Excellent 22,000-square-foot Elle Spa with steam rooms, plunge pools, and rooftop cabanas
Modern fitness center with ocean views
Activity in South Beach is a 15-minute, $20 cab ride away.
Limited affordable dining options nearby
Fee for Wi-Fi and wired Internet
Fee for valet parking
High-up in Miami Beach -- $20 taxi to the South Beach action -- the only real draw to the location is the pricey wining and dining at the snazzy Fontainebleau resort next door. However, with three infinity pools, 631 comfortable rooms (all redone in 2009), and a wonderful spa, the Eden Roc is a cheaper (yet still high-quality) alternative for folks doing business at the Fontainebleau.
A lot of guests at the small, relaxed hotel are business travelers who wanted something more affordable than the Fontainebleau.
Located directly on the beach, the Eden Roc is smaller, cheaper, and decidedly more relaxed than the flashy Fontainebleau resort next door, despite its recent $200 million renovation (then again, the Fontainebleau got a $1 billion facelift).
With 28 meeting rooms and 46,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel sees a lot of business travelers. In addition to the on-site conventioneers, the hotel also attracts budget-conscious guests doing business at the Fontainebleau.
There's plenty of space for relaxing off-the-clock. There are three infinity pools, including one that overlooks the ocean. While the pools and the Cabana Beach Bar and Grill right by the boardwalk enjoy a fair amount of traffic, the hotel's interior is pretty deserted. During my stay, just a handful of guests were drinking at the lobby bar or eating at the restaurants. Both the bar and restaurants are perfectly nice, but prettier and pricier pursuits like the Bleau Bar around the corner at the Fontainebleau draw most of the crowds.
A fast check-in, helpful bellman, and friendly waiters leave a good impression. However, there's only one attendant for three pools.
For the most part, staff members keep to themselves around the front desk. On the pool deck, for example, there's only one attendant in charge of watching three pools on three different levels -- a safety hazard to say the least!
My server at the Cabana Beach Bar and Grill, one of the hotel's on-site restaurants, was very friendly and attentive. Be sure to ask them for their recommendations from the menu -- they were genuinely excited to see me pick their favorites, and were absolutely spot on (fish tacos all the way!).
Both check-in and checkout took only a breezy couple of minutes and my bellman helped me with my luggage all the way through.
Miami Beach is quiet and predominantly residential. It's a 15-minute, $20 taxi ride to SoBe.
The quiet and predominantly residential Miami Beach has always played the grown-up to South Beach's youthful mischief. Gotham Steak and the trendy Liv nightclub are at the famous (but very pricey) Fontainebleau next door. But otherwise, there's little besides resorts and condos in the area. For everything from cheap eats to posh nightclubs, plan to spend $20 on a 15-minute taxi into SoBe.
Generally, the shorefront in Miami Beach is less densely populated than the coastline in South Beach. It also lacks the flat, hard-ground component that more than doubles the width of the beach down there.
But the area is not crowded. There's room to stretch out and relax, but far fewer bikini babes and macho bodybuilders than farther south. Joggers, cyclists, and couples out on a stroll make use of the boardwalk.
The Eden Roc has 631 rooms and 96 suites. Deluxe rooms are the hotel's standard and come with either one king or two queen beds. Deluxe rooms in the original part of the resort are smaller, at 450 square feet. Rooms in the "Bold! Ocean Tower" not only are 600 square feet, but also closer to the ocean. Both, however, have shower/tub combos in the bathrooms. The one-bedroom suite and the larger suite both have separate tubs and showers. However, the larger suite at 750 square feet is significantly larger than the 650-square-foot one-bedroom suite (it's only 50 square feet larger than the deluxe rooms in the Bold! Ocean Tower).
Unusual for a hotel in Miami -- or anywhere, for that matter -- the Eden Roc has a maximum occupancy of five guests per room. Most hotels cut you off at four.
Renovated in 2009, the deluxe rooms now come with comforts like large LG flat-screen TVs and iHome docking stations for iPods. But the rooms aren't especially impressive considering the circa $300 price tag and the resort's über-sexy ad campaign. There's a mini-fridge, but it's completely empty. And -- on a minor note -- the artwork consists of a black-and-white photo of the hotel over the bed. Yes, the photo is glossy, perfectly shot, and completely inoffensive, but when a Miami hotel tries to market itself as upscale -- and spends $200 million to do so -- I expect something with a little more character.
The deluxe room isn't exactly large, but it's a decent size for a business hotel and has plenty of closet space. My room had a comfortable king-size bed with high-thread-count sheets and a soft-yet-firm mattress.
TVs work well and have a full array of cable channels and on-demand movie options. But there's a fee for both Wi-Fi and wired Internet.
The bathrooms are pretty small. The main door opens into the glass shower door, making maneuvering in and around the bathroom fairly tricky. The shower has good pressure and temperature control, but when I arrived the shower was covered in droplets of water, as if someone had just taken a shower minutes before. The Renaissance provides the same line of basic but effective Lather toiletries that are impressive at the Renaissance Aruba, but are less exciting in Miami, where salon-quality hair products are the norm.
All room types, like mine, come with a rather boring view of the Fontainebleau and a sliver of the Miami Intercoastal Waterway (not the beach).
The Eden Roc's best features are its three infinity pools. The largest (technically two adjacent pools) is just outside the lobby, a smaller pool is on a lower level by the beach, and the smallest, adult-only pool, is on the roof of the Cabana Beach Bar and Grill and has a clear view of the ocean. None of the pools had more than five occupants at any one time while I was there, which was pretty incredible for Miami. The small hot tubs by the main lobby-level pool, however, can get hogged by couples. So much so that I couldn't even get a picture!
The excellent Elle Spa (yes, Elle as in Elle Magazine) opened at the hotel in 2011, and includes 18 treatment rooms, steam rooms, separate men and women's relaxation lounges, cold plunge bools, therapy baths, a Finnish sauna, rooftop cabanas, and more. Guests get free access to the 24-hour fitness center, but there's a fee for access to the spa facilities (unless you book a treatment).
Conveniently, there's a Starbucks open from 6:30 a.m. until late in the evening right by the entrance.
Apart from a branch I found floating in one of the pools -- it had rained the night before my visit -- everything at the resort was spic and span. As the hotel was renovated in 2009, the furnishings show no wear and tear.
There are free cribs and rollaways, a five-person occupancy limit, two kid-friendly pools, and kids' menus.
The Eden Roc provides cribs and rollaway beds for free. Not more than one crib and/or one rollaway bed to a room, though! On the plus side, the maximum occupancy for a room is five guests, which is unusual considering that most hotels in Miami -- or anywhere, for that matter -- have a maximum occupancy of four guests per room.
The infinity pool by the boardwalk is for adults only, but both the main pool and the smaller round pool are kid-friendly. The main pool does have a deep end, though, so make sure the little ones stay on the shallow side. The small round pool, however, is quite shallow, but parents should closely monitor their kids as there is no lifeguard on duty. Warnings like this aside, the pools come equipped with plenty of inflatable toys for a good time.
Out on the beach, the hotel has a stall with shovels and toys to build castles in the sand.
All restaurants have highchairs and kids' menus (including chicken fingers, and mac and cheese).