We just returned from a five night stay at Fisher Island. This hotel has some areas that operate at a five star level, while other areas operate at a two star level. I will explain. The Villa we stayed in was beautifully furnished and in good condition. The bathroom was modern and tastefully decorated, and had great closet and drawer space in a dressing area. Two sets of double doors opened to a private landscaped patio with a hot tub, two lounge chairs and seating area. However, our peaceful enjoyment of this space was seriously compromised by the noise of road traffic behind and in front of the villa due to construction of their Vanderbilt Mansion. We were notified by the hotel in advance about the construction, and were assured that our peaceful enjoyment of the property would not be effected. They assured us our villa was away from the construction. and we would have access to other swimming pools and the restaurant inside the mansion had been temporarily moved. The truth was that our villa was directly across from the mansion and that starting at 7:55AM there was constant noise from trucks backing up. When I say constant, I mean over an hour of high pitched beeping while dozens of trucks backed into the construction site. So, sleeping passed 8AM, or reading on the beautiful villa patio in the morning was completely out of the question. When I opened my door to leave for breakfast I was met by the site of huge moving trucks delivering furniture to the site and even louder beeping noises.
The hotel staff was very nice. But, there were unnecessary slights throughout our stay. For example, when you ask for a dinner reservation, instead of simply checking availability you are told they have to check with membership to see they can take the reservation. Equity members of the club have priority over hotel guests. When have you ever been to a five star resort and told you were NOT the priority? This is the same with access to the ferry. You sit and watch, wondering if you will make your dinner reservation, as equity members board first. As we learned, this is also an unnecessary slight, since everyone gets on the ferry. On our last night all the electricity in our Villa inexplicably went out. I was blow drying my hair, but nothing else, not even the tv, was on. We were given a flashlight and I went to the spa to finish getting ready. When we left for dinner the lights still were not restored. Usually a manager would contact a guest under these circumstances to apologize? Nothing.
The beach club was very nice and the service at the restaurant was excellent. But, please know the beach is no longer than a soccer field and on the weekends it is jammed packed with "members". And, they never let you forget you are not a "member". There is a sign saying that cabanas are free after noon if not reserved by a "member". So, one day at 12:15 I asked if I could sit in one and was told I could. Two hours later a towel boy comes over and says his manager wants to leave it free for members. By this time, the beach was jammed packed. I asked to speak with the manager, and of course she couldn't look us in the eye and tell us there was any place else for us to go, so she allowed us to stay with the admonishment, "just for today".
There is a much longer, one mile long beach, that is available to residence only. It is not difficult to figure out a way to trespass on this beach, but quite uncomfortable to do. Especially, when you are paying over $900 per night, with tagged on resort fees and taxes, to stay at a five star beach resort. Also, given that the hotel is so small, a hotel entrance gate for beach access would never be noticed by the condominium owners on "residence beach". The beach was practically empty.
The spa and gym were great in every way. Whomever runs the spa knows hospitality management. Each and every day the front desk greeted us with a smile; the classes were excellent and rigorous; the facility was clean and smelled great and the gym had every piece of equipment you could hope for. I had a facial and enjoyed it very much.
While the spa staff was clearly well trained, the tennis facility felt like a trip to a public tennis court. My heart is starting to beat faster just thinking about how upset I felt the two times I visited the courts. The tennis office staff is curt and barely looks at you when you walk in. The court we were directed to (court 5) had cracks on it and piles of sand in spots. There was a long yellow extension cord sloppily placed on the side of the court and a water fountain (the kind you see in old schools) and no cups for water. I took a sip of the water from the fountain and not only was it warm, but it tasted vial. The tennis facility is also under construction, so to return to the tennis office guests have to walk quite a long way around construction fencing. When I explained the water situation and requested a pitcher of ice water and cups (something every five star resort I have ever been to provides) the person at the desk actually rolled her eyes at me and said "we don't do that". She pointed out to me where I can get cups and directed me to the ice machine. This wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the construction. You can't go for a refill without having to walk around all the construction fencing again. My husband and I each took two cups and actually conserved water in order to play out our game. But, this isn't the end of it. I returned two days later to try on some tennis skirts I had seen at the shop. This time a different person was at the desk. I tried on about ten skirts, without anyone offering me the least bit of assistance. Even when I asked if something looked good, the answer was "it depends what you like". After deciding what I wanted to purchase, I hung up everything I tried on and had those items in one hand and the items I was purchasing in the other. The woman at the desk took the items I was purchasing and said, "I'll ring these up while you put back the rest". "What?" She wanted me to remerchandise the clothes I had tried on!! This wasn't a misunderstanding. I had her repeat herself.
The golf coarse is a nine hole course. The staff is every polite.... but wait to you hear this story. There is a 1/4 mile drive on roads between the 5th and 6th/7th holes and then 1/4 mile drive back for the final holes . As a joke, a staff member later told us, kids sometimes move the sign directing guests to these holes. So, you would think that they would provide a map, alert guests, something??? We drove around for 1/2 hour, returning to the direction post, and trying again and again before returning to the club house to ask directions. "Oh, yeah, someone told me that the sign was moved again," was the response we heard. The other thing you should know about the golf course is that "members" also see it as a park. The ninth hole must be a shortcut to somewhere because we played golf twice and both times we were held up by people taking strolls with their families. They didn't attempt to apologize, hurry along or even seem concerned they could be hit. I have never seen that anywhere.
After a while, if you are going to enjoy yourself, you have to just laugh. We did. Too much!! I almost forgot, upon checking out they didn't apply any of the American Express Fine Hotel credits. Watch your bill.
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- Also Known As:
- Fisher Island Hotel Miami Beach
- Fisher Island Hotel And Resort
- Fisher Island Resort