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“Reasonable hostel environment, great location - check for bed bugs” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tropics Hotel & Hostel

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Tropics Hotel & Hostel
2.0 of 5 Hostel   |   1550 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139   |  
Hotel amenities
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
“Reasonable hostel environment, great location - check for bed bugs”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

Best for those comfortable with a basic hostel environment, close to everything in South Beach.

The first thing you should know about accommodation in Miami is that it’s Very expensive. Take your cheapest two-star small town motel, quadruple the price, halve your expectations and you should be okay. Add the fundamental rule of the better the location, the more expensive it will be.

The Tropics Hotel was our 33rd hotel stay in seventeen weeks travel across North America. It ranks as expensive, and probably least value for money stay compared to all other hotels we’ve stayed in, but therein lies the problem. To not feel aggrieved here, don’t compare this place and its price to any other place you’ve stayed. Except perhaps New York and London. If you expect a 2 star experience here, you’ll be disappointed.

We sweated over Tripadvisor comments and discount hotel booking sites, forums and travel guides forever, trying to get something reasonable in Miami that would not bust our credit card limit. We didn’t want a filthy, flea-pit party hotel experience so often reflected in some of the cheaper Miami hotel Tripadvisor comments. Neither did we want the sell-a-kidney-on-ebay, four star plus experience.

The Tropics Hotel met our criteria. We stayed five nights (from Mon – Thurs) for an average of $110/night (incl. tax).

In general: It’s very basically furnished, and is an average size room in an old art-deco motel. There’s nothing fancy going on here. It’s a fantastic location just a block from the beach and has a nice-sized pool, casual outdoor lounge area and outdoor (but undercover) cooking facilty. It’s more like a hostel with private bathrooms, than a motel.

What’s good: It’s in an absolutely top spot – within a short one block walk to Miami beach, its opposite fancy hotels four times the price, and right in the middle of plenty of great restaurants, shops and bars. If you want a basic Miami Beach experience for a lower price than other places, this is probably it.

The outdoor area near the pool is a relaxing place to check emails, have a few drinks or meet others.

The shower was good and hot, and the air-con unit was fairly modern and kept us cool. The white noise from the fan also drowned out most other noise during the evenings.

While our room faced the pool area, most nights the collective noise from there quietened down by 11pm and we had no problems with noise from that area. We had a third floor room facing the pool, towards the end of the corridor.

The motel offers their internal laundry for guest use for a small fee from 5-10pm (washing powder $1.00). There’s a guest computer in the foyer, a few board games and a drinks machine.

The small colour tv (it’s not a flatscreen) with a selection of cable tv channels.

Bath towels were coloured (brown & striped), and in good condition – made a nice change from the usual crunchy, worn through, hankerchief-sized white ones in other motels.

Potential showstopper: Cleanliness wasn’t the best – it’s an older motel with a lack of deep cleaning. We both experienced bed bug bites eight days after we arrived although we can’t guarantee the bites were from here. We did a limited inspection of our mattress and furnishings/fittings on check-in and couldn’t find any evidence of them but noted plenty of cobwebs, hair and general dirt on the box mattress and around the bed in general.

Minor annoyances: Our room had timber blinds only (no curtains), so the room gets very bright in the mornings, even with the blinds closed. Be an early riser here and this won’t bother you.

Housemaids have been raised in tents, and are don’t know how to close room doors quietly - expect some door banging from staff commencing around 7:30am, and constant on-the-phone chatter and yelling while they work during the day.

Wifi is free, but only accessible in the foyer or by the pool area. There are no in-room appliances (no coffee machine, fridge, microwave or iron), and hairdryers may occasionally be available at reception, if they’ve been returned. There’s a guest refrigerator and outdoor gas stove (& microwave) downstairs, and your grocery items can left in a brown paper bag. If you label your bag with a warning ‘items contain medication’, you’ll hopefully avoid other guests ‘accidentally borrowing’ your food. You can’t make local (or other) phone calls from your room, but there are three payphones in the reception area.

Whilst we had no problems, security is not the best – anyone can walk in off the street up to rooms, and room doors are left open whilst housemaids clean, room keys in a pigeon hole are observable from the front desk (can see who’s in and who’s not), and we observed room keys left within reach on the reception desk. If you go out, I’d recommend you take the key with you (minus the massive keyring with room number) There’s an in-room safe, which has had default safe passwords changed. On the plus side, (some) door locks have anti-jimmy plates fitted (although in some cases, the plates don’t cover both locks) and there are deadlocks on most doors.

After staying at 32 hotels across North America, this was the first to charge a refundable cash deposit for a key and tv remote, but I guess they’ve had problems in the past with this. We had no problems with our deposit being returned, just be aware of the policy.

Reception staff were polite, but a bit too cool for school. Being friendly, humble and stroking egos will more likely get you better service. Don’t use the ‘I’m the paying guest and where’s the customer service attitude” – it’s unlikely to work here. It’s a hostel run by young people, with a visible absence of senior management/ownership.

There’s a mixed group of visitors including families, young travelers and oldies so you’ll likely feel comfortable whatever your age group.

Transport: We caught three buses (it’s a two hour trip with $1.75 and $1.50 fares respectively – exact change needed) from Ft Lauderdale Intl. Airport to South Beach. From the airport, catch the (free) Rental Car Bus and turn right on exiting the bus, walking about 100m up to stop number 7 (it’s a little traffic island sitting by itself). Take Bus 22 (Northbound to Aluvera Mall), and change to Bus S to South Beach (the stop after 16th Ave, just around the corner on Lincoln).

For something unusual/different: Try the food a few blocks up at the very funky, restored shiny silver Diner on 11th street. Reasonable prices, great food and service in a unique environment.

Unsure if I’d stay again.

Room Tip: ]Avoid ground floor rooms, especially facing the pool (everyone can see into your room with the ligh...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

I was completely appalled by this accomodation. I have stayed in my fair share (possibly more so) of dodgy hostels all over Europe, Asia and the United States and never have I experienced worse customer service. The desk staff are rude, stubborn and extremely unhelpful. Not only do they provide the service they are there to with an unpleasant air, but they are downright obstinate when it comes to giving assistance. My friend left her phone at the hotel by accident during our stay, and not only did they flatly refuse to mail it to her even when offered a cash reward, but they refused to cooperate with her when she attempted to get it FedExed by claiming the front desk staff had no access to a printer. It took her over two weeks to retrieve the phone via a mail service. I have never come across hostel staff so insistent on providing such unbelivably poor service. I will absolutely not be recommending this accomodation to anybody.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

This is a great place, just one street back from Ocean Drive, right in the centre of the Art Deco District. It is itself an original Art Deco building, but is only a budget establishment, so it's not been restored to a brilliant standard. None the less, the room was very clean with plenty of storage. Only one pillow each, and a couple of coat hangers. I saw a lady borrowing a hair drier from reception, so even though they aren't in the room, there is one available.
We had a corner room which had 2 windows and was very bright and pleasant. The downside is that the window blinds don't shut out much light, so take an eyemask or you'll be waking very early!
We were in a hotel room. so I don't know what the hostel roooms are like but the cleaners were servicing all the rooms so I'd think they are fine.
The pool is quite big, and the loungers were always available.
The outdoor kitchen area has a kettle so again, even though there is no coffee machine in the room, if you take your own coffee and cups you can make your own.
There is a cheap place for breakfast a couple of doors down,I think it's called The Aqua hotel,which was very good.
The air con has no control in the room, so it was always on. We were there in March,when it was hot so we wanted it on anyway, but I don't know if they'd turn it off if you asked.
Reception was very fast and efficient.
I really reccommend The Tropics for it's great location and value.
We are a couple in our 40's, and didn't feel like the oldest swingers in town, even though it was spring break!

Room Tip: Corner rooms are spacious and bright. There are 3 floors, I think the ground floor might be noisy if...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2012

I stayed in one of the hostel rooms. It's basic, but clean and comfortable. The blanket situation is a little funny (they don't have enough for one for every bed or something), and the staff aren't entirely helpful most of the time but it's enough as far as a clean place to stay goes.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

The location couldn't be better. The rooms are simple, the hotel is in the old art-deco style, and a little worn around the edges. The furniture is just plain silly, and the bathroom looks like its in your apartment, not your house. The pool is nice. You are in South Beach, I presume you aren't spending much time in your hotel. Also note, I was there on the first days of spring break (what was I thinking) and although you could hear a tiny bit of street noise, inside the hotel was actually quiet despite being surrounded by debauchery. You get a real key, and they don't have a spare- just a master key- so you might not want to lose that. They charge a $20 key/remote deposit, like a hostel, and return it to you at the end.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nova Scotia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2012

Our primary goal was to be as close to SoBe as possible without blowing the budget. We stayed in a private room with double bed and private bathroom. The room was clean and comfortable. As we were looking for budget over bling we expected the furnishings to be a bit outdated and that was the case. The pool area with outdoor barbecue area seemed lively with guests and hostellers in the evenings but we didn't indulge in those gatherings. It's really as beach-central as you can be without paying resort prices.
The front desk staff were helpful. Air conditioning worked fine. Bathrooms old but clean. The windows are aged and don't offer a lot of sound insulation so be prepared for some traffic noise if you're room overlooks Collins Ave. Perhaps a room on the back of the building would be more quiet - but then you'd miss the sweet view of Collins Ave. and the early morning light.
Overall we were happy with our accommodation but that's because we knew exactly what to expect for the $ we were paying.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Adriondacks, NY
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

I see many complaints. I believe most of the bad complaints are from people that normally stay in very nice hotels. This is very simple. Low cost. And clean. The front desk was very nice. And, I only had to talk to them when checking in. Everything else was fine.

What this hotel DOES not have: WiFi in rooms (only in lobby), thermostat in room, alarm clock, iron or coffee maker.

This HOTEL does have: clean room and bathroom, closet with hangers, comfortable temp in room and a great price. Oh yeah, and across the street from a GREAT beach!!

If you are looking for very nice, don't stay here. Otherwise, great value!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tropics Hotel & Hostel

Address: 1550 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Location: United States > Florida > Miami Beach
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 64 Specialty Lodging in Miami Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Tropics Hotel & Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel is located in the center of the South Beach Art-Deco- and Nightlife-District, just a few steps from the sandy beach. The Miami Beach Convention Center is in walking distance. Easy to get here from Miami Airport, the express bus #150 stops at the corner. There are 2 different kind of rooms: regular hotel rooms, and shared dormitory-style rooms. Very popular for travelers from all over the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tropics Hotel Miami Beach
Tropics Hotel And Hostel

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