Overall, The Palms Hotel & Spa decent place. No major complaints, although for the price, I really expected more. It did not live up to the impressions on the website. The lobby is attractive and has a comfortable atmosphere. The reception staff is friendly. There is a pianist playing in the evenings from 4-7.
Regarding parking, to park at the hotel is $29/day, and it will take approx 30-45 mins to get your car (and he expects a tip). We found street parking, which is free from 6pm-8am. At 8am, you can buy an 10-hr parking pass for $1/hr and put it on your dashboard. Worst part is you have to wake up at 7:50, but street parking is not hard to find.
There is a Keurig machine on the dresser with free Keurig coffee, sugar, and creamer. There is a card on the bed, stating that it uses a great deal of electricity and water to wash sheets and towels, so it is recommended that guests not have sheets changed every day. We asked for our sheets changed on our 3rd day. The cleaning staff was friendly, but I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the drinking glasses were washed with her bare hands and water. Also, she asked if we're checking out the next day. When we said that we are, she mentioned to us that she wouldn't be here tomorrow (implying that we should tip her now. We did.)
There is only one pool, and it is 4'6"-5' deep. During the day, it mostly contains small children. The pool area is open 24 hours, clean, and the pool is an average pool. No complaints about the pool, other than its kiddiepool-type feeling. There is no hot tub. The grounds are beautiful, complete with hammocks, chairs, umbrellas, small tables, and free towels. But don't try to bring your own beverages to the pool. You can only have beverages purchased poolside (ranging in price from $6-$16) with 18% gratuity added "for your convenience"). Pool attendants are friendly, and offer frozen washcloths if you'd like to cool down without going swimming.
The beach is nice, also with chairs, umbrellas, and beach-side restaurant service if you want it. The beach attendants are friendly, and also offer frozen towels.
I can't speak to quality of the hotel restaurant food because we did not eat there. I can say that it's quite pricey (and 18% gratuity is added to the bill, "for your convenience").
I was looking forward to the spa, but I simply could not justify the insanely high prices, plus the 20% service fee (not including gratuity). We went to Bodies Kneaded in downtown Miami Beach, and for half the price, had great massages and facials.
The bathroom is clean, though there is some wear-and-tear in the shower. Also, there was no bathtub in our room. Yes, there are Aveda products in the bathroom, but the bottles are so small that if you are 2 people traveling, each person will only get one use out of each bottle. And they are not automatically replenished unless you ask (even if you do decide to have regular housekeeping done on a daily basis, which is a question I asked even though we only had our sheets changed once).
The shower pressure is weak, and, despite being turned all the way to the hottest setting, was only lukewarm for the duration of my shower...Until, at the end, the water was hot. I stayed in a few extra minutes to warm up.
The room is small, but not claustrophobic. The hallway (at least on the 3rd floor) smelled like mold, cigarettes, and cleaning products. The room itself was stuffy the entire time. This is probably our largest complaint. The windows do not open (for obvious safety reasons), but there's no exhaust or ventilation system in the room. In order to eradicate the stuffy smell/feeling, you must turn the thermostat way down, which makes the room freezing. And as soon as it gets back to a normal temp., the room smells. Perhaps it's the carpeting. It felt very wet and sticky every time we came back to the room.
The bed is clean, and comfortable .
If you need a refrigerator, you will be charged $10/day unless you need it for medications or breast milk. But you are not told that. You have to specifically say that you need a refrigerator for medicines or breast milk, and ask if there is still a charge. There is no charge if you need a fridge for those 2 reasons.
We came here for a short, relaxing getaway from our hectic work and student lives, and we were not disappointed per se, but I don't think we would come back to this hotel again. It wasn't horrible, but for the prices they charge, you'd think it was more upscale than it actually is. I would not recommend this hotel to friends, but again, it wasn't a total disaster. I would look elsewhere if you're planning to visit Miami Beach.