Beacon Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
South Beach, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Across the street from the beach
  • Quieter than most Ocean Drive hotels
  • Comfortable Serta beds with Italian linens
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Small gym on-site

Cons

  • Little soundproofing between rooms
  • No spa
  • No pool

Bottom Line

Across from the beach on lively Ocean Drive, the 75-room Beacon is a true Art Deco hotel -- small rooms, smaller bathrooms, and no pool. It has comfortable beds, nightly turndowns, a small gym, and free Wi-Fi, but for the price, you get much more from the Raleigh or National hotels.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A clean, relatively quiet place to crash amid the Ocean Drive 24-hour buzz.

It's what's outside that counts, not the dark, characterless lobby of this 75-room Art Deco hotel, built in the 1940s. Aside from a few people occasionally hanging out watching sports on the flat-screen TV in the lobby's upstairs mezzanine, this is merely a clean and reasonably priced place to crash while guests party it up among the glut of bars and restaurants at the doorstep of this Ocean Drive hotel.

With a few exceptions, the crowd is a smidge older and better behaved than in most Miami hot spots -- I met schoolteachers from New York, a waiter from Atlanta, and a semiretired couple from Naples, Fla. No one complained of their fellow guests bringing the party home, which could make the inflated rates worthwhile. But the Avalon and the Strand are better values for the location.

 Service

Prompt, warm, and friendly service, complete with a nightly turndown service.

A porter promptly came to the door to rescue my bags, and called me by my name every time I'd enter and exit.

I'd arrived at 11 a.m., much earlier than the 3 p.m. check-in, but after some paper shuffling and computer checking, they were able to accommodate me right away in a quiet corner room at the back of the hotel.

I tested the concierge, asking where I could score some local Cuban food. He recommended Puerto Sagua, an Oyster favorite. Well done.

Unlike most midrange South Beach hotels, the Beacon offers a nightly turndown service. Also, when I called for extra towels, they were delivered within three minutes.

 Location

Across the street from the beach on Ocean Drive, Miami's iconic (i.e., loud) strip of hotels and dive bars.

At Seventh Street and Ocean Drive, the Beacon is at the noisy center of South Beach, across the street from Lummus Park, the liveliest area on the beach. Bikini babes and muscle-bound dudes play beach volleyball, and merchants sell T-shirts, coconuts, and cheap jewelry near the boardwalk. An additional contingent of seniors and families also take in the Art Deco architectural sights. (The hotel itself is one of the highlights.)

In front of the hotel, all along Ocean Drive, young female hostesses hawk practical-joke-size margaritas at nearby restaurants such as Sea Cafe and Chef Vincent.

Valet parking is $20 per night.

 Beach

A bustling, sexy (and topless) beach is right across the street.

Each room comes with two beach towels and two folding chairs that you can sling over your shoulder and take to the beach, saving you a few bucks and the hassle of having to rent a lounge chair.

In this part of South Beach, a jumbled horde of bikini babes, jacked dudes, couples on vacation, and families with kids play on a stretch of sand 100 yards wide. Half-naked beauties of all genders and gender preferences sun themselves on the broad stretch of sand.

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 thins out again at dusk.

Mobile snack stands are scattered along the beach, selling soft drinks and chips. But alcohol is not allowed on the beach.

 Rooms

The basic rooms are mostly on the small side, but with soft linens, clean bathrooms, 32-inch flat-screen TVs, and iPod docking stations.

All but two of the Beacon's 75 rooms are standard rooms, which are about 200 square feet. That's pretty average for an Art Deco hotel but much smaller than what you'd find at your average Marriott. All rooms come with clean, modern furnishings and either a king-size bed or two queens.

With Serta Perfect Sleeper mattresses and soft Mascioni linens, the bed is one of the highlights of the room. However, two of the six pillows on my bed were pretty lumpy.

A 32-inch LG flat-screen TV with basic cable, an iHome iPod docking station, and a safe big enough for a laptop come inside every room.

The minibar comes stocked with nips of Dewar's, Stoli, and Beefeater (all $5); cans of Miller Lite, Heineken, and Corona (all $5); and the usual assortment of sodas and juice ($5), plus snacks like Miss Vickie's chips ($2). Condoms are also included; unlike the ones at the Albion, these hadn't expired.

Like at most Art Deco hotels in South Beach, the bathrooms are small. But the Beacon's are at least charming, with aqua mosaic tiles that make you feel like you're in a fish tank. It took at least 10 minutes for the water to warm up, but once it did, I enjoyed the pseudo rain shower and the Aveda bath products. However, rather annoyingly, there's no place to hang towels except over the corner of the shower door.

I lucked out with a super-quiet corner room in the back of the hotel, which meant I could sleep even though the hotel, like the Avalon, Starlite, Pelican, and others, sits on the busiest, loudest street in South Beach. The trade-off: views of a back alley instead of the ocean. Though this wasn't the case in my room, some guests on TripAdvisor complain about the lack of soundproofing between the walls.

 Features

As with most hotels on Ocean Drive, there’s no pool. There is a small, clean gym, though, plus free Wi-Fi.

The gym is small, and there's not much equipment -- just one VisionFitness elliptical, one treadmill, and a multipurpose weight machine. Still, it's open 24 hours, it's in good shape, and there's a flat-screen TV to watch while you squeeze in your workout. Three-day passes to Equinox or Crunch gyms are sometimes available for $35. (There weren't any during my visit, though.)

Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, and there are also three computers for guests to use in the business center, which the hotel planned to expanded after my stay. If you happen to visit and the Beacon delivers on this promise, write us a review and tell us about it.

 Family

Not ideal for families -- no adjoining rooms, and cribs and extra beds might cost you extra. Families are much better off at the only slightly pricier Loews Miami Beach hotel.

The hotel has cribs, and there's "usually no charge," according to management. Rollaway beds are $10 per night and only fit in rooms with one bed. There aren't any adjoining rooms in the hotel.

Room service is provided by Rendezvous, the restaurant located on the ground floor, but the kids' menu only has chicken fingers and pasta with alfredo or marinara sauce. Both are $7.95.

 Cleanliness

Well cleaned throughout.

My room was well cleaned, including the bathroom, which is more than I could say for the Doubletree Surfcomber and the Beach Paradise. The faucets gleamed, and there was scant mildew in the grout, quite a feat considering how small the tiles are. As with most Ocean Drive hotels, though, the floors could have used some mopping.

 Food

Take the hotel up on the breakfast coupon to the diner next door, but skip the overpriced, mediocre food at the restaurant downstairs.

Located on the ground level of the hotel, Rendezvous provides room service for lunch and dinner but isn't affiliated with the hotel proper. Like most of the restaurants piled on top of one another on Ocean Drive, the food is mediocre and overpriced, not to mention it feels like you're eating in a discotheque with the techno bumping from 11 a.m. until closing time.

At $14.95, my caprese salad was one of the cheapest things on the menu. It was drizzled with pesto and fresh basil but also sprinkled with the dried stuff (yuck). A burger is $13.50, crab-stuffed ravioli is $23.95, and pan-seared ahi tuna is $25.95. Even a Diet Coke is $4! Like at most hotels, an automatic 18 percent gratuity is added to the bill.

The hotel provides breakfast coupons to Johnny Rocket's next door. And for one of the best breakfasts in town, head to the Front Porch Cafe in the Penguin Hotel, just a few blocks north.

 Bottom Line

Across from the beach on lively Ocean Drive, the 75-room Beacon is a true Art Deco hotel -- small rooms, smaller bathrooms, and no pool. It has comfortable beds, nightly turndowns, a small gym, and free Wi-Fi, but for the price, you get much more from the Raleigh or National hotels.

Things You Should Know About Beacon Hotel

Address

  • 720 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Beacon Hotel Miami
  • Beacon Hotel Miami Beach
  • Beacon Miami Beach

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Handicapped Room
  • Ocean Front Room
  • Standard Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 75
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: South Beach, Miami
Address: 720 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
(See Map)
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