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“Great Location, Bad Service” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Congress Hotel South Beach

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Congress Hotel South Beach
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Formerly The Strand)   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Offers & Announcements
$25 Pool Bar Credit/Stay
Ranked #69 of 200 hotels in Miami Beach
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Great Location, Bad Service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

We stayed Congress Hotel for 2 nights with a good price as per area hotels. Overall it was a good stay for us but with a bad service.

Checkin/Front Desk (Terrible): Checkin process was long; not that quick when I compare with my previous experiences. You're signing up a sheet with a lot of initials (kind of car rental), read carefully because front desk doesn't explain/ mention about written items, and it contains valet parking as well. They didn't explain any benefit (even hotel pool location). There is no (easy-pick) area map in front desk, I requested one and they searched about 5 minutes to find it.

Parking (Bad): They have $30/day valet parking. I asked near by park garages and front desk didn't reply instead offer me valet parking. I found four garages with a better price and pretty close to hotel, just google it before heading to the hotel.

Room (Very Good): I was expecting a small room, but our room was a large one with a kitchenette. It was facing to back, not ocean street, so we had no problem with noise level. Everything was clean including bathroom, towels and our bed. Sleep quality was good, but our mattress had no protector, it only had a thin sheet on top (so in the future they can come across bed-bug problems here).

Location (Great): Great location, just in front of beautiful South Beach. We didn't like many restaurants in the area. If you are a party person, it can be heaven for you. Also if you like deco art, you will live in it; it didn't make sense for us.

Pool (Poor): They charged a resort fee per person (like many hotels in the area). But we couldn't get service for it. There was no clean towel in the pool. It is hard to understand what they're charging resort fee for, I think it is kind of a tradition. Another customer requested a towel, and pool-bar personnel gave him used one in front of my eyes. Pool view is pretty good, you have south beach vista. Pool size is small (it is a roof-pool). They have a small pool bar and the personnel working there really needs a training.

Checkout (OK): Checkout process was quicker and easier than checkin. We didn't see any problem.

Room Tip: We stayed in R506, it was good and relatively quieter than others (I believe) because it is at the b...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eleonor C, Front Office Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Thank you for your review and I'm sorry to hear that our staff was not all that you expected. I hope next time you are in town you give The Congress Hotel another shot so that we can give you exceptional service you deserve.

Regards,

Eleonor
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (119)
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English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

This was our first visit to Miami, Florida. My family and I had an enjoyable stay. we found the hotel to be in a perfect location, with great views and Rafael was excellent: friendly, helpful, and always gave wonderful recommendations on activities, restaurants, places, directions, ... Thank you :)

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Eleonor C, Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Rubstello, Thank you for your GREAT comments and we look forward to welcoming you and your family back to the Congress Hotel for many more nights to come as our honored guests. I will let Rafael know that your were happy with his customer service skills.

Thanks!

Eleonor
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Montreal, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

My husband and I have stayed at higher end resorts in the past but I must admit that our stay here was truly enjoyable. Yes the music can be loud at night buy hey you're in South Beach so what do you expect?! Also, that is out of the hotel's control if the resto plays loud music at night. The girl at reception named Stephanie was so nice with us. Originally when we tried to check in she could not find our reservation which we had made through Expedia. She kindly offerred for us to use the hotel's phone to call Expedia and regulate the situation. Luckily it was Expedia's error who had put the reservation in my husband's name instead of mine! So in order to make us feel better about our initial scare with Expedia having not booked us properly or at all, Stephanie went out of her way to upgrade us to an ocean view fabulous room! We truly appreciated that kind gesture of her's along with a free bottle of champagne for our anniversary! The room was clean and really quite nice. Even upon checkout the girl Joanne was really nice and got us a taxi cab from a company she trusted despite the early hour of 4am. Overall the service was excellent thanks to these 2 gals! Even the hotel's beach-chair and towel service was fantastic! We will definitely go back to this hotel without hesitation! Joseph+Diana

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Eleonor C, Front Office Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
All of us at The Congress Hotel are happy that you enjoyed your stay so thoroughly! I will share your compliments with all of our staff. We look forward to welcoming you back.
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Piscataway, New Jersey
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

I decided to take a mini getaway and found this hotel for $100 a night on Hotels.com. It was a great deal so I stayed for three nights. Since I worked at a hotel I know what to look for. Everything I needed was in the room. The junior suite was beautiful. I got a room all the way in the corner but I didn't mind. Next time I'll opt for the ocean view. The rooms are spacious, clean, the bath tub is sooo heavenly and the bed is like bliss. Housekeeping came every day to clean my room and the front desk service was great. The bellman Brian was so gracious and helpful. I think if you're looking to stay somewhere nice and in the middle of the action this is the hotel for you. It's gets a bit loud but hey it's SoBe! Resort fees aren't much but make sure you have a card on hold for your incidental fees. Other than that you'll have a grand time. Don't pay attention to the negative reviews, they seem to blow things way outta proportion. Trust me I know. I had to work at these type of hotels before lol oh and the rooftop pool has the best scenery especially if you wanna take pics!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012 via mobile

Stayed here for 1 night back at the beginning of december. First impression was good, great bellboy who is extremely helpful. Got to reception and this is what let's the hotel down. Receptionist really couldn't care, actually quite rude. Got there at midday and told couldn't check in to room until 4pm. The resort tax is a complete joke! Apparently this covers a glass of bubbly (we were never offered this!), use of loungers on the beach (great when u can't check in til 4 and then have to check out by 11) and apparently use of wifi. The wifi didn't work once in our room and when advising the hotel they advised would get maintenance on it. I enquired again about this when checking out and was told "no problem". Also, when checking out, I went to pay the cash for the valet parking and rip off resort tax to be told they had already taken it off of my card. I found this extremely annoying since I had the cash ready and hadn't authorised them to use my card for this. Rooms were spacious, however, bed linen filthy and had to ring down for extra sheets as there was blood on the ones we were given. No furniture on the balcony, water came through brown, bathroom doors didn't shut and tears in the carpets. All in all, I wouldn't recommend this hotel, pay the extra 20 dollars and go to a more upmarket hotel. As I work in the travel industry in the uk, I certainly won't be promoting this hotel to future clients.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nancy R, General Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you sincerely for taking the time to provide feedback regarding your recent stay at the Congress Hotel. It is disappointing for us to hear that your overall experience was not to your satisfaction. Our entire team strives to provide a most memorable time for all of our guests, and we truly apologize as this was not achieved for you. If you can kindly reach out to us, we would appreciate an opportunity to offer a solution and earn back your loyalty in the future.
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Massachusetts, United States
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE DAILY RESORT FEES ARE DAILY AND PER PERSON STAYING IN THE ROOM WHICH IS NOT CLEAR WHEN YOUR SIGNING FOR THE DAILY RESORT FEE CHARGE. I SPENT AN EXTRA $180 APPART FROM HOTEL ROOM CAHRGE. This hotel is in a great location, staff was 50/50 some where very helpful and others specially the women could care less. On our first day everything was fine but the next it would go down hill. As someone mentioned before Our room was also NOT cleaned which we thought we would wait until the evening to ask if they cleaned the rooms on a daily basis or not. Well since they didn't clean the room we also did not have clean towels and had to reuse the ones from the night before. I asked one of the guys that worked there about the room cleaning and he called the maintenance people right away. They cleaned the room within a few hours. I mentioned this when checking out and asked if could maybe give me a discount on the daily resort fee for that day they charged and they said the RESORT fees had nothing to do with the cleaning of the rooms and that they owe me nothing to because they cleaned my room that same late EVENING AFTER I had asked if they could please do so. I have never Asked and don't believe any customer should ask for the room to be clean and towels changed. At that point I didn't want to argue with the short lady with the curly hair who seemed to be part of management who overheard what was going on and asked "SO WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO"? I was appalled by the lack of professionalism, if this person has a degree in the business field she should be fired. I WILL NOT BE STAYING HERE AGAIN AND HOPE THIS HELPS PEOPLE BOTH VISITORS AND HIGHER MANAGEMENT TO IMPROVE THE LEVEL OF SERVICE THIS PLACE CAN OFFER IN A GREAT LOCATION. With the right management this little place has so much potential for all age groups both young and old I hope they make quick changes before they have to face bigger consequences of a failing business.Feel free to contact me by email if you have any questions.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nancy R, General Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for staying with us and taking the time to share your experience. I would like to apologize on behalf of the hotel for the challenges you encountered during your stay at the Congress Hotel. I have addressed my team accordingly in regards to the customer service and HK issues you encountered during your stay. The resort fee is mentioned on the registration form that we have all guests sign and initial upon check-in and it is also mentioned on the Bookit.com confirmation. If you can kindly reach out to us, we would appreciate an opportunity to offer a solution and earn back your loyalty in the future. I hope we have the pleasure of turning your perception around on your next visit to the Congress Hotel.

Sincerely,
Nancy
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012 via mobile

Amazing location. Jr. suite was huge. Full fridge, freezer, stovetop, oven, toaster, coffee maker, comfy bed, and the deepest bathtub I've ever seen. They had dishes and pots and pans too. They even had a paper towel rack with paper towels and they had delicious apples at the front desk. I had a huge balcony too. The rooftop pool is awesome. Great place to relax and hang out with ocean view. I'm very happy especially for the low rate I got the room for on bookit.com. It was the mystery hotel deal. Once I got the hotel name I called and Dionara was really helpful and sweet. There was definitely loud South Beach music really late but low enough to be white noise in the background. The visitor center is steps away along with the hop on hop off bus stop. My favorite bar Fat Tuesdays was also a few doors down. Great dance bars all around the hotel. I was greeted by Brian and he was so friendly and especially helpful during my stay. I would definitely stay again!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Nancy R, General Manager at Congress Hotel South Beach, responded to this review, December 19, 2012
Thank you so much for your review. I'm happy to hear that you had a great stay with us! We've been working hard to make sure guests have a fantastic stay and it sounds like we are succeeding!
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Additional Information about Congress Hotel South Beach

Address: 1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Formerly The Strand)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Miami Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#43 Business Hotel in Miami Beach
#53 On the Beach Hotel in Miami Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Congress Hotel South Beach 3.5*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Strand Ocean Drive Hotel
Strand Ocean Drive Miami Beach

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