We own a villa just 3 miles from Disney World, Florida & we decided to go there for 5 weeks over Christmas & New Year, (still here now) we decided to have a few days in Miami, so we drove down (3 hours) & we made a fantastic choice to stay at the Mondrian South Beach hotel which was fantastic in every way, not the cheapest per night but worth every penny, the staff were friendly & very professional in everything they did for you, the building is superb & very chic & modern, the lobby is just WOW in every way. The pool was perfectly located at the rear of the hotel & was great for a swim or cool off from the mid day sun (80's each day) the pool ladies that look after you are so nice they get everything for you nothing is too much trouble, its a must stay place & gets 10 out of 10 from us.
We were a family of four, (2 young boys) so we booked a suite which was awesome (if booking try to get a room on the bay side 7th floor or above, we were in 716 which was incredible with views over Downtown Miami, the bay, the sunset) the room was tremendous, very spacious, clean & well stacked with everything, huge TV's in every room, docking station, incredible shower & very comfy beds.
The room had a dining table, kitchen, lounge area, two bathrooms, two bedrooms & a balcony over the bay. If I am super critical, on the negative side as we had booked a suite I did expect to find some facilities like extra towels, enough shampoos & soaps in the bathrooms for everyone in the room, nothing to make a drink of tea or coffee or even have a drink of water, there was not one item to have a drink from! no cups for tea or coffee but there was a kettle? no glass to have a drink of water or a glass of wine before you went for your meal, which I thought was very strange, I asked the maid who did not speak good english & she had no idea, not the end of the world.
Its not cheap to eat & drink at the Mondrian so be-careful what you order & tipping of 20% is added on as well, valet is $37 but worth every penny, the valet guys were very professional & again nothing was too much trouble for them. Even though the hotel is called Mondrian South Beach it is on the West side of the harbour so not close to south beach its a good mile away, straight forward from the hotel on 11th street takes you directly to the beach, you can walk it in about 15-20 mins will get your heart pumping, but it is through some back streets so again be-careful & watch out for the drunks asking for money. If you do not fancy a walk then a cab will take you for a small fee.
A few tips on the area, if you are a family like us, then when you reach the beach at the end of 11th street do not go straight on the beach there & sit down as it is a very populated "Male Gay area" nothing against them personally but the boys found it very strange to see two men in each others arms vigorously kissing & oiling each other up in public, if you are easily offended by this you will need to move further down the beach, where the tall hotels start.
The sun beds are pricey at $45 (two beds & parasol) the sand is great, little drink stations dotted along the beach are superb (not over priced either), the sea is clean, safe & the life guards are very alert to the area. The bars on Ocean Drive (OD) are great but expensive for everything, everyone is after your money so there are loads of staff trying to get you in to their place/bar to eat & drink, the main street OD is great to people watch, get a front row seat in a bar (Finnigans was a really good spot) & just watch the world walk by its amazing! We hired bikes (bike stations are everywhere for $5 for 1 hour) & we rode the length of OD which was nice & you get to see a lot more.
I came to OD quite a few years ago with just the wife & it was full of "prima donnas, designer labels, with women/wives showing off that their diamonds are bigger & more expensive than the next & quite a few people who still thought they were in the 80's/90's scene, well it has not changed much at all, what is more evident now are the gay people, the beggars on the street side & sections which are populated by drunks who just seem to fall a sleep where ever they are sat, but OD is well policed so there is no trouble. The other thing that really stood out on this trip was the amount of older men who have just never grown up from the 80's/90's scene, all with hair dyed too dark for their age or wearing a ridiculously bad fitting wig that again is too dark to match the grey hair which is showing underneath, complete for some reason with huge sparkling women's ear rings that they should have took out years ago, odd strange outrageous clothes (really bright pink pants, lime coloured shoes & orange shirt, just do not go together & never will or have) & most of them had a lot younger woman on their arm, obviously a money thing by the way the ladies were treated by what I can only call their "sugar daddies" money no object, with bottles of champagne popping, diamonds gleaming, these people were so over the top it was obscene, but good fun to watch.
Evening meals for me can only be taken on Lincoln Road, ($6 in a cab from hotel) its got everything you could possibly want to eat, truly superb place (watch out for the 20% tip added to your bill), also great for shopping, people watching & a nice walk up & down both sides of the street, lots of designer shops, some you will know & some you will not, but all expensive.
Would we stay at the Mondrian again, most definitely its first class, the walk to the beach wakes you up, would we recommend the hotel, most definitely a 5 star package for sure (despite no cups) beach & sea were fantastic, OD is a must & something you need to witness if only for the experience of it, if you are going to South Beach then book the Mondrian you will not be disappointed. Happy New Year I hope your 2013 is full of much love & laughter, enjoy!
Anything above the 7th floor on the bay side of the hotel is a must, a view you just can not beat ov...
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