Stayed at the Epic for a one night lay-over in Miami. Didn’t want to stay on Miami Beach for one night only and was torn between the Epic and the Mandarin Oriental downtown (prices were about the same). In the end, I chose the Epic because it’s much newer and has received positive press, not to mention its top ranking on TripAdvisor.
A bit underwhelming, I must say. First of all, the very first thing one notices upon entering the hotel is the pungent smell of chlorine coming from the decorative fountains in the lobby. Not helped by the unpleasant smell, the atmosphere in the lobby feels very cold, with nowhere to get a drink sitting down: there is a restaurant at lobby level with a bar, Zuma, but you can only have a drink at the bar as the tables are reserved for diners; there also seems to be a separate lobby-level lounge, which was closed on that night; Area 31, the hotel’s seafood restaurant on the 16th floor, also has a small bar area, which was, however, occupied. Seems to me they should serve tea/drinks in the lobby itself (where they have a few armchairs/couches), which didn’t seem to be the case when we were there.
The room was fine: obviously new and with the requisite amenities (flat screen TV, fee Wi-Fi if you join Kimpton’s loyalty program, which takes 2 minutes, a desktop computer, pleasant enough bathroom with separate bath and shower, Etro toiletries, etc.). Like the rest of the hotel, however, the room did strike me of a kind of cheapish luxury, if you pardon the oxymoron. Also, the towels were quite harsh – odd considering the fact that they must be relatively new. All of this is perfectly acceptable if you’re paying 200-300 dollars for the room, but decidedly less so if you’re paying 500+. The one positive feature of the rooms is the large balcony which, depending on where you are in the building, faces the ocean, other downtown skyscrapers or a mixture of the two.
As to service, the bell hop who greeted us upon arrival and showed us to our room was very good. However, the receptionists at both check-in and check-out were very much like automatons, repeating pre-prepared blurbs as if they were robots. Similarly, the hostess at Area 31 had left her charm at home.
The only food I tried was at Area 31 for breakfast, which was fine. It did, however, cost $35 for a couple of fried eggs on toast with some bacon on the side, a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. The orange juice in particular was $6, which, to me, seems a bit steep considering it came out of a carton. Once again, like the rest of the hotel, the décor of Area 31 felt rather anemic and generic to me. Didn’t dine at Zuma but it was obviously very popular, drawing in the chi-chi crowd in flashy cars. Instead, we ate at the local outpost of Daniel Boulud’s Bistro Moderne, at the Marriott Marquis opposite the Epic, which I can strongly recommend. The restaurant also has a fine bar with excellent cocktails and a much more pleasant atmosphere than any of the Epic’s offerings.
There is a reasonably large pool area on the 16th floor, which we didn’t use given the weather. Had a stroll through it though and it seemed nice enough, with well equipped cabanas on one side (with TVs, etc.). Reminded me of the pool area at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, though not quite as nice. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that quite a few of the mosaic pieces in the pool have come off; once again, quite odd considering that the hotel is new.
As an aside, downtown Miami, at least the bit where the Epic is located, is even more dead than I had imagined. All you have is office blocks, residences and a few hotels (in the immediate vicinity are the Marriot Marquis and Hyatt opposite, and the Viceroy across the bridge; the InterContinental and the Mandarin Oriental are also nearby), with, literally, nothing else. I wouldn’t want to be there any longer than one night, unless you’re there for business.
All in all, if I had to stay in downtown Miami again (quite a big if) and was willing to spend $400-500, I would certainly stay somewhere else (probably the Mandarin). The Epic is certainly not worth that much.
P.S. The name is just ludicrous.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.