Our experience at the Palms was like this: Awesome from the minute we walked in - to the minute we walked out! ** The stand-outs at the Palms are the service and the relaxing atmosphere. **
We arrived on 3/2 and just wanted to relax, soak in the sun and the beach for a couple of days. We stayed at the Fontainebleau twice before, but wanted something different. The Fontainebleau is big, and busy all the time. While it is an impeccable place, there's too much buzz and I don't really feel like I'm on vacation with people in office suits and people in bathing suits mixing by the pool. The service at the FB can be pretentious too.
The Palms is smaller, totally calm, and more of a tropical paradise with much better service and you really feel at home. There was a nice mix of people staying there, with the exception of the partying teens (except for us! - not really - we're in our 40's and we like to have fun, but we're falling asleep at 10). There were people from all over the world (same with the staff), and it was a nice touch that all of the staff have name-tags with their home country. It is definitely a nice place for families, but it’s not like there were kids climbing all over the place at all. There's no swing-sets, and the families we ran into were mostly with babies, well-behaved kids, or young teenagers with their parents, etc. Young couples, old couples, and families can all feel at home together here.
We had an ocean-front room on the 6th floor. It was a beautiful view, rooms aren't huge, but clean, modern, and the cleaning staff kept things nice. They came and went invisibly, and did as much or as little as we wanted without issue. There's no smoking inside the hotel, but there are areas outside and I didn't see any issues either way.
Lobby / general:
Valets were great, Lobby was very nice- Again, this isn't the Fontainebleau with "big and grand", but rather more like walikng into a fancy hotel in Jamaica with palm plants and a nice front & back porch to sit on and have a glass of wine. We brought drinks from the beach to the porch to the room and it wasn't like there was an abundance of rules or anything. It was like as long as you don't disrupt anyone else's time there, you're on vacation and should be able to feel at home and it breeds a sense of courtesy for everybody. We didn't see an unhappy guest the whole time. The staff communicate with each other via radios and you always feel like they are there to help. I never hesitated to ask for something and they never batted an eye about dropping what they were doing to help. (yes we lost our room keys one night - they just verified who I was and made us new ones.... left our towels somewhere, spilled coffee in the lobby .. mistakenly moved things in the mini-bar... they always just did their due-diligence when they had to and helped fix any issue without a fuss and basically kept us happy even when it was something we screwed up).
Beach / Pool-
The pool isn't huge but big enough. Pool and beach were impeccably clean and the beach staff takes care of anything you need - lounges, umbrellas, tables, food, drink.. I saw some reviews that complained about birds by the pool. Yes there were little birds in the trees by the pool and they occasionally came down to say hello, but what do you want in paradise? Its not like they were crocodiles - they were cute. They weren't an issue to anyone while we were there.
I also saw reviews talk about the construction noise. I have to think we were there at the height of that. Read this: Miami Beach is one giant construction zone right now. You can't get away from that anywhere here so either tune it out (very easy to do) or go to an island somewhere. The Palms pipes in a really nice music. It’s not any specific kind of music but a good neutral background music that anybody could deal with. I actually liked it because - hell - it felt like vacation music, but not the some repeating boom-boom or reggae all day. Nice job on the background music.
Ok I'm giving a glowing review of this place but I have to put constructive criticism in where its needed. The Tiki bar food was good - open from like 10-6pm. (yes we spent a lot of time between the beach and the pool and the tiki-bar- honestly that's all we wanted once we got settled. We didn't want to leave and ended up staying at the hotel except for one dinner trip and a shopping trip). We had the Mahi-Mahi sandwiches a few times, burgers, shrimp cocktails, salads and they were all great. Our first day we were complaining about the fries being soggy, but -hey- all we had to do was ask and every time after we just asked them to burn the crap out of the fries and they made them nice and crunchy exactly like we asked. It was amazing how fast, and hot the food comes out to the bar and the beach. The grilled shrimp addition to the salads was good- they should offer those on a skewer as a dish. They obviously are doing something very right with the food service.
The Essensia restaurant was a little disappointing. The ambiance was perfect- sitting on the porch outside was so comfortable, but maybe we got them on an off-day. We got a chicken dish with some kind of butternut squash and beet puree that wasn't good and a mahi-mahi dish that was cold. The fish dish was halfway tasty, but it was almost like they over-thought the dishes into some creation that missed the boat for us. We are into fancy food and went to a steak house one night for dinner and never got back to the Essensia for dinner after the first day. I would back up the menu with a few more solid choices - rather than all overly-involved culinary specialties that miss the mark. It was the only thing we both agreed could have been better in the resort.
Breakfast buffet was perfect, bit expensive at $60 for two, but the service was impeccable, perfect atmosphere on the porch, and food was abundant and high quality. They do a lot to use fresh-fresh everything and I still think it was worth it.
Spa- yes - the spa is everything you would want it to be and the stone massage was incredible. We were on the fence about getting a spa treatment, but a nice lady named Yoli came by the pool one day and gave us hand massages and chatted about the spa, so we said why not. Yoli was the reason we went and made a reservation and I liked the way they marketed the spa in that subtle way
In summary- It was a perfect vacation for us, every other guest we talked to had a great time. The staff was amazing and it was the friendliest place we've ever been to. It’s not a place to worry about anything, it’s not a place to nickel-and-dime everything - (they're not out to $zing you at every corner) but it’s also a high end resort and prepare to drop a few $ on your stay. It will be well-worth it if you have any ability in your bones to actually relax. We especially acknowledge some staff we thought were awesome, Fernando, Jorge, Sara, at the Tiki Bar and the nice lady in the gift-shop, .... and pretty much everybody there was deserving of a thank you. When guests are literally hugging staff on their way out, you know they are not only doing their job but they do care. It was a small enough place where the staff does get to know you and you're desires, and they actually did whatever they could to make our vacation as nice as it could be.
We'll be back.
- Also Known As:
- The Palms Hotel Miami Beach
- The Palms Hotel And Spa
- Palms Hotel Miami Beach
- The Palms Hotel
- Palms South Beach
- The Palms South Beach
- Miami The Palms
- Palms Miami
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Let us welcome you with genuine service and laid-back sophistication at our serene oceanfront resort, set in the heart of Miami Beach. Soul-reviving AVEDA spa experiences, natural gourmet cuisine at Essensia and newly renovated rooms, all inspired by the beautiful nature surrounding our sanctuary. Discover Miami Beach’s award-winning independent beach resort. ... more less
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