First let me say this: If you are looking for a high-end hotel with several restaurants, lots of nightclubs, and lots of amenities with money as no object, this is probably not the place for you. Go to the Fountainbleu or Eden Roc. However, if you want luxury, beautiful rooms with stunning view of the Miami Beach, three beautiful pools on two levels, a very nice restaurant that serves good food at a reasonable price, two nice bars with a quiet crowd, and a clean and well appointed beach about 100 steps from the lobby, this is the place to stay. I just returned and loved every minute of it. This is by far the best place to stay on the beach.
First, the lobby. Everything is gleaming in cream colored tiles and neutral shades. Parking attendants are prompt and friendly, and the front desk is exceedingly helpful. The lobby is very modern with simple, clean lines. On the north end is a sunken bar, and to the east toward the pools is a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner including buffet style meals. Out back are two pools and two hot tubs with a poolside bar. The real attraction is the 20 step walk to the beach. It's all right there: sand, surf, chairs and umbrellas (these two cost about $10 a day). It's just awesome.
There are no rooms on floors 1-7. Floor 7 contains the tranquility pool (it faces Collins and thus downtown Miami - it's great if you want to get away from all the kids), and an exercise room that is very well appointed and overlooks the intracostal waterway.
Above floor 7 are the rooms - ALL SUITES. They are beautiful and the views are breathtaking. For a little extra, opt for the oceanfront suite (although I hear oceanview offer pretty good views, especially if you get one toward the beach end of the building). The beds are comfortable, lots of storage space, two TV rooms, a fold-out couch - everything you need. A one-bedroom double could easily hold three people.
Any drawbacks? None, really. The hotel could use a gift shop where toiletries, magazines, and books could be sold. Otherwise, this is probably the best Miami Beach hotel I've ever seen.
By the way, I dealt with Frank Deive, the night manager, for many issues (where to go, how to get there, I need aspirin, things like that). He's the most helpful I've ever encountered, and I've stayed at a lot of hotels.