Hilton International hotels are typically your luxury 5-star brand that oozes style and class everywhere, particularly in Asia. In America, however, they are really just a 4-star hotel chain (e.g. Hilton Anaheim, how is that called anything more than 4 star?) as is Sheraton and Marriott. So, after reading the reviews on this website, and after looking at candid photos, we were pretty much prepared for the same thing; a 4-star hotel chain. And that’s exactly what we got!
Upon arrival, the hotel is right outside a drive-thru diner where the cops like to hang out. It’s not a visually appealing area at all, and in fact, the hotel lobby is 1 floor above the street level (what the?). On the lobby level, registration desks and a souvenir store that looked like it has remained in the 80’s sits with the restaurant, bar, and access to the pool (how can the guest be expected to go through the hotel bar to the pool area??). This hotel is another one that has been built in the 70s/80s and has had a renovation to try and keep up with the times, but really looks like a refurbished old hotel. The design of it shows that!
We had 2 rooms on the 3rd floor and upon entry, the first thing that hit me was the sheer ugliness of the view. It is literally a large white roof from the building next door. The only thing that could have made it worse was old rotting air conditioning units. After closing the drapes to avoid more eye sores, the rooms are relatively spacious with 2 double Hilton Serenity beds, a coffee percolator machine with take-away cups (which seems to be the standard in US hotels) and a toilet which looks like it missed the renovation and also remains in the 70’s. Whoever designed the toilet roll holder was an idiot, which is so far from the toilet you need to stretch toward the sink to get it. Once you tear toilet paper off and let it fall, the roll falls to the ground and soaks up water from the floor which had not drained properly. What the!?! The room also does not have a room safe, and for some reason had an iron, but no ironing board. The air conditioning was also a hit and miss – our room was at a good temperature, but right next door it was constantly hot which meant turning up the air conditioning so that it was so noisy and smelt damp that you couldn’t really sleep properly, no matter what kind of Serenity bed you put there.
Breakfast in the restaurant was quite limited, but I guess quite standard for an American hotel. What I completely disagree with at this hotel is the automatic gratuities charge of 18%, both at the bar and hotel. How can a gratuity be automatic!? It means the staff know they’re getting this amount, so they can just slack off. Our waiter cleared our plates once (in a buffet!) and still expected the 18% - complete rip off!
Check-in staff were quite brief and pretentious. Nothing like the welcoming concierge who helped us with tours and activities to do. As a business hotel, it has a very good location, being a brisk 1 minute walk to Miami’s free tram system, while South Beach is about a $10 cab fare away, and Port of Miami is well within sight of the hotel. It’s also a 5-10 minute walk to Bayview Shopping Centre – if you can stand the Florida sun! We also ventured to Dolphin Mall during our stay which the hotel recommends a $10 return trip bus shuttle. Beware, however, that the Hilton is one of the last hotel stops to the mall, and when we tried to get on, it was completely full. We had to then fork out $40 each way for a taxi.
All up, the stay did not exceed nor went below our expectations. If you expect a 70’s/80’s style hotel which has new beds, then you’re pretty much spot on. Probably next time would look at a newer hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hilton Miami Downtown has completely renovated all 527 rooms and suites, featuring the Hilton Serenity Bed and Bath Collection. The new exercise facility features Fitness by Precor. Enjoy the heated roof top pool with views of Miami. The hotel offers the amenities today's travelers expect. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel Miami
- Miami Hilton