Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This 124-room hotel has a prime South Beach location two blocks from the beach and close to the swanky hotel parties on upper Collins Avenue and the great dining on Lincoln Road and Espanola Way. But that's about all this place has going for it.
Haddon Hall's lobby might look sterile, but take a closer look at the tan suede couches; every single one has some sort of stain on it. And don't expect even modest freebies -- you'll have to slide two one-dollar bills into a coffee machine for a paper cup full of Nescafe.
Want alternatives? If you don't care about a kitchenette, check out the less expensive Albion or Whitelaw Hotel & Lounge, both much cleaner and more comfortable. If space and a place to cook is a top priority, the Bentley Hotel or the Strand Ocean Drive are worth the extra few bucks.
Bare-bones service: no porters, no concierge, and multiple reports of rude front desk staff members.
Check-in was efficient and my room was available immediately. When I called for an extra towel, it was at my door within 10 minutes. But service is minimal at best -- there's no concierge, no porters, and no poolside service.
Unlike at many low-end South Beach hotels, the desk staff don't even pretend to perform traditional concierge duties. The desk clerk I spoke with only had a cursory understanding of the area. When I asked for a restaurant recommendation, she could only recommend a generic Mexican joint on Lincoln Road. She also couldn't provide an address; instead, she pointed in a general direction and said, "You'll find it on the corner."
Shosh Van't Verlaat, Haddon Hall's vice president of sales and operations, attributes the majority of service complaints to a "significant language barrier, mostly with the night staff." Though I didn't personally find the language barrier to be a problem, several reviewers on TripAdvisor felt otherwise.
One block from the quieter, northern tip of Ocean Drive, and two blocks from some of Miami's best dining and shopping at the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall.
Haddon Hall's location in the heart of SoBe, just a block from the beach and two blocks from the Lincoln Road mall, is its best feature.
The bustling, sexy (and topless) beach is two blocks away. No beach services are provided.
Walk two blocks and you'll hit Miami Beach near Lummus Park. A jumbled horde of bikini babes, jacked dudes, couples on holiday, and families with kids play on a stretch of sand 100 yards wide.
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. Alcohol is not allowed on the beach.
Guests of Haddon Hall are on their own for towels and beach chairs.
To start, there were bloodstains on the underside of my comforter. While Oyster reporters have seen conditions like this before -- like on the sheets at the Negril Escape Hotel in Jamaica -- this is the first and only instance in Miami.
Rooms range from 175 to 225 square feet -- pretty small even by Miami Beach standards -- and all are dark and dingy. Humidity is a serious issue all over Miami, but the rooms felt more cavelike than at any of the dozens of Miami hotels I've visited. Like several TripAdvisor reviewers, I found mold, stale cigarette odors, and a ubiquitous dank smell.
Except for the new two-burner stove and refrigerator, the rooms don't appear to have been renovated in ages. (Management claims the rooms are under "constant renovation" and that new TVs are in the pipeline. But I took a tour of one of the newer rooms, No. 308, which didn't look significantly better and still had an old tube TV.)
The beds are disgusting. The blanket on mine was thin and looked as though it hadn't been cleaned in, well, forever. The sheets were yellow (not by design) and threadbare. The hotel didn't even try to cover the dirty mattress with a bed skirt.
All rooms come with a kitchenette, most equipped with a new GE two-burner stove and a Magic Chef dorm-size refrigerator, two plates, two cups, a small coffeepot, and a few utensils -- but no pots, pans, or microwave. By contrast, each Bentley Hotel kitchenette is stocked with a microwave, full-size fridge, oven, toaster, and serrated knife, among other things.
In the bathroom, I found hair at the bottom of my graying bathtub. Shower pressure and hot water were fine. Toiletries included samples of Crest toothpaste, packets of Garnier Fructis shampoo, and generic soap.
Electronics are cheap and old -- just an alarm clock and a 19-inch Konka tube TV with basic cable.
The front desk has safes for guest use, but they require a $100 deposit and aren't big enough to stash a laptop.
The hotel claims the pool is "Olympic size," but you don't need a tape measure to see it's definitely not 164 feet by 82 feet. Still, it is big by South Beach standards. The real problem is the water, which during my stay was greenish and cloudy. Several tiles at the back corner of the pool were loose, and empty bins of "chlorinated laundry destainer" were stacked off in the corner.
The property lacks a gym, but discounted passes to Gold's Gym -- a 20-minute walk away -- are on offer. Coin-operated laundry machines are available. Wi-Fi costs $9.95 per day, and use of a hotel computer costs $1 for every five minutes.
Small, dingy rooms aren't ideal for families. Rollaway beds are available for $20 per night, but it'd be a very tight squeeze.
Rooms are all small -- some of the smallest in South Beach -- and not ideal for families. Rollaway beds are available for $20 per night, but cramming them into a standard room is pretty tricky. There are a few adjoining rooms, but you'd be crazy to pay for two rooms here when you could get one nicer room in the area that could accommodate kids for the same price. Every room has a kitchenette, but they don't come with pots or pans.
Grime -- and worse -- is everywhere.
In my room, there were blood stains on the underside of my comforter, hair in the bathtub, a thick layer of dust and hair on the windowsill, and a ubiquitous stale smell. TripAdvisor reviews are filled with even worse complaints.
There are kitchenettes in each of the rooms with two-burner stoves, a refrigerator, and some basic utensils -- but no pots and pans. Other than some snack and soda machines in the lounge area, there's no food on the property. Most refrigerators in the rooms are new, so you can stock up on water and drinks at either CVS or Walgreen's, both open 24 hours, a few blocks up the street.
The neighborhood, of course, offers loads of excellent restaurants, all within walking distance.
Two blocks from the beach on a relatively quiet stretch of Collins Avenue, with a big pool and kitchenette-equipped rooms, this hotel might look like a bargain -- but it's cheap for a reason. The rooms are old, musty, and outdated, and the pool water is a cloudy blue-green. If you can do without the kitchenette, head to the similarly priced Albion or Whitelaw instead.