Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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) 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.and
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 hotel's business center is staffed from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., but guests can access it 24 hours with their key. Desktop , 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.
Standard rooms may be too tight to squeeze in a family, but have plenty of space to set up an extra area for the kids.
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).
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.
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.
Although it's a business hotel at heart, this downtown Marriott comes with great views and attractive prices.
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.