Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The beautifully maintained lap pool has updated its previously drab look with more cabanas, plush sofas and a dining pavilion. The view is nothing to write home about, overlooking a few low-rise condo buildings between potted palm trees. It still echoes the same quiet, refined (if not boring), business side of the Ritz, but is a little more inviting.
Tucked behind a few shrubs I found a very tempting Ping-Pong table, but I couldn't figure out where to get some paddles.
Bizcaya, the Ritz's business adaptation of the famed Vizcaya Museum, offers in-room service 24/7 and serves guests anywhere in the hotel (or so the porter promised).
I thought about testing the room-service-anywhere policy by eating an overpriced cheeseburger in the fitness center -- if merely to taunt folks trying to work off their guts. But the Ritz's ubiquitous marble and museum-like environment kept me on my best behavior. (Well, that, and I never saw anyone using the top-notch fitness room or the spa.)
Service is polite and prompt, but sometimes ill-informed.
It's hard to scrutinize the Ritz's systematic service. The porters were quick to transfer bags and desk attendants were polite, professional, and efficient. Everyone knew the ins and outs of the hotel and was more than willing to provide assistance if I got lost wandering the halls or needed something to eat.
Still, I was a bit disappointed with the "concierge in training" (the only person available at 4 p.m.). She was unable to offer a lunch recommendation aside from Coco Walk, which only offers some chain-food joints like Chili's and Hooters).
Beaming with sedate, standardized comfort -- mahogany furniture, crown molding, diamond-patterned carpets, intricate gilded lamps with mad-looking metal fish at their base -- the Ritz rooms have been lifted from their drab, lifeless perfection with colorful additions to the rooms. The carpets, drapes, paintings, and linens - previously nothing more than sterile whites and gold - have been brought to life with turquoise and pomegranate blankets, pillows and chairs. The upgraded flat-screen TVs and iPod docks are also a welcome change.
The broad, seafoam-toned balconies are a nice touch, even though mine only overlooked some traffic and trees. The balcony appears to get most use as a smoker's spot (I later found black ash from the outdoor table smeared on my elbows).
The Ritz is five long blocks from the central shopping, drinking, dining, dancing, waxing, and shopping (again) hub of Coconut Grove. Walking beside heavy traffic and expansive banking centers certainly detracts from the quaint, neighborhood charm.
But being just a few blocks from the bay, the Ritz boasts some impressive views of yachts and sailboats -- especially from the higher floors.
From floor to ceiling, the Ritz is spotless.
I relished the opportunity to go white-glove crazy throughout the property. Still, I couldn't find any flaws. The whole place was spotless, even under the ears of a Grecian bust in an obscure, unused corridor.
The rooms were updated with new carpets, drapes, paintings, and linens in 2009, so the minor issues I found in my room -- faint stains on the carpet and torn leather on the writing pad -- have been resolved.
The Coconut Grove Ritz maintains the same elegant, high-polished marble and prompt, reliable service that made the Ritz brand famous. But the Coconut Grove branch is irritatingly far from the action and lacks the spectacular, luxurious oomph of similarly priced business brands (like the Four Seasons downtown).