I stayed 4 nights at W South beach with my wife and daughter. We split our stay in Miami between W South Beach and Fontainebleau to make it more fun, and because it was more cost effective that way.
With regard to W hotels, you like them or you don’t. They are like a club with accommodation services rather than the other way around. And they also give you the Miami club attitude. It is a privilege for you to stay there, not the other way around. Depending how much you like the hype and/or can tolerate the attitude will significantly change your view on the hotel.
We had booked a one-bedroom Oasis suite, and we got upgraded to a 2-bedroom suite because of my platinum status. I got fooled by the hotel’s definition of “ocean view” which means that it is not “ocean front”. All rooms at W are ocean view, which means partial ocean view. My disappointment was that our 2-bedroom suite was facing a large building that undergoing heavy duty remodeling or maybe they are bring the building down. In any event no pleasant view. I asked if I could have the original suite I had booked, but the answer was No! So I was forced to an undesirable “upgrade”. At Fontainebleau I had made a reservation through Hotwire for dirt cheap and was able to upgrade that to a gigantic ocean front suite with balcony for like $200 extra per night. At W, none of that. Granted that they had limited availability. But they did have their bungalows available, for which they wanted to charge me $700 extra per night, even with my platinum status and clearly unhappy face. My answer to that: you must be kidding me!!!
Whenever I can, I stay at St Regis hotels who go out of their way to make you happy, and I don’t deal very well with the kind of attitude they gave us.
This said, the place grew on us though. It definitely has a more upper class clientele than Fontainebleau, and everything is a lot more expensive. If you ask yourself objectively why things are more expensive, I think the only valid answer is “because they think they can.”
I read some the complaints and reviews about the chairs by the pool. In all fairness, we didn’t have any problems. You have to play the game, go early and tip the guys and you won’t have any problems. In addition, there are countless chairs by the beach.
Some reviewers had complained about a fee per chair. That is incorrect. You may be entitled to a limited number (2) of chairs per guest, but we didn’t have to pay for chairs or umbrellas.
One more comment regarding St. Regis Bal Harbour: As stated above, I usually stay at St. Regis hotels. Bal Harbour is the exception. Despite the unbeatable service, we found the hotel to resemble a large bloc of concrete, with limited grounds and fun. If you ask the concierge for a car rental, their first question is if you want a Bentley or a Ferrari.
So where to stay in Miami?
I’m not sure. Of course it depends who you are, and what you expect, and how much you want to party.
For our family, we found Fontainebleau to offer the most value for our money.
I hope you guys will find this helpful.
- Also Known As:
- w South Beach Hotel Miami Beach
- w South Beach Hotel
- w Hotels Miami Beach
- w Hotel Miami Beach
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At The W South Beach, wake up to spectacular sunrises over the Atlantic or wind down to scenic sunsets in 395 rooms and bungalows featuring the best of resort living. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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