Spacious rooms, a huge assortment of kid-centered activities, and a beachside location in safe, suburban Sunny Isles -- the Newport is a solid option for a family vacation. It might not be as swanky as the nearby Acqualina or Trump International, or even the Loews in South Beach, but it's a good value. Note that there's a daily resort fee that includes Wi-Fi, beach chairs, and access to the pool and gym.
Kids gone wild, with parents (usually) in tow. The Newport is a lot like a cruise on land -- activities all day long, entertainment at night, and multiple restaurants.
Years ago the Newport attracted a steady crowd of famous entertainers such as Sammie Davis Jr., Tina Turner, the Platters, and Jimi Hendrix, among others (or so says the resort's website). A lot, however, can change in 40 years. Just ask Tina Turner. (You can't ask the others -- they're dead.) In the decades since the party scene moved down the coast 20 miles to South Beach, the Newport has transformed itself into a middle-scale family-friendly resort.
As long as you don't mind cashing in early, you (or at least your kids) will never lack for things to do at the Newport. Upon checking into my room, the first thing I heard was the microphone blaring "B13" from 11 stories below. Apparently poolside Bingo Fun was underway, and the next day, it was poolside Horse Racing.
Although the Newport does offer special romance packages, if you're looking for fine dining and pampering, or even just peace and quiet by the pool, this isn't your place. Then again, the couple next door to me seemed to be having plenty of adult fun. (Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I just smelled their pot smoke on my balcony every afternoon.)
Right on the beach. Two minutes to strip-mall dining. Forget the night scene: South Beach is a 30-minute, $30 cab ride away.
The Newport is in Sunny Isles, an affluent beachside suburb of Miami that refers to itself as Florida's Riviera. That's going bit overboard, especially if South Beach (a 30-minute drive away) is supposed to be America's Riviera. Though there are certainly some similarities to the original: High-rise hotels abound, some with big names attached (think Trump), and the beach is long, wide, and soft.
The hotel is a 35-minute, $50 taxi ride from Fort Lauderdale International Airport and a 45-minute, $60 taxi ride from Miami International Airport. Valet and self parking are available for a fee.
Down the street, though, it's mostly fast food and franchises like Walgreen's, CVS, Denny's, McDonald's, and GNC. Outside of fast food, the dining options aren't plentiful. The strip mall across the street, on the other side of Collins Avenue, does offer some possibilities though.
Broad and clean, with people of all shapes and ages and plenty going on: sunbathing, shade-bathing, volleyball, skimboarding, sandcastle-building, and more.
The Newport is right on the beach. Just head past the pool, walk down a few steps, and there you are. Sun and sand, no fuss.
On the beach, the kids seemed to be having fun, while the adults took full advantage of the nice padded beach chairs, which are included in the resort fee. However, umbrellas or private South Pacific-style huts will cost extra.
The pier just off 167th Street, right next to the resort, is also worth a look. You can't go all the way out there, but the part above the beach plays host to the Pelican on the Pier, a fun place to grab a beer or a plate of seafood.
For some solitude, just walk north a bit, away from the pier (though that will eliminate any opportunities for shade).
Spacious rooms with microwaves, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges.
Rooms at the Newport Beachside Hotel include 22 Standard Rooms with two full beds, 280 One-Bedroom Suites, 29 Two-Bedroom Suites, and 8 Executive Suites. While furnishings are modern, they're all decorated in earth tones of green, orange, and brown that give an overall dated vibe. But large flat-screen TVs and iHome docking stations help bring them into the 21st century. All rooms also have a microwave, mini-fridge, electronic safe, and ironing equipment. Beige bathrooms have shower/tub combos with jetted tubs (except for the Executive Suites) and hotel-brand toiletries. The Standard Rooms and One-Bedroom Suites are 336 square feet.
Suites have a separate living room area with either a pullout sofa or Murphy bed. Views are either city, pool/partial ocean, or ocean front, and some of the suites have furnished balconies. The Executive Suites, at 468 square feet, have a larger kitchen area with a full-size refrigerator, walk-in glass shower, and two balconies.
Pets under 25 pounds are allowed for a one-time fee.
Activities galore, from poolside arts and crafts to treasure hunts to bingo and board games. There's also the usual: a large pool, a spa, and a fitness center.
It takes little effort, especially for kids, to find something going on at any given hour at the Newport. Whether by the pool (treasure hunts, arts and crafts, darts) or on the beach (sandcastle-building, volleyball, Jet-Skiing), the Newport runs organized activities all day, every day. For both kids and adults, the main pool is the epicenter of activity at the Newport and surrounded by loungers. Adjacent to the main pool is a kiddy pool and hot tub.
Adults may be happier making use of the Seven Seas Spa & Salon, with a variety of treatment options. There's also a well-equipped fitness center with cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and yoga mats.
A restaurant option for each meal, plus a coffee shop in the lobby. Off-site, there are scant options -- mostly fast food.
For breakfast, the Ocean Reef Café serves a traditional buffet. The food is mediocre, and the atmosphere, at least when I was there, could best be described as "organized chaos," with screaming children and stressed-out waiters dashing from table to table. One morning, I saw a fist fight nearly break out in the buffet line. All told, you might do best just buying some milk and cereal at the CVS across the street and letting your kids fight it out over the Count Chocula in your room.
Lunch is served by Coconut's, the poolside bar and grill. Burgers, fries, grilled chicken, et cetera. Mediocre but reasonable and nightly entertainment. There's also the Beach Bar for cocktails and food from around 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. There you can get dishes like cheeseburgers and ribs, or a range of sushi.
The main restaurant -- and the only on-site option for dinner -- is Kitchen 305, an unsettling amalgam of Chuck E. Cheese's, Saturday Night Fever, and a chic, Soho-style lounge. Only the disco ball and strobe lights keep the room bright enough to read the menu. There's a bar near the entrance, but expect parents bouncing toddlers on their knees, not a wild party scene.
In the lobby is Cappuccino’s, where you can get coffee, pastries, or ice cream from morning until night.
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