Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Prompt, responsive, and perfectly helpful.
On arrival, a team of porters immediately grabbed my luggage from the trunk of the cab, opened the door for me, and guided me inside. I was then given a fresh bottle of water and walked to the front desk. Check-in was simple and mindless, which is exactly what I needed.
My porter/guide/"Associate of the Year 2004" (as his name tag boasted) explained how to use the elevators (they wouldn't move without the insertion of a room key) and showed me to my room. He also answered questions about the coffee maker, pool rules, spa rules, restaurant options, mini-bar, and anything else I decided to grill him on.
All the employees appeared to be knowledgeable and eager to help. The front desk attendant offered several lunch options within walking distance. The valet snagged me a cab within minutes. Perhaps this why I never saw anyone posted at the concierge's desk -- no one ever seemed to need their added expertise.
Boring business district, although that does mean plenty of dining options.
On weekends and after the workday, the neighborhood can feel like a ghost town. Though dining options might feel limited, the front desk had a list of 33 downtown restaurants -- from P.F. Chang's to Novecento -- all within walking distance.
The brisk temperature and oh-so-comfy chair will make you either really productive or really sleepy.
Kept at a chilly 65 degrees (unless you change the temperature control) and a bit oversaturated in yellow (yellow walls, yellow carpets, yellow chairs, etc.), the rooms were bright, very comfortable, and well equipped.
When I arrived, the 42-inch wood-framed flat-screen TV was sprawling through the pay-per-view movies and the CD alarm clock was playing a Tchaikovsky ballet (part of the Marriott's "Sweet Dreams" compilation). There was nothing fun or lively about the setting -- except maybe the dozen protesters at the bank across the street. But the JW, equipped as it is with a strong (and free) wireless connection, a hardwired connection (for $5 per day), a very comfortable yellow leather executive chair, a large desk, and even its own desktop computer, creates an ultra-productive, ultra-sedate work environment. The minute I got to the room, though, I sort of needed to take a nap (during a designated break period, of course).
Everything solidly above average, but nothing mind-blowing.
The pool, gym, and spa have slightly less to offer than those at the extremely high-class downtown luxury duo (the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental). This means that I found the features satisfying and entirely useful but didn't want to quit my job and blow my savings basking in their opulence.
The pool, though fairly large and clean (except for the odd-looking rivets driven into the metal-plated bottom), only looks out on some buildings, and there are just a few potted shrubs in the way of atmosphere.
The gym, though stocked with superb new equipment (including personal TVs at every cardio station), wasn't staffed with personal trainers to shout motivational insults as guests strengthen their respective cores.
Every inch of the property is spotless.
Aside from some slight scuffs in the carpet and some wear in the furniture, the room was exceptionally clean. Throughout the property, I couldn't find a single stain or strewn item.
A fine-tuned hospitality machine, Miami's JW Marriott nears perfection -- flawless service, comfortable rooms, and great amenities. (Or at least it beats the Conrad, Hilton's competition down the road.) Sure, it's styled like an office building, but that makes it easy to get some work done.