While driving through Coral Gables it’s difficult not to pay attention to the Biltmore Hotel, with its tower that resembles the Giralda of Seville. Apart from that, the hotel it’s a really nice resort, with a wonderful swimming pool surrounded by statues, and a classy atmosphere. I could not write about prices, as I’ve never booked a room there, but I’ve been told by well informed sources that the place is not as expensive as it looks like.
The place is supposed to be haunted by the man who killed Al Capone. I didn’t see the ghost, although I was prepared to take a picture of the guy ;-) Maybe the next time….
Spacious rooms, all amenities. Beautiful pool and friendly staff. Great location across from Marina and a short walk from Dining and shops.
Be aware despite great room rates, they will charge extra for a mandatory valet rate of $19/ day (and tips)... (if you drive).
So if you're budgeting for business as I did, the rate actually averages out... (no deals after all)
I was once walking home down Third Avenue in New York when I passed a homeless person who I'd seen for nearly two years living in the same spot on the corner of 39th street.
What made this time different was that a city van showed up, and Mayor Ed Koch jumped out, along with a publicity woman, and a photographer. He began talking to her, kindly at first. He asked her how she was doing (Fine) and how long she had lived there (Years). Then she asked her if she knew if the City had homeless shelters (Yes), and if she had ever been to one (Yes). Finally she asked her why she lived on the street (This corner is better).
He tried to get her into the van, but she refused. He tried telling her how the shelters were much better now (she didn't care) and how it would be healthier (she wasn't sick). Finally, in frustration, he began yelling at her "What's wrong with you?" It was clear he'd been driving around the city for a while and the van was still empty. The "you" in the question wasn't the singular addressed to her, but the plural.
Now that I've seen Miami beach, I have the same question. "What's wrong with you?" Screw 39th and 3rd, you could be on Miami Beach!
Seriously, the issue of homelessness is important, and no less so in Miami. In the court case Pottinger v. City of Miami the court ruled that the police could not cite, jail, or arrest homeless people for certain kinds of misdemeanors (like public sleeping) unless they first declined placement in a bed. The city instituted a 1% restaurant tax specifically to provide services to the homeless.
If you're going to South Beach on short notice and are having trouble finding an affordable room thats spacious enough to fit you're entire party, its worthwhile to check out local listings in the Miami Herald or Craigslist. I recently rented a nearly 2000 sq ft 1-bedroom penthouse on 9th and Ocean for just over $200 a night. I saved on valet and all the other fru-fru as well. Not bad!
Rentals usually have better check-in times and can accommodate more people. The only downside is that many have a hefty deposit.
This is our third visit to the Sonesta Resort in Key Biscayne. We had a nicely renovated, very comfortable, and clean room. It’s too bad that the bathroom isn’t renovated, but I have to say the bathroom is very large.
This resort has a great quiet and beautiful clean beach with palm trees and hammocks. There is also a nice restaurant (on the beach area), where you can enjoy your lunch.
If you want to go to the beach/pool than you can take the elevator on the second floor, so you don’t have to go thru the lobby in your bathing attire and feeling yourself a bit underdressed.
Don't visit this hotel if you're looking for a place to party. I have one negative thing about this resort is the “valet parking only”……..that should change!
Very nice room with a balcony and a great view, pool, great beach with palm trees and hammocks, and beachchairs.
I stayed at the Biltmore with my husband and baby daughter for a week, right as we were ready to move back to Miami. I have to say that I love the common areas of the Hotel but as a bit disappointed by the rooms. We were first given a double room which was really small, the king size bed taking pretty much 90% of the room. There was barely room for the crib. We requested a bigger room immediately, and as they saw that we were staying one week, upgraded us to a junior suite (for the price of a double!). So, don't hesitate to complain and ask. It sure worked for us. The junior suite was much much better, spacious enough with it living area, separated from the sleeping area by an open shelf.
The pool area is magnificent, as well as their golf course.
Their rates are on the very expensive side. Also you have to pay a daily resort charge, which lets you use their gym, the pool and the golf course, and includes the paper every morning.
More than a hotel, the Biltmore Hotel is part of the history of Miami. It was built in 1925 and survived the economic crash, the world war II (by becoming a hospital), etc.. It is even supposedly haunted by a man that was killed by Al Capone!
If you cannot afford to stay here, I would definitely recommend that you pay a visit to the Biltmore and sip a frozen drink by the magnificent pool.
Facing the OCean and two blocks from Mango's Bar action.
Art Deco, rigth in the middle of the South Beach action.
I can't offer any specifics but can tell you that you'll pay more if your lodging is on Ocean Dr. That's the street along the beach. If you stay one street back you'll only be a block from the beach and probably save a bit of money. Even some of the hostels are only two blocks from the beach.
Sheraton Bal Harbor Hotel and Resort
Nothing is cheap here. Prepare to pay US$10 for a cup of coffee. But again, you'll sit next to some of the most beautiful people in the world.
Immediately across the street from Bal Harbor Shops, the Rodeo Avenue or Worth Avenue of Miami.
$13 for dorms/$32 for rooms.
Even the hostel is in the Art Deco district, fits right in and offers dorm and individual rooms.
I stayed in Z Ocean Hotel in February 2011. It was a points award stay through Priority Club network. I would recommend this place to anyone, just far enough from the low blocks madness yet close enough to walk. Very nice Front Porch Cafe- my fav breakfast spot in SoBe- on the back end of the hotel. The hotels entrance is on Collins but you can walk out to Ocean Dr. I did not have enough dsobriety or time to check out the pool though, I really should have.
Location, location, location and very nice, updated rooms. and its on the priority club points network!
The Bel Aire, soon to be Hotel Indigo, opened for New Years in December 2009. They opened too soon, as the hotel was a mess of construction, wires, boxes, rooms without hot water, and more problems. I'm sure the Indigo will be nice in a few months when they work out the bugs, but why risk your reputation for a few extra bucks?
We booked online and had no idea just how bad the hotel would be. When we arrived we parked along the side of the hotel. I walked in and saw just a construction zone and a computer on a card table, but no receptionist. After about 15 minutes of wandering around a lady showed up and started helping people check in, but in the meantime, many of the people who had previously checked in came by complaining of no hot water. About 45 minutes after arriving, we finally got to the front of the line and were given a room. Because of the numerous problems in other rooms, the receptionist actually walked us to the room so we could check it out. Since I had heard of the water problems, I let the hot water run for about 5 minutes before we accepted the room. Overall the room was pretty nice, but lacking a few basics such as an alarm clock, an iron, light bulbs, and working electrical outlets.
We ended up staying two nights at about $130 a night, and besides the construction, the hotel was OK. Our second day there, we got a note from the manager letting us know the hotel would soon be rebranded as the Hotel Indigo, the boutique brand of the Intercontinental Hotels family. One of their bragging rights is the hotel restaurant which is located in a house built in 1922.
The hotel has no parking, and not much of a drop off area due to all of the construction workers parking in the way. Nearby parking is about $20 a day in the city garages. The hotel has 135 guest rooms including 15 suites. There is also a nice outdoor pool along Washington Street in front of the hotel. Though they claim wi-fi is available, we couldn't get it to work.
Location, Location, Location. Walk out the back door and your on the beach. Walk out the front door and you have nighclubs, resturants and shopping all within a short walk. We booked through Sunspot Rentals and got a room with an OceanView for $120 a night. This while the hotels all around it were charging $400 a night.. It's not a super luxury Hotel and the food at the resturant was just ok. The Staff was friendly, the room was really nice with modern furniture, comfy bed for my bad back and a 360 Degree view of the beach and the Ocean.. I actually booked the room after seeing a video of it on youtube. It was just like the video. For the money I'm saving I'll be coming to Miami more often this coming year and will defintely book at the Shelborne Again.
Great View, Great Pool, Unbeatable Location and great Price.
Barcelona Studios is a family run guesthouse just minutes from the beach (4 blocks away) , Espanola Way and Lincoln Road. I highly recommend for it's value and location. My mother and I stayed there for a week and loved it! We stayed in the Double room and it is large and includes cable TV, a kitchenette (including fridge, microwave, oven, stove and dishes), kitchen table, CD player and DVD player. The rooms have recently been renovated and are quite lovely.
They have a back patio and it is nested in the middle of the Art Deco District and Espanola Way (Artistic Street with restaurants and Art gallery- a locals favourite). Great prices!
Single $414 weekly
Mid Size $492 weekly
Double $570 weekly (1 and 2 Double beds)
Large $894 weekly
An all-suite hotel quite far from the action. Still with plenty of beach and own pools, too. Quite expensive. Separate resort fee added to rates.
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