I was very apprehensive regarding this hotel, because the good reviews just kept flowing, with minimal negatives in-between. You know, the thing that it's too good to be true? Not this time.
There is not much to add to the sea of positive reviews, so I'll just try to point out a few things.
1. Construction: There is some construction still going on, but it won't bother you. First, because the hotel will put you in an area that is away from it, even if it involves an upgrade. Second, because any noise can be efficiently blocked by the excellent sound isolation of the balcony doors. We booked a fountain balcony kind and were upgraded upon check-in to a poolview balcony king, top floor.
2. Rooms: Our poolview balcony king had been recently remodeled. As spacious as a typical Hampton Inn room, with nice furniture, decorated in good taste, and an excellent 42" Samsung LCD TV with a ton of DirectTV channels (not the usual hotel menu-based crap that you encounter all over the US). The room also has a refrigerator, iron and ironing board, safe, hair dryer, coffee machine. The only thing we felt was missing was a microwave.
3. Customer service: The moment you enter this hotel you are overwhelmed by the professionalism and kindness of the personnel. Everybody is very nice. I have to distinctly point out Patrick from the reception desk; as first impressions go, our encounter is probably the top one with any receptionist ever. My check-in took about 3 minutes or less, because everything had been prepared in advance for me; I could see the stack of paperwork grouped by guest behind Patrick. Once he had my last name, he just double-checked a few things with me, explained to me in detail the layout of the property and the services I could enjoy, including at the Southernmost on the Beach sister hotel, and off I went. When arriving to our room, we had a welcoming voicemail waiting for us and a card from the cleaning service on our bed; the shocking part, in line with the fantastic customer-oriented vision the management must have, was that the cleaning service offered the option of having our room cleaned at a certain hour every day, based on our schedule. We did not use this option, but we were impressed by it. We had stayed at 5-star hotels before and had not encountered this attention to detail even there.
4. Internet: I was able to have 3-5 lines of wireless connection on the top floor. The connection was fast, when it worked; there were moments with decreased responsiveness. Overall, I would say an above average Internet connection.
5. Fees: What's that? Not only there are no resort fees here, but you get to use all the facilities at the Southernmost On The Beach sister hotel. That includes free beach chairs. Even the room numbers are continuous between the two hotels, suggesting an unified view of the property and its guests. Parking was also free and plentiful.
6. Location: The hotel is on the quiet end of Duval street, a 10-15 minute walk away from the busier part. A leisurely walk to the other end of Duval street took us about 30-40 minutes. It's an excellent location; we felt very secure at all times, and there were no roosters to wake us up. :-)
7. Beach: The SMOTB has a small beach, where one could even swim if one so desires. The Cafe is right next to the beach, nothing to write home about.
8. Pools: The buildings at the Southernmost are grouped around one of the three pools (out of which one is under construction now). The pools are beautiful and big, between 4 and 6 feet in depth, surrounded by plenty of chaises longues. A very smart solution with a small fountain jet at each corner of the pool creates a white noise sound barrier, so that one is not bothered by noises from the pool or the tiki bar next to it. The pools and buildings are also surrounded by luscious tropical vegetation.
9. Price: If you book well ahead of time, you will get a rate that it's difficult to beat by any similar quality establishment in the area. I would say we paid about 50% less than we were quoted for other top quality hotels.
10. Negatives: Very few, if any, like finding dirty bed linen in the elevator on the night of our arrival. But nobody is perfect, mistakes happen, and even the perfect blue sky can have a few clouds. As long as they are small and pass fast, who cares? This 5-day stay was probably one of my best hotel experiences in the last decade. I and my wife were thoroughly impressed and looking forward to come back soon. Psst, don't tell anybody about it!