Noise from pool and nearby construction can be heard from some rooms
Pricey valet parking only
Opened in 2009 by the Kimpton hotel group, EPIC is a luxurious Downtown hotel that attracts business professionals and leisure travelers who want to be removed from the South Beach scene. All guests will likely appreciate the two 16th-floor pools, spa facilities, daily wine hour, and upscale dining options. The 411 guests rooms sport comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms, and balconies with excellent Biscayne Bay or city views, but furniture is showing some wear. For a similar stay, compare rates with the nearby Conrad Miami or Intercontinental.
A mix of leisure and business guests, and a bustling, trendy atmosphere
Once guests make it through the often congested entryway lined with fancy cars, they'll enter the large lobby decorated with interesting art -- crystal-encrusted buddhas, a colorful Mona Lisa mosaic, and pink purse sculpture melting over an ice cream cone -- and a gold, tiered light fixture. Next to the concierge, the front desk has a goldfish bowl, showcasing the Kimpton amenity of providing a pet goldfish for those who want a companion during their stay. As with all Kimptons, the hotel is extremely pet-friendly, so expect to see some furry guests too.
The lobby is typically bustling, particularly during the nightly free wine hour. The trendy Zuma Japanese restaurant and Lilt Lounge, which hosts live music, are both on the first floor and draw locals as well as guests. The hotel also has its own marina where expensive boats and yachts are docked. Saturdays the 16th-floor pool area features a live DJ and the crowd is often lively, so guests wanting a peaceful retreat may be disappointed. Guest rooms overlooking the pools will also be subjected to noise because of this.
Downtown convenience, with great views of Biscayne Bay and surrounding neighborhoods
By day this part of the city is bustling with business, and by night there are some restaurants and bars within a few minutes of the hotel. A Whole Foods grocery store is also a two-minute walk away. At night the skyscrapers light up with a tropical range of pinks, yellows, blues, and greens. But for all the shine, there's very little life on the streets. Most destinations outside of business meeting locations will require driving.
Still, if you have a car -- or flag down a cab -- you'll quickly realize that the neighborhood makes up for in convenience what it lacks in character. The Epic is in the heart of Downtown, but also on its very tip. Right on the water, the hotel is a five-minute drive north of classy Brickell Key and bohemian Coconut Grove. It's directly adjacent to the more residential Coral Gables and 20 minutes (at the most) from SoBe and the beach (though parking here can be a nightmare). These neighborhoods can all be surveyed from the Epic's 16th-floor terrace, as can the manatees in the channel below. Miami International Airport is a 16-minute drive away. Valet parking is available for a fee ($40 a night during our visit, typical for the area), but guests should know that as the Epic also houses condos, the entrance is often congested and it can take up to 20 minutes to get your car.
Comfy beds, spacious bathrooms, and furnished balconies, but some wear and tear on furnishings
Guest rooms and suites start on the 18th floor and go all the way up to the 30th; this means every room is guaranteed to have a breathtaking view of either the waters of Biscayne Bay or the looming Downtown towers. There are several room types, from the 475-square-foot City View Premier Room (with two double beds or one king-size) to the 700-square-foot Junior Suite (with pull-out sleeper sofas) to the 950-square-foot One Bedroom Suite. Finally, the top two floors are reserved for Club Level Rooms, allowing guests to enjoy a private lounge, a separate concierge, and various other goodies.
Rooms are pleasant if a bit corporate, decorated in an understated color scheme of white, beige, and brown. All rooms have a comfy bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, large flat-screen TV, stocked minibar, iHome iPod dock, in-room safe, and furnished balcony. Bathrooms are spacious, either with walk-in glass showers, or both a shower and soaking tub; a hairdryer, Exhale-brand toiletries, scale, robes, and a yoga mat are also provided. Some of the furnishings are in need of repair, like the peeling desk chairs.
Two outdoor pools; upscale spa; two fine-dining restaurants and popular lounge; and business facilities
Since the EPIC hotel isn't along the beach, most activity occurs around the 16th-floor swimming pools. Pool service is provided and cabanas are available for rent, though they're scarce on features. There are a few cool woven basket daybeds for guests, but the regular metal lounge chairs aren't very comfortable and could use an upgrade. DJs perform here on Saturdays. Other spots for relaxing are the Exhale Spa and fitness center, which have a variety of treatments and classes. A handful of PUBLIC bikes can also be borrowed.
Also on the 16th floor is the upscale seafood restaurant Area 31. Open for all three meals, the restaurant receives mostly positive reviews and has both indoor and outdoor seating next to the pool area. On the first floor, Zuma is a trendy, expensive Japanese restaurant that is popular with guests and locals alike. Lilt Lounge is a fun, swanky bar that has live music five nights a week and outdoor seating along the water. Room service is available 24 hours.
A business center and several meeting spaces are available as well. Wi-Fi is free for Karma Rewards members, and the loyalty program is free to join.
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