I stayed at the Epic Hotel from 4/14 – 4/17 based primarily upon the reviews that were posted on this website. The prior reviews do not accurately reflect my visit to the Epic Hotel.
First, DO NOT expect a five star hotel – DO NOT expect a four star hotel. The Epic Hotel is a solid three star hotel that is located in the middle of a massive construction area. There is construction of a new Marriott Hotel next to the Epic Hotel, and there is an office building being constructed behind it. Construction noise permeates the premises from 7 AM through 6 PM.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THE CONCIERGE FLOOR
I stayed on the Concierge Floor. Again, DO NOT expect the same “concierge service” that exists on the Concierge Floor of a Ritz Carlton Hotel. No, this is ghetto concierge. Let me give you some examples -- In the “concierge lounge”, according to Epic’s website and in-room brochures, there are supposed to be light snacks and drinks served throughout the day. You are even given a schedule of particular offerings in the concierge lounge.
The “continental breakfast” in the concierge lounge was standard fare – bagels, cream cheese, lox, a few pastries, fruit and yogurt. Very much like what you’d find at a Best Western’s “continental breakfast”. There was also a lunch snack – turkey sandwich finger food. There are wine and cocktails put out from 6 PM – 8 PM.
The one that intrigued me was “Sweet Dreams” from 9PM – 11PM. I asked the concierge, Gene, what “Sweet Dreams” was – he answered that there were lots of dessert treats and after dinner cordials for guests to enjoy. Here is a list of the “Sweet Treats” that I saw when I went to the Sweet Treats on 4/15 – No after dinner cordials (there were nine bottles of hard liquor – vodka, gin, scotch, etc. – that had been out all day.) There were two bottles of white wine that had similarly been out all day. The “sweets” were two bags of Doritos Tortilla Chips that had been opened and put on plates, six mini cookies on two plates (lined up three to a plate), pretzels on separate plates, and two mini-dark chocolate Milky Way Bars. That was the “Sweet Treat” on April 15.
Simple answer, if you are going to stay at this hotel, do not waste your money on the Concierge Floor (almost triple the price of a standard room in the hotel).
In my estimation, there were about 60-75 guests in the hotel when I stayed there. Clearly, the hotel was pretty empty (since there are 411 guest rooms).
The room that I stayed in had two double beds and a “water view”. The view was actually of Biscayne Boulevard (US Route 1), but if you look through two buildings that are under construction, you can see a part of Biscayne Bay. There was a draw bridge on ground level (twenty nine stories below my room), but you could hear the warning bells ringing every time the draw bridge went up or down (approximately every ½ hour).
There was no dresser in the room. The only drawers to store clothing or personal belongings are in a night table between the two beds. The bathroom was very nice, but it is still a question to me why there is an open window and a curtain shade between the bathroom and the bedroom instead of a solid wall.
There was a huge balcony overlooking Biscayne Boulevard that was approximately 6 feet wide and 15 feet long. Surprisingly, for a balcony that big, there is no lounge chair – there are two chairs and a square table that take up about 3 feet of the balcony. Without any substantial furniture on the balcony, it is very desolate to stand out there and stare at the road below.
During my stay, as with many of my hotel stays, I placed the loose change that I accumulate in a glass that I place near the telephone. After my first day, there was probably three to five dollars of loose change in the glass. The glass and the change were gone after the first time the maid cleaned the room. Buyer beware. Also, be careful of the staff’s cleaning – on my first night in this high end room, my foot was stabbed by a toe nail that was left in the carpet by a prior guest.
AREA 31 DINING
By far and away, the Dining Services offered at the Epic Hotel were the most disappointing. There is one restaurant named Area 31. The restaurant has an incredibly limited menu. Moreover, the bar in the restaurant has a very slim selection of cocktails. (During my stay, “Thomas” a member of the restaurant staff told me that “he does not want to air the Hotel’s Dirty Laundry, but there was a party over the weekend that used up most of the Hotel’s liquor and the Hotel could not yet restock.” Why couldn’t the hotel restock after nearly a week?) Now, I ordered several drinks that are common, but not that common to be used up by a single party – Brandy Alexander (hotel had no more brandy), anisette (hotel out of that), sambuka (hotel out of that), crème de menthe (either clear or green)(hotel out of that).
When ordering, I was immediately told that the hotel was out of escargot – not a big deal for me since I do not care for escargot. No other changes were noted on the menu. There were five fish dishes on the restaurant menu. I ordered Mahi Mahi at the suggestion of my waitress. About a half hour later, the Sous-Chef, Steven, came out of the kitchen and told me that there was no Mahi Mahi left. (By the way, I was the first person who came in for dinner at 6:05 PM. The restaurant opened at 6 PM for dinner. When did they run out of Mahi Mahi since I was the first guest for dinner?) I ended up having a grilled swordfish dinner that was dry and difficult to eat.
In recognition of the immense screw ups by the restaurant staff, the Maitre’d did not charge me for this dinner, but invited me back the next night when he was sure that all of the problems would be resolved.
I went back the next night to try the only restaurant one more time. This time, I did not order any drinks from the bar, and stuck with water and iced tea. I ordered only what was recommended by the waitress after confirming that there was an ample supply of the selected food. There were no less than five staff people (some of whom I did not recognize) who continually interrupted the meal to have discussions about the prior night’s disaster and whether this night was any better. I ended up being more annoyed by the constant interruptions than anything else. I finished my entre, paid the bill, and left without any dessert.
NOTE: The dessert menu is also extremely limited at Area 31 (four desserts in total). There are no “traditional” desserts – no cake of any kind, and no pie (except key lime pie). As a second note, if you order the chocolate moose, you may wish to make certain that you leave the whip cream topping off since it is grapefruit flavored, and sours the rest of the dessert.
Finally, the charges for the food at this restaurant are not commensurate with other restaurant charges in the area. Dinner for a couple with a couple of glasses of wine/drinks will be approximately $200-$225.
EATING AT THE POOL
From 3 PM – 5PM, the restaurant kitchen is closed, but you are supposedly able to get something to eat at one of the tables around the pool. (Now, this all comes from the same kitchen mind you.) I ordered a salad with a sliced chicken breast. My travelling companion ordered tuna salad. It took one hour and fifteen minutes for these two salads to arrive.
After the extreme wait, I was expecting something extra-ordinary – but, it was just a few field greens that you can get pre-packaged at any local food store, with oil and vinegar and a chicken breast cut up on top. By the way, I was not alone in the wait – another person in the pool area arrived at the same time I did, and he had to wait the same time period for his salad to arrive.
Due to the delay, the waitress ended up giving a complementary round of drinks to compensate for the delay in receiving food.
Most of the reviews on this site talk about how wonderful the staff is. The staff constantly asked if there was anything that they could do to make your individual visit more special. While generally speaking, it is true that the staff is pleasant, they are extremely slow in responding. It is my belief that the staff’s pleasant behavior is used as a cover for the many short comings of this hotel.
Financially, let me give you an idea about the cost of this hotel -- three nights at this hotel cost me $1500. There is no doubt in my mind that my money could have been better spent at any number of other hotels in Miami or nearby Fort Lauderdale. It does not make sense for me to endure the frustration of staying at the Epic Hotel again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.