Biltmore Coral Gables - Miami Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Coral Gables, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Huge, elaborate pool
  • Legendary golf course
  • Golf and tennis lessons for kids
  • Great restaurant and wine list
  • 24-hour room service
  • Long-popular "afternoon tea"

Cons

Bottom Line

Built in 1926, the iconic Biltmore (a national landmark) brings timeless luxury to a hotel scene overwhelmed by skin-deep glitz. Though far from any beaches, it offers doting (tip-free) service, a miraculous pool, a prestigious golf course and a catalog of amenities. Unfortunately, its residential neighborhood can get boring.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Civilized families gather far from the drunken hordes.

While you might observe a few scotch-swigging businessmen in the Cellar Club, the Biltmore typically draws quiet professionals and middle- to upper-middle-class families in town for business or pleasure. There's no raucous spring break crowd here.

 Service

Top of the line -- just remember to keep your room key with you.

The concierge desk
The concierge desk

The bellman took my bags the second my taxi pulled up to the entrance and promptly disappeared -- no tip necessary. Unlike any other hotel in Miami, all gratuities are included in your $28 resort fee so there's no need to grease palms in order to get the level of service a hotel of this caliber demands.

Do remember to carry your room key, though. Your name will be printed on it, so it doubles as an ID card. This helps separate guests from locals who stop by to dine at the Biltmore's award-wining restaurants.

  • Knowledgeable concierge
  • 24-hour room service
  • Poolside food and drinks service

 Location

Suburbia, Miami style, with a blend of multimillion-dollar homes and frat-party blowouts side by side.

Surrounded by luxurious homes and its famed golf course, the Biltmore doesn't have anything in terms of entertainment or restaurants within walking distance.

The Biltmore is located in Coral Gables, a Miami suburb that balances multimillion-dollar homes, high-end shopping, excellent dining and the University of Miami. This means plenty of beer pong tournaments that get out of hand and move out onto impeccably kept streets.

But a 20-minute walk -- or a short cab ride -- will get you to the Miracle Mile, which has plenty of shops and restaurants.

 Rooms

Hardly cutting-edge, but the design is classic with great attention paid to details.

A Superior Room
A Superior Room

I marveled at the lobby, with its soaring, vaulted ceilings and carved pillars. My superior room, in comparison, wasn't as awe-inspiring, but it was comfortable and serene. Though painted a simple cream, little decorative flourishes like a veil whimsically festooned around the bed make the room feel special (or at least worthy of haughty language like "whimsically festooned.") The bathroom is simple but beautifully detailed as well, with carved moldings, marble countertops and a brass tissue box.

Technologically speaking, the rooms have been updated to include flat screen televisions and iPod docks, what you would expect from a hotel of this caliber.

  • The beds are comfortable, if a little firm. The high-grade linens were very clean in my room, barring a few rust stains I discovered on one of the sheets.
  • Free, and fast, hard-wired and wireless Internet access
  • Plenty of towels and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries

 Features

Everything but the beach, from a legendary golf course to a gym that even attracts the locals.

The golf course
The golf course

As if to excuse its landlocked location, the Biltmore is overflowing with high-grade facilities.

  • The Biltmore is best known for its 22,000-square-foot swimming pool. Film buffs take note -- the actor Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan, used to be a swimming instructor here.
  • Famous, 18-hole, par 71 championship golf course; resident John Pallot Golf Academy
  • The Biltmore's fitness center and 10 tennis courts have been rated Top 10 in the nation by both Men's Fitness and Men's Health. The 10,000-square-foot fitness center has a lot of machines, but it isn't as well designed as some of the newer gyms in Miami, such as the gym at the Fontainebleau. The ceilings are oppressively low, and the rooms are divided into a confusing maze. Since the fitness center is also open to the public -- for a fee -- a number of locals use the gym as well, and many find it to have the best classes and instructors in Coral Gables.

 Family

Great sports classes for kids, plus water shows and free cribs.

There's no kids' club, but the Biltmore has a lot of activities to offer children. Apart from tennis lessons, children can also learn how to play golf on the freshly restored Donald Ross 18-hole par 71 course. But the Bitlmore's most unique feature is its culinary class where kids receive training in cooking from the hotel's award-winning chefs. Younger children can enjoy water shows with synchronized swimmers doing vintage routines at the hotel's historic pool. The Biltmore also has free cribs for infants.

 Cleanliness

No complaints -- well, maybe one small complaint.

Considering the amount of dirt and water tracked in from the golf course and swimming pool, I was surprised not to see a grain of dirt anywhere. My only complaint was that there were some rust stains on our sheet.

 Food

With more than 100 different wines by the glass and a famous afternoon tea, the options are enticing but not cheap.

The Fontana restaurant
The Fontana restaurant
  • The Biltmore's afternoon teas -- served every afternoon in the lobby -- are such an attraction that even locals stop by.
  • Two poolside food options: full food service to the lounge chairs as well as a full restaurant, the Cascade Bar and Grill, which serves sandwiches and salads. It's a little pricey, though, and the food itself is hardly mind-blowing.
  • Dinner is served at the Fontana restaurant in a gorgeous courtyard under the stars. The prices, however, are a bit steep for food that is merely good. Plus, as guests often complain, the service can be slow -- in my case, it took 1.5 hours to get through a one-course meal.
  • The elaborately lacquered Cellar Club is supposedly the only bar in Miami that serves more than 100 types of wine by the glass. This once-exclusive club is now open to the public, but a membership will still allow you to BYOB.
  • Palme d'Or, the jewel in the Biltmore's culinary crown, is the winner of multiple awards and its head chef, Phillipe Ruiz, received France's highest culinary honor in 2006. No wonder jackets are required and ties "appreciated." Note, however, that it can often be closed to host private events, such as a wedding.

 Weddings

Miami's most elegant and historic hotel is also its most prestigious black-tie wedding destination; its prices reflect this.

The outdoor courtyard, outside the Country Club Ballroom
The outdoor courtyard, outside the Country Club Ballroom

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to weddings at the Biltmore, and each event can be uniquely styled by the dedicated in-house company, Biltmore Event Design. In general, the hotel organizes its weddings into five-hour loosely defined packages, which you are open to build upon and elaborate on -- the only real restriction depends on how much you're willing to spend (a six-figure wedding is common). Even the most basic wedding can cost an exorbitant amount and the average dinner starts at a not-too-modest sum per plate.

  • Wedding Size: Up to 400 guests
  • Ceremony and Reception Locations: Gardens, terraces, and three ballrooms -- the Biltmore has no shortage of space. The Danielson Gallery, a medieval-inspired ballroom with an open mezzaine, and the Country Club Ballroom (along with its adjacent outdoor courtyard) are some of the most beautiful, ornate wedding locations anywhere in Miami.
  • Photographers and Videographers: Like most Miami hotels, the hotel does not use an in-house photographer or videographer, and there's no extra fee for bringing in your own outside vendor.
  • Music: There are no in-house musicians, but no charge for bringing in an outside band, DJ, or a musician for the ceremony. The hotel will provide you with a list of approved entertainers.
  • Food: A full-scale gala dinner with a specialized menu starts is available at a pretty standard cost per plate. The chef can accommodate any food allergy or dietary restrictions.
  • Spa Treatments: Full menu or services, including hair and makeup, at the on-site spa
  • Honeymoon Suite: While there's no special "honeymoon suite," most newlyweds opt to upgrade to a Superior Room.
  • Airport Transportation: There's no shuttle service from the airport provided by the hotel, though the airport is only a 15-minute drive away.

 Bottom Line

Built in 1926, the iconic Biltmore (a national landmark) brings timeless luxury to a hotel scene overwhelmed by skin-deep glitz. Though far from any beaches, it offers doting (tip-free) service, a miraculous pool, a prestigious golf course and a catalog of amenities. Unfortunately, its residential neighborhood can get boring.

Things You Should Know About Biltmore Coral Gables - Miami

Address

  • 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Biltmore Coral Gables
  • Biltmore Hotel

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • End Suite
  • Everglades Suite
  • Executive Suite
  • Golf Suite
  • Junior Suite
  • Merrick Suite
  • Superior Room
  • Terrace Suite
  • Tower Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 275
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Coral Gables, Miami
Address: 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
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