Sanctuary Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
South Beach, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Huge suites with private bedrooms
  • Dedicated service
  • Widely praised restaurant
  • On-site spa
  • 3 blocks from the Miami Beach Convention Center
  • Central South Beach location

Cons

  • Tiny, shin-deep pool
  • Located on a dark, residential street

Bottom Line

Service is on-par with the best hotels in Miami. Rooms vie for the status of biggest in South Beach. But the once-chic Sanctuary is a poorly maintained property on an off-beat side street with a dainty, hardly usable pool. Even Ola's innovative cuisine fails to justify the Sanctuary's often-inflated rates. Rooms renovations brought a more contemporary look to all rooms, as well as updated amenities

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Service

Staff is eager to serve, offering plenty of well-researched advice on restaurants and events.

  • Attentive concierge
  • Room service available
  • No poolside drinks service

 Location

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.

However, just around the corner, you can begin a tour of the be-seen hotel bars -- the Florida Room at the Delano, the Island Bar at the Sagamore, and the Sky Bar at the Shore Club, to name a few.

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.

 Rooms

The rooms are huge, but the balcony is just an outdoor hallway.

The Sanctuary Suite
The Sanctuary Suite

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

 Features

Shin-deep pool, so-so spa

The pool
The pool
  • Shin-deep rooftop wading pool
  • On-site spa and salon facilities

 Cleanliness

Tolerably clean facilities, but dirty floors, water-damaged ceilings, and rusty bathtubs are less than luxurious.

The grounds
The grounds

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.

 Food

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.

 Bottom Line

Service is on-par with the best hotels in Miami. Rooms vie for the status of biggest in South Beach. But the once-chic Sanctuary is a poorly maintained property on an off-beat side street with a dainty, hardly usable pool. Even Ola's innovative cuisine fails to justify the Sanctuary's often-inflated rates. Rooms renovations brought a more contemporary look to all rooms, as well as updated amenities

Things You Should Know About Sanctuary Hotel

Address

  • 1745 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Sanctuary South Beach Hotel
  • Sanctuary South Beach Miami

Room Types

  • Luxury Suite
  • Sanctuary Sky Loft
  • Sanctuary Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 30
Pool: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: South Beach, Miami
Address: 1745 James Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
(See Map)
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