I just got back from a 5 day business trip where we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton on South Beach. Like a proud peacock strutting his stuff, the famous R-C service was on full display here, and everyone from the valet to the housekeeper was helpful and accommodating all the time. The concierge was exceptional, and he had made me dinner reservations at a fabulous restaurant within easy walking distance of the hotel before I even knew what he was doing.
Another example of the incredible service: I was walking up to the bar to order a drink and was planning to stand for a few minutes and watch the soccer game as there were no chairs available. Before I had a chance to look around for a chair, someone had carried one over to me and set it down behind me, and I never even saw the guy who did it. Simply spectacular.
The beach was amazing, but IMO the complimentary lounges should come with a complimentary umbrella, as there is obviously no shade on the beach. The wait staff was fast and efficient, and polite to the max.
We ate lunch in one of the banquet rooms every day, (the one we were in used to be the main entrance/lobby of the hotel and had amazing glass decorations on the walls, doors and stair rails) and were presented with several salad choices, a chicken, and a fish option at each meal. All were equally tasty, but the homemade buttermilk ranch salad dressing stood out and was top notch.
The breakfast buffet was overflowing with fresh, ripe fruits and tasty breads and pastries. The scrambled eggs were acceptable, and there were crisp slices of bacon which are rare on a buffet.
For lunch one day we ate at the inside pool bar and the grilled chicken Caesar salad was light, fresh, and delicious, and the chicken was even warm.
A few annoyances:
I had to constantly sign into the wireless internet, either on my tablet, my laptop, or my smartphone. I know this is commonplace, but many other hotels do not have this requirement. I should be able to sign in once and be done for the duration of my stay. R-C also subs out their tech support, so if you do have a problem and call, you are not talking to someone in the hotel.
The hand-held shower in my room was simply inadequate. It was weak and barely had sufficient flow for the job it was designed for. After a long day of meetings and sitting in an uncomfortable chair, this was inexcusable.
There was no towel bar on the wall next to the shower. I fail to understand why this is so rare. It seems like common sense to me.
Also, if hotels are so concerned about saving the planet by washing fewer towels, why did they not leave the wet towel I hung up to be reused? I mean, it was nice using a fresh towel every morning, but it seems difficult to conserve resources that way. It's good to actually do what your little signs say you are going to do.
The dented car. Yeah, that really sucked. Granted it was a rental, but still, if it had been my own car, I would have been very upset. However, the valet manager was very quick to hear my complaint and write up an incident report (with no admission of guilt or innocence) and send me on my way. He was very apologetic and handled the situation quickly and professionally. Again - top marks to the R-C for their service. They took a bad situation and handled it perfectly. And there were two bottles of water in my cupholders when we finally got in the vehicle to leave.
I was shocked that they allowed small pets at this hotel - totally did not see that coming. Perhaps that explained the wet spots in the carpet next to the nightstands on either side of the king size bed, as the carpet in my room had been freshly cleaned.
Overall, a nice stay in a legendary hotel. Mostly ups, a handful of downs, but not much to really complain about. If South Beach is your scene, and you have the bankroll for it, enjoy the legendary Ritz-Carlton service and hospitality, but get out and sample the local cuisine and restaurants.