first off, I did not meet one single employee at this hotel that was even remotely not friendly. this staff was trained properly.
hotel: location was tremendous. right on Lincoln road which is a hotbed of activity and dining options, all within walking distance. it is right down the block from the Delano. across the street is a 24 hour Walgreen's for whatever necessities you may need. across from that are two tschoka stores for all your Miami souveniers. the lobby was not particularly accommodating. there was a small flight of steps from the front desk to the elevators. an obvious problem if you have a lot of luggage. there is a ramp but you have to retreat from the front desk back towards the entrance, then walk up a corridor ramp which leads to the top of the steps you had just encountered. you can stop there and have a drink at the lobby bar which is right in front of the elevators. it looked lovely and there were the sheerest curtains to help partition the bar from the elevators in case you didn't want to drink in full view of everyone coming and going from the hotel.
once upstairs, you had your ritz-carleton rooms which were spacious and lovely as ever. my view was of the roof and ventilation ducts, but I didn't pay for ocean view and they certainly didn't comp me or upgrade me for that. the bathroom had a separate shower from the tub and double sinks. there was a safe in the room that was in the wall in the closet about two inches deep so you had to balance all your valuables on top of one another and quickly close the safe door before your valuables fell over onto the floor.
the pool: quite nice. you do not need sunscreen, it is provided at the pool gratis. spf 15 and spf 30. the denizens of the hotel are well heeled, so no screaming kids at the pool. there are staff to take your deck chair cotton towels to you chairs and they will set them up for you. if you ask, I assume they will provide you with an umbrella although the pool staff didn't offer to get me an umbrella. there were also pool beds, but they cost extra. kind of like a cabana, but if you want something in that vein that is more elegant, go to the Delano, they do cabanas properly. the pool itself was not deep and each day I went, it was dotted with people so forget about a swim, but it is nice to cool off in the pool. I did not see a hot tub anywhere. walk down from the pool to the beach area and you first encounter a bar, very pricey, but there may be a bank nearby to obtain financing for a small glass of sangria ($15,) I know, I know...i'm at a ritz, so what am I complaining about? I still don't like getting hosed at the beach.
beach: one of the worst I have every seen. Phuket, glorious. Miami beach....not so much. sand is course, once you reach the sand bar and step down to the ocean, there is a fairly fast dropoff. a lot of shells, a lot of that seaweed stuff, overall, not that pleasant a beach. sorry. but the location of the hotel is great. did I mention that? stick to the pool.
I gave the hotel a 4 because of the staff and location, but if it is a true beach vacation you want. you should pass. this place is great to go partying and walking back. no dui's while staying here.