Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An overpriced place to crash where room numbers on the doors are scrawled in Bic ink. It's fine for spring breakers, but most other guests should look elsewhere.
There's a freestanding candy machine and circa 1995 steel-cased computer station in the lobby, and free samples of Crest Whitestrips and Bic razors in the hotel's bathrooms -- and that's about it for features, if you can call them that. The 54-room Beach Paradise is a very basic, budget crash pad in a less chichi party location on Ocean Drive.
I overheard one guest complaining to the front desk person about why there weren't any clean washcloths left in the entire hotel. He had to talk extra loud to compensate for the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," tune blasting from C.J.'s Crab Shack next door.
This is about as exciting as it gets until you step into the elevator (its safety certificate expired in 2007), and find that your room number is scrawled in small letters outside your door with a ballpoint pen.
But since the economic downturn, the Beach Paradise's cheapo appeal is lost -- much better hotels like the Bentley or Albion have lowered their rates, making them reasonable competitors. The Beach Paradise just can't compete.
Service is extremely basic -- just check-in, checkout.
During check-in, there was one person manning the front desk. He was efficient but impersonal. My room was ready at 1 p.m. as he said it would be, but there aren't any porters to help with luggage.
I didn't have any further interactions with staff, though one guest reported that the hotel had run out of washcloths and couldn't get any clean ones. I called the front desk to request some myself -- they never arrived.
Noisy Ocean Drive location -- a short walk from the late-night tourist haunts.
The Beach Paradise is on the southern edge of Lummus Park, at Sixth Street and Ocean Drive. It's a few blocks south of the main party scene, but that doesn't mean it's quiet at night -- it's not. I was kept up until 4 a.m. by loud partiers on the sidewalk outside my window.
There's a playground across the street, and just a few feet beyond that is the beach. However, the hotel lies right between SoFi (short for South of Fifth Street), a far mellower area of SoBe where locals tend to hang, and the 24-hour Ocean Drive party scene where sidewalk restaurants serve practical joke-size drinks and music bumps until all hours from speakers the size of small cars.
Parking is a good deal -- only $12/day Monday-Thursday and $20/day on weekends -- and the lot is conveniently located behind the building. But you really don't need a car in South Beach.
The beach and its jumbled horde of families and scantily clad bathers are just across the street.
Across Ocean Drive and a playground in Lummus Park lies the beach. Although the streets aren't quite as populous in front of the Beach Paradise as they are, say, by the Beacon Hotel, the beach remains as crowded as it is farther up the ocean. It's a jumbled horde of families, bikini babes, jacked dudes, and couples on holiday relaxing on a stretch of sand 100 yards wide. In the mornings, the occasional runner trots along the harder, inland half of the beach. By the afternoon, the joint is packed with sunbathers; the scene calms down again at dusk.
Mobile snack stands are scattered along the beach, selling burgers, seviche, soft drinks and chips, but no booze is allowed.
Beds without comforters, box springs that sag on the ground, smoke alarms with no batteries, a TV that requires you to crane your neck 90 degrees in order to watch it from bed -- these rooms are not designed for comfort.
Rooms come with a table and chairs -- the kind you might find on someone's outdoor patio -- and do not have a safe. There's air conditioning, but no control in the room, and it was always freezing, something several TripAdvisor reviewers also noticed.
There's a small tube TV in a cubby near the ceiling, but you'll get a crick in your neck watching it unless you stand up. If you do stand, or aim your picnic chair toward the TV, you'll get to watch CNN, CNBC, Fox, and Spike.
The bathroom might look OK at first glance, but the showerhead pelts uncomfortable spurts of water, and thanks to the glass half-door, water splashes all over the bathroom floor. The bottom of my bathtub was worn dark gray. Given all the mildew in the grout, I felt compelled to wear flip-flops in the shower.
A hotel is only as classy as its toiletries, which in this case included promotional samples of Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste (Cinnamon Rush, Refreshing Vanilla Mint, or Herbal Mint), Biore Restore Skin-Boosting night serum, Beach Mist soap, a Bic razor, Kotex pads and tampons, and a stick of Wrigley's Elixir gum in a mouthwatering berry flavor. And this is to say nothing of the Kirkland toilet paper (one-ply) still in the wrapping.
Worst of all, though, was the noise. I was told I had an "oceanfront" view on the top floor, but I could only see as far as Lummus Park. Plus, I was only a few feet away from the intensely loud partying that goes on until all hours on the sidewalk downstairs. Don't plan on sleeping until after 4 a.m., when the last person on the sidewalk outside stumbles home. For a quieter experience, request a room at the back of the hotel.
Clean where it counts most, just avoid the bathroom’s nooks and crannies.
The rooms are generally clean, but by no means pristine. The sheets were clean, although the towels had a weird bleach-type smell. The bathroom had mildew in the shower, and dirt around the corners of the floor, which could've used a mop.
The lobby is so dark that it feels more like a used-car sales office than it does a lobby. The furniture is generic, well-worn, and the tile floor needs a deep cleaning.
For most guests, the location is everything -- and that's about all the Beach Paradise offers. There's free Wi-Fi in the lobby, but the signal doesn't work in the rooms. If you want to get some quality time with a circa 1995 computer that has a webcam propped on the monitor, you'll have to shove some $5 and $10 bills into its slot.
Don’t bother: no cribs, no adjoining rooms, and very noisy nights.
The hotel doesn't have cribs or adjoining rooms, and rollaway beds, which only fit into rooms with one bed, are $20 per night. But the noise alone is reason enough for families to avoid this hotel.
C.J.'s Crab Shack is on the ground floor, but it isn't affiliated with the hotel. For the price -- $20.95 for mahimahi and $17.95 for fish and chips -- most of the guests I spoke to felt the food was pretty mediocre. Do as the locals do, steer clear of most restaurants on Ocean Drive, except for the Front Porch Cafe at the Penguin Hotel and the Avalon Hotel's upscale A Fish Called Avalon, which has been granted an award of excellence from Wine Spectator and a AAA Four-Diamond award every year since 2005. It's pricey, but the scallops ($16) and grouper ($29) are great.
The 54-room Beach Paradise hotel has very basic rooms, poor-quality beds, no pool, no gym, and basically no staff. You're paying to be across from the beach on noisy Ocean Drive, South Beach's less glitzy party center. For the price, off-beach hotels like the Albion or Essex House offer much more.
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