As introduction, I have been a Platinum Starwood member for several years and I have stayed at Starwood properties in several countries, including every single W there is in the NY and Miami area (about 7 of them) plus a regular visitor of the rooftop of the W in DC. I don't ever bother to write reviews but this one really wrote itself as I thought about the strange paradox of a brilliant design and horrific service of the W South Neach. If there is one place where I know I will get treated NOT like a celebrity, that's the W South Beach. I don't know if it's because of the property's popularity or the misplaced desire for exclusivity, but the service staff just has this general "we don't really care about you" attitude that's impossible to ignore. I have stayed there 3 times just in the past month and a half ( I know what you are thinking - what is wrong with me?!?!) so you know at one point that some things are just not your bad luck. Here is the track record:
- Lost keys to my $1k/weekend car rental by the valet service. For the record, the Manager of the hotel valet (a completely separate company from Starwood) actually did a great job making up for it by getting another car and crediting my hotel account. However, to this day I am dumbfounded by the response I got from the hotel front-desk staff: "we are sorry you won't have your car on a Saturday night, but look at the bright side - the valet will get you another car." yeah, I am not joking - that's what she said to me! No "we are sorry" token, no points, no courtesy call on how I am doing after, nothing, except for the on-the-spot "bright" advice.
- sitting for 3.5 hours around the pool waiting for "the first available bed" call back, while being the 3rd person on the list. We sat at a nearby table, spent $260 on food and drinks (for 2 people) and for fun counted 23 people leaving their beds and new people sitting on them. And since I have been there so many times, I know every bed that belongs to the residence owners and I did not count those in. Finally, the waitress felt really sorry about our miserable, hungover looks and went and got us 2 beds immediately (yes, there are some professional and competent staff members there too). An hour before sunset, I finally got the call from the condesending, having hard time smiling girl in charge of the beds that some beds were now available. Didn't know if I wanted to laugh or cry.
- every time you come back to the hotel in the evening, 2 club bouncers guard the door and demonstratively hold you off and do you the favor to check the records that you are indeed a guest of the hotel. You have no choice but thanking them for letting you back to your room.
- ordered a breakfast in bed. The metal milk container had some disgusting yellow stuff on inside and outside that I didn't see until it was too late. Looked like an egg was dropped on it (I didnt order eggs, just croissants), but that's just a guess. Almost puked when I found out I had that milk in my coffee.
- went to the restaurant (not the Dutch, which I really like) late - at 11:40pm. The hostess was nice and assured us the kitchen was still open. Then comes the server... Boy, did he pull the menus off our hands so we can order faster?! And did he not bring us the drinks we ordered right away per his request while we saw them sitting at the bar for 20 min...
I can go on, but I'm afraid it will start sounding as rambling. I will just say - if you are a well known celebrity, that's your spot - you'll probably love it. If you are not famous but have a taste for fashion and glamor and you like starwood, you will love it on your way in, and hate it on your way out. Everyone else - just do yourself a favor and stay at the other trendy hotels nearby (e.g. Delano or Fontainebleau) and just come to W for a drink. You will get all the benefits of the amenities and likely get treated better than the hotel guests. And if you encounter a good service staff member - please tip them. It's rare and refreshing so it's worth it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At The W South Beach, wake up to spectacular sunrises over the Atlantic or wind down to scenic sunsets in 395 rooms and bungalows featuring the best of resort living. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- w South Beach Hotel Miami Beach
- w Hotels Miami Beach
- w Hotel Miami Beach