails cheap-chic with Aventura Hotel
I asked Benhamacht what becomes exclusive, making plans for the menu at a meals corridor concept rather than a signature restaurant. “We desired to cognizance every idea one at a time,” he said. “We wanted it to be actual as much as possible, now not gimmicky. It became stability between what American palates would be interested in and a few greater complex recipes like the dumplings at the Asian station.” Benhamacht shows guests do not pass over the smoked salmon pizza (which I especially appreciated on my visit), the paella from the roast station, and the French burger with bacon jam and Brie cheese.

Two different concepts round out the meals and beverage offerings at the Aventura. The poolside bar is called Bar Sol, which serves up Latin-themed distinctiveness cocktails — one I tried combined with coconut milk, lime, and mezcal — and different drinks. “This inn has allowed us to be more themed with the offerings,” says meals and beverage director David McKeever. “But we can also offer PBR, which appeals to the hundreds, after a tap with neighborhood craft beer. There’s something for every palate.”

Bar17 Bistro is something new for Orlando — a rooftop restaurant, bar, and lounge location. The views are stunning, and I won’t be surprised when it is packed to the brim every night as word spreads among locals and resort-goers alike. We did not get to try any of the signature $14 cocktails at some point in our preview. Still, I’ll be back to strive The Barrel, which mixes bourbon, grapefruit juice, and maple syrup, or the unofficial drink of summer season 2018, the Spritz — with Aperol, of direction.

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Half of the menu at Bar17 Bistro are reinvented steamed bao buns (three for $12) packed with sweets like the conventional braised red meat stomach with cucumbers and green onion or neighborhood Florida grouper with papaya and pickled pink onion. I tried both and preferred them similarly. The other half of the menu veers toward the European bistro fashion, with grilled Spanish octopus with almond romesco and a shiitake mushroom bruschetta on a toast smeared with smoked bone marrow.

All this culinary creativity at an inn that costs $116 per night for a four-night live in low season. Pretty magnificent. The guestrooms also are a wow. Every room flaunts floor-to-ceiling home windows; because of this, each room has a notable view, no matter which wing of the resort you are staying in. The fixtures are minimalist and contemporary and feel like something you might see at a W Hotel instead of a Hampton Inn. Next to every bed, guests will locate an iPad that may be used to manipulate the entire room (lighting, TV, etc.) in addition to requesting offerings like in-room eating or asking a query of the front table staff through chat capability. The Kids’ Suite combines a fashionable guest room with twin beds, a separate residence area, and a restroom with a standalone bath and bathtub for bathing the infants (or taking a hiatus from them).

“We saved to an aggressive agenda with this motel, but it has worked properly for us,” says Dagon. “We’re delighted with the way the whole lot became out. We’ve had so many people so excited to see the lodge, especially the rooftop space. Our workforce had an actual appetite for that, and we are positive our guests will like it, too.”

Next are the new Value inns called Endless Summer Resort, with separate motels: Surfside Inn & Suites, opening in the summer of 2019, and Dockside Inn & Suites, exiting in 2020. Orlando citizens are already seeing the lean-wall production rising excessively within the vicinity wherein legacy water park Wet ‘n Wild used to face, and Surfside Inn & Suites, if you want to offer guest rooms as little as $73 in step with night for a seven-night stay, and -bedroom suites starting at $111 in step with night time for a seven-night time stay. Surfside Inn & Suites is now accepting reservations for August 2019.

Aly Jones
Twitter evangelist. Web fanatic. Lifelong travel nerd. Passionate zombie scholar. Extreme coffee fan. Amateur entrepreneur. Avid beer lover. Had moderate success lecturing about wieners in the UK. Won several awards for short selling clip-on ties in Hanford, CA. Uniquely-equipped for creating marketing channels for cod in Bethesda, MD. Spent a weekend buying and selling Easter candy in Phoenix, AZ. Was quite successful at analyzing tar in the government sector. Have a strong interest in getting to know barbie dolls for fun and profit.