Dec. 11 - 17, 2013, Aloft Doral Miami- new hotel in the Venezuelan section of Miami. Modern decor add to the attraction. It is a popular gathering place on weekends where the happy-hour lasts for hours and hours. The Yuengling beer on tap was exceptionally cold and delicious. Try the empanadas there too. One party went on until at least 3:00 in the morning. It was of no importance this time because we were on vacation and sleeping was optional. The unique blinds, when pulled down all the way will render the room totally dark at noon if you had trouble getting to sleep the night before. We had our own party. Ice dispenser is located on the fourth floor only...halfway between all the floors.
We opted for the rate that included breakfast each morning. The price was only a few dollars more per night and as it turned out, the meals if purchased separately, would have been $10.00 per person and there were two of us so that was a bit of a savings by the end of the trip. Breakfast consisted of a buffet of pastries, breads, rolls, meat (various-it changed periodically) sausage, bacon, cheeses, scrambled eggs, fruits, cereals, coffee, tea and juices. They ended up billing our account for the breakfasts anyway. Good thing we were not in a huge hurry to get the rental car back. Most hotels will have the night auditor slip a summary of your charges under your door so you can check it before you leave. We had to ask to see the charges and verify if any of the additional food charges were not included. $70.00 off.
Parking was frequently a challenge if you arrived during happy hour and at other times as well. There was an additional, unpaved gravel area adjacent to the paved lot or you could have the valet park it for a fee. It would be more convenient if the hotel would go ahead and invest in the expansion of the parking area to avoid the frequent awkwardness of waiting for someone to come out and leave so you can avoid the gravel pit. It sucks when a patron sees you eye-balling the spot they are about to leave and they are hoping to have that spot when they return or they just want to make you wait for the one spot in the entire paved lot to vacate. But, that is just my opinion....and a hundred other guests.
Staff are all very pleasant from the friendly front-desk and barkeeps to the security staff. The housekeeper for our room was an older lady during the first few days and she was especially good to us so we made sure to leave a tip for her every day but that was true everyday for all the housekeepers. She left her tip on the table one day and when we asked "why" she said it was to avoid any confusion and if we wanted to leave something for her we should put a note on it saying it was for her. I know that is supposed to be an industry standard but this was the very first time in all of our stays around the world that we were reminded that leaving a note on the tip is what should be done all the time. I will try to remember that.
The hotel was close by many good restaurants and two major shopping malls, the International Mall and Dolphin Mall. Airline personnel are seen coming and going all the time so it adds to the credibility and reputation of their product. We met up with our family who live nearby and they were able to take us to places that serve authentic foods from Central and South America. One nearby place called Nahuen on NW 33rd was an Argentinian restaurant that had a collection of pastries, coffees, meats, wines and deserts that most Americans would love if they would ever find their way there.
Aloft Doral is an excellent option people should seriously consider if you want to eat, shop and party in Miami. Just be prepared to deal with the traffic if you plan to do it in December. Snow birds from Canada, Europe and bargain hunters from South America are there to shop as well. Parking near a mall store of your preference will be nearly impossible. I rarely experience seeing people actually dance in a parking lot over finding a spot a half mile from the mall entrance. They literally danced and smiled at us in our car as if they had just won the Mega Lottery. Crazy how little it takes to entertain some people.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Aloft Doral hotel makes travel fresh and fun, with bold modern design, bright social spaces and a spirit of adventure - perfect for travelers who want unique experiences. Aloft has a variety of features like grab & go gourmet, a thriving bar scene, free WiFi and a cool concierge - each ideal for today's active lifestyle. At Aloft, energy flows and personalities mingle in free-flowing, no-walls/no-limits space. ... more less
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