First of all, a lot of the previous reviews for this hotel are really odd and sound like they're written directly by hotel staff, especially with all the specific employee name dropping. I would definitely take them with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, because of reviews like this, tripadvisor is losing it's credibility with me.
We stayed for four nights last month. My husband was attending a conference on site. If you're like me, the word "conference hotel" invokes a feeling of dread. I hate staying at huge hotels with zero personality that cater only to the business traveler and act as remote islands of poor service, where the conference goer never leaves the property and is resigned to eating mediocre food at generic restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised with the Fontainebleau.
We arrived late and were exhausted and ready to get to our room. The lobby bar was quite a hopping place, even midweek. We booked a deluxe balcony room- the highest level available for the conference rates- and were upgraded to a Tresor suite. This upgrade probably colors our perspective because it definitely made our stay markedly more pleasant. We likely would have had a totally different experience staying in one of the standard rooms. I think this tower also has individual residences because our room had features that would be odd for most hotel rooms in Miami, like a coat closet, oven, etc. It was like staying in a condo at a resort hotel. There was a main living area with a pull out couch, dining, living area, a small kitchen with hightop seating, and a guest bath with a shower. And then a hallway to a bedroom with a walk in closet, balcony, and full bathroom. Because the whole tower was set up with suite-style private entries, our room was super quiet. We heard absolutely noone except the infrequent sliding of the balcony door of the room above us. It was one of the quietest rooms we have ever had. Overall, we were pleased with room, but the balcony furniture was in massive need of an upgrade and the master bathroom needed some work done, specifically on the ceiling and shower tile. The lighting was also not good at all- particularly in the bathrooms, and there was no furniture on the balcony outside of our bedroom. The balconies and bathrooms (particularly the shower fixtures) could definitely use some updates, but the furniture and carpeting looked basically brand new. I also was not a huge fan of the bed; it was a little too soft, but that could be a personal preference. Our room had only a sliver of a view of the ocean, which was my main disappointment. It was like a 3.5-4* condo located at a full service resort. The main reason we were so pleased with the upgrade is because we were traveling with our son. Having a suite with a separate living area makes things much more pleasant for everyone when traveling with children. If it had been just my husband and myself, I would have preferred a smaller room with a great view.
The Tresor tower is not directly on the beach, but it is probably a one minute walk to the boardwalk- if that- so no big deal at all. The Sorrento building next door is directly on the beach. The Tresor has it's own (heated) pool and hot tub area, which was never crowded, and lacked the loud music found around the main pool area. This pool is not as well kept as the other pools on property, almost an afterthought, but was convenient.
Our interactions with the staff here were really great, except the valet service that usually seemed a bit overwhelmed and disorganized. We had our son with us, and he was doted on by most of the staff.
The deco style architecture of the main building is wonderful, and the lobby and common areas are gorgeous. The pools were pretty quiet and chill until Friday afternoon, when all of a sudden hoards of tacky people surrounded the main pool and they turned some annoying (like "Call me Maybe" and LMFAO on repeat) music on. Our son really enjoyed the 'kids' pool area with the little water slide. We went down to the beach a few times, but it is really crowded so usually we just went for a little walk, let our son play in the sand area for a bit and moved on. The boardwalk is fantastic and if you like to run or walk in the mornings, you will love it.
Your trip to Fontainebleau won't come cheap, as there are lots of add-ons here. There is an automatic $20 'resort fee', not optional. I hate when resorts do that; just bury the $20 in the room rate! In this case, it was worthwhile because it granted access to pools, gym and wifi, but we couldn't have turned it down if we had wanted. Valet is $36 a night. To use an umbrella at the beach, it is extra. The food and drink prices were about what I expected. $15-20 for a cocktail, entrees over lunch are $15-30, even in the little snack shop by the pool. Breakfast in the coffee shop area will easily run $15 a person for a sandwich and coffee.
Overall, I would give the Fontainebleau a 4-4.5. As a destination resort, I am not sure I can recommend it. It is quite a ways from South Beach, especially in weekend traffic, but you can easily stay on site if you wish, just know it will cost you.
A tip: if you find yourself in the Tresor tower, there is a valet service right down on Collins, between the Sorrento and Tresor buildings, where you can walk on down to pick up your car. It will save you from dealing with the circus of having to use the main valet area, and they will have your car in 5 minutes, even on a Saturday night. We found it completely by accident, but I definitely recommend it.