After staying at The Phoenician the previous weekend, we were excited to see what all the hype was about the Biltmore seeing they are comparable resorts. The Biltmore is obviously gliding along on its historic laurels.
Check -in: After waiting in a line 10 deep (front desk had 2 people), we checked in at 12 noon not expecting to receive a room since check in is 3pm and alas didn't receive one. Okay no problem. Off to the pool (see next paragraph). Went back after 3pm and waited in another line -- this time 15 deep (yes, I counted). Front desk had 1 person working. Ummm, what??? 25 minutes to get a key -- no kidding. FYI, Phoenician had 5 people working the desk during busy hours.
Pool: Yes, pool is huge. Lounging area is small and has inadequate number of chairs, although many more could be accommodated. Hey Biltmore, take a lesson from The Phoenician and have extra loungers/chairs stacked in out of the way areas and pull out as needed. Also, enforce a 1 or 2 hour rule for idle loungers. We sat next to one gentleman who was reserving 7 loungers of which 5 remained unused for the entire 4 hours we were at the pool. The Phoenician discreetly deters this behavior by taking whatever detritus you have saving your chairs after a couple of hours unused and stacks it near where you sitting, thus freeing up loungers for other guests. This system always leaves loungers available, even for those greedy entitled few. I witnessed firsthand the Biltmore's "run on chairs" beginning at 7:30am from our pool view room. By 8:30am ALL loungers are spoken for -- seriously ALL. The pool is well staffed and will offer to put a towel down on the concrete for your "comfort". So if sitting on a towel on concrete while sipping your $17 Pina Colada appeals to you, then the Biltmore is for you.
Bell service: Or lack of? Waited hours for one bag to show up at our room. Even though we had a claim check they couldn't "find it" for hours. Upon check-out we called down and asked for our bags to be brought down. The answer was "right away". Waited for 30 minutes for the no-show bellman. Decided to schlep our bags ourselves. As we stepped out of the elevators into the hotel lobby with bags in tow, we were swarmed by 3 bellmen offering to help us with our bags. Um...hello? What have they been doing for the last half hour?
Saving Grace: The one saving grace in our stay was room service. We ordered a late night dessert and it was delivered as promised, elegantly presented, and the best Creme Brulee we have ever tasted. For this reason only I give the Biltmore the third star.
Hard to come to Miami and NOT stay at The BIltmore at least once, but do yourself a favor and book one night there and the rest of your stay somewhere else.