Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Originally built in 1939 by Henry Maloney, the Angler's current 46-room reincarnation opened in 2007 after decades of being dilapidated and a hefty remodel from architects Allan Shulman and Ralph Choeff. Interior designer Wallace Tutt, famed for his work on Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion, put on the final touches with a luxurious but understated aesthetic that subtly nods back to the hotel's art deco roots
The modest, whitewashed building sits on the south end of busy Washington Avenue in South Beach, two blocks from Lummus Park Beach. It bills itself as a boutique resort, but is actually more boutique than resort. It's small and has minimal on-site amenities (basically just the pool and restaurant), and it's two blocks away from a public beach, so it doesn't feel as resort-like as bigger South Beach neighbors like the Mondrian or the Shore Club. It does feel small and intimate, though. The walls of lush foliage and meticulously tended gardens make it feel a world away from the South Beach scene.
Unlike more be-seen haunts like the much larger Delano, Gansevoort, or Shore Club hotels, the Angler's attracts guests who want to keep a low profile. Unlike those hotels, known for their giant lobbies and bar scenes, Angler's doesn't even have a lobby -- instead, the restaurant's low-key bar and dining room appropriately usher guests into the hotel - this was once one of Hemingway's favorite watering holes, after all. Though the former house restaurant Maison d'Azur was known for wild parties that capped off an evening with dancing on tables, it was recently replaced with the much quieter, though still excellent, 660 Mediterranean Kitchen.
A refreshing mix of families and couples lounge on Wallace Tutt-designed porch furniture with their newspapers, or inside poolside cabanas, and there's even a good chance that you'll see owner Marc Lawrence happily tending to the gardens.
Service is professional without being stuffy. Front desk staff doubles as a knowledgeable 24-hour concierge that can guide you to Miami activities, nightlife, and arrange any special services needed.
The Angler's staff is expertly professional, and with such a small property, they are able to offer highly personal service. They managed to make me feel like an honored guest without being stuffy -- appropriate for the chilled out South Beach setting. After only one day, the front desk staff, waiters, and concierges all knew my name and offered familiar greetings.
On arrival, there wasn't a porter around to assist me up the hotel's two front steps, but once I was inside, my bags were taken, and the attractive, young staff smoothly and expertly welcomed me to the hotel and whipped up my room keys. Check-in actually happens inside the room: A front desk clerk escorted me to the room and allowed me to sign the waivers, comfortably seated at my own desk. He arranged my luggage, showed me the ins and outs of the room (the endless minibar and complicated entertainment system require a little introduction), and swiftly left me to my own devices.
Waiters and bartenders match the rest of the staff for friendliness and professional service. Guests lounging at the pool were continually checked on by the waitress, who shuttled between dining areas throughout the afternoon, checking on guests without pestering them. Servers in the restaurants were knowledgeable, helpful, and attentive.
Located in South Beach, the Angler's is on Washington Avenue, two blocks away from Ocean Drive and Lummus Park Beach. By day this stretch of Washington Avenue is fairly tranquil, but on the weekends, when club-goers come out in droves, it can be a bit noisy.
Two blocks from South Beach's busy, white sand beach, but there are no private umbrellas, just some handy beach bags.
The Angler's is located two blocks from Lummus Park Beach, a jumbled horde of families, couples, tanned muscles and semi-nude sunbathers, on a stretch of sand 100 yards wide. It's closest to the southernmost end of the beach, which is slightly calmer than the beach from 8th Ave and up, but it's still a busy public beach. The Angler's doesn't provide its own lounge chairs or umbrellas section. Instead, the front desk offers beach bags stocked with two towels and two free bottles of water in a convenient black nylon tote (places like the Setai, Raleigh, or Ritz-Carlton South Beach offer more extensive beach service).
For umbrellas or chairs, plan to pay the normal fees to Boucher Brothers for less swank rentals. Mobile snack stands are scattered along the beach, selling soft drinks and chips. But alcohol is not allowed on the beach.
The 46 bright, beautiful rooms are in four buildings, and are either studio suites or duplex suites. There are also four manor villas in the former owner’s house.
Held in four different buildings, the 46 rooms are either studio suites or duplex suites. Both options are extremely spacious, and the multistory duplex suites, with two bathrooms and extra pullout beds, are large enough to accommodate big groups. There are also four manor villas in the former owner's house. For the space, prices are impressively low compared to other South Beach options -- prices start from $195-$300 depending on the season.
Rooms have light, neutral decor from interior designer Wallace Tutt (who's known for working on Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion). Subtle nods to the hotel's art deco history, like graphic upholstery, are ever so slightly noticeable -- a palette of cream, beige, and white feels more classic and clean than overly stylized.
All rooms are especially quiet, thanks to quality noise insulation and soundproof windows.
I stayed in a studio suite with a pool view, on the third floor. Studios are simply one large room, without any physical dividers. Furniture arrangement implies separation of the sleeping area from the lounge area, where sofas and armchairs surround a coffee table, with a small desk to the side. Everything fit comfortably in the room, but one more piece of furniture (or too much luggage) could have thrown off the room's balance of space.
Studio suites come with either a single king bed or two queens (duplex suites). Pillow-top mattresses are "Princess and the Pea" grade, and the immaculate sheets, down comforter, and down pillows made sleep easy to come by. The rooms are also especially quiet, thanks to soundproof windows (they still open) and well-insulated walls.
Tech geeks would love the extensive entertainment systems and free high-speed Wifi. The Angler's is on par with some of the best -- a single remote controls the 48-inch plasma TV, iPod dock, radio, and CD player, which are all wired into surround sound speaker systems. Check-in clerks give simple equipment instructions during the in-room check-in (a relief for remote-control illiterates like myself). TVs are mounted to the wall on a hinged arm, so they can be turned toward either side of the room.
Guests are also offered personalized "business cards" during their stay with their name and direct-dial room phone number, so that friends and local contacts can easily reach them.
Minibars include a selection of top-shelf liquor and wine, while the sodas, juices, and water have their own fridge and counterspace. A basket of dry goods on the desk, includes a huge collection of snacks (Swedish Fish and Moose Mix, even) along with traveler-friendly goodies like foot gels, a travel battery-charger, candles, and even a "mobile intimacy kit." The items are appropriately overpriced for a hotel minibar: $4 Cokes and $35 whiskey.
Minimal amenities are on-site at this tiny hotel. A small but serene pool and free passes to a local gym and yoga studio are about it.
The pool is in the courtyard area, between three of the property's buildings. It's quite small, but surrounded by beautiful gardens and two cabanas, where guests can order drinks or lunch. A pitcher of citrus-infused water sits on a poolside, and though there aren't many loungers, it's always pretty easy to find a place in the sun.
There's no fitness center on-site, but guests get free passes to the South Florida Boxing Gym and for yoga classes at Miami Life Center. Both are within two blocks of the hotel, so access is pretty easy, but gym hours are limited (it doesn't open until 10 or later, depending on the day).
Large, quiet rooms, free cribs, and a low-key atmosphere make the Angler's fine for families, but the small hotel doesn’t provide much for children.
Cribs are available for free, and all rooms come with a pullout sofa to accommodate families. Kids should be able to eat breakfast here, but dishes like bacon-wrapped dates at lunch and dinner menu might be scary for young taste buds. Though there aren't kids' toys around the pool (the hotel tries to keep this area quiet), they do provide beach toys.
Re-opened in 2007, the hotel remains spotless.
The hotel’s own 660 Mediterranean Kitchen recently opened and serves excellent fare. For less fancy, cheaper options, there is plenty in the area.
The hotel just opened its own 660 Mediterranean Kitchen, replacing the hotel's former eatery turned high-end nightclub, Maison d'Azur. Though new, it has received good write-ups from the likes of Urban Daddy. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 11:00 p.m. The Mediterranean-fusion dishes are creative and well-suited to the balmy South Beach climate. Prices for most dinner entrées are around $20-$30 -- a great deal considering the quality of food, beautiful setting, and smooth, attentive service.
Plenty of other options are near the Angler's -- from famous Joe's Stone Crab to smaller delis, and of course the line-up of cafés and restaurants along Ocean Drive, a block away. The front desk/concierge can help with recommendations and reservations.
Separated from busy South Beach by lush gardens, this 46-room art deco hotel is a low-key oasis. There's a top-notch restaurant, free off-site gym passes, and a small, but serene pool. For the price, other hotels offer more features or direct beach access, but the massive, Wallace Tutt-designed rooms are hard to beat.