As the winter steadily approaches, we can’t think of anything better than escaping to the warm Florida sunshine. Assuming that a few others might share our thoughts, we decided to feature another hotel face-off, this time in Miami Beach, where we compare two popular hotels and pit them against each other in multiple categories to determine an overall winner -- and better help you plan your Miami getaway depending on your style. The contenders: the Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach and the Eden Roc Miami Beach. The prize: ultimate Oyster victory...we’re kidding...kind of.
A Miami icon since 1954, the 1,504 room Fontainebleau is a sprawling art deco complex that spans several city blocks. In its heyday, it was the hangout of the rat pack, but fell from the headlines until its $1 billion renovation in 2008. Despite its sleek and sexy design, high-end boutiques, and cutting edge restaurants and bars, the Fontainebleau’s Miami Beach location — a good 30 blocks from all the action in South Beach — tends to attract mostly families and business travelers.
Sitting directly next to the Fontainebleau, the much smaller and quieter Eden Roc still boasts a swanky, modern design. Because of its more laid-back location in Miami Beach, the crowd is substantially more family-oriented than that of comparable SoBe hotelsm(similarly to Fontainebleau). Eden Roc is also known to pick up a few cost-conscious business travelers attending conferences at the neighboring Fontainebleau, as Eden Roc tends to offer cheaper nightly rates.
Winner: Eden Roc
Visitors to Miami Beach usually choose this quiet location, where both the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc can be found, to escape the craziness of South Beach. Based on this factor, we prefer Eden Roc’s laid-back attitude. Sometimes, the scene at the Fontainebleau can feel a little bit like what guests are looking to avoid in South Beach, especially on weekends.
The Fontainebleau’s standard rooms are lovely…but that’s just about it. After being wowed by the resort’s incredible lobby, restaurants, and pool area, the plain, white-walled rooms are a bit of a letdown. Though they’re small, rooms are equipped with all the amenities modern travelers expect: comfy beds, iHomes, flat-screen TVs, etc. The accompanying tiny marble bathrooms feature beautiful glass-enclosed showers, but families with small children should note that there are no tubs.
Standard rooms at Eden Roc are a full 100-square-feet larger than those at the Fontainebleau. They are equally as well-equipped as their neighbors…and equally boring. Rooms are also darker and seem dingier (though they were renovated around the same time) than the Fontainebleau’s. Bathrooms are nothing to write home about, but they do feature shower/tub combos, which might appeal more to families with younger kids.
Though neither impressed us too much, we find the rooms at the Fontainebleau to be brighter and more aesthetically pleasing.
Restaurants and Bars
You will never go hungry (though your wallet feel empty) at the Fontainebleau. With eight dining options, including three premiere destination restaurants by celebrity chefs, to choose from, guests can enjoy everything from steaks to sushi. Service throughout the hotel’s restaurants and bars is outstanding…as it should be for the price you’ll be paying. The futuristic Bleau Bar steadily buzzes with activity at night, and one of few Miami Beach nightclubs, LIV, is right on premises; though don’t expect any celebrity sightings as the rich and famous generally only drop by for private events.
Eden Roc has two solid dining options on-site, along with a lobby bar, and a Starbucks. Many guests venture next door to the Fontainebleau for meals and nightly entertainment, but Eden Roc’s signature farm-to-table restaurant, 15000 Degrees, can certainly hold its own.
Hands down, the Fontainebleau has better dining and entertainment options. However, families with young children might feel more comfortable at the quieter Eden Roc restaurants.
Everything at the Fontainebleau is over-the-top, including the pools…all nine of them! One main lagoon style pool is surrounded by smaller dipping pools and whirlpools, all of which lead to a beautiful, relatively uncrowded beach. At 40,000-square-feet, the spa is like no other in Miami, and the huge fitness center sports more equipment than most high-end gyms. Though the hotel can arrange for private yoga sessions, there are no regularly scheduled fitness classes.
The Eden Roc’s best features are its three infinity pools, one of which is for adults only. Service by the pool is exceptional, and perhaps more attentive than that at the Fontainebleau. Guests have free access to the 24-hour fitness center, which is less impressive than next door’s but still usable. The excellent Ellle Spa (yes, like the magazine) features 18 rooms and a wide array of treatment types. Like the Fontainebleau, Eden Roc sits on a lovely stretch of uncrowded Atlantic coastline.
The Fontainebleau’s amenities are unrivaled. They outshine not only the Eden Roc, but many other hotels in Florida.
The Fontainebleau! Gorgeous decor, high-end eateries, and amenities galore, the Fontainebleau combines the perfect amount of rest and relaxation, with just a bit of fun thrown in. Though it does attract families, potential guests should be aware that the Fontainebleau can get rowdy on weekends. If peace and quiet is really what you’re after, the Eden Roc may be a better option.
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