Our stay had some issues, but if I were to go back to Miami Beach, I’d try The Betsy again – I think it has potential to be a 5 star experience. In retrospect, I would have booked a Suite rather than a “classic” room and called a week ahead of time to confirm my reservation – I think had a done those two things I would be giving The Betsy another star.
Getting to the hotel was pretty straight forward – it’s an easy cab from Miami International. The bellman working the curb was quick to snatch up our bags and whisk us through the crowded entrance into the hotel (the entrance doubles as an outside seating area for their restaurant, and it was in full swing). As you enter the lobby, the BLT restaurant occupies the left hand side, the bar/lounge occupies the right hand side, with the front desk located in the hallway that separates the two. The noise was deafening. Live music was happening in the bar/lounge and the overflow crowd in the restaurant was all in full voice trying to talk over the music and their fellow diners. Talking to the clerk at the front desk was almost impossible. Normally, you really don’t need much communication when checking in – a credit card and maybe a driver’s license goes across the counter and a room key and a pointer to an elevator comes back. Unfortunately, that would not be the case for us – we got the six words you never want to hear when checking in – “Could it be under another name?” Luckily, I had the printout of our reservation, complete with confirmation number, deposit amount, check in dates, etc. So I handed that over, the clerk called in reinforcements (the reservations manager) and lots of huddling and checking and keyboard typing ensued. After about 10 minutes or so, they found us a room for our four night stay. They never did find our reservation. Worrying that our deposit was somehow lost as well, later I checked my past credit card statements and found that they never had taken the deposit either – despite the online reservation system indicating it had done so – complete with confirmation number, deposit amount, balance due, etc. If they normally do something regarding orientation (e.g. how do we get to the beach, rooftop bar, etc.), they skipped it with us that night – honestly, conversation was impossible with all the noise.
Based on the above, you can imagine that we didn’t have the highest opinion of The Betsy when we came down for breakfast the next morning. That is… until we met “Amazing Paul”, the concierge. I stopped by to chat with him about a place for dinner, and as he wasn’t that busy, he ended up giving us a personal tour around the hotel. Awesome! After he got a feel for what we were looking for, we took him up on his offer to “surprise” us and book all of the dinners for the rest of our stay. It all worked out great. Three very different restaurants, all easy to get to, all excellent! I did not recount my experience from our check-in with him – he wasn’t taking pity on us, he apparently is just a really nice guy who loves his job. The experience with Paul kinda reset our opinion on the hotel.
Back to our room - I suspect we may have gotten a room that was out of service (and hence available without a reservation…), and therefore not representative of their normal rooms – it had issues – water stained ceiling, torn awning above the window, missing tv remote, flush handle on the toilet kept falling off, an occasional weird puddle of water that would appear under the toilet, etc. Definitely needed some TLC. The room did appear to be one of the more desirable “types” – 3rd floor, pool view - it was quiet. The view (Room 301) wasn’t anything special, by the way – you’re mostly looking into the side of the hotel, so take that into consideration if you’re pondering paying extra just for that view.
The non-suite rooms are small, and the limited horizontal space is pretty much taken up by hotel “stuff”. The only additional seating is a desk chair (which will quickly become full or your “stuff”) – so the only place to sit in your room is the bed… so you probably won’t want to spend time in your room, other than sleeping. As other’s have mentioned, the hidden gem at The Betsy as far as a place to hang out at the hotel is the rooftop lounge. The bartender was really good there the night we spent some time up there.
Beach access is great – just walk across the street, down a walk way and check –in at the first towel station, and they give you towels and summon someone to set up your beach chairs and umbrella. Don’t plan on being completely out of the sun – the umbrella’s aren’t that big.
Breakfast at the hotel restaurant (BLT) was above average, if a bit pricey. Another convenient option, for both breakfast and lunch, is The Front Porch Café, which is across the street at the Z Ocean - quite a bit cheaper and a menu with a much bigger selection. We kinda split our breakfasts and lunches between the two. The Front Porch is a really nice place to go directly from the beach as it’s more comfortable/casual if you’ve got your beach cover-up on.
The service in the main floor bar/lounge was pretty bad both times we tried it. The bartender wasn’t really interested in fixing us a drink, nor were the waitresses that would come round. I think the greeting we got the first time we sat down in the lounge was something like, “you two don’t really need anything do you?”. There are so many great bars in the area, I don’t really consider to this to be that big a negative – you simply go down the street to find a better bar/lounge. The waiter we had lunch at BLT when we sat out on the porch was awesome. So, in general, service was kinda hit or miss, depending on the employee.
Checkout was easy and efficient and the bill was accurate. The bellman was again very helpful in arranging for us to have a cab waiting to take us to the airport.
As I reread what I’ve written above, part of me thinks I’m being too easy on the hotel and what should be expected if you’re paying $500/night. However… most things in Miami Beach are over-priced, so I don’t think you go there looking for value – you go there for the unique atmosphere and experience. Relative to the going rate for that unique atmosphere and experience – I like The Betsy and would try it again.
Book a suite if you can afford it - regular rooms are really small
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Bud 4977,
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed review on your recent stay. It is truly only through the insight of our Guests that we can continue or never ending mission to respond and improve. I aplogize for the mishap with your reservation - we have since identified that glitch in our reservations interface the day your booking came through and resolved it. Regarding the room that you stayed in, it is simply not representative of the Betsy and I would appreciate the opportunity to make that up to you on a future visit. Our restaurant, BLT Steak, does indeed reach a crescendo (usually between 7-9PM) that can be pretty intense...the good news is that unlike many of the other hotels in the area, we don't keep that pace up all night long, so that both a high energy South Beach experience and a peaceful night can be wrapped up in one location! Please contact me directly the next time that your plans bring you to Miami Beach - I would be happy to handle your arrangements personally.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.