Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Lots of activity at this big, mid-range resort on the beach
The 284-room Riu's huge, sunlit lobby is a hub of constant motion, with large groups arriving and departing throughout the day. There's plenty of seating from which to watch the action on wicker sofas and chairs scattered throughout the space. The pastel color scheme is dated and drab, and several overwrought sculptures do little to enhance the decor. Up a few steps is a lounge with cocktail tables and a circular wooden bar. Another door leads to the large buffet-style restaurant and outdoor dining patio.
Beachfront locale in residential Miami Beach
The Riu boasts a prime oceanfront location on Collins Avenue/A1A in Miami Beach. The immediate area is primarily residential and offers limited dining or entertainment options within walking distance. The historic Art Deco District in South Beach is 2 miles (approximately 25 blocks) away, and Miami International Airport is an 11-mile drive.
Large and modern, with purple and white decor
All rooms are comfortable in size, and they look fresh, crisp and airy, with gray tile floors, white furniture, sheer drapery and striking lavender and black upholstery and decorative accents. This dramatic color scheme continues in the ample bathrooms, which are updated with contemporary mosaic tile walk-in showers and twin vessel sinks. Some rooms feature balconies with oceanfront views. Some guests complain of construction noise inside the hotel and from a neighboring building. Not all rooms have been renovated yet, but renovations are scheduled for completion by July 2014.
Classic Miami Beach resort
The 10-story Riu Florida Beach aims to provide a complete vacation experience with special appeal for European tourists. The buffet-only restaurant is not gourmet quality, but offers a full breakfast and dinner. Light fare is also available at the poolside tiki bar. There is a gift shop in the lobby as well as a spacious cocktail lounge. The hotel charges extra fees for in-room Wi-Fi, printing boarding passes, valet parking, beach chairs and umbrellas. The gym is small and machines aren't the newest, but it's adequate. The main pool is surrounded by lots of lounge chairs and palm trees, and there is a separate kiddy pool.
The Riu Florida Beach operates much like a mid-century Miami resort in its heyday: An expansive pool deck for dedicated sun worshippers, plenty of fried food at every meal and, at the center of it all, a sprawling, over-decorated lobby designed for hobnobbing. But it's unlikely you'll find any grandmas in mink stoles here today. The Riu caters to a new era of guests, many of them traveling on tour packages from Europe. This moderately priced hotel isn't South Beach chic, but amenities including a separate kiddy pool, easy beach access and available meal plans may make it a convenient option for families.