Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located on the busy corner of Collins Avenue and 8th Street, a flow of people pass by the entrance and outdoor lounge area, moving between South Beach's landmark oceanfront Art Deco hotels, restaurants, and shops. Groups of 20- and 30-somethings claim clumps of lounge chairs by the pool for the afternoon. Young couples hold hands as they walk back and forth between their room and the beach, and "girls' weekend" friends snap photos with the view of South Beach in the background.
The building itself is a restored Art Deco hotel, built in 1939 as the Tiffany Hotel -- the giant original sign still looms over the entrance, causing mild confusion among tourists not in the know. Designer Todd Oldham and SoBe hotelier Tony Goldman perked up the property in 1998 and switched the name to The Hotel after a dispute with Tiffany jewelers. In keeping with the previous namesake, Oldham built the new design around a "gem of the ocean" theme, and efforts were made to preserve the spirit of the original hotel. Jewel tones and shapes permeate the property: diamond-shaped mirrors, the emerald-shaped pool, and bright citron and turquoise color schemes throughout.
Save for the rooftop-pool deck, the hotel seems surprisingly empty: The elevator is usually busier than the lobby or restaurants.
Warm, friendly, and helpful, the small staff work as a team and get to know guests instantly.
The hotel's small staff are warm, friendly, and helpful. Many staff members have been working here for years, and you get the sense that precision teamwork is going on behind the scenes. When the manager told me about the family atmosphere among the staff, I actually believed her. The concierge came to help at the front desk when it got busy at checkout, and the porters helped juggle duties in the lobby as needed. It was refreshing to see everyone working hard and apparently enjoying it. By my second day, the restaurant staff and concierge were giving me familiar greetings, and I almost felt like a member of the family myself.
Located on busy Collins Avenue, a block from the beach and noisy, crowded Ocean Drive.
The Hotel is located on 8th Street and Collins Avenue, just a block away from the beach and Ocean Drive. Shops and restaurants crowd this busy strip of South Beach, with the 24-hour (and people-watching bonanza) News Cafe just around the corner. Most of the restaurants along Ocean Drive are overpriced tourist traps, but their giant mojitos and charismatic hosts and hostesses draw in tourist after tourist.
Further north along Collins Avenue is a 24-hour Walgreens for self-catering, as well as South Beach institution Jerry's Famous Deli (also open 24 hours). Espanola Way is a few blocks away, offering plenty of affordable dining options, and the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall's upscale shops and dining are just a little further north.
The hotel has its own beachfront, and complimentary towels and chairs are available for guests.
The Hotel is located on Collins Avenue, a block away from busy Lummus Park Beach and its long stretch of public beach. This beach is huge -- it's 100 yards wide between the nearest walkways and shore, and stretches for miles along Miami Beach. Its soft white sands and clear blue water are surprisingly clean, even though a jumbled horde of families, couples, tanned muscle dudes, and semi-nude sunbathers crowd the beach from dawn to dusk.
Hotel guests also have access to a private section of the beach. The hotel provides two chairs and one umbrella per room, and beach towels are provided upon request.
The hotel's 73 rooms come in four varieties; designed by Todd Oldham of fashion fame, the rooms reference his designer background. "Designer" and "Couture" rooms are the basic choices, and suites and penthouses are also available. My room was a designer standard room.
Rooms come with either king or double beds. The mattresses and linens are comfortable but nothing spectacular, with a simple quilted coverlet rather than a down comforter. The rooms are not stuffed with furniture, but all have ample storage space.
The hurricane-proof, soundproof windows keep rooms surprisingly serene: the corner of 8th Street and Collins Avenue is never quiet, but these rooms above are.
Minibars in each room are stocked with plenty of liquor nips, soda, beer, water, and snacks like Oreos and Pringles.
In 2010, the hotel expanded into 801 Ocean Drive (directly behind the original Hotel of South Beach), and opened 20 ocean front deluxe rooms and suites. Todd Oldham returned to decorate these digs, this time going with a color scheme of corals, grays and browns. Ocean front rooms are 430 square feet and have a balcony where guests can view the Atlantic Ocean. Also housed in this building are the deluxe Atelier rooms that do not have ocean views but are 400 squ. ft., about 100 squ. ft. larger than the standard deluxe in the hotel's main building. All rooms in the 801 Ocean Drive portion of the hotel have an exclusive Ocean Drive entrance and toiletries by The White Company.
The in-house fitness center is on the roof, with large windows overlooking the pool. It's small and offers only a basic ensemble of cardio and weight machines, but I almost never saw anyone using it, so it's not likely to feel crowded. Yoga classes (free for guests) are held on the roof every Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Pets are not allowed (with the exception of assisting dogs).
Small meeting rooms are located next to the lobby. A larger meeting room with a view of the ocean is available in the Kenneth Cole building across the street; it can hold up to 80 people.
The emerald-shaped rooftop pool is praise-worthy for its location and views, not its size. Better-suited to standing around in and languorously sipping cocktails than to swimming laps, it nevertheless seems to suit the guests just fine. The deck is well arranged, with plenty of chairs positioned on all sides. The poolside bar that serves drinks and food makes this an easy place to spend all afternoon. Three cabanas line one side of the pool and provide a shady spot to relax on the deck.
Guests also have access to The Hotel's sister property, Park Central, which offers rooftop movie nights as well as another pool.
Surprisingly clean and fresh considering the hotel is over a decade old.
The hotel hasn't been renovated since the initial restoration in 1998, and finicky guests might sniff that the 1998 digs are approaching the end of their shelf life. But Oldham's simple furnishings have held up well to over a decade of use. Furnishings are clean and don't appear over-worn. One of the stairwells has a messy carpet, but the manager pointed this out herself and proudly claimed it was being recarpeted asap.
Cribs are provided free of charge and the rooms are super-quiet, so children should sleep well. Though Wish, the restaurant on premise, doesn't have a special kids menu, the kitchen is flexible and can generate kid-friendly fare on request. The front desk also keeps a few games on hand to help entertain kids in the lobby.
Wish Restaurant is located in the hotel lobby and has large indoor and outdoor dining areas. The outdoor section is especially pleasant for breakfast and lunch; tilted umbrellas and a landscaped fountain make it feel like a cool, shady garden tucked away from the hustle of South Beach. The chef has put together a Mediterranean menu that also includes excellent basics like burgers and sandwiches. Everything I ate was heavenly.
Spire, the rooftop bar, has its own deck separate from the pool area.
The location is ideal for eating at a variety of restaurants along Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive. Tourist staples Jerry's Famous Deli and the News Cafe are a stone's throw away, and there's a wealth of other options within walking distance.
Centrally located in a historic Art Deco building, this is a darling little hotel by designer Todd Oldham and developer/hotelier Tony Goldman. Simple, comfortable rooms are soundproofed, so guests can take advantage of the surrounding SoBe scene and still shut it out at night. Guests spend most of their time at the rooftop pool.