But a decent step in both directions. Not really a hotel, not just a plain condo, but worth trying if you like bigger rooms than you normally get in South Beach hotels. The one room apartments with balcony are big enough and nicely equipped. We were offered an upgrade to a penthouse, but it turned out the penthouse didn't have a balcony/terrace, which we had specifically asked for. Where's the 'up' in such an upgrade? We declined and took the regular room, and found it quite acceptable with modern furnishings, huge tv sets and even free wifi from the Setai next door. The Boulan charges for wireless, so if you want to use it for casual browsing, make sure you get a room facing Collins, since it probably won't work from the rooms facing the 21 Street. The down side of this is that you get some noise from Collins as well. Not in the room, mind you, but on the balcony you can really hear the traffic.
The pool area is nice, there always seems to be room, since people probably tend to go to the beach. The good thing is, the hotel also offers parasols and sun loungers on the beach for free at the end of 18th Street. Definitely worth trying as well. No pool bar on rooftop terrace though. But if you keep your room fridge well stacked from the Walgreen's one block away, this won't be a problem. Remember: this is not a hotel. Go for the condo experience.
There's breakfast included in the restaurant downstairs (enter from Collins). It's basically just croissants and Danishes and coffee. The staff in the restaurant seemed a bit reluctant to pay attention to 'non-paying' customers. The hotel obviously has some sort of deal with the restaurant, but since most hotel guests aren't having anything else than the free stuff for breakfast, it' no use expecting any service either. They're shooting themselves in the foot by this though: we normally try the restaurant at the hotel at least once during our stay at any hotel, but the lack of service at breakfast was so discouraging we didn't go there this time. Their loss.
On the other hand the staff at Boulan were mostly very friendly and up to the task (except for the curious 'downgrade' offered). However, they really need to change their cleaning hours, since it's absolutely too late for the housekeeping to come to clean the room at 5 p.m. This was the case almost every day, and it's rather annoying when you're starting to get ready for the evening. This, however, is not to blamed on the housekeeping staff, but it's more likely a managament issue.
All things considered, we had a pleasant stay. It may not be the cheapest option, but there's plenty to be said for choosing Boulan as well: location, pool/terrace area, large well-equipped rooms. Just to make a point: we stayed at the Surfcomber's a few years back and were crammed into a room where you had to carefully insert yourself into the bathroom. The rooms at Boulan are 4 times as large and the bathrooms are humongous. It all comes down to what your preference is.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.