Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Prompt service gets it exactly right -- and doesn’t pressure for tips.
Service at Tides South Beach transformed me into a pampered diva, pathologically unable to lift a finger. From the concierge who complimented my knock-off Marc Jacobs sunglasses to the waiters who continued breakfast service exclusively for me, I was very impressed with the staff. But what was most impressive, the service wasn't in the automated, self-conscious, you-better-tip-me South Beach tradition. It was as if they really wanted to take care of me, to ensure that the daiquiris weren't too sweet and that the honeymooning couple opposite me at the pool was able to make-out in relative privacy.
Check-in takes place in the room -- not at the front desk. On arrival, you will be introduced to your personal assistant -- the assistants basically act as concierges, but there is one assigned to every room -- who will then take you on a brief tour of the hotel and offer you a free welcome drink of your choice (I had a superb mojito). When I asked my assistant for restaurant recommendations, she was able to provide thoughtful answers. When I chose not to think -- i.e. "want food, where eat food good" -- she was willing to walk me through the best of Miami (without the pomp or self-promotion found at other designer boutiques).
Poolside service is phenomenal. An ice water was at my feet within seconds and when I tested my server with extremely precise margarita instructions -- Don Julio silver, lightly salted outside the rim, only, with lemon, lime, and lots of ice -- they were followed exactly. (I later learned that he stood by to supervise the margarita's completion).
Even the base-level rooms are big, really big -- about on par with the rooms at the Setai or the Angler's. In addition, all rooms have a perfect ocean view beyond Ocean Drive. But unfortunately, with the view comes street noise -- on a Friday or Saturday night in the high season, sleeping before 4 a.m. can be a challenge.
Kelly Wearstler -- of Bravo's Top Design fame -- is the mind behind the rooms' innovative, pan-global vintage-opulent design. The bright, beach-tone color palate and organic textures (even a thriving orchid) definitely feel more comfortable than the austere looks at the other design-focused hotels like the Setai or Delano.
Perfecting the design, it's even easy to swivel the 42-inch flat-screen TV toward the bed for a free movie (courtesy of their extensive, on-site DVD collection).
Still, the bathtub drain plug didn't quite work. When I set a bath, it sounded like someone was fiercely finishing a Slurpee (giving me a Pavlovian brain freeze).
Immaculate property, but housekeeping mishaps do happen.
The only housekeeping faux pas -- I found a snubbed out a cigarette on the window sill. I complained (if merely to ensure I wasn’t going to get charged for smoking in the room) and though someone was up within a minute to pick up the cig (leaving the ash) they were more concerned about finding the housekeeping culprit than just fixing the situation (and in-so-doing made me feel overwhelmingly guilty). No "our bad" freebies either.
Across the street from the beach (directly across from a volleyball court and playground), the King and Grove is located off the noisy corners of central South Beach.
Annoyed by the constant restaurant menu solicitation along Ocean Drive, I trekked across traffic to Lummus Park just to avoid saying, "Thank you, maybe later, no thanks, I’m cool, just ate, leave me the f*#$ alone!" Still, the hotel is in a great spot.
The pool and gym are small, but the excellent service tries to compensate.
The gym, while well-equipped and well-tended, is still pretty small. The spa offers a limited variety of massage treatments as well as nail, wax and facial treatments. There are also wellness classes that guests can book through their personal assistants.
The on-site restaurant features both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as an adjacent bar. An extensive menu is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the cocktails include creative craft cocktails as well as the requisite frozen drinks suitable for Miami.
A beautifully designed hotel with pomp-free service at all levels -- from housekeeping to porters to private designated assistants -- The Tides brings rarely seen substance to the price tag. Though the hotel lacks direct beach access and the small pool is less than breathtaking, the huge, immaculate rooms more than compensate.
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