Miami South Beach
Okay, so this time it was a “business” trip, but as usual, it somehow turns out to be “pleasure”! We attempted to find the perfect Luxury Hotel to stay at while meeting someone for Business, and decided on the Ritz Carlton. We wanted to try something different from the others we have stayed at (Hotel Victor, Tides, Delano, Loews) and the Ritz had its’ Ups & Downs.
First Impression –
Lobby – Very warmly modern, with a splash of Art Deco.
Staff – Very pleasant, welcoming and accommodating.
Location – Excellent! Walk 2 blocks west and you are on Lincoln Road. Walking distance to all the action on the Ocean Ave Strip.
Rooms – Well…we were not happy (at first!) But let me tell the story………..
Our initial room (# 831) was a bomb. Not the interior. Ritz is very consistent with the interior design and comfort of the rooms. Decor (with the nautical flair) was simply Ritz. Nautical blues, whites, beiges. Expected and satisfactory. Just enough luxury without being over the top. The Ritz luxury items that are expected and make us smile…including the very plush towels and Bulgari toilettries. If we had come in the middle of the night, we probably wouldn’t have noticed the lack of Balcony and the horrible view!
Truth be told, Room # 831 was very confining…and maybe the worst view in all of South Beach! I have had better views in Detroit! Frank was not a happy camper!
We phoned the Guest services and were informed that there were “Lanai Rooms” available. Only $50 extra. Didn’t take to long to discuss that! Talk about $50 well spent! The room was exactly the same in the traditional Ritz decor, yet spaciousness, mood and view were amazingly different. NOW we had arrived in South Beach!
Welcome to room #382. Walking into the room we were immediately drawn to the wall of windows and the Balcony beyond. Wonderfully sized balcony with ample space for 2 lounge chairs and table, that overlooked the very “South Beach” pool area. Standing on the balcony, pulsing to the beat of the “Beautiful People” music eminating from the gardens, the hotel wrapped around the pool area. Very cozy. Also intriguing. The rooms surrounding the pool area were encased in Black Glass that appeared like dark reflective sunglasses. Interesting. Made me wonder what was going on behind those lenses. People “staring back”? “Making Love”?
“Dancing naked”? What was going on with the drapes open
that I COULDN’T see?! Mystery. Intrigue.
The landscaping was well manicured. Perfect. White on White with the black glass and the signature Ritz Blue enhanced the pool . Cool and serene. The crisp blue surface of the pool rippling in the breeze. Yes, I am in South Beach.
And then…the disruption. Imagine sitting on the lawn, in front of an ampitheatre on a starlit night, listening to Andrea Boccelli. Romantic, mood perfect, beautiful music. And then static starts blaring through the speaker system. An annoying static, like AM radio in a car! That is what it was like at the pool, at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach! look, I love kids. Raised 5 ! I know what it is like to take kids on vacation. I also know that kids will be kids. And it is tough to take them to a small boutique-ish hotel. The Loews would have been a great idea! When kids and floats consume the pools surface and turn it into a camp pool, that adults can’t wander into safely…it becomes a problem.
When the sunbeds that couples pay $250 to use for the day are next to 14 un-ruley kids fighting on the next bed…it becomes a problem. The Ritz Carlton should have rules about that. It was a spectacle all day, and the sunbeds on either side were vacated.
Parents need to take responsibility and if they don’t, the hotel staff needs to nicely correct the situation. There were families that had control of their children. Kudos to them!
Every day, from early morning till late, kids took over the hot tub. COME ON! Yes, they do have a right to go in. But what thinking adult would go in after 17 kids have been in and out all day! WE KNOW what warm water does to little kids!!! Maybe the Ritz Carlton should post a sign that the hot tub is for “Adults only”.
We should have done more research. Next time we go to South Beach for relaxation during a spring break…we would choose a more adult hotel. Guess that was ultimately our fault!
Notables that were definitely “Ritz Carlton”:
Staff – Wonderful, attentive and polite. From general service to water and juice being served Butler Style around the pool. Service was great.
$250 Charge for Sunbeds – Very fair. Large, plush towel covered beds that include 2 large bottles of H2O, 2 bottles of Champagne and a very attractive Fruit Plate. Nice way to spend the day in the sun.
Clientele – Very “Connecticut Style” wealth. A bit stuffy. An older crowd then hotels like the Delano or Hotel Victor. It is almost as though everyone staying at the hotel could be family! It is almost like a private club.
Lunch at the restaurant was a treat. If you are under the watchful, caring eye of Julian (the supervisor) and have the good fortune of Liz waiting on you…life (and lunch) is good! Service is the most important aspect to a great dining experience. The Ritz Carlton should be proud of thier staff. They did a great job.
As I return to my luxuriously padded lounge chair, I can’t help but notice the “Ritz Calrton Secret Service” patrolling the grounds. Suddenly opening umbrellas for fear of a sun shower…or is there someone famous in the midst? or is it ME?! I think it is me! That is how the Ritz makes you feel!
Lounging in the sun, in this atmosphere, it is hard to not have a glass of sparkling water and a glass of chilled wine at my side. Just another elegant touch. Once again, I feel blessed to be here. After all, it is the first day of spring (and it snowed in NYC this morning)!
Hotel Mondrain – We went to dinner at the Mondrains’ Asia de Cuba. Very impressive…if you like Alice in Wonderland! I felt like we were in a fairytale. Everything was oversized. Strangely elegant and very white!!! Asia de Cuba was very over priced and the service was horrible. Would not return.
Settai – Heaven. Simply gorgeous. The pool area was comprised of 3 long sleek pools, surrounded by luxury sunbeds, Some of the sunbeds were encased in tall hedges. Absolutely stunning. Will definitely return! (con – Vodka and Orange juice $20!!!)
Miami South Beach…We will return!!!