We arrived on opening day, which was honestly quite a debacle. They were clearly not ready for opening, so I was a bit disheartened because I had such high hopes for a smooth and pleasant stay. Despite the lack of readiness of the hotel, I will have to say that the staff turned it around. This hotel has a huge amount of potential, and once the opening kinks are sorted out, this will definitely be one of my favorite places to visit.
The bad: honestly, the only bad things that I could think of (despite the fact that the hotel was not yet complete) was the lack of privacy on the balconies. There were no dividers, and I do not know if this was an example of something that is to be completed in the near future or if that was the design choice. If no dividers are to be placed on the balconies, I would have serious privacy and safety concerns. The other issue is that the air conditioning vent is right outside the door, so when you are sitting on the balcony, you can hear the very loud humming of the unit, which makes conversation a bit difficult.
Now for the good and great! First off, the common areas are drop dead gorgeous. My pictures do not quite do them justice, and it was raining during our stay, so I hope that I can just say to trust me that the website pictures of the common spaces are spot-on accurate. Flawless and elegant design, certainly easily rivaling any five-star hotel worldwide. The decor exudes a fresh coolness and inviting feeling that makes it perfect for a beach stay where you want to feel elegant but relaxed. I thought the pool area was lovely and well-landscaped, and the rooftop pool and lounge areas were exquisite as well. Once fully-complete, I really do see this hotel as an "it" place to be.
The next best thing about the hotel is the staff; they were working as hard as possible in the most difficult of circumstances during that first day. I felt really sorry for them because you could tell that they were struggling to be as accommodating as possible but that their hands were tied. That being said, I have stayed at hotels where they have been open for quite some time and seem to lose all sense of order once a complication arises. Clearly, the management here is well-trained and organized, and that has flowed through the rest of the staff. These people are five-star trained, and I thought they did a fantastic job keeping their cool despite some inflamed tempers of some of the less patient guests. I am terrible with names, but I remember Veronica from the front desk; she was really fantastic and helped make us feel welcome and calm, despite all the chaos. I felt very confident in the staff's ability to problem-solve and handle issues, and that is important to me. Seeing how they acted on what must have been the most chaotic of days the hotel will experience shows you how they can respond to crises that arise in the normal course of hotel operations once things are up and running. The valet and bellmen were also top-notch. Bravo!
I really, really loved the design/lay-out of the rooms. The rooms definitely look like the website pictures, although there was no artwork in the room as shown on the website. I figured that was probably due to the opening-day delays. Anyways, the bed was fantastic and comfortable, the lay-out was intuitive and felt spacious. My mom has difficulty getting around due to Parkinson's, but she also really enjoyed the hotel floorplan and design. I also loved the fact that there are two bathrooms; although we did not "need" them, it certainly made getting ready in the morning a breeze with no one bumping into each other! As with the common areas of the hotel, I think the design of the room oozes chic sophistication and elegance with muted tones. This is not a flashy hotel but rather a beautifully-designed place of relaxation.
The beach area was nice, but given the rain, I cannot really comment much on it since we stayed indoors most of the time. I liked the landscaping and the layout a lot. The beach loungers looked pretty close together, though, so I am not sure how much I would enjoy it at full occupancy.
Lastly, the area is also great; you are very close to Sunny Isles and Bal Harbour and not terribly far from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. There are tons of restaurants and shops in the area, so this makes for a great starting point for excursions.