Across from the beach, in the middle of the all-night Ocean Drive chaos, this cheap party pad offers 50 clean, modern rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a bar that serves fishbowl-size mojitos. For spring breakers who can look past unsettling hallways and small bathrooms, the Colony is an inexpensive stay. Otherwise, check out the Pelican Hotel or Congress Hotel.
An art deco icon in the heart of South Beach, where a stream of scantily clad young visitors and locals wander around with frozen drinks in search of action.
One of the highly photographed sights in South Beach, the Colony's famous vertical neon-blue sign is a cool purple during the day, bisecting a series of sea-blue lines that punch up the whitewashed, three-story art deco exterior. Columbus Cafe, is set up in front of the building's parcel of sidewalk, covered by matching blue umbrellas to give patrons shade from the hot Florida sun. The menus don't have prices and the restaurant makes Miami's worst-restaurant list for horrible service and charging astronomical prices.
The high-ceilinged lobby features neutral floor tiles with sea green accents, including the smooth, curved front desk. The party often moves to the halls of the hotel itself, particularly since its low prices make it popular with 20-somethings and partiers on a budget.
Most guests at the hotel are there for the sights, sounds, and action of South Beach. The most satisfied guests are those who come with the attitude, "You get what you pay for," meaning they appreciate the Colony's spectacular location and art deco style, and accept that it's low on amenities and personalized service (though on the bright side, rooms are generally clean and modern).
Service is attitude-heavy and indifferent at worst, considerate and slightly apologetic at best. But most guests consider this a fair trade-off for low room rates.
Guests often complain about the Colony's general lack of service (not helping guests with bags, paying no heed to maintenance calls, and generally never going the extra mile). The hotel does not have a concierge, and bell service is not something that's often mentioned or praised. A few guests cite helpful front desk clerks who carefully stowed their luggage or valuables for them, but far more complain about not getting into their rooms till late, or staff absentmindedly leaving their stuff out in the open or unattended at the front desk.
My experience just about fit this profile. I asked for an 8:45 a.m. wake-up call -- it never happened. Thankfully, I guess, housekeeping completely disregarded the "do not disturb" sign on the door and came busting through the room at 9 a.m. Under any other circumstances I would have been livid at being woken up by housekeeping that early, but in this case I would have missed my flight. Thank you, discourteous housekeeper!
The only person at the hotel that seemed to enjoy interacting with -- or even care about -- guests was the French bartender who blew kisses to the girls and mixed enormous, rum-heavy mojitos to get the buff, shirtless guys through another session of barking at the bikini-clad beach-goers walking by.
Smack in the middle of pulsating Ocean Drive, the Colony is across the street from Lummus Park and within walking distance of bars, restaurants, and South Beach’s hippest clubs.
Love or hate the hotel, it has a fantastic location, which is not only convenient, but also generally clean and safe. What the hotel lacks in amenities or service, most guests feel it more than makes up for with its proximity to shopping eating, drinking, and sunbathing.
There's a reason the Colony's neon sign is one of the most photographed sights in South Beach -- it's a safe bet there will be always be a throng of scantily clad revelers beneath it. This is a major pro for partiers, but early-to-bed guests would definitely have issues with the location, which is noisy and crowded all night long.
Lummus Park Beach is considered Miami's best spot for people-watching and outdoor activities, and the Colony is directly across from the epicenter of the action. Topless, bronzed beauties sun themselves in the sand, men in speedo suits Rollerblade down the sidewalk, and everyone in between packs in near the sparkling water.
The hotel doesn’t provide umbrellas or beach chairs (guests can rent them on the beach), but it does give guests beach towels.
The hotel’s 50 deluxe rooms and suites are surprisingly modern, with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and mini-fridges.
The art deco lobby, creaky elevator, and dim hallways had me worried about what I'd find on the other side of the door in my deluxe room. I was pleasantly surprised. Rooms are clean, featuring dark wood platform beds, modern furniture, and 37-inch flat-screen TVs. Wooden floors, close-up prints of green plants, and iHome docking stations add to the contemporary design. My room was perfectly spacious, though some rooms can be a bit on the small side.
Blue-tiled bathrooms are clean but small, featuring walk-in showers or shower/tub combos with rainfall showerheads. O2 Oxygen toiletries are provided. Rooms also come with electronic safes, mini-fridges, hairdryers, irons, and ironing boards.
One gripe is that rear-facing rooms look out over nothing but a dark alley (while one guest considers this a plus: It's a lot quieter than the all-night party on Ocean Drive!). Once again, the prevailing attitude is "you get what you pay for."
The hotel essentially offers four types of rooms: There are two oceanfront suites (one each on the second and third floors), which have separate bedrooms, Jacuzzis in the bathrooms, and fantastic ocean views. There are also two oceanfront queens, which are laid out in the same style as typical deluxe queens but obviously also feature great ocean views. The rest of the hotel's 46 rooms are deluxe queens and doubles (which have two double beds).
The on-site restaurant, Columbus Cafe, is one of Yelp's worst restaurants. Fortunately, the neighborhood is bursting with better options.
The Columbus Cafe lures unsuspecting diners with 2-for-1 and happy hour specials. But it consistently receives terrible reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor for not showing menu prices and then charging exorbitant amounts. The food and drinks range from bland to straight-up bad. Though, if huge fishbowl drinks with cheap tequila, sugar, and beer sound appealing, the Columbus Cafe is popular for them.