Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Downtown, Miami, Florida

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Pros

Cons

Bottom Line

Completely renovated in December 2008, this towering, 601-room Downtown Marriott caters mostly to business travelers. The pool, brand-new fitness center, business center, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel make it a great pick. Though more stylish, the Epic and Intercontinental hotels both have similar amenities, and often cost considerably more.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

This massive, 601-room tower in Downtown Miami is a pretty standard business hotel. The bar is always empty and the pool is sparsely populated -- but it has all the essential comforts.

The bar
The bar

With 601 rooms on 31 floors, this Marriott is a behemoth by Miami standards. Set in Downtown Miami's financial district, it towers over Biscayne Bay. Business travelers, cruise-ship passengers, and guests cashing in on their Marriott rewards points fill the hotel, but the lobby remains sleepy as they check in and out. Also, the bar is mostly empty day and night, and the restaurant is scarcely full. Guests tend not to socialize.

Marriott's towering building is attached to (but not affiliated with) the Grand and Doubletree Grand Biscayne Bay, which houses condos, offices, five restaurants, and a couple of shops. The complex can feel a bit like a shopping mall. Guests who wander around the bay-view deck can join customers at the bars there, but the area is appropriately sleepy for this section of Downtown.

 Service

An efficient and knowledgeable staff provides all the basics -- prompt check-in, concierge services, and room service (though not 24-hour).

Lines at the front desk are long -- but still, I was in my room not five minutes after getting through the front doors. The staff was equally efficient throughout my stay. The porters were friendly and quickly got my bags tagged and put away when I wanted to hang around after checkout. Like the pricier J.W. Marriott nearby, this is a well-oiled machine.

 Location

This is an ideal spot in Downtown’s financial district for business travelers. It's just 20 minutes from Miami International Airport, but the fun is elsewhere.

The hotel is connected by a direct hallway to the Grand, a complex of offices, condos, a couple of shops, five restaurants, offices, and condominiums that faces Biscayne Bay and also houses Doubletree Grand Biscayne Bay hotel. The surrounding area is otherwise fairly dull, but it's conveniently located in the financial district for business travelers. South Beach is a 10-minute, $15 cab ride away.

 Rooms

Renovated in December 2008, the rooms are clean, large, and have super-plush beds with large, functional work spaces. The large bathrooms and balconies make the rooms especially comfortable.

The Standard City View Room
The Standard City View Room

The hotel finished renovations in December of 2008, which included all 601 rooms and suites. Everything from the paint and carpet to the furniture and mattresses was replaced, and it shows. Standard rooms are 275 square feet, with suites ranging from 660-1200 square feet. Suites are multiroom, and some have kitchens, depending on the type.

The beds are especially comfortable -- they're billed as Marriott Revive beds, which are basically great mattresses with the option of down or foam pillows, plus down comforters and soft cotton sheets. The brand-new ones at this location are especially fresh and luxurious.

Flat-screen LG televisions receive a good connection, and the cable package includes CNN, ESPN, HBO, and pay-per-view movies. The iHome iPod dock/radio alarm clocks are on the bedside tables.

Spacious desks are outfitted with convenient outlets. Anyone who has moved hotel furniture and crawled along the wall looking for outlets will appreciate the ease of the desktop outlets in each room, and the optional wired Internet connection is conveniently prepped and ready to go on top of the desk. The entire hotel, including rooms, has free (but unsecured) Wi-Fi. Marriott's Wired for Business program is available for $12.95, which includes a wired, high-speed, secure Internet connection in the rooms, and long distance and local phone calls. Desks have the requisite wire connections and outlets.

There's also a small coffee machine with tea, and a free bottle of water included in every room. Rooms do not, however, have minibars or mini-fridges.

Bathrooms have full-size bathtubs, and the rainfall shower heads are comfortable, but white tiles and plastic shower curtains aren't luxurious or beautiful. Name-brand Paul Mitchell toiletries (as of 2012) are provided, but their orange-ginger scent will probably make fragrance phobes feel like walking patchouli. In standard rooms, the bathroom is off the entrance hallway, making it feel private and making the room feel more spacious.

All rooms have a spacious balcony with a small set of table and chairs; some face the city and some face Biscayne Bay. With rooms all the way up to the 31st floor, though, those afraid of heights may want to request a room on one of the lower floors. The sliding glass doors and room windows are all soundproof and hurricane-proof, though, so rooms stay quiet.

 Features

Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and a well-furnished, staffed business center accommodate business travelers. There’s also a fitness center, renovated in 2008, and fifth-floor outdoor pool and Jacuzzi.

The gym
The gym

The hotel's business center is staffed from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., but guests can access it 24 hours with their key. Desktop computers, printers, and a fax machine are all available. The entire hotel is has free Wi-Fi, including the restaurant, rooms, and lobby. The connection is not secure, but guests can choose to pay $12.95 for Marriott's Wired for Business program in rooms, which includes a wired, high-speed, secure Internet connection in the rooms, as well as long-distance and local phone calls.

The heated outdoor pool looks over Biscayne Bay from a fifth-floor pool deck. At 4 feet by 28 feet, it's sizeable, and it has a poolside bar, but it's a sleepy scene around the pool deck. Families and lone travelers lounge in the sun quietly -- great for relaxing but it's not glitzy or bustling as you'd find in South Beach. Free towels are provided on the pool deck. For a mostly business hotel, this suffices, but for a better pool scene, nearby Epic's three pools are a much better option.

The hotel's new fitness center has beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and an extensive collection of cardio and weight machines. There's a small mat for stretching, and towel service provided.

 Family

Standard rooms may be too tight to squeeze in a family, but suites have plenty of space to set up an extra area for the kids.

The pool
The pool

Downtown is more about business than family vacations, but if you're looking for a good family pick in the area, this Marriott is one of the best options in its price range. It's a quiet hotel, and the suites are especially good for families

The rooms are quiet enough for even the lightest sleeping infants. Call ahead for a crib or rollaway bed, though. Management told me they're free, but the hotel has a limited supply. Standard rooms are big enough for a rollaway bed or crib, but still feel a bit small for families. Suites and junior suites, on the other hand, are spacious enough for a whole gaggle of kids.

Bay View Grille's menu has a few kid-friendly options at lunch and dinner, and I never met a kid who didn't like a breakfast buffet (fresh waffles and chocolate sauce, cereal, and an omelet station cover all the bases).

 Cleanliness

The hotel finished renovations in December of 2008, and it’s been squeaky clean and in mint condition since.

The renovated rooms, hallways, and lobby haven't had too much of a chance to start showing wear and tear, plus the hotel is maintained well. Housekeeping was active all day, even cleaning the gym and carpets. My sheets and towels were bright white and stain-free, as were the bathroom tiles and shower.

 Food

A good breakfast buffet and an a la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served at the Bay View Grille. Quality and service here are great, but prices are inflated.

Steak from the Bay View Grille
Steak from the Bay View Grille

The Marriott's own restaurant, Bay View Grille serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has a small, unpopular bar attached. There was a $17.95 breakfast buffet with good variety and tasty options, but you can also order from a menu at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Entrees aren't cheap at any of the meals -- $15 for a club sandwich felt a bit pricey. A slightly cheaper early bird menu is available from 5 to 7 p.m.

Room service, from the same restaurant, is also available but the service charges can make it considerably more expensive than eating in the restaurant. My $12.50 breakfast order came to $18 after service fees.

Coastal Cafe, located on the ground floor near the business center, serves pastries, coffee, and snacks that guests can take to their rooms or eat outside on the deck overlooking Biscayne Bay. Though this is a nice alternative to the restaurant, the staff keep unreliable hours -- when I asked about opening hours they said, "Morning to afternoon." And I noticed several guests stopping by and shrugging when they found it closed by 2 p.m.

 Weddings

Although it's a business hotel at heart, this downtown Marriott comes with great views and attractive prices.

Even an indoor wedding can have a beautiful view from the outdoor terrace.
Even an indoor wedding can have a beautiful view from the outdoor terrace.
  • Wedding Size: Up to 900 guests
  • Extra Fees: The hotel charges an extra "ceremony fee", plus there's another fee per bartender (one bartender per every 75 guests). Also, while most hotels charge some kind of service charge, the Marriott's is a bit steep.
  • Wedding Packages: The Miami Marriott offers a very attractive "Joy" package, which includes just about everything for the wedding -- four hours of a top-shelf open bar, a champagne toast, house wine served with dinner, three passed hors d'oeuvres and a cheese display, a buffet or plated dinner, a wedding cake, a free bridal suite for the night of the event, and the help of an in-house wedding coordinator. About the only things not covered are the linens and decorations, the photographer, and the music. Alternatively, you can book a more affordable lunch wedding that includes a three-hour open bar or host a breakfast or brunch, both of which also include an unlimited Bloody Mary and mimosa bars. For kids (ages five to 12), there's a separate menu available. Also, if you opt for a wedding on a Friday or Sunday night, there's a discount on the total package price.
  • Ceremony and Reception Locations: As a business hotel, the hotel offers 22 different meeting rooms and salons, the largest of which is the Grand Ballroom (seats 900 guests). You can book an outdoor wedding on the Costal Terrace, which has a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay.
  • Photographers and Videographers: The hotel does not have an in-house photographer or videographer, but there's no extra fee to bring in an outside vendor of your choice (the hotel can help you find and book a vendor).
  • Music: The hotel does not have any regular, in-house musicians, but there's no charge for bringing in outside vendors.
  • Spa Treatments: There are two beauty salons on-site, both of which offer a full menu of bridal treatments, inculding hair and makeup.
  • Freebies: If you have more than 200 guests, the hotel gives a free suite to the bride and groom plus two extra standard rooms for members of the wedding party.
  • Honeymoon Suite: The hotel does not have any special suites, though the newlyweds might consider requesting a room with a balcony.
  • Airport Transportation: The hotel does not provide a shuttle to the airport; taxis are affordable.

 Bottom Line

Completely renovated in December 2008, this towering, 601-room Downtown Marriott caters mostly to business travelers. The pool, brand-new fitness center, business center, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel make it a great pick. Though more stylish, the Epic and Intercontinental hotels both have similar amenities, and often cost considerably more.

Things You Should Know About Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay

Address

  • 1633 North Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 33132

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Marriott Miami
  • Miami Marriott

Room Types

  • Concierge Level Room
  • Standard Bay View Room
  • Standard City View Room
  • Suite

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Doubletree Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay
Holiday Inn Port Of Miami-Downtown
b2 miami downtown
Intercontinental Miami

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 579
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
View All

Hotel Information

Location: Downtown, Miami
Address: 1633 North Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL 33132
(See Map)
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