Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Simple, "cute" rooms in a clean 1928 hacienda attract a varied, mellow crowd.
The Claridge does a commendable job at echoing its Mediterranean architecture -- a large archway at the entrance, terra-cotta tiles, intricate wrought-iron and wood-work -- with beachy items like rattan furniture and bright accent colors and textiles. But obviously fake imitations of over-the-top antiques can make the hotel feel dated and a little tacky.
The hotel attracts a wide variety of guests, many of whom are international and therefore have slightly lower expectations for amenities than many Americans. There's very little going on in the neighborhood, and even the on-site restaurant is depressingly empty. For the price (as low as $89/night in summer), you could do MUCH worse. The Claridge is comfortable, clean, and a block away from the beach, but the money guests save by staying north of all the action ends up going toward transportation to find restaurants, bars, or any type of lively scene.
The hotel is along busy Collins Avenue, and the area is known to attract a transient population (translation: there can be bums around, but that's pretty common anywhere in Miami).
On the downside, the Claridge is across the street from the beach, and in fact faces a parking lot. On the plus side, this means most of the hotel's rooms have great ocean views since there's no building in the way to block the water.
There isn't much around in the way of amenities. Creature comforts like a 24-hour Walgreen's and Starbucks are each about a mile south, and there are few restaurants within walking distance. Things may be changing, though, as the ultra chichi Cipriani Ocean Resort and Club Residences is just two blocks away. The rest of the action is a 15-minute, $7-$10 cab ride south in SoBe.
The Claridge is across the street from the shared public beach. The hotel provides beach towels, as well as chairs and umbrellas.
Generally, the shorefront in Miami Beach is less densely populated than the coastline farther south. It also lacks the flat hard-ground component that more than doubles the width of the beach down there. But Miami Beach is not crowded. There's room to stretch out and relax, but far fewer bikini babes and macho bodybuilders.
Rooms were refreshed in 2011, sticking with the earth-tone, Mediterranean decor and rich wooden furniture.
With no real pool, a lack of eating options, and no attractions except for the beach nearby, this is not a great family pick.
For those who don't mind doing a lot of driving, the Claridge does offer a number of rooms with two queen beds (as well as six suites more suited to sleeping a family of four). Forget about walking to any family-friendly attractions, though. Yes, the Mediterranean restaurant has a kids' menu, but the hotel has very little to offer kids (no swimming pool, just a Jacuzzi). The beach is right across the street. However, there are plenty of other family-friendly places that also have a beach.
Amalfi on the Beach offers Italian-infused Mediterranean.
Across the street from a quiet stretch of beach and 20 blocks from South Beach partying, the 50-room, Mediterranean-style Claridge stands out amidst Miami Beach's sea of condos. But the indoor wading pool just makes the lobby smell like chlorine.