The Palms is one of those places you really want to love but it falls just short of expectations on too many little things to make it great. On the positive side it has a nice lobby and reception area, very competent pool and spa, and terrific access to the beach. But our experience was not very good from the start. We arrived around 1 PM and were told our room wasn't ready. The desk clerk said he'd call me as soon as it was so we went to the poolside bar to wait. By 3:30 when no one called (and our bartender had checked with the desk twice) I went back inside to the complain and was told the room had been ready since 2. No explanation as to why we weren't notified.
The room itself was OK with a nice ocean view, but the configuration was a little odd--the entry corridor bisected the bathroom so the shower and one sink were on one side of the hall, and the toilet and another sink on the other side. The window curtain was stuck and never was fixed during out stay. Minor point, but reflective of the experience.
The location is North Beach. This was my first time in Miami Beach so I didn't realize North Beach is isolated from the action and shopping areas of South Beach and Lincoln Ave. There is absolutely nothing near the hotel--no restaurants, bars, stores--nothing within walking distance. So if you want to do anything outside the hotel, it means getting a cab or driving.
Finally the nickel-and-diming: You don't come to Miami Beach and expect to find a bargain, and the Palms will not disappoint you in this regard. But the drive to generate profit by adding little charges reaches new heights at this place. Think $7 for the bottle of water placed in the room , Parking fees of $35, a daily $15 "resort fee" (my least favorite surcharge of all time) and an automatically-charging mini bar with a hair trigger. On that last point, we never even opened the door to the bar but charges showed up on our bill. The clerk said the bar must have sensed movement in the room and misinterpreted that as use of the bar. Not sure I buy that, and it doesn't explain why I was also charged for the $7 water which we never used.
Finally the on site restaurants and bars: Don't expect a bargain. Typical charge for 2 top-shelf martinis (tip automatically included): $35. Servers were nice. We didn't use the restaurant but the prices were eye-popping even for Miami Beach.
Honestly, I really wanted to like this place but by the end of our second day I was really, really ready to go. Good thing I scrutinized my bill before leaving and had them remove all the inappropriate charges or my rating would be even lower.