- Tiny spa and gym that charges a daily access fee
- Few nearby stores or restaurants
- 15-minute, $20 cab ride to the beach
- Fee for valet-only parking
There's a busy hum throughout the huge 34-floor hotel. Guests include families, school groups, and businessmen.
The Intercontinental's 34-floor tower is hard to miss -- I was able to spot it from five blocks away! Built on a gigantic scale, with a Henry Moore sculpture in the center of the cavernous lobby and 22 meeting rooms (totaling 286,557 square feet), it's designed for business. But it has virtually the same layout as the Hyatt around the corner. In other words, its a monster of a hotel.
The hotel packs in an eclectic crowd -- from vacationing families with children to school groups to businessmen to canoodling couples. Even late at night and in early morning -- thanks, in part, to the Starbucks counter -- there is a busy hum throughout the hotel. A full-scale renovation was completed in 2012.
On the downtown waterfront, the Intercontinental is near Bay Front Park and other huge hotels.
Just like the neighboring Epic and Hyatt hotels, the Intercontinental is on the downtown waterfront. By day this part of the city is bustling with business, though guests have to walk several blocks to find actual stores or restaurants that aren't affiliated with some colossal hotel or office building. Then again, if they're here for work, they're probably headed to a meeting in one of these glass and mortar confections anyway. At night the skyscrapers light up with a tropical range of pinks, yellows, blues, and greens. But for all the shine, there's very little life on the streets. If guests are going anywhere, they have to drive or take a taxi. Fortunately, there's a constant stream of cabs and a huge parking lot by the entrance (there's a steep fee for valet-only parking).
Still, if guests would like to stretch their legs, the Intercontinental is right by the large Bay Front Park, replete with an amphitheater, a playground, a view of South Beach, and loads of kids taking their skateboards for a spin.
The Intercontinental has 641 rooms atop 34 stories. The hotel underwent a major overhaul in 2012, which included much-need updates to guestrooms and suites. Decor is modern with a a colorful, but not overly bold, palette and up-to-date technologies. Rooms are also full of light with sweeping windows that look our over downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay.
Club Level rooms have all standard amenities, with the addition of Club Lounge access, which includes free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, evening hors d'oeuvres, and health club access. There are also 34 suites, two of which -- the Presidential Suites -- there were designed by tennis start Venus Williams.
Rooms at the Intercontinental are generally quite large, with more than enough space to fit in a complimentary crib. A rollaway bed should fit as well, though it carries an extra charge. Since there's a maximum occupancy of four people to a room, larger families will have to book more than one room. The buffet at Indigo is varied and extensive enough to have at least something the kids will like. If worse comes to worst, the intricately designed desserts are sure to lure them in.
The Blue Water Restaurant has an excellent view of Biscayne Bay
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