“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well,” Lord Chesterfield said. Sadly, the boutique hotel that appropriated the gentleman’s name—Chesterfield Hotel and Suites at 855 Collins Avenue in Miami's South Beach—falls far short of his counsel. In curb appeal, with a wide and inviting front porch, this 92-room hotel made up of three small inns that have been cobbled together, holds its own among South Beach’s many art deco competitors. hotels. But the Chesterfield needs some serious well doing.
Rooms in South Beach were quite scarce in mid-January, so we turned to Orbitz for help. They found a king-bedded standard room at the Chesterfield for $227.99 for one night (plus $27 in taxes and fees, $15 in unexplained “local charges,” and a remarkable $32 to park for one night, for a total of $301.99). Upon our arrival, the desk clerk announced that he had upgraded us to a “premium suite.” The room, No. 410, was nowhere in the structure overlooking Collins but down a narrow courtyard and up a flight of stairs.
With its curtains closed in mid-afternoon, the bedroom—the main room--was eerily dark, in part because of its dark brown, nearly black floor, muted lime-green walls, and a recalcitrant Venetian blind with brown slats that age or hurricanes had broken, bent and misaligned. We pulled the cord to raise it, but the it got stuck midway up and fell back down. Worse, in our view, we could not crank open the jalousie window to bring in fresh air, although the window was slightly ajar.
As a suite, No. 410 had a second room of sorts, an alcove with a couch, and a television screen, a stocked refrigerator, but no window, tables or chairs. The bathroom, by contrast, was a decorative tour de force, with brown concrete tiling, dramatic lighting and a most attractive glass bowl, set atop the counter, for a sink. But this was an instance of form leading function. We could not fill the sink because the plumbing does not include a means of plugging the drain.
And so we complained, especially about the window and the blind. A manager explained that the window should not be opened because the fresh air would encourage smoking. A maintenance man was dispatched to inspect the blind but could neither repair it nor replace it.
We asked the manager for another room and were shown two. We settled on 410’s twin, No. 412, which was deeper down the courtyard and up a flight of stairs. The blind there was fine. The window in the bedroom was sealed, but the window in the bathroom worked like most windows. It opened. We just ignored another issue: That chain that hotels install inside the doors to their rooms to slide into a slot to protect guests inside didn’t work.
Presumably the Chesterfield has better rooms. Maybe we just got the dregs that were left by the mid-winter crush of visitors to South Beach. Among the personnel, the white-coated men who managed our luggage were cheerful, quick and competent. But because of management’s indifference to our and the condition of the rooms that we were assigned, we would suggest that visitors to South Beach could do better just about any place else, for a more suitable price.
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- Also Known As:
- Chesterfield Hotel Miami Beach
- Chesterfield Miami Beach