- Surly, disorganized staff
- Limited hotel services
- Dated facilities in need of repair
- Some rooms shabby and dirty
- Few restaurants within walking distance
Evoking grander days, this hotel needs an update.
Design Suites at Castle Beach is housed in a former Playboy Hotel that retains some traces of its former glory, including a massive formal lobby with crystal chandeliers, velvet banquettes and wood-paneled walls. Check-in for hotel guests, however, actually takes place in an office on a lower floor. The outdoor pool is large and well-maintained, with the added convenience of a snack bar, and the public beach across heavily trafficked Collins Avenue is easily reached via underground access. Overall, public spaces and rooms are a in a state of flux, with some areas in better shape than others.
In condo area of North Miami Beach
Design Suites is on busy A1A/Collins Avenue in North Miami Beach, which is primarily a residential area filled with high-rise apartment buildings. A car is necessary here, as there are few dining or shopping options within walking distance, although the hotel has two on-site grocery stores. South Beach is about four miles south, and Miami International Airport is within a 20-minute drive.
Apartment-style studios with kitchenettes
Room decor and layouts vary, but most are ample size, and simply furnished with wood veneer floors, striped bedding and contemporary white and brown plywood furniture. Kitchens also range in size and design from tiny to full-size, but are well-equipped with fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers and cooking utensils. Bathrooms are clean and also ample, with glass-enclosed tubs. Select rooms offer terraces with ocean views.
A mixed bag -- kitchenettes and proximity to beach the standout draws
Design Suites at Castle Beach is an affordable option for families and other travelers who prefer a roomy apartment with kitchen facilities. Complimentary valet parking is a plus, although service can be slow and ill-humored. Although a car is necessary for dining, shopping and entertainment options, the beach is right across the street.
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