Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An intimate, laid-back hotel with big suites, a prime location, and reasonable rates
Renamed the Z Ocean Hotel in spring 2009, this property offers relatively affordable rates on high-quality rooms located in a prime spot on South Beach's Ocean Avenue.
The dark granite and moody lighting in the lobby help create a quiet, low-key atmosphere, making the hotel feel like a separate world from the bright, bustling Sagamore and Delano hotels up the street and the white-sand beaches a block away.
The hotel has a modern, romantic vibe; it's clearly geared toward vacationing couples who want a low-key but central base from which to soak up Miami Beach. And if the assortment of couples lounging around the pool is any indication, it's successfully drawing its target crowd. Guests here are more understated than their flashy neighbors down the street -- they're here to enjoy themselves, not show off or party in a busy lobby.
Z Ocean's entrance is on Collins Avenue and 14th Street (though guests can also come and go from the other side of the hotel, which faces Ocean Drive).
This is the only part of Ocean Drive (north of Fifth Street, at least) that can be considered tranquil. Fifteenth Street forms the northern boundary of Ocean Drive, and Z Ocean sits just between 14th and 15th streets. It's ideal for those who are overwhelmed by the tourist hordes and thumping beats a few blocks to the south, yet still want easy access to it.
A few restaurants, including its own Front Porch, offer excellent dining choices, but many of Ocean Drive's cafes are overpriced tourist traps. You're better off walking a few blocks north to the Lincoln Road Mall, an outdoor pedestrian promenade with everything from pharmacies and Starbucks to designer clothing shops and premier cuisine. Even closer is Lincoln Road's little sister, Espanola Way. It's smaller and less popular than Lincoln, and there aren't many stores, but the restaurants are more reliable.
Nightlife abounds in just about any direction along Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive. The Clevelander and Delano both offer classic Miami hotel lobby party scenes, and giant blended mojitos line Ocean Drive most nights.
With direct access to Ocean Avenue, it's easy to walk to Lummus Park's beach just a block away from the hotel. The front desk supplies beach towels, and guests can claim two beach chairs and an umbrella at Boucher Brothers' stand No. 14 on the beach. They're not specially marked with the hotel's logo, but they do the job and would otherwise cost at least $10 for each chair and more for an umbrella.
As for the beach itself, a jumbled horde of bikini babes, jacked dudes, couples on vacation, and families with kids plays on a stretch of sand 100 yards wide.
Z Ocean Hotel's 79 suites are remarkably spacious, with separate living room and bedroom areas. Decor is mostly neutral beiges, accented with pumpkin-colored pillows and walls and dark wooden countertops. Rooms all have soundproof, hurricane-proof windows, and if your room looks out over party-heavy Collins Avenue, you'll be glad for it.
Though rooms are spacious and quiet, and cribs are available, the hotel is pushing the adult, romantic angle.
Z Ocean Hotel's shiny brochures features a grainy, monochrome photo of a sexy couple embracing, nightlife in the background, and the words "An Intimate Affair." In other words, this hotel is marketing itself to adult couples looking for romantic ambience. On the other hand, rooms are spacious and quiet, and the low-key vibe keeps SoBe's raging party scene at bay. Rollaways aren't available, but cribs are provided free of charge and all the rooms have sofa beds.
The hotel was deep-cleaned in 2009 -- and it feels it.
The property seems to have been deep-cleaned before being renamed the Z Ocean Hotel in the spring of 2009. Not a full renovation, to be sure, but a fresh coat of paint and new linens (and robes) have certainly freshened things up.
Front Porch Cafe looks out on the quiet, northern tip of Ocean Drive.
Front Porch Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers indoor as well as outdoor seating (on the "front porch" that the restaurant is named for). The southern-influenced menu includes comfort food (meatloaf, chicken parmesan) as well as items such as fish tacos and salads. Happy hour specials are offered in the hotels' breezeway bar and in the restaurant.
Z Ocean Hotel balances modest amenities and service with big, comfortable suites, a prime location, and reasonable rates. Marketing itself to adult couples, it successfully achieves an intimate, laid-back vibe.