We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in July for 5 nights and had a wonderful experience, for the most part. The room was beautiful with a view of the bay and had a large balcony. The bathroom was amazing; all marble with a stand-up shower, a bathtub for two and they provided the most wonderful bath products each day.
We arrived quite late the first day, after midnight, and therefore ordered room service which was quite good and I didn't think badly priced ($15 for a huge chicken ceasar salad which we ended up sharing). We ate at Cafe Sambal every morning, the food and service was very good. Overall, the staff was wonderful, especially Carlos at the concierge desk, I cannot say enough good about him - he took care of all of our requests, some of which were a little extreme, with such ease and always with a smile. Everytime I picked up the phone for anything at all, I felt like someone was knocking on our door before I could hang up the receiver. Everywhere you go, the staff always stops to great you, from management all the way down the chain. The infinity pool was beautiful, get there early on the weekends before all of the chairs get taken though. The food / beverage service at the pool was a little spotty - we had to ask for a menu four times and wait 20 minutes for the waitress to finally come over. We ordered a cucumber - avocado roll and they forgot to roll the avocado in, when we brought that to their attention, they just put some chopped up avocado on top of the roll rather than roll a new one which was a little disappointing but in the scheme of things not a big deal at all.
Our only complaint about our stay was when we had our final dinner at Azul, the only AAA 5 Diamond restaurant in all of Miami. We sat outside which I would not recommend unless it is a little cool because there is no air circulation at all. The food was wonderful, as a matter of fact it was the best meal we had down there and we consider ourseleves to have fairly sophisticated palates. The server who took care of us was, in the kindest word I can find, ATROCIOUS!!! We ate there on a Sunday evening and earlier in the day had brunch at the Biltmore where, anyone who has had the brunch there can tell you, you practically have to roll out of there you eat so much. Since we were not starving, we decided not to order an appetizer which our server clearly had a problem with, mind you this was right after we selected a $150 bottle of wine. Everytime we had a question about the menu, he had something obnoxious to say, for example when we were looking at the desert menu I asked what exactly the peach melba was, he responded with such attitude, "It's peach!" That was it for us and we made a complaint to the manager on duty and eventually followed up with the hotel General Manager the experience was so upsetting.
Overall, we enjoyed the hotel very much but our experience at the restaurant always pops into my head when people ask about our mini vacation. We will definitely stay at the Mandarin Oriental again but we will NEVER eat at Azul again, there are so many wonderful resturants in Miami that will not treat you the way we were treated when you spend $300 on dinner so I suggest you spend your money elsewhere.
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