We returned to Miami on a cruise and wanted to experience a little of South Beach's offerings. I booked this primarily based on location, price and the bed arrangement.
The location is great. A 15 minute walk to Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive, but in a quiet area where you are not going to be kept awake by traffic or clubs.
The price was great! $300 including taxes and fees for mid-April. So much better than the hotels in the same area. Keep in mind, the Boulan is not a hotel. It is private condo complex with front desk staff and housekeeping. They have an arrangement with a restaurant within the same complex, but accessed around the block that serves a complementary hot breakfast with two options. Pancakes or eggs/toast and coffee or juice. The food is actually excellent and the staff did a great job of getting us in and out within 30 minutes as we had to catch a taxi to the FLL airport. Be advised that you will be charged an automatic gratuity and given prices of the breakfast items meant we had a large gratuity (as breakfast goes) to pay.
The condo is big by hotel room standards, but small by condo standards. Ours was decorated in a white/modern/minimalist style with an emphasis on form over function. The drawers to everything required a push to open, but were of very poor construction. Some were broken. The kitchen was minimally equipped (think 4 plates, 4 forks, 4 glasses, etc.) We didn't cook there, so it wasn't a problem for us. The ice machine in the freezer was broken and despite having maintenance look at it and tell us they fixed it, it still didn't produce ice. Finally, they brought us a bag of ice. The bathroom was enormous with a huge soaker tub and walk-in shower. My daughter wanted to take a bath, but the tub drain wouldn't stay closed. We had to call maintenance again and the gentleman replaced the drain cover, which again you have to push once to close and push again to open. We did go up to the roof top pool, which is a wonderful escape. They have lounge chairs and some platform beds with canopies, but the mattresses on the beds were a little too dirty for my liking.
Now the beds. My husband and I really need a king bed and since this offered a king (Temperpedic) and a sofa bed for our girls (11 and 8) I figured we'd be fine. Our king bed was outstanding. On the other hand, you know when a kid finds a sofa bed uncomfortable, it's a bad sofa bed. First, the sofa bed is not a double; it's a large twin and suitable for only one person, even a child. Second, the mattress is 1.5 inches thick, but has an innerspring interior. Basically it is mattress ticking covering an innerspring - very uncomfortable. Also, when our daughter moved at all on the sofa bed, the whole unit creaked loudly. We called the front desk, again, to ask about a rollaway, but they didn't have them. Also, our unit only had sheets for the bed, but no blanket, so we asked them for a blanket for the sofa bed and a set of sheets and blanket to make up the sofa cushion as a makeshift bed for our 8 year old. They only brought one blanket, and we needed to call the front desk again to explain why we needed the extra set. We finally put the 1.5 inch mattress on the floor for my 11 year old as the creaking was just too loud for any of us to sleep.
I gave the Boulan a three rating as it's a mixed bag. The staff was super, even letting us check in very early (10am), which was so appreciated. They responded to all our requests very quickly, but the fact that I had to call the front desk so many times was unfortunate. I felt like I was a being a pain, and honestly we are fairly easy going people. The adjacent restaurant is great and based on breakfast I'd try it for lunch or dinner without hesitation. It's in a great location. We never made it to the beach, but I loved that they had a section for Boulan guests with chairs. Basically, I'd recommend the Boulan to those who require one bed and understand it is a condo that is going to have it's share of quirks.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boulan South Beach is ideally situated in the heart of the Collins Park neighborhood, the cultural and social epicenter of Miami Beach. The Collins Park neighborhood features the best dining, nightlife and the arts that Miami Beach has to offer. Within walking distance of Boulan South Beach are the hottest restaurant and bars, most fashionable shopping, and celebrated cultural establishments in Miami. All this, set amidst the gleaming backdrop of sandy beaches and the shimmering waters of the Atlantic Ocean. ... more less
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