Two meeting spaces and a business center (for a fee)
Resort fee for Wi-Fi, lounge chairs/umbrellas, and the gym
Location is a 30-minute drive from South Beach
Common areas are tired
Charge for valet parking
Restaurant gets mixed reviews
The upper-middle-range Sea View Hotel is a quiet property originally built in 1947 on a private beach. An olympic-size pool offers cabanas, a bar, seasonal diner, and inside is an American restaurant and cocktail lounge with live music. Other amenities include a gym, beauty treatments, private event space, business services, and a gift shop. There are 220 simple, modern rooms, some with balconies offering bay or sea views; stylish suites have modern kitchenettes. Common areas, however, feel old-fashioned and there's a daily resort fee. Though the hotel is nearby high-end shopping at the Bal Harbour Shops, the location isn’t as exciting as South Beach, where travelers will find the Savoy Hotel.
Beachfront 1947-built hotel with classic interiors and poolside cabanas
The stark 14-floor exterior of the Sea View Hotel looks well-maintained, but the interiors have a retro feel that doesn’t vibe with all guests. Built in 1947, this upper-middle-range property was one of the first high-rises in Bal Harbour and feels slightly dated compared to the luxury resorts in the area. A large chandelier hangs from the coffered ceilings in the foyer of the lobby that features large planters, a wooden concierge desk, classic furniture in several lounges, and worn blue patterned carpet in hallways. The hotel wrapped up renovations in late 2015 and during our visit, some rooms were closed while management replaced air-conditioning units. Consequently, the common areas and spacious pool areas with private cabanas were empty.
In Bal Harbour with beach access and nearby designer shopping
This hotel is located on Collins Avenue, in a prestigious area with five-pearl resorts and a private beach. A pathway for cyclists and runners is found at the rear of the property. Across the street are the high-end stores that make up Bal Harbour Shops, like Valentino and Saks Fifth Avenue. Less than one mile away are cafes, restaurants, markets, and bars on Harding Avenue. More shopping is at the Aventura Mall, which is 20 minutes away by car. It’s 10 to 15 minutes by car to the Indian Creek Country Club and Miami Shores Country Club. The nightlife scene in South Beach is a 30-minute drive. Within 30 to 40 minutes by car are the Miami International Airport and Ft. Lauderdale International Airport. Valet parking is provided at the hotel, but many complain about the expense.
Understated, modern rooms with mini-fridges and suites with kitchenettes; some have bay or ocean views
Interiors vary in rooms and suites that offer between 400 to 550 square feet of space. Rooms have mostly neutral furnishings: cream headboards, sand-colored carpeting, dark wood furniture, pops of orange or yellow, and writing desks with two chairs; some have sofa beds. Suites are more elegant with mirrored furniture, upholstered headboards, colorfully painted walls, and faux fur throws on beds. Upgraded rooms feature bay or ocean views and some have balconies. Standard Rooms have mini-fridges and coffeemakers, and there are kitchenettes in Deluxe Junior Suites. One- and Two-Bedroom Suites include living rooms and full kitchens. All rooms offer flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, hairdryers, irons/ironing boards, safes, and free Wi-Fi. Shower/tub combos are in standard bathrooms and suites have modernly designed bathrooms.
Private beach, outdoor pool, fitness center, casual dining, and poolside cocktails
The Sea View Hotel’s layout offers direct access to a private beach from a gate at the olympic-sized pool that’s surrounded by lounge chairs and private cabanas that have mini-fridges and bathrooms. The resort fee covers two beach or pool lounge chairs, one umbrella, and use of the standard fitness center that has free weights and cardio machines. A sandy pathway -- also used for running and bicycling -- leads to the beach, where there’s waiter service, umbrellas, and lounge chairs, but guests should note that there’s no lifeguard. The hotel doesn’t have a spa, but hair services are provided by appointment.
Casual American dining is served in the Terrace Restaurant and patio that faces the pool. Also on the poolside is a bar and seasonal indoor diner, which can be rented out for 17-person private functions. Parties and meetings can also be held in the Terrace Room, Music Room, Crystal Ballroom -- which fits up to 280 guests -- and the Emerald Room.
For a fee, guests have access to a printer and computer in the business center. Wi-Fi is included under the resort fee. There's a gift shop in the lobby.