Big, beige, and offering striking ocean views, the 430-room Grand Beach Hotel is a relaxing alternative to the hectic South Beach scene. Guests get more space for their money; big, contemporary suites have balconies, mini-kitchens, and separate living rooms. There are several pools -- including an adults-only tranquility pool on the 7th floor -- and the hotel is located on a long stretch of uncluttered beachfront. Few dining options are within walking distance, but there is a full-service restaurant on-site and a small bar in the lobby. There is also a sunny fitness center, bikes for rent, and free Wi-Fi but there's a pesky fee for chairs on the beach.
Tasteful, quiet, and clean, the lobby of the Grand Beach Hotel is perfectly nice, but lacks distinguishing characteristics. Floor to ceiling windows allow ample sunlight in the white-and-cream marble lobby with several groups of white sofas and club chairs. A small, granite-topped bar opposite the check-in desk is a nice spot for an icy mojito (and with few restaurants within walking distance, many guests take advantage of this amenity).
The Grand Beach Hotel overlooks the ocean and a white stretch of sand in North Miami Beach. The hotel is on a long, residential section of Collins Avenue filled with high-rise condos, more than three miles (about an hour's walk) from the Art Deco District of popular South Beach. For guests craving a taste of the SoBe scene without the travel, the lively Fontainebleau is a 10-minute walk south. There's a public bus stop near the hotel, but waits can be long at night.
Spacious suite-style rooms are the Grand Beach Hotel's best feature. The white-on-beige decorating scheme prevails in the carpets, bedding, and furniture, punctuated by the blue of the Atlantic from slightly cramped balconies. Beds are big and comfortable and there's more than enough square footage to stretch out and relax, thanks to a separate sitting area with a sectional sofa and one of two flat-screen TVs. Best of all, two full-size marble bathrooms provide a luxurious sense of space and privacy.
The Grand Beach Hotel is pet-friendly, provides free Wi-Fi, and offers valet parking. There is a sunny fitness center with a good variety of machines. The hotel has multiple pools -- including a seventh-floor adults-only tranquility pool -- with hot tubs and a poolside cafe. There's also a lobby bar.
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