Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Doral, Miami, Florida

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Warm, attentive service, especially at the restaurants
  • 5 elite golf courses, including the famed Blue Monster
  • Excellent spa with more than 100 treatments
  • 5 on-site restaurants means plenty of options
  • Impressive 24-hour fitness center
  • 5 pools, including 2 at the sprawling Blue Lagoon water park
  • Kids' club and other family-friendly features

Cons

  • Sticker shock: Room rate accounts for half (or less) of total bill
  • Rooms have generic design and limited natural light
  • No beach
  • On-site restaurants are overpriced; limited off-site options
  • 30- to 45-minute drive ($40 to $50 cab ride) from South Beach
  • No shuttle to/from airports

Bottom Line

Something for everyone: a world-class golf; a full-service spa; a 125-foot waterslide. And it's all graced with warm, friendly service in a scenic resort setting. Just know that you're isolated on-site, you're nowhere near the beach, and everything costs extra -- often quite a bit extra. Expect prices to rise even more after a $200 million renovation in Fall 2013.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Everything -- and everyone -- under the sun (both literally and figuratively). Families with young children, buddies on golf trips, girlfriends on spa retreats, and businesspeople at week-long conferences all come together at the Doral.

Fancy cars at the entrance
Fancy cars at the entrance

With 693 rooms, several restaurants, multiple shops, an enormous staff, and dozens of amenities -- all spread out across 650 acres -- the Doral is a veritable city-within-a-city. And they do everything they can to keep you and your money within those city limits, an effort made easier by the resort's location 30 minutes from the ocean in a town, Doral, that offers nothing in the way of sites or cuisine. (See location section, below.)

It says a lot about the Doral's versatility, not to mention its quality, that it garners accolades every year not just for its golf courses and spa, but also as a top family destination and meetings and conventions site. The resort is quite active, playing host to a number of conferences. A sampling: a Bank of America retreat, the Eighth Annual Stars & Stripes Summit, and the Royal Bank of Scotland International Series Luncheon. (Presumably there weren't any good golf locales in Scotland to convene at -- or maybe the execs just needed to get out of town.)

In 2012, celeb hotelier Donald Trump added the Doral to his expansive portfolio. Along with the acquisition is a $200 million renovation of nearly every corner of the resort, including all rooms, restaurants, meeting spaces, spa facilities, and golf courses. The hotel will remain open throughout the revamp, which is scheduled through early 2014.

The Doral is pretty, but it's neither gorgeous nor particularly romantic. (It loses a lot of points on those fronts for being in Florida but not on the beach.) Cheesy soft rock plays on the radio at Champions restaurant ("If You Don't Know Me by Now", anyone?). Little kids chase each other through the lobby as middle-aged suits discuss cutbacks in Java, the coffee shop. And the airplanes roaring into Miami International every 10 or 15 minutes don't help the ambience.

 Location

Isolated from the action, the hotel is in Doral, a suburb of Miami 25 to 30 minutes inland. It's only 15 minutes to the airport (yay), but it's a half-hour to South Beach (boo).

It's a 15-minute, $25 to $30 cab ride from Miami International to the Doral (the resort does not offer a shuttle). But since it's west of the airport, that means it's about 30 minutes (and $40 to $50 by taxi) to the coast. Some guests do take day trips to the beach or head to South Beach for the nightlife, but most, understandably, just stay on campus and take advantage of everything the Doral has to offer.

As for what to see, do, or eat in the immediate vicinity ... not much. A walk along the busy six-lane road takes you to a strip mall and a nearby Hooters. Sweet!

 Rooms

Mediocre. They're spacious and comfortable, with some nice features -- balconies, black marble countertops, bedside reading lights. But the decor is generic, and many of the rooms lack decent views and ample natural light.

The Garden View Room
The Garden View Room

You have two basic options at the Doral: standard rooms in the main part of the resort or villas at the spa. The standard rooms are situated in 10 three-story buildings that form a horseshoe around the resort's centerpiece, the Blue Lagoon and its pools; the spa villas are off to the side, by the first tee of the Gold Course.

With the exception of the views from their respective balconies, the three room types in the main resort -- golf-view rooms, partial golf-view rooms, and garden-view rooms -- are more or less the same. They range in size from 440 to 490 square feet, and feature identical layouts and furniture. But rooms are undergoing renovations until 2014. Desinged by Ivanka Trump, rooms will have a neutral palatte of ivory and light browns, and have mahogany and gold accents.

  • Comfy pillow-top mattresses and pillow menus
  • Large flat-screen TVs with premium cable
  • Some rooms have balconies
  • Wi-Fi for a fee
  • Daily newspaper
  • Paul Mitchell bath products

 Luxury Spa

More than 100 different treatments, 52 treatment rooms, three pools, and a luxe fitness center. The spa is a destination unto itself. Renovations were completed in 2010, which included a remodeled entrance, new treatment rooms, and a new pool.

Lobby area at The Spa
Lobby area at The Spa

The spa, which was named the Best Spa in Miami by the Miami Herald in 2007, offers private and group fitness classes, in addition to all the standard spa services.

  • Three beautiful pools: a lap pool, an indoor pool, and a lovely adults-only outdoor pool
  • Adults-only pool has a waterfalls hot tub
  • Staying at the spa villas gives you access to the entire resort; the reverse, however, isn't true. "Regular" guests must purchase passes.
  • The fitness center is as well-equipped and offers seasonal classes

 Golf

Five championship courses, including the famed Blue Monster, which is used in the PGA Tour's WGC-CA Championship.

Famed Blue Monster Golf Course
Famed Blue Monster Golf Course

The links here are are exceptional. Winner of numerous honors, including being named one of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America by Golf Digest, the Doral features five world-class courses, including the Blue Monster (named for the oversize lake in the middle of it), Greg Norman's Great White, and Raymond Floyd's gold course.

The Doral also hosts a Jim McLean golf school.

 Features

An enormous water park (complete with 125-foot waterslide) and a 24-hour gym, plus dozens of huge meeting rooms and access to the spa's numerous amenities.

Water slide at Blue Lagoon Water Park
Water slide at Blue Lagoon Water Park

Even if you're not at the Doral to take advantage of the golf or spa, you'll still have plenty to do.

  • The Blue Lagoon, a sprawling water park -- a water complex, really -- located within quick walking distance of any of the rooms
  • Camp Doral kids' club, with its activities and kiddie pool at the Blue Lagoon
  • 24-hour gym
  • A 2.5-mile asphalt jogging path around the golf courses
  • Wi-Fi, for a fee

Note: The gym listed in this section is different from the gym mentioned in the Luxury Spa section. Ditto for the pools. If you're staying at the "regular" resort (as opposed to a villa at the spa), you need to purchase a day pass to access the spa and its gym; treatments and classes are extra.

Also Note: The website mentions that tennis is available, but the courts are located 10 to 15 minutes away by car, and it costs an additional per person fee to use them.

 Family

A kids' camp, a kiddie Tad pool, kids' menus, and a 125-foot waterslide. Need we say more?

We need not, but I will anyway:

  • Camp Doral, for kids 5-12, includes swimming, arts, fishing, karaoke, sports, and more
  • Kids' menus are available at most restaurants, which is crucial because you're stuck eating all your meals at the resort.
  • The Doral even makes golf family-friendly: club rental and greens fees are free for adolescents (or anyone under 15 who can play 18 holes) when they're accompanied by an adult.

 Food

With six restaurants plus a coffee shop on the premises, and virtually nothing off-site, count on eating all your meals at the Doral. And count on paying a lot for them.

Dessert at Champions Bar and Grill
Dessert at Champions Bar and Grill

The good news about the food situation at the Doral: You won't lack for options. There are several restaurants on-site, each with a different style and price range, plus a coffee shop, golf snack shacks, and several poolside drink stands.

The bad news is that the food situation is entirely at the Doral. In other words, don't bother leaving campus, cause there isn't much -- just a strip mall and a Hooters down the street.

  • Terrazza's makes an excellent breakfast. They offer a buffet or a la carte meals, but you might as well go for the buffet, since it includes everything on the a la carte menu anyway
  • Champions Bar & Grill offers standard American fare
  • Mesazul is a Latin-inspired steakhouse
  • Java Zone serves coffee and various other overpriced Starbucksish concoctions
  • Bungalou's Bar & Grill serves up sandwiches at the water park
  • Stop by Bossa Nova for cocktails and tapas
  • Spa guests can get a bite at Spa Pritikin Restaurant, open for lunch and dinner

 Weddings

It's far from a beach and the food can be costly, but the grounds are beautiful and the bar is reasonably priced. Plus, this is one of the few hotels with a kosher kitchen.

The spa gardens, one of several outdoor ceremony options
The spa gardens, one of several outdoor ceremony options
  • Wedding Size: Up to 1,000 guests
  • Extra Fees: While the hotel does staff certified wedding planners, their help can cost extra. Also, note that the service fee is a bit steeper here than at most other resorts.
  • Wedding Packages: The standard dinner package includes passed hors d'oeuvres, a salad, an entree, a wedding cake, and five hours of an open bar (add a bit per person for better-brand liquor). On top of this, for the site fee, you get a dance floor, a stage, a bridal suite, and various discounts for the guest rooms, at the spa, and on the golf course.
  • Ceremony Locations: The hotel has numerous indoor spaces, such as the Windows on the Green restaurant or the massive Legends Ballroom, as well as outdoor spaces, such as the beautiful spa gardens.
  • Reception Locations: Numerous venues to choose from, both indoors and outside; note, however, that any outdoor receptions must end by 10:30 p.m.
  • Photographers and Videographers: There is no in-house photographer or videographer, but you can hire your own and the hotel does not impose an extra fee.
  • Music: Outside musicians are welcome at no extra fee
  • Food: Options include a general buffet as well as a more eclectic "tastes of the world" buffet for a higher price that includes cuisine from Asia, Spain, Italy, India, and Austria (for dessert); plated dinners are at a higher cost and have kids' menus options. All special diets can be accommodated, and it's worth noting that the Doral is one of the few Miami resorts with a kosher kitchen.
  • Drinks: An open bar starts at a base fee for the first hour and costs less for each additional hour. Also, note that there's an additional fee for each bartender, which covers three hours (it costs another fee for each additional hour). Hosted drinks range in price for wine and cocktails and run a bit less for beer.
  • Cakes: Cake is included in the standard wedding packages, though there are various upgrades available.
  • Spa Treatments: Full menu of services, including hair and makeup
  • Honeymoon Suite: The Master Suite is a popular choice among newlyweds.
  • Airport Transportation: The hotel does not provide airport shuttle service, but Miami International is only seven miles away.

 Bottom Line

Something for everyone: a world-class golf; a full-service spa; a 125-foot waterslide. And it's all graced with warm, friendly service in a scenic resort setting. Just know that you're isolated on-site, you're nowhere near the beach, and everything costs extra -- often quite a bit extra. Expect prices to rise even more after a $200 million renovation in Fall 2013.

Things You Should Know About Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa

Address

  • 4400 Northwest 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33178

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Doral Golf Resort and Spa
  • Doral Golf Resort Spa
  • Marriott Doral

Room Types

  • Garden View Room
  • Golf View Room
  • Grande Suite
  • Guestroom
  • Master Tee Suite
  • Parlor Room
  • Partial Golf View Room
  • Spa Executive Suite
  • Spa Master Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 693
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Doral, Miami
Address: 4400 Northwest 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33178
(See Map)
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