We just returned from a 6 night stay at the HI. We planned this trip rather last minute, so there were not a lot of choices left as far as hotels went. Overall, we feel that the HI is a good value right on a gorgeous stretch of Palm Beach.
The new lobby is open and airy and fine. It's nothing like the opulent lobbies of some of the nicer hotels on Palm Beach, but how often do you really hang out in the lobby area? Check in was fine. We asked for an upgrade but there weren't any. We were assigned a partial ocean view room on the 3rd floor of the Bonaire tower. There were two elevators to this tower and they were always working fine.
The room was fine. It was above average cleanliness. It was rather small but we didn't spend much time in there anyways. The small fridge met our needs perfectly. The coffee pot was a little gross, I wouldn't have used it. The bathroom was pretty nice, a little grungy in the corners and the hairdryer was pretty gross but overall it was fine. The bathroom is very small with little counter space. I think it would be better if there were tile floors throughout the room as the rugs seemed a little grungy...my kids feet got dirty from running around. But there were no bugs, nothing gross in the room. Even under the beds was clean (we were constantly looking under them for random lost flip-flops, etc.). The room was pretty barebones and not much to look at but it was fine. The little balcony was nice and we had a sideways view of the beach and water. The beds were fine, we all slept well.
There are some little shops in the lobby of the hotel, and we found them to be very nice. We actually liked them better than the shops at some of the fancier hotels. A couple of the stores were definitely a step up from your typical junky souvenirs.
We ate lunches in our room every day but one, and breakfast and dinner out. I don't know why anyone would do the all-inclusive here when there are so many varied and excellent restaurants within spitting distance of the hotel. The one lunch we had at the outside restaurant (not Seabreeze, but the more casual one) was great! Even though it was just pool-type food, it was very good. We had the gyro wrap with turkey, chicken wing app, and burger and they were all great. The fries are great, too.
We mixed a lot of our own drinks in the room but we always had a drink during their happy hour. I thought the drinks during happy hour were extremely watered down, despite the fact it looked as if they were pouring a lot of liquor in the drinks. But they tasted good and the Balashi on tap was definitely cold and good. The bartenders are super nice and they would even rush so you could get your last round in before happy hour was over.
The pool area is no where near as fancy as the other nicer hotels, but we don't really care as we aren't pool people. Still, I thought the pool area looked very nice and it was clean.
The beach here is very lovely. The HI has a very long stretch of beach, so despite what others have said, I didn't find it to be obnoxiously crowded. People are definitely close to you (especially on the weekend we noticed this), but I've actually seen it much worse around where we live during the summer. The sand is nice, and the palapas are nice even though it's weird that they are plastic. Actually, though, I think the fact that they are plastic probably protects you better from the strong sun. The water was warm and calm and beautiful to look at. But, it is only clear at the edge. Once you step in past your ankles you can not see your feet. There are a fair amount of rocks and broken coral so water shoes might be advised. We did not find the noise from the water sport activities to be annoying at all. The water never felt really crowded. We enjoyed it a lot.
The palapa thing is stupid and annoying, but it is what it is. We stood in line at 3:30. Yes, you end up "wasting" hours of good beach time on your vacation doing this, but there is no other option. Bring a magazine or chat with other people in line. The chairs at the beach are not comfortable. The green ones are super saggy and the others are just hard and not comfortable. The chairs at the pool looked awesome. The workers who collect the chairs at the end of the day (we were always among the last people on the beach) are super grumpy and unfriendly and they sort of throw the chairs when they are stacking them and sand flies everywhere, including in my face. Oh, well.
I think the location of this hotel is hard to beat for Palm Beach. There is so much in walking distance. We would routinely walk all the way down the row of shops and restaurants along the road side, and then walk back on the boardwalk behind the hotels along the beach. We always felt safe as there were constantly people doing the same thing. Lots of families out, too, walking with kids until almost midnight, eating ice cream and just enjoying the amazing weather. We were so happy we didn't bother with a car for this trip. We just walked everywhere. That was probably one of my favorite things about this hotel-the location.
The staff seemed very nice overall (except for those grumpy chair guys). Front desk, housekeeping, etc.
I think this is a great hotel for families, and good for couples on a budget. I said that it's average because when you look at the other hotels and walk through their grounds and lobbies, you can see that those are much nicer, but they are also more expensive. For what we paid, and the fact that we had little choice as it was last minute, I think it was a good deal. And the beach and location would be hard to beat.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.