This is a two-and-a-half star motel, not "a three star Hotel with a four star rating", which the owner seems to like to repeat. We picked this hotel based on the TV show, the location, the price and the high ranking here. While not overall unhappy with our stay, I'd definitely consider the hotel overrated and over-hyped.
Our room wasn't available for early check-in - something which we requested in advance but wasn't accommodated - not expected but hoped for, and only attempted once we actually arrived (only then Gerry called and asked house-keeping to get it ready early). Upon check-in, we had a nice chat with Gerry at the front desk. We chatted about the Hotel Impossible episode, and she emphasized that the show was at the beginning of the series when it still was low-budget. She pointed out that they only spent money on the car advertising overlay and the breakfast courtyard remake, and nothing was done to the rooms. I think that she meant it as a brag that the rooms didn't need improvement, but I see it as more of a limitation of the show budget since there are so many little improvements that our room begged for.
While we waited for our room to be readied, we walked a block down the street for lunch at Balans - a decent sit-down bistro for a burger, salad or sandwich. While there, we were treated to a street show - a nude hopped-up woman with a trailing entourage of buddies came out of the motel across the street, yelling in the middle of Biscayne Blvd. After a street fight with one of the buddies, a bevy of cops subdued her outside the restaurant. While somewhat amusing, it also points up the reality of the location of the New Yorker - among a row of low to mid-range motels on the main thoroughfare of Little Haiti in Miami. Not exactly a "Boutique" location, although convenient to South Beach and Downtown (if you are driving).
The room was quite clean and comfortable. The minimalist art deco decor was quite attractive. At the same time, the amenities of the room suffered dearly from the minimalism.
The bed was a full king (room 118) and quite comfortable, with decent king-size pillows and fluffy comforter. There were two chairs and small round glass-top table, one smaller glass-top bed stand and an inset mini-fridge with food cabinet above. A large flat-screen TV was nicely placed on the wall in front of the bed, where there was also an art-deco styled mirror. On the wall behind the bed was a large print with the cast of I Love Lucy - rather amusing and fitting.
Missing was a second night stand for the other side of the bed, any sort of clothes dresser, a microwave (not available on request, contrary to what was stated in the hotel description) and any sort of room information such as TV channel guide, instructions on turning on the overhead light (integral to the overhead fan - ours was off and it took us a couple days to realize that it existed and had to be turned on with a dedicated remote), area restaurants, etc.
There was a nice table placard which included info such as "free local and long distance calls", dial "0" to get pool tables from the front desk, etc. Just one problem - there was no phone in our room. When I inquired, I was told that they were at the mercy of the phone installation company, that hadn't gotten around to installing in all the rooms yet. Really? It's a small motel, not a big hotel. Seems like they would do all the rooms at once, not piecemeal over time.
The room also had a small changing room - about the same size as the bathroom. There was certainly enough room there for a nice chest of drawers. Instead, it only had a hand-constructed, natural(raw)-wood, open-face closet, with a clothes bar on the left side and two open shelves and a shoe rack on the right side. And that's all the accommodations there were for clothes storage. Minimalist. And the closet only had four hangars. Minimalist. There was one folding luggage rack (not two!). At least add a couple clothes hooks - put them into the wood beams at the sides of the closet if regulations don't allow them mounted on any of the other three walls of the changing room.
The bathroom was small, with a shapely pedal sink - a shape that meant almost no place to put toiletries. The toilet was tankless - no room in there for a tank - which also meant not even a tank top to put toiletries. The one towel rack was behind the toilet, which meant the towels on it hung down behind the toilet, well within the splash zone. Why not mount it higher? Or on the wall space across from the sink? There was a corner towel step-rack occupied by the rest of the fresh folded towels. How about at least a couple towel hooks on the door.
The breakfast was decent with BJ's Club-quality food - three varieties of fresh bagels, brand-name cereals, coffee, tea, orange juice, milk, bananas, apples, cream cheese, butter and jelly. The same every morning. I'd put it one step above an average Day's Inn continental breakfast, and a leap below a "Boutique Hotel" breakfast, or even an average vacationer's hotel breakfast. No eggs (even hard-boiled), no cheese, no regular breads, no waffle-maker, no yogurt. Simple and decent, but not "four-star rating" worthy.
And finally we get to service. Besides my early check-in request that wasn't accommodated, after the first day I asked that no air fresheners (Febreeze) be used in my room since I am sensitive to artificial fragrances. The front desk clerk made a note in her computer (or pretended to?), and I also caught the maid in the morning and asked her directly. My request was ignored.
We checked out a day early due to a change in our travel plans. When I checked out, I was informed by Gerry that there was no refund for early check out. I knew this already since there was a line on the terms I was required to sign upon check-in that said that there are no refunds for early check-out. Gerry said that if I had told them the day before that I would be checking out early, they might have been able to give me a refund. I tried to suggest to Gerry that this should be made clearer on the web terms and conditions. I wasn't arguing for a refund, just making a suggestion for improvement. This was met with Gerry by bristle and reactive explanations of the 24-hour cancellation policy in the terms and conditions on the web. I tried to point out that a "24-hour cancellation policy" is different than an early check-out policy, and this ought to be clearer in the terms. This was met with more resistance and I was told I could call booking.com and they would tell me the same thing.
Sorry, Gerry - no, you were not listening to me as you insisted. A simple, "Thanks, I'll tell the owners about your suggestion" would have been sufficient. All your debate that the terms on the web were stated properly were uncalled for and unnecessary. I had read and signed the paper at check-in - I knew I wasn't getting a refund for the one day. (And this incident is why I went to two stars instead of three - although two and half is where I'd put it if I could.)
In retrospect, I think I actually should get a refund for that day. On the web, it gives 24-hours to cancel a reservation or the first night's charge is lost. It doesn't give any early check-out terms - most hotels you can check out early with no penalty unless stated otherwise. Upon check-in, the terms I signed stated that no refund is offered for early check-out and the full reservation price would be charged upon check-in. Instead, I find out when checking out that the policy is actually that I could have gotten a day refunded if I had said something the night before - which I probably would have had I known. I was misled at both ends, costing me a night's fee.
The other points made in the other reviews are valid: noises penetrate the room (earplugs provided), parking is available but tight, price is quite reasonable for central Miami.
So, as much as this hotel strives to be something special, it really only achieves a better-than-the-run-of-the-mill-city-center-motel status. Clean, pretty decor, comfortable, decent price. Don't expect more and maybe it will beat your expectations. Maybe.
-Martin from Clearwater
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Completely renovated in March 2010, New Yorker is a boutique hotel built inside the shell of a preserved motel from 1953. Located on Miami’s famous MiMo Boulevard, we are the perfect hotel for those seeking upscale accommodations at an affordable price. By showing your New Yorker room key you can get great discounts at most local restaurants, spas and gyms. We also offer a round trip shuttle service to the airport, Port of Miami and beach. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Priceline, Hotwire, TripOnline SA and getaroom.com so you can book your New Yorker Boutique Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.