Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Everyone couldn't have been nicer -- and you may even get free drinks!
My cab revved into a driveway almost as grand as the Alexander hotel, and the porters swept my bags into the hotel's glittering lobby.
Out by the Seabreeze Bar and Grill, my waitress told me "off the record" what dishes to avoid. Best of all, the waiters took pity on my attempt to stay within our budget at the Ocean Bar and Bistro and gave me free wine with my dinner. Everyone I met was friendly, warm, and attentive.
Nothing much to see, and cabs rarely roam this far north.
There's really nothing this far up Miami Beach besides other condominiums and hotels. A cab ride to South Beach will cost you anywhere from $15 to $20, depending on traffic. Cabs are also difficult to come by this far up north, so I needed to ask the hotel to call one for me.
To save a few bucks, consider taking a picturesque stroll along the boardwalk that starts a few blocks from the hotel's private gate to the beach. South Beach is about 35 blocks south.
Big, but nowhere near as luxe as the rest of the place.
The hotel has frescoed ballrooms and shimmering gold mosaics that wouldn't look out of place in an Italian villa. This is why the hokey design of my room was such a letdown. It simply wasn't as luxe as the rest of the hotel.
At 481 square feet, my room was quite large, but the mishmash of differently patterned blues made it seem smaller than it actually was.
The room wasn't technologically up to snuff. There was no Wi-Fi, just a hardwired Internet connection that was far too slow to upload video.
The TV was an old Panasonic, and although it worked fine, I expected something a little less ordinary in a hotel this grand.
Puzzlingly, the room had no safe. Instead, one had to register a safety deposit box at the front desk.
At 52 square feet, the bathroom was pretty small. It didn't help that it was painted a queasy pink -- all the bathrooms I checked out were this color -- with black-and-white checked floors. Outfitted only with the basics -- a sink, a toilet, and a tiny, shallow tub -- it also had a coffee maker by the sink. Bizarre.
My stay was comfortable, the bed was great, and everything was clean, but I expected more from a hotel that seemed this luxurious.
Though it bills itself as a resort and spa, I saw little evidence of the hotel's spa services -- just two massage rooms in the gym.
With cardio equipment on the second floor and weight training gear on the first, the gym offers a decent array of machines -- if only they worked. My editor was actually afraid to use some of the badly maintained equipment. It didn't help that the gym is unattended, which means that if the receptionist isn't in the room -- and she wasn't for most of our time there -- you could be pinned down by a faulty machine for several hours. Not to mention what would happen if you got stuck in the sauna or steam room!
There are multiple gift stores to pick up any forgotten toiletries. Sadly, the clothes include polyester pantsuits.
Plenty of decent options -- but never at the same time, and they're all pricey.
There are plenty of places to eat, but only one of them is open at any time. The Hibiscus Court is open for breakfast and offers a decent buffet brunch. Out by the pool, the Seabreeze Bar and Grill serves burgers and other basics for lunch. The Ocean Bar and Bistro serves classic American dinners. The food isn't bad at any of the restaurants, but it is expensive. This far up Miami Beach, there really aren't any other dining options within walking distance.
Stranded about 35 blocks from the South Beach party scene, this beautiful beachside resort draws an older clientele. Its great service, large (though dated) rooms, small spa, and big pool might seem like a bargain, but the only food around is its own expensive fare.