Sanctuary HotelSouth Beach, Miami, Florida
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Staff is eager to serve, offering plenty of well-researched advice on restaurants and events.
- Attentive concierge
- Room service available
- No poolside drinks service
A quiet block that's right around the corner from high-end action.
James Avenue is a quiet, residential street with nothing but old Deco buildings transformed into apartments. Lacking the all-night vitality synonymous with South Beach, walking home alone at night can feel a bit uncomfortable.
On the other side of James Avenue, about three blocks from the Sanctuary, top-notch dining, shopping, and drinking can be found on Lincoln Road. And then there's the beach, about three short blocks away. It's worth visiting if you can find the time.
The rooms are huge, but the balcony is just an outdoor hallway.
When the Sanctuary opened in 2005, their burgeoning playboy owner, Keith Menin, went on a press-generating rampage to make his condo-turned-hotel into what Ocean Drive magazine called the "most chic hotel in Miami." But all efforts to keep it on the hipster radar seemed to end there until all rooms were renovated in 2011. Before renovations, the heavily trodden rooms, though huge (especially compared with the other Art Deco hotels), felt old and neglected.
All rooms are assembled around an open-air courtyard; a bit like a motel with some trees and fountains in place of a parking lot. The problem is that large windows expose every room to anyone passing by.
All guest rooms include:
- Marble-topped kitchen-like area; I say "kitchen-like" (unlike their website, which calls it a kitchen) because it is arranged like a small kitchen with cabinets, a sink, and plenty of counter space, but there is no stovetop, or means to cook.
- Nespresso espresso machine ($2.50 extra for a single cup of coffee)
- Fully stocked, dual temperature fridge -- one temperature for wine, one temperature for soda.
- The "balcony" (another Sanctuary website misnomer) is actually just a shaded common hallway facing some plants and the building next door.
- Large flat-screen TVs in all bedrooms and living rooms
- Noisy air conditioner
Shin-deep pool, so-so spa
- Shin-deep rooftop wading pool
- On-site spa and salon facilities
Tolerably clean facilities, but dirty floors, water-damaged ceilings, and rusty bathtubs are less than luxurious.
Huge bamboo trees, dying in the Miami heat, leave piles of crumpled leaves on the outdoor loungers and in the courtyard fountain. There are huge decomposing piles of leaves along the terrace ledges. Guests and employees invariably track in street grime throughout the outdoor property, and there appears to be no effort to mop up the blackened marble.
In the rooms, bubbling ceilings and torn paint show signs of water damage. Black luggage streaks line the walls. In the bathroom, I found painted tiles worn chalk-white, and deep, mold-collecting gouges in the tub's spray jets.
Adventurous Latin American cuisine
To some, Ola's adventurous Latin American cuisine -- red snapper tiradito with cantaloupe and chili or lobster ceviche with coconut milk, orange and lime juice, for example -- is superb. To others, the eclectic menu options might feel a bit too far reaching.
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Things You Should Know About Sanctuary Hotel
Address1745 James Ave., Miami Beach, Florida 33139, United States
Also Known As
- Sanctuary South Beach Hotel
- Sanctuary South Beach Miami
- Luxury Suite
- Sanctuary Sky Loft
- Sanctuary Suite