Delano Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
South Beach, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Smaller standard rooms than most luxury hotels
  • David Barton Gym moved to the Gansevoort South
  • Less attentive poolside service than most luxury hotels
  • Packed with nonguests after sunset

Bottom Line

The Delano's 195 all-white rooms don't come cheap, but you're paying for surreal, Philippe Starck style and all-night parties at the "water salon." To some, its hip factor has been bested by the Gansevoort or Shore Club, but their style doesn't compare, and good times are still to be had.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Some may say it's "so over," but the party's still very much on at the Delano. Recession be damned, good times can still be had ... for a price.

Partiers at the Pool Bar
Partiers at the Pool Bar

There might be recessions and wars and pandemics, but not at the Delano. Despite pricey standard rooms (and small ones, at that) and buzz that the place isn't the hot spot it was a decade ago, it's still, miraculously, full. Around the pool, times are good. Well-off, but not over-the-top fabulous, late-20- and 30-somethings order drink after drink. They pour champagne into glasses, sloshing a bit into the pool -- no worries. Buff girls in bikinis nibble on heaping plates of french fries. The Delano, it seems, is immune from consequences -- caloric, financial, or otherwise.

But it's not as crazy as you might expect from a hotel dreamed up by the original onwer, Ian Schrager, the man who brought Studio 54 to the world. There are live DJs, $17 mojitos, and tight security, but it's not all coked-up models and sugar daddies. In fact, it's mostly just well-off 30-somethings who paid good money for a room with some bragging rights.

By night, things get far less exclusive. The beautiful lobby, designed by Philipe Starck and decorated with billowing white curtains, chairs, and objects by the likes of Charles and Ray Eames and Salvador Dali, becomes a mob scene. Anyone and everyone wants to get their picture taken in the hotel's famous oversized chair, and they do.

The lobby and the Rose Bar directly off it get so crowded that it's difficult to move through or grab a drink. The crowds continue out the back and around the pool.

 Celebrity Sightings

While the newer Gansevoort South and remodeled Fontainebleau attract more gossip-column subjects these days, the occassional celeb can still be spotted at the Delano.

George Clooney reportedly stayed at the hotel while filming Up in the Air, and Justin Timberlake is also said to have laid his fair head down at the Delano. Players on the Miami Heat have been known to grab a drink at the Rose Bar.

 Location

In the center of it all

Located on posh, upper Collins Avenue, the Delano is a South Beach navigational icon. Originally built in 1947, the bright white Art Deco building with its crownlike cap is hard to miss. The hotel sits in the center of Miami's Art Deco Historic District, which covers one-square-mile and offers walking tours. Beyond is aesthetics, Delano is packed in every direction with dozens of bars, restaurants, and attractions, all within easy walking distance.

To its north are some of the most popular, high-end hangouts at the W South Beach or Fontainebleau hotels, as well as some of Miami's most exclusive clubs, like Mokai. To the south, things get less exclusive and more populist along the famed Ocean Drive, with its busy boardwalk, outdoor bars and cafes, and more affordable boutique hotels.

  • 5 -minute walk to Lincoln Road outdoor mall
  • 8-minute walk to Ocean Drive
  • 7-minute walk to the Miami Convention Center
  • 15-minute drive from Miami International Airport
  • 6-minute walk to the Bass Museum of Art
  • 2-minute drive to the Wolfsonian library and museum
  • 5-minute walk to the Jackie Gleason Theatre of The Performing Arts
  • 11-minute walk to Lummus Park
  • 12-minute walk to the Holocaust Memorial
  • 13-minute walk to the World Erotic Art Museum
  • 11-minute walk to Miami Botanical Garden
  • 12-minute drive or 32-minute bus ride Bal Harbour Luxury Shops

 Beach

With white umbrellas and lounge chairs, the Delano makes even its stretch of public beach feel exclusive.

The beach
The beach

The hotel sits right on the beach, which is easily accessed by walking out of the pool area and underneath an elegant arch that reads SEA. The beach is part of a huge, busy stretch of public Miami Beach, but the Delano does its best to make its sand feel exclusive.

As at the pool, attendants don't just lay a towel on a lounge chair -- they make it like a bed, with a fitted terry cloth sheet that wraps around the cushion. Surrounded by a string of other hotels and independent beach service stands that cater to guests staying at cheaper hotels, the Delano stakes its claim in white.

Since it's a bit of a free-for-all on the larger beach, guests go up to the service cabana for a lounge chair. Food and drinks service is available, though it's not particularly elegant -- food comes in disposable plastic containers.

 Rooms

Trendy and bright white, rooms make a dramatic design statement, but they're small for the price, especially the cramped bathrooms.

The Deluxe Partial Ocean View King Room
The Deluxe Partial Ocean View King Room

Renovated in 2006 and 2007, the still all-white rooms have just three dramatic touches of color: the green-stone-topped desk; a large, real, potted plant; and a single green apple resting on a metal plinth engraved with the words "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." The abundance of stark white is stunning and sexy but not exactly homey. It feels more trendy than truly luxurious. Take, for example, the huge, faux tarnished mirror opposite the bed.

  • At 350 square feet, the standard rooms, called city view rooms, are on the small side, especially given the price
  • Only one-bedroom suites have balconies
  • Fluffy white (what else?) beds are topped with luxurious 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens
  • In the bathroom, sinks, floors, and showers are tiled in beautiful gray Carrara marble
  • MALIN+GOETZ Products bath products
  • Boston alarm clock/radio and a Bose iPod dock
  • 32-inch LG flat-screen TV and Zenith DVD/CD players
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Work desks
  • Minibar includes the Miami standards: booze, snacks, and an intimacy kit

 Features

A full-service spa on the top level and a decent gym in the basement.

The gym
The gym
  • Agua, the hotel's full-service spa, is on the top floor and offers treatments ranging from a "Mother to Be" massage to a "White Cloud Algae Body Mask."
  • Guests worried about tan lines can also use the spa's beautiful top-floor sundeck. Topless sunbathing is also allowed at the pool and beach. Use of the sundeck comes with any spa service.
  • The David Barton Gym, once in the hotel's basement, has now moved to the Gansevoort South; in its place is a bright fitness room with TechnoGym machines.
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • The hotel offers free bike rentals to move around the area

 Great Pool

The huge infinity pool -- or "water salon," as dubbed by designer Philipe Starck -- is both a trendy scene and a relaxing one.

The infinity pool
The infinity pool

Classical music plays underwater, and an ornate silver table and chairs sit right in the pool for whoever snags them first. In front of the pool, there's a beautiful orchard of manicured ficus trees. A giant chessboard and huge mirror within the orchard, like the giant chair in the lobby, try to create an Alice in Wonderland feel. Of course, after over a dozen years, many of the highly publicized Delano design elements seem to simply reference themselves rather than Lewis Carroll novels.

Live DJs, tasty but pricey food and drinks, cabanas with flat-screen televisions, and whimsical, hedge-lined bungalows make the pool sceney but still relaxing -- at least by day, when only hotel guests are allowed in. When the sun goes down, it changes from pool to lively bar scene as pretty young and older things from all over crowd around the water's edge.

 Family

This is not a family hotel. But the crowd has grown up a bit over the last decade, and the Delano offers welcome goodies and a beach play area for kids.

The beach
The beach

Children receive free welcome treats, like a "D is for Delano" bucket and shovel, at check-in. The beach has a large kids' play area with lots more colorful shovels and pails, umbrellas, and a small boat hull. Of course, one could also imagine rambunctious, drunken big kids playing in the area.

Given that the party goes on pretty late into the night, families intent on staying at the Delano should request a quieter room on a higher floor. Both restuarants and room service have children's menus.

 Food

Ambience is the priority, not the food. The hotel's two restaurants serve solidly good but not great cuisine, all at premium prices.

  • UMI Sushi and Sake Bar is centered around a large communal table and offers a mixture of classic and modern sushi. The restaurant is open weekends for dinner.
  • Bianca is an upscale Italian restaurant with a "slow food" menu of locally-sourced, organic dishes. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves Sunday brunch.
  • 24-hour room service

 Drinks

Tasty cocktails from Rose Bar and the Pool Bar don't come cheap, but you're paying for the scene, not just the libations.

Mojitos
Mojitos
  • Cocktails at the Pool Bar and Rose Bar are delicious, but they don't come cheap -- or quick.
  • FDR also serves drinks in an underground space, and features DJs Monday through Saturday.

 Bottom Line

The Delano's 195 all-white rooms don't come cheap, but you're paying for surreal, Philippe Starck style and all-night parties at the "water salon." To some, its hip factor has been bested by the Gansevoort or Shore Club, but their style doesn't compare, and good times are still to be had.

Things You Should Know About Delano Hotel

Address

  • 1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Delano Hotel Miami
  • Delano Hotel Miami Beach
  • Delano Miami
  • Delano Resort Miami Beach

Room Types

  • Alcove Room
  • City View Room
  • Deluxe Alcove Room
  • Deluxe City View Room
  • Deluxe Oceanfront Room
  • Deluxe Ocean View Room
  • Deluxe Partial Ocean View Room
  • Loft Suite
  • Ocean Front Room
  • Ocean View Room
  • One Bedroom Suite
  • Partial Ocean View Room
  • Penthouse
  • Poolside Duplex Bungalow
  • Terrace Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 194
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: South Beach, Miami
Address: 1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
(See Map)
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