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“Katherine Hepburn” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Betsy - South Beach

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The Betsy - South Beach
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (City Center)   |  
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15% off room rate
Ranked #5 of 202 Hotels in Miami Beach
Toronto
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Katherine Hepburn”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2014

The Betsy….
A week or so ago, I spent the most I ever have for a hotel room. I did it at the Betsy. At $800 a night. I have travelled far and wide. A castle on the Rhine, a 13th century convent in Montepulciano, a seaside Amalfi flat, the 4 Seasons Maui, The Ritz, The Peninsula…You know…I don’t think I have ever been in a place where a standard room was so dear. Was it worth it?

Well…Betsy’s rooms are small. And the shower was the smallest of any hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Her valet parking is hard and slow to get to. And she is not perfectly maintained (see pic). Brass sneaks through chrome in places and my bathroom door no longer fits in its’ frame. But those who have been to Florida’s circa 1920’s buildings know that they are never perfectly maintained (think Vinoy). Parts are hard to get and the plaster-work is beyond almost all contractors. Those who know how to fit and fix things correctly for buildings like our Betsy are as rare as she is…So you have to live with these things if you’re going to spend time living in art. Betsy is, after all, an old, particular, vain American lady. Who? Think Katherine Hepburn at 60 years old.

However…This is why some, including myself, love her.

Her bar and her lounge are the best situated I’ve ever been in. Take the few stairs down from your room (not the elevator), throw open the curtains at their base and present yourself into the large, open, slightly Nighthawks-esque bar area. It makes you want to dress for the occasion (If I only had my zoot suit and my Jag XK130…). And you’ll have no desire to go anywhere else once you’re part of the scene…

I love that Betsy is, because of her age, civilized and quiet and warm and gracefully rich. I love that her family…uh…staff is happy. And I love that they are close to, but not quite, Downton Abbey competent. I love that loud, vulgar South Beach is just outside, but not in. I love that you can’t hear a thing while in your dark, cool, perfectly appointed little room. I love that I can swim alone in Betsy’s deep pool - and that it’s warm and that the lounges are perfectly sculpted and I can smell bacon wrapped scallops cooking while I do my laps…”Oh man…I need to order some when I’m done”...I love that Betsy is small enough that I get to know who the guests are that staying with me (“bye - see you next time - have a good flight back…Sigh”). I love that her colors are neutral and yet she and her family suggest rich, genuine essentials. Latte, croissant, afternoon shade and the gulf stream breeze on a calm, cooling street side patio…

You have been granted a privilege to be in a place like this. So take the good with the bad. Yes, things could be a little better maintained. Yes, the rooms could be larger. However, every old lady could use a nip and a tuck. I'm sure she is aware of it and I am sure she will plan in that regard. However…not now. She is not rushed. And if she is needy, she’ll hide it well…So will you go looking for flaws? In the end, doing so would only reveal your own poor judgment…This Grand Dame, like all, is gentle, she has poise, in her pocket she hides sweets and she is correctly perfumed. She’s intelligent. She has beauty. She hides her flaws well. If you can respect that, she’ll open up to you. And respect you too. If you can further let her charms carry you away, Katherine will flirt with you…elevating you in the process. And will it have been worth it? What was that I was worried about? 800 what? Pass the champagne and bring around the XK. Whatever it was, that flirting, that elevation, that confirmation - so heady at times - was worth far more.

Room Tip: Choose a room facing toward the pool if you want quiet. The street is loud.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Dear Pair_vine,

Rarely have i read such a detailed, colorful review of the Betsy on Tripadvisor! Thank you so much for your kind words, you captured much of the essence of the Betsy's charm and unique character. As you may know, we are passionate about writing, and even have a room dedicated to visiting authors who hold salons, readings, and other community engagements here at the hotel. While unique for South Beach, honestly we have many standing room only events of this nature! I hope you were able to experience one while you were here. If not, there is always the next time!

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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1,417 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (298)
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

We spent two nights at the Betsy for a bachelorette party. The location is killer and the hotel lobby and rooftop were beautiful and calm (in the sea of Miami crazy). Having a restaurant as delicious as BLT was also a huge plus. Be sure to ask for lunch from the BLT to go when you head out to the beach! Everyone that worked at the hotel was very nice and accommodating, down to the concierge standing in the rain to catch us a cab when we had to make a dinner reservation.

Unfortunately, we were disappointed with the quality of our room in relation to its extremely high price tag ($1,200/night). The room was small and the view was of another building 40ft away. The A/C was broken on arrival. The music speakers didn't work. There were no sheets or pillows for our pull out couch, and it took three trips up from the hotel staff to get us everything we needed. The shower was handicap accessible, and while I always prefer to stay at establishments that respect and service the needs of all clients, this particular model of shower allowed water to flow into the rest of the bathroom. Even a 10 minute shower resulted in standing water in the rest of the bathroom.

No hotel room is perfect, though given everything, a more fair price for a suite at the Betsy is $400-$500. If you can get a deal, it is worth the visit for all the good reasons I mentioned above.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 9, 2014
Dear crsproulie,

Thank you for your recent visit and for your review. It is true, that are larger suites such as yours can be expensive, especially in our highest rated month of the year (March, when you were here). Miami is quite seasonal, and there are great rates to be had all year long if there is flexibility with your travel dates! We also have a whole range of room types, from modest and affordable to more luxurious. We are happy to work with you personally to meet your exact needs. I also want to apologize for not having your sofa bed made up upon arrival. With a boutique hotel such as ours, where personalized service is so important to us, the best way to book is directly with the hotel, to ensure that all the nuances of your visit, including the number of Guests staying, are properly addressed in advance. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime your future travel plans bring you to Miami Beach – I would be happy to personally see to your accommodations and ensure that your stay is flawless!

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2014

There is certainly no shortage of places to stay in South Beach, but it would be difficult to imagine a hotel better located, with staff more kind and giving, and facilities more beautiful than at the Betsy (Ross) South Beach on Ocean Drive at 14th.

The two concierges, Margot and Adam could not be more helpful, and Margot sweetly had a bottle of champagne and a chocolate mousse sent to our room for my wife's 60th birthday. Front desk staff was great. We were treated the first night to a plate of fresh fruit, sent to our room unbidden. Room staff was more than generous with soap and shampoo, and the room was made up each day beautifully.

The room was just exquisite, although it offered not quite the waterfront view we'd hoped. It faced the water, but at third floor level (the top floor), the palms in the park obstructed our view of the water. As our bellman explained, "the trees outgrew the hotel". Still, that was our only complaint, and the view from the hotel rooftop, where they've located a place to sun (with bar and a menu) and a Wellness Garden (with early morning yoga classes), more than makes up for the limited view from the room.

What each room does have, and if you love to read you'll appreciate this, is its own small library of recent book releases, some light, some heavier reading. Pool is small and located in a courtyard on the first level, but you're at the beach, right? Lobby bar is enormous and features a light jazz combo on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

If you're headed to South Beach--which we plan to do again and again and again--you could not choose a better place to stay than the Betsy South Beach. We've stayed at more than a few hotels over the last few years, and this is one of the best.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 9, 2014
Dear Syael1339,

Thank you for your recent visit, and for taking the time to write your review of the Betsy. I am happy to read that you had such a great time, and that we can look forward to seeing you again in the future. Our many return Guests are very special to us; be sure to mention that you have stayed with us before when booking, so that we can access your profile and offer you access to the best rates, upgrades, and other perks! We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2014

We were there in Middle March 2014.
Positives, excellent staff, service was excellent. Yoga was great with Benjamin. Negatives, we had an 'ocean front' room on the second floor but there was a very minimal view. Best views from the roof deck which is free. Room was very small no chair just 2 double beds but there were only 2 of us. Room was $550 per night but 'weekend rate' starts on Thursday and the rate jumped to $680 per night, this seemed quite unfair.

American Breakfast (which came with the room charge) was limited to eggs and bacon, at the room of rate of 550-680 breakfast should be open to all choices.
The location was excellent, more clarity on the views and no jump on Thursday would have made the stay much more pleasant.

Room Tip: Skip the view room and take the inner court yard view.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 9, 2014
Dear Joel A,

Thank you for your review! I am happy to read that you were able to take advantage of our wonderful Roof Deck and our acclaimed restaurant, BLT Steak. Miami Beach in March is indeed expensive; you will find that throughout the area. In fact, March is generally the most expensive month of the year. Miami Beach is a seasonal destination, though, and although these days it is always busy, the rates are significantly less in the summer and fall compared to the winter. I hope that you will be able to visit us another time, for the exact same experience (Luxury rooms, Yoga, live music, all of our cultural offerings and of course, BLT Steak) at even better prices. And don’t forget to mention that you are a returning Guest, so that we can access your profile and offer you the best specials and upgrades that are available! We hope to see you soon.

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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Lexington, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

We were able to make it back to Miami after having had a prior stay cut short, and decided to try the Betsy, which we'd heard good things about.

Put simply: we were blown away!

When we arrived, we were enchanted by the lobby, which was both welcoming and stylish, and the service was outstanding. Our bags were taken and we were shown to the front desk, where they apologized that our room wasn't ready (even though we were five hours early!). They were so helpful in showing us where we could change for the pool while we waited. Within an hour (only an hour!) our room (upgraded!) was ready and it was marvelous. We overlooked the pool from a very spacious king room, and loved the books and literary feel of the place. Returning to the lobby, we enjoyed the high ceilings and overall feel it exuded, and the complimentary water came in handy after a few intense games of checkers.

Soon, we headed to the roof, which overlooked the ocean and was the perfect way to begin our escape from the cold northeast weather. The service there was great: professional but not intrusive. It was a great place to read and people watch if you want to (from four stories up) while you enjoy the warm Florida sun and the cool Florida drinks.

During our stay, every hotel staffer we crossed paths with (every one!) said hello, lending to the air of comfort in the hotel.

I will say that we were a little worried about being *on* South Beach but, honestly, the area around the hotel was pleasant, quiet, and not crowded at all. We slept great, and truly enjoyed and were able to relax in the room.

We tried to eat in the restaurant on our last night, but neglected to have made reservations, so were disappointed to find out there were no tables until late. But, the concierge, seeing us sitting in the lobby, offered to find us other places to eat. We elected to walk over to the bar and were oh so happy that we did. The bartenders were great (hey, what do you expect from someone from Mass.?) and we were still able to eat from the restaurant's full menu. An iffy evening was turned on its head and was the best night of our short stay.

I can't say enough about how much we liked the Betsy. We will definitely come back, which (in talking to others at the bar) is pretty much how most guests feel.

Room Tip: Facing the pool was an excellent choice for us. It was spacious and quiet and a delightful place to...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 9, 2014
Dear Thisishal,

Thank you for your recent visit with us, and for your review! You are right, most of our Guests tell us they do intend to return, some folks have become quite regular in the few years that we have been open. The Betsy does indeed tend to cater to a more sophisticated traveler, and all of our efforts are dedicated to an experience unlike any other hotel. To accomplish this in the middle of all the excitement of South Beach truly helps us stand out. I was happy to ready that you appreciated our efforts, and we look forward to welcoming you back, again and again...

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

We spent two days at The Betsy, 18 & 19 March 15. Two days to relax before a long journey home after a hectic two week cruise around The Caribbean. A long awaited dream realised to stay there and we were not disappointed. From the moment of arriving early in the morning we realised that this was indeed a very special hotel. Beautifully appointed and furnished in all soft colours of whites and creams with fabrics of linens and soft cottons in the bedrooms. Our room, 103, was spacious, beautifully adequate shower room, overlooking the pool. Have read that some rooms are small but this was perfect for us and quiet also. Nothing was too much trouble and we felt very cared for and also felt that we were treated as special quests. Simply lovely. The best hotel we have experienced and we have been around the world twice and travelled extensively. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: As mentioned 103 facing the pool was good, quiet and accessible by walking up just 6 steps from the...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheBetsyHotel, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 10, 2014
Dear Jbfivestar,

Thank you for your review - and of course, I am especially happy to hear your accolade, "The best hotel we have experienced and we have been around the world twice and travelled extensively." This is our goal - to be something out of the ordinary, a perfect blend of luxury, culture, and relaxation in the midst of all the excitement that is South Beach! I hope to see you again soon!

Best regards,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
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Regina, Canada
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

We spent 2 nights at the Betsy. The overall experience, for the price, was less than expected. The location is great...walking distance to everything...the first night we spent in a double ocean front room which was hardly large enough to swing a cat...it felt like a charming children's room...not large enough for 2 adults. Even the drawers were tiny. We asked to be moved the second day and were relocated/upgraded to a pool-side suite which was lovely...more expensive, but worth the price when compared to the first room...at least twice the size. We certainly did not miss the minimal ocean view of the first room, with windows that barely opened. Service was overall, poor, with an atmosphere of disorganization. A few staff members were very helpful, but most appeared disinterested. The concierge was curiously inconspicuous. Great collection of photos (Beatles and Stones) throughout the hotel hallways. Nice rooftop deck.

Room Tip: Choose a pool view room for better value. The ocean views are not spectacular.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeff L, General Manager at The Betsy - South Beach, responded to this review, April 12, 2014
Dear LesleyWin,

Thank you for your visit and for taking the time to write your review. To answer your question, that would be me. I am sorry that you felt that our service was disorganized. I'm not sure what specifically gave you this impression, but I would be very pleased to discuss this with you further. Our primary goal is to take care of our Guests, to meet and exceed their expectations. If we failed at that on your stay, I apologize. Our staff is the most consistent, highest ranking aspect of the hotel. We go to great lengths to only hire folks with the "spirit to serve". The tasks can be taught, the attitude can't - this is our mantra. I hope you will give us the opportunity to show you a more typical stay in the future - one with only the fondest memories.

Sincerely,

Jeff Lehman
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Betsy - South Beach

Address: 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Miami Beach > City Center
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Miami Beach
#1 Business Hotel in Miami Beach
#3 Family Hotel in Miami Beach
#3 Spa Hotel in Miami Beach
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Miami Beach
#4 Luxury Hotel in Miami Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Betsy - South Beach 4.5*
Number of rooms: 61
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Betsy is an elegant, historic landmark hotel located in the heart of South Beach. Relaxed tropical interiors and an intimate courtyard pool create an aura that is passionately low-key. Sharing The Betsy's lobby is BLT Steak, an iconic modern American steakhouse featuring a full Sushi & Raw Bar. Betsy's rooftop Deck is expansive with sweeping views of the Atlantic, offering a Wellness Garden with a full range of spa treatments and complimentary sunrise yoga. The 61 room property cocoons its guests in timeless luxury, while offering an incredible view of the beach, exquisite amenities, and a unique presence for art and culture that invites travelers to relax, refresh and renew. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Betsy Hotel Miami Beach

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