Can't Decide! Aventura vs. Sapphire Falls

Grnl706

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Hi all!

I'm having trouble choosing between two hotels for the Universal portion of our Split Stay next June. I like to plan ahead so I wanted to start getting towards a decision on where we are staying. We secured a DVC rental at Saratoga Springs for 6 nights just yesterday but we will be spending 4 nights at Universal before that.

We're a couple with no kids and we really want to have just one bed in the room (we hate wasting space). The top tier resorts are completely out of the question budget wise so we are in between Aventura Hotel and Sapphire Falls.

For Aventura we would do a standard king but for Sapphire Falls we would prefer a Lagoon view King. There don't seem to be standard view King rooms here. The price difference is about $270ish. We don't mind the price difference but it's really hard to determine if it is 'worth it'. I know that is super subjective but I'm curious to hear from folks who have stayed at either!

For Aventura, we really like the sleek feel and the iPad's in the room. The room seems a bit on the small side. We really like the food options but it is truly a HOTEL and not a resort to us, so that is a disadvantage. The pool seems small as well and the pool deck cramped. For transportation, I would prefer to use the water taxis, which I know we can walk to. Not having direct access is a bit of a bummer but not too bad.

For Sapphire Falls, the price is probably the biggest con, but again it doesn't bother us enough to not consider it as an option. I love the size of the room and the theme. We're both picky eaters and the choices the restaurants don't quite seem like what we would chose and the prices seem higher than Aventura. Having direct access to the water taxi is a huge plus as well. The pool looks AMAZING and HUGE with room for privacy.

Which would you pick?
 

mjhtvchick

Universal Fan-atic
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Hi all!

I'm having trouble choosing between two hotels for the Universal portion of our Split Stay next June. I like to plan ahead so I wanted to start getting towards a decision on where we are staying. We secured a DVC rental at Saratoga Springs for 6 nights just yesterday but we will be spending 4 nights at Universal before that.

We're a couple with no kids and we really want to have just one bed in the room (we hate wasting space). The top tier resorts are completely out of the question budget wise so we are in between Aventura Hotel and Sapphire Falls.

For Aventura we would do a standard king but for Sapphire Falls we would prefer a Lagoon view King. There don't seem to be standard view King rooms here. The price difference is about $270ish. We don't mind the price difference but it's really hard to determine if it is 'worth it'. I know that is super subjective but I'm curious to hear from folks who have stayed at either!

For Aventura, we really like the sleek feel and the iPad's in the room. The room seems a bit on the small side. We really like the food options but it is truly a HOTEL and not a resort to us, so that is a disadvantage. The pool seems small as well and the pool deck cramped. For transportation, I would prefer to use the water taxis, which I know we can walk to. Not having direct access is a bit of a bummer but not too bad.

For Sapphire Falls, the price is probably the biggest con, but again it doesn't bother us enough to not consider it as an option. I love the size of the room and the theme. We're both picky eaters and the choices the restaurants don't quite seem like what we would chose and the prices seem higher than Aventura. Having direct access to the water taxi is a huge plus as well. The pool looks AMAZING and HUGE with room for privacy.

Which would you pick?
I would pick Sapphire Falls in a New York Minute - I have never stayed there, but did "pool-hop" over there from Royal Pacific on our last stay and I just loved the look and feel of the resort ((we almost stayed at SF but the Express Passes tipped the scales for us). The pool is very nice and does have a lot of space to spread out. I am a little biased though as I really don't care for the look of Aventura.
 

crabbymom

Slythermom to 2 'claws and a Princess
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
I have stayed at Aventura and I did not really like it. There was nothing "wrong" with it, it just felt like rooming in an IKEA or a giant Fidget Spinner. However, the walk to the water taxi is really no issue...its actuall closer than some room in Sapphire Falls!! Also, Universal does not frown on Pool Hopping like Disney does so you can hop over to any pool you want!

I am staying at SF in August and I am super excited about it just mainly for the theming and the bar. I liked Strongwater Tavern way more than I liked Bar 17 Bistro. As far as food, I have only tried the tapas at Strongwater and the bar bites at Bar 17 so I cannot comment on the restaurant food at either one, but we generally eat at CityWalk where there is something for everyone!
 
  • CPanther95

    Mummyketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2000
    I've stayed at the PBH since 2000.

    Sapphire Falls is the only Uni resort that made me briefly consider spending a few of our days there our next vacation. Last trip we spent a day there in a poolside cabana. And we've spent an evening at the rum bar every trip since it has opened.
     

    Disney Addicted

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2011
    I haven't been to either, but from the research I was doing, if it was just me and my husband and we had the money - Sapphire Falls in a heartbeat!
     

    Grnl706

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    I ended up booking SF! The difference in price was nothing compared to the different experience it seems like we will get.

    I would pick Sapphire Falls in a New York Minute - I have never stayed there, but did "pool-hop" over there from Royal Pacific on our last stay and I just loved the look and feel of the resort ((we almost stayed at SF but the Express Passes tipped the scales for us). The pool is very nice and does have a lot of space to spread out. I am a little biased though as I really don't care for the look of Aventura.
    I can definitely see how those Express Passes can tip the scale! I feel like I've been staring at pictures of this resort for hours and it honestly does seem so beautiful!

    I have stayed at Aventura and I did not really like it. There was nothing "wrong" with it, it just felt like rooming in an IKEA or a giant Fidget Spinner. However, the walk to the water taxi is really no issue...its actuall closer than some room in Sapphire Falls!! Also, Universal does not frown on Pool Hopping like Disney does so you can hop over to any pool you want!

    I am staying at SF in August and I am super excited about it just mainly for the theming and the bar. I liked Strongwater Tavern way more than I liked Bar 17 Bistro. As far as food, I have only tried the tapas at Strongwater and the bar bites at Bar 17 so I cannot comment on the restaurant food at either one, but we generally eat at CityWalk where there is something for everyone!
    That is sort of what I was afraid of. Staying at Aventura and just simply not liking it. We don't know when we'll be back to Universal/Disney and we want a full RESORT feel.

    I've stayed at the PBH since 2000.

    Sapphire Falls is the only Uni resort that made me briefly consider spending a few of our days there our next vacation. Last trip we spent a day there in a poolside cabana. And we've spent an evening at the rum bar every trip since it has opened.
    I feel much better about my choice then! It seems like SF is a place people consider often but the lack of express passes hurts it. Since we aren't looking to do Express Passes, it seems like a no brainer now!

    I haven't been to either, but from the research I was doing, if it was just me and my husband and we had the money - Sapphire Falls in a heartbeat!
    I think when I posted this I was almost there with choosing SF. We were able to snag a Lagoon View King for that $270 difference still!
     

    damo

    Proud Redhead
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2001
    SF would be my hotel of choice if it had express passes. It really is a beautiful place!
     
  • CAPSLOCK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2017
    Keep an eye out for other room types to become available. They might release cheaper king rooms at some point, and you could switch your reservation.
     

    Grnl706

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    Keep an eye out for other room types to become available. They might release cheaper king rooms at some point, and you could switch your reservation.
    I didn't realize they had cheaper king rooms! Would this be just a standard view? I'd love something like that, we're not too concerned about the view but the Lagoon or Pool view were the only options with a king bed.
     

    CAPSLOCK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2017
    I don't actually know, but it stands to reason that they should have other king room types.
     

    patster734

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2004
    I haven’t stayed at Aventura, but we really liked our stay at SF last year. If it had EP, it probably would be our preferred hotel (that distinction goes to RP).

    Strong Water Tavern is a great place to grab a cocktail or beer in the evening, especially outside when the evening is nice. It has easy access to Citywalk and the parks through the boats. If you have time to visit RP, there is an indoor walkway between the two hotels.
     
  • wendlle

    Aussie Wendy
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2014
    What kind of tickets to you have?
    You can always check AP rates, sometimes It can be cheaper to get an Annual Pass and get an AP rate for the 3 luxury resorts and much easier to get a King room.
     

    Grnl706

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    What kind of tickets to you have?
    You can always check AP rates, sometimes It can be cheaper to get an Annual Pass and get an AP rate for the 3 luxury resorts and much easier to get a King room.
    I'm glad you mentioned that. I looked into it a bit and I got very confused. I work for the DoD so j was going to purchase a buy 2 get 2 free ticket if they still have it for 2020 (the ticket office on base believed they would and told me to check back in September). I was reading that I can upgrade that ticket to an annual pass at what the value of the ticket is, not what I actually paid. Is that correct? I'm alittle worried about the volcano bay black out but I can work around it.
     

    wendlle

    Aussie Wendy
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2014
    I'm glad you mentioned that. I looked into it a bit and I got very confused. I work for the DoD so j was going to purchase a buy 2 get 2 free ticket if they still have it for 2020 (the ticket office on base believed they would and told me to check back in September). I was reading that I can upgrade that ticket to an annual pass at what the value of the ticket is, not what I actually paid. Is that correct? I'm alittle worried about the volcano bay black out but I can work around it.
    That's right, you ask for an upgrade and they will give you a $ based on what you paid for your current ticket.
    You don't need the AP at check-in to book an AP rate.
    Might be something to look at.
    I have an AP, some SMSM rates are better than the AP rates so you really need to keep looking right up until your dates.
     

    Grnl706

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2019
    That's right, you ask for an upgrade and they will give you a $ based on what you paid for your current ticket.
    You don't need the AP at check-in to book an AP rate.
    Might be something to look at.
    I have an AP, some SMSM rates are better than the AP rates so you really need to keep looking right up until your dates.
    Thank you for confirming! We don't both need AP's right?

    Also, another silly question but how do you check rates for 2020? I thought you used the code APH but nothing was coming up for me.
     

    wendlle

    Aussie Wendy
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2014
    Thank you for confirming! We don't both need AP's right?

    Also, another silly question but how do you check rates for 2020? I thought you used the code APH but nothing was coming up for me.
    Only one of you needs an AP.
    They release AP rates 3-4 months before your travel dates. Best link to use is the one in the first post in the sticky thread about AP Rates which is this link https://res.windsurfercrs.com/ibe/default.aspx?hgID=641&langID=1&checkin=1/22/2018&nights=1&rooms=1&adults=2&children=0&promo=aph&iata=&group=&hotels=&ada=
     

    cfoxga

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2009
    Your best bet is to snag a SMSM rate as soon as you can get the root type/rate you are comfortable with using the link above. Then keep an eye out for the APH rates as you get closer to your trip. If you can get one that saves enough to justify the Annual Pass cost, then you can change the reservation. If you end up really liking UO and have the ability to make a second trip within 12 months, then you might consider upgrading the other ticket to an annual pass.

    Assuming that your dates are not blocked out, the seasonal pass is usually not much more than the 2+2 deal. For us, it was <$50 to do the upgrade for each ticket and gave us a much cheaper second trip. We took a couple years off but are looking to do the same thing again this year...
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    We've not been to Aventura, but Sapphire Falls appeals to us more. SF has the option of the water taxi or walking to and from the parks, which is an added value to help justify the cost difference.
     

    huskerfanatic7

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2014
    We've not been to Aventura, but Sapphire Falls appeals to us more. SF has the option of the water taxi or walking to and from the parks, which is an added value to help justify the cost difference.
    its just a couple minute walk from Aventura to sapphire to use the water taxi
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2009
    its just a couple minute walk from Aventura to sapphire to use the water taxi
    Sure, but it would still be one more notch in the Sapphire Falls column for me. The less walking I have to do outside of the park after a long day, the better!
     

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