I was on holiday in Miami in May, staying one week, then flying to Indianapolis for a work conference then back to Miami for a further week, before flying back to the UK.
I pre booked the Essex House Hotel before leaving the UK. The first week in a standard double room, and splashed out on a suite for the second week.
On arrival, I struggled with my three suitcases carrying them up the front stairs and through the lobby - no help offered. The lady on reception was very brusque to the point of being aggressive and fired questions at me - how many people are staying in the room? if you bring uninvited guests you will be charged extra, etc etc Not a great start.
The room was ok, dated and musty smelling, tiny bathroom, with broken and tired accessories. Worst of all, there was no hot water. Several calls and mentions at the desk brought the same answer, The building is old, so no hot water... try leaving the shower/tap to run for 15 mins - this didn't work.
The excuse that the building is old really is laughable - the hotels in my home town are from the 17th century, and they have no problem offering hot water!
The rate I paid wasn't cheap at over £120 a night - but for the entire stay in the main building, there was no hot water - so taking a shower and washing had to be done in freezing cold water. An apology was given on check out, but no discount or gesture.
When I returned to the hotel on the second week, my 'suite' was in the adjecent building. It was bigger than the standard room, but still dated with the musty smell that is apparent in this hotel.
This time, the air con didn't work. Every day of my stay, I had to contact reception to get the unit fixed, which meant two service men on ladders in my bathroom, removing a ceiling hatch, and banging around for an hour or so - and then repeating this every few hours or the next day, when the unit stopped working.
Air Con in south beach is essential, and this spoilt my stay.
I was woken up regularly in the 'suite' as cleaning staff and other guests, walked past my window with clanging service carts and loud voices as they accessed other rooms and walked up the adjacent stairs to get to first floor rooms.
In the bathroom there was a jacuzzi which was nice to use, although bizarrely, to turn the taps on, you had to stand in the tub, as they were on the far wall, then rush to jump out so you didn't get wet, and wait for the tub to fill - odd arrangement :-)
The room wasn't a 'suite' by normal hotel standards, and was disappointing.
The lady on reception who greeted me, was also training a new member of staff - her coaching skills were an example of how not to coach/train someone. She barked orders at him, then took over the task sighing loudly and saying to me, 'he's new, sorry'. The poor guy, I'd rather have been served by him anyday!
The young lady, again barked a number of questions at me - some very personal and I found her totally off putting. The other people I came into contact with at reception - namely the guys, were all very good, friendly and nice.
The British guy at the bar was also very good and personable.
Each night there was a happy hour, with free wine or beer, which was a good touch.
The swimming pool was tiny, locked after 5pm and despite being told was open at 9am, was still locked at 11am the next day - it was also in the shade for most of the day - so I didn't bother with the pool - it was useless.
I feel really bad writing this review, as I generally look for the positives in all my hotel stays, but the service and the accommodation was very disappointing for the cost - and being told, 'well this is good for south beach', is not a good enough excuse.
Would I return? Not likely! Having stayed in South Beach three times, now, and if you want to stay in the area around 11th Street - then choose Dream Hotel - much nicer rooms and service, and a top quality pool area.
- Also Known As:
- Essex House Hotel Miami Beach
- Essex House Hotel
- Essex Hotel Miami Beach
- Essex House Hotel South Beach
- Essex Miami Beach
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