Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This fun-spirited hotel is more casual -- and affordable -- than most of its swanky neighbors, attracting families and clubbers alike.
The 186-room Surfcomber received a much-needed facelift in 2011, when it was rebranded as a Kimpton property. The hotel now features stylish, funky furniture, sculptures of random barnyard animals, two trendy restaurants, and cool, surf-inspired rooms.
The Surfcomber draws a mixed crowd -- from kids splashing at the pool to single fellas plotting their weekend "game plans." For most guests, the main draw is the hotel's location -- a prime piece of beachfront real estate along the most exclusive few blocks of South Beach's Collins Avenue. Its neighbors include some of the neighborhood's swankiest see-and-be-seen hotels such as the Delano and Shore Club. The rooms are significantly less expensive than at the hotel's luxe neighbors, but it's not the only affordable hotel nearby. Those looking for similar amenities and larger rooms might also consider the National or South Seas hotels, though they are decidedly less stylish.
An ideal location right on the beach and a short walk from South Beach's many bars, restaurants, and clubs
The hotel is located right on the beach, in the center of Miami's Art Deco Historic District. The area is packed in every direction with dozens of bars, restaurants, and attractions, all within easy walking distance. Some of South Beach's best dining, drinking, and shopping can also be found at the Lincoln Road outdoor mall, just two blocks away.
To the north are popular, high-end nightclubs at hotels such as The Perry or Fontainebleau, along with some of Miami's most exclusive clubs, such as Mokai. To the south, things get less exclusive and more populist along the famed Ocean Drive, with its busy boardwalk, outdoor bars and cafes, and more affordable boutique hotels.
The Surfcomber sits directly on South Beach: Walk past the pool area and through one of the two gates, and you're on the boardwalk. From there you'll find a narrow but well-trodden path through the seagrass to the beach.
Rooms are stylish, but most are small.
This Kimpton’s rooms are on the small side -- about 260 square feet for standard Deluxe Rooms -- but the decor is a fresh mix of beach and bohemian. All rooms are equipped with 32-inch flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, iHome docking stations, and bath products from European designer Etro. The bathrooms are sleek, but a bit cramped. In addition to the standard rooms, the hotel has four 400-square-foot suites. Up to four guests are allowed per room, and up to eight can fit in connecting rooms. Impressive 100-square-foot balconies with lounge chairs are included in Oceanview Balcony Luxury Suites and Oceanfront Balcony King Premier Rooms.
Only 12 of the hotel’s 186 rooms have an ocean view, due to the building’s elongated shape, and a few have courtyard views. Be sure to specifically request one of these when you book, or you may end up looking at the wall of the Marseilles Hotel next door.
Two reasonably priced restaurants and a poolside bar, plus 24-hour room service
Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails opened in 2012 and offers well-priced Southeast Asian cuisine. Most of the menu comes in under $20, which is appropriate for the Miami-chic but street-food-inspired entrees. Lantao’s bar has a daily happy hour and serves up creative drinks, such as “The June Bug,” which blends Thai chili liquor, grapefruit juice, limejuice, and passion fruit puree. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lantao also provides food service at the beach and pool.
The hotel’s front-of-the-house restaurant and bar, Social Club, serves a mix of Asian- and Latin-influenced cuisine, such as fish tacos, duck crepes, and even duck-fat-infused bourbon. The meals are well priced, and the daily happy hour is a good deal.
The pool bar, Lantao Sand Bar, is an offshoot of Lantao Kitchen and serves food and drinks to those at the pool and beach. In addition, candlelit dinners can be arranged in poolside cabanas.
There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance, many of which are along the Lincoln Road open-air mall, just two blocks away.
24-hour room service from Lantao Kitchen + Cocktails is offered.
Great 24-hour pool with a waterfall, cabanas, and bar service
The hotel has one heated pool with cabanas and poolside service. Two elevated decks on either side of the pool have additional chairs and tables under tents -- a quiet escape from the sun, with a nice view of the ocean. The Lantao Sand Bar provides poolside food and drink service, and guests can get poolside massages upon request (for a fee, of course). All in all, this pool beats the comparably priced competition at the National and the South Seas.
An artificial beach area (referred to as “The Pasture” due to sculptures of barnyard animals that decorate the space) provides additional lounge chairs and activities, such as a small volleyball net. Free suntan lotion and fruit-infused water are available poolside.
Since the hotel is only three stories tall, its pool area stays sunny much longer than most of its neighbors. The pool area is also open 24 hours a day and has free Wi-Fi.
24-hour fitness center was renovated in 2012 and has all the basics
Evening wine hour, poolside Wi-Fi, and paddleboard rentals
The 186-room Surfcomber is more affordable and casual than most of its swanky neighbors. It comes with a huge, beautiful pool, direct beach access, and a great address on Collins Avenue. Most rooms are small but trendy, with surf-themed decor, bright pops of color, and modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs, iHome docks, and free in-room yoga equipment. Other highlights include great freebies (bicycle tours, hosted wine hours, bartending lessons), two solid restaurants with bars, a well-equipped fitness center, and in-room or poolside spa services.