Good family Hotel
Just returned from Loews South Beach (Feb 19-24, 2004) with my wife and two-year-old daughter. If you are looking for a true luxury hotel (ie.
Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Honolulu) or an artdeco gem, stay elsewhere.
If, however, you want a decent, almost legitimate four star hotel, in an excellent location, you won't go wrong at Loews. (I would also recommend staying elsewhere if you are young, hip, and childless.) Loews is a good choice for families with small children (provided in high season you secure a seat by the pool by 9:00 AM). Service was uniformly adequate to good. Rooms were nice (but NOT five star), and the food was OK if uninspired (even at Emeril's). Three final points: The St. Moritz tower is not a bad choice if you want a less hectic experience; don't stay in South Beach if you want a "suburban" beach holiday; Loews Santa Monica is a nicer hotel.
Four couples down for a nice weekend in Miami for some reprive of the
cold weather months in Pittsburgh found us in the middle of South Beach
at the Loews. Lobby: beautifully decorated
Check-in: Staff seemed new and confused. 2 of 4 rooms not ready until after 5pm. We all had ocean front with balcony. Rooms were tastefully decorated (clean and similiar to up-scale Holiday Inn) but felt as if we were in a small mini-mart with all the products from soaps, scrubs, robes, and mini bar supplies there for purchase. All, of-course, 3 times normal cost. Room: 2 nights a little over $1,000.
Food was good but not great and porportions seemed addequate. Cost:
again about 2-3 times normal. Small plastic glass of San Pellagrino at
pool bar with tip was $5.00. Drinks ran $8:00 to 14.00 each. View:
fabulous Check-out: We asked if at least one of our 4 rooms could be
extended past the normal check out and were promptly told that "if we
are not out at 11:00 am and checked-out, we would be charged an
additional day". This after not being able to get into our rooms on
time was a bit of a let down. Valet: good at times could take up to
15-20 minutes. South Beach: good and seedy areas mixed. Not anywhere
where you would feel confortable taking a jog by yourself. Great
Resteraunt: Touch Nightclub: The Clevelander Avoid the seen at Privie'
Very nice hotel, but beware..
After a 5 hour flight delay, we arrived at our stay at this hotel at 4:00 a.m. I stayed at this hotel 2 years ago and was completely satisfied with it during that stay, so I had no apprehension whatsoever this time.
But...upon check in, the desk attendant said, "Your room is through the glass doors, past the fountain, and in the building next door, on the 7th floor". I thought to myself, "that's odd...I don't remember this hotel having two buildings." Nonetheless, we began our walk to the assigned room, and immediately my heart began to sink. The building across the fountain in which our room was located, was 2 years ago a bombed out dump next door to the hotel, known as the St. Moritz.
Apparently Lowe's has since bought this and has expanded their operation. I kept my hopes up and assumed that they may have restored this building to the same condition as the main building.
We walked in to the lobby and found it dark and deserted. The elevator was old and dingy, the hallway was poorly lighted, and the room was small and dumpy. They did a terrible job of restoring this building. It looks like they threw a new coat of paint on a 1930s building, and were done with it. Nothing about the room compared to my previous experience.
After 5 minutes, we called the front desk and they happily relocated us to an acceptable room in the other, nicer building, so we weren't inconvenienced much. The second room was comfortable, quiet and clean, with a nice view.
But, I felt compelled to ask them, that, at $330.00 a night, how could they justify putting us in that other dumpy building. I was told, "Well, that's our "deco" building." I am beginning to believe that in South Beach, with the exception of the Delano hotel, "deco" means dump.
Dump, Small Rooms, Worse Staff
Went down for a week for business and pleasure, booked many months in advance. Reservation was for Ocean front room with King. On check-in, only partial ocean front, smoking room available, two small beds (I am over 6 feet tall)- in adjacent building. Person at desk refused to let me inspect room before checking in. I was to learn why. Additionally the staff was generally surly and borderline rude.
While checking in, my bags were picked up and placed in a fenced off area. I waited for a few minutes, but staff seemed overwhelmed and nowhere in sight. I requested my bags so I could go to my room. The staff refused to give them to me. They did not want me to carry my own bag, despite the fact there was no one to carry it for me. I became agitiated by the third world service and just grabbed my own bags and went to my cubicle.
Room at $385/per night was so small you could not navigate between bed and TV cabinet without risking injury. Bathroom had lighting problems, no heater, few towels and had hair in tub.
For a hotel in a area known for its nightlife, one would think the idea of providing window shades for people who do not want to wake at 8am while on vacation. Room had no shades. I improvised by pulling a bedspread from one of the beds and rigging it over the window. Every night.
Restuarant downstairs was decent, and path down to the sea are nice at night. The hotel structure is nice especially compared to the neighbors.
For those who haven't been Miami, it is a little rough around the edges and the area is gritty and dirty. Check the Delano bar or Clevelander.
Moving around: Taxis lined up in front of the hotel. This seemed normal. I went to the first one in line to go about 10 blocks north. I was dressed in a suit going to a business meeting. He said he wasn't working. I asked the same of the next cab whose driver pretended not to speak English. I tried several sitting right there. No ride. I went into the hotel and procured some staff who flagged one over to me. The staff soon disappeared and the driver, upon learning my destination tried to get rid of me. This provoked a fight between him and several other drivers. The drivers yelling at one another in some African languages.
It turned no one wanted me because I was a small fare. They were all waiting for "Airporto" business and were upset they had to take me anywhere. Luckily, I had no problem getting cab to the airport on my much anticipated departure from this city a few days later.
How can anyone rate this place so low? I understand that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but cut me a break. I have stayed in some great hotels and this is clearly one of them. My wife and I were treated like gold. There were a few bumps (in town during a very busy weekend), but the Hotel made everything right. Most hotels could only wish to have a staff half as competent. Rooms were nice, common areas are great (pool and indoor bar are beyond sweet) and the service is as good or better than any Ritz property. I highly recommend this property to anyone staying in South Beach. Oh by the way, the location is also great. Near the Delano, Lincoln Road and a little French pastry/coffee shop right north of the hotel on the same side of the street.