Seasonal children's activities, including sandcastle building
Wi-Fi included in resort fee
Daily resort fee (typical of Miami hotels)
Few dining options within walking distance
Noise from construction of new high-rise building next door
Past guests have complained about staff and service
Classic Mini Rooms are small
The Marenas Beach Resort is a four-pearl beachfront resort property with 186 rooms, some with ocean views, plus suites with full kitchens. Situated in Sunny Isles, this stretch of sand is a far cry from vibrant South Beach, and there's not much in the way of eating or drinking in the immediate area. Features include a restaurant, a fitness center, a game room, and plenty of activities for children, but past guests have complained about inattentive service from the front desk to the restaurants. Overall, it's a good choice for families, but younger travelers seeking something a bit livelier should consider the Red South Beach, an upper-mid-range boutique property that's a block from the beach, which is less expensive.
Modern beach resort for families, wedding parties, and corporate groups
Part of the Starwood hotel chain, the Marenas has changed names and management more than once in the last decade. Currently, the hotel offers 186 rooms and suites, although there are an additional 100 privately-owned condos housed within the same building. The bustling lobby is contemporary and bright, with soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light and views of the beach. There's a tropical, relaxed vibe thanks to exotic wood floors, large abstract art pieces, and dark rattan furniture with orange cushions. A large restaurant with rattan dining chairs spills out to a terrace that overlooks the narrow pool and tiki bar, located just above the beach. Despite the slick appearance, it's worth noting that past guests have found the service here to be underwhelming, with complaints about areas from the front desk to the restaurant. Still, given it's quiet setting away from South Beach, the resort attracts vacationing families, wedding parties, and corporate groups.
In North Miami Beach's scenic Sunny Isles neighborhood, far from nightlife
The Marenas is right on the beach in Sunny Isles, a residential and hotel area in North Miami. The hotel's entrance is on busy six-lane Collins Avenue, and there's little to explore on foot in the area. There's a convenient Publix supermarket within a four-minute walk, and both Bal Harbour Shoppes and the Aventura Mall are within a 15-minute drive, but don't expect a leisurely stroll to any quaint local eateries or bars. Both the Miami Beach Convention Center and South Beach can be reached by car in about 45 minutes, depending on traffic. The hotel is approximately 35 minutes by taxi from Miami International Airport and 25 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Bright and modern, with private balconies and some with ocean views
The Marenas Beach Resort features standard Classic Mini Guest Rooms as well as One and Two-Bedroom Suites. Decor is beachy and contemporary, with blond-wood furniture and bright accents of orange, blue, and white. The water-inspired panels over the beds add a bit of seaside personality, and the abundant sand tones throughout the rooms keep them bright -- a feat helped by the abundant natural light coming in through large windows. Some rooms offer views of the ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway, and all are equipped with balconies.
Suites have separate living areas with breakfast bar seating overlooking kitchens with full-sized refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers. Classic Mini Rooms have mini-fridges, and rooms include 50-inch flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, iPod-dock alarm clocks, and coffeemakers. It's worth noting that, as insinuated by their name, Classic Mini Rooms are small, coming in at just 18 square meters of space (194 square feet). Suites are, of course, much larger. Bathrooms have curved, marble-topped vanities with plenty of counter space plus shower/tub combos with rainfall showers, Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, and white terrycloth robes.
Beach access, pool, fine-dining and cocktails, small spa, gym, and meeting spaces
Without a doubt, the main reason to stay at this hotel is its prime spot right on the sands of Sunny Isles Beach. The hotel has lounge chairs set up on the sand and hosts events for kids like sand-castle building in high season. For alternatives to get wet, the hotel also has a small pool with a few lounge chairs, though unfortunately its often hidden in the shade. Caracol Restaurant serves upscale Latin American cuisine and is open for all three meals. The restaurant has a trendy terrace with contemporary pod and cafe seating on a travertine deck overlooking palm trees and the ocean. There's also a lobby lounge and a pool bar for drinks and snacks. A range of conference and special event spaces includes a large and lovely terrace overlooking the ocean. Features for children include a game room and organized games and activities. The modern fitness center is equipped with a good selection of free weights, treadmills and elliptical trainers, but a spa treatment area (at time of writing in 2016 just a converted office) lacks charm. A daily resort fee is levied and covers the cost of Wi-Fi.
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