I love this hotel, but there are several lessons that we have learned over the years in staying at this property that make it more enjoyable.
First off, the location can't be beat. You are in the center of South Beach and in walking distance to everything. The beach is public, but there is a W beach club with chairs and umbrellas (no charge except tip) that make this property more enjoyable.
If you are traveling with the kids, they have thought of everything. You can borrow a Quinny stroller from the property with a small deposit. They have baby toiletries in the rooms, and beach toys setup at the beach.
In terms of rooms, it is important to know that this property is a hotel / residence property. Your hotel room is likely a timeshare that someone else owns.
There are a TON of room categories at this property and if you are looking for something specific, you need to read the descriptions carefully. We have only been at this property with kids, so have a specific type of suite (w/ a door and separate bedroom) was important to us. We have tried out several options, but have landed on the Oasis suite as our favorite. It is officially a 1 bedroom suite, but there is a separate media room which doubles as a second bedroom for our young kids. We put the crib in the room and it worked really well. Additionally, it is less than a 2 bedroom suite as the hotel classifies it as a 1 bedroom suite. The suite has a nice sized bathroom (plus another 1/2 bath), 2 balconies, a washer/dryer, full kitchen and eating area and living room. I would definitely recommend a higher floor at this property. The noise on the lower floors is a challenge. I would suggest floors 12 or above. Additionally, make sure that you are NOT on the side of the parking lot, which is where you hear the club noise and valet noise during the night.
I am a SPG platinum member and while this hotel does honor many benefits, they don't honor all of them. Check with the hotel before arriving, as it changes regularly. I do know that they are quite stingy with late checkouts. Upgrades are offered, but you often have to ask for them. They are not given automatically. If you are looking for a specific suite, there is the option to book on points and then pay an upgrade fee (e.g.: 250/night) for the suite. This can only be done with the in house hotel reservations department. Depending on the time of year, this can be a great deal. With respect to upgrades, be careful. The hotel may upgrade your room to what they consider a higher category, but the room may not be as nice, which I know sounds counterintuitive. There are some suites in particular where the higher you go, the less space you get, but the view is better. Just know this going into your stay.
The pool is one of my favorites. It is a basic rectangular pool, but has that old luxury feel. The chairs are nice and plush. Definitely come down early to get seats as they go quick. If you tip well, your pool attendants will always remember you and set everything up. We have attendants that are so good they remember us from trip to trip. The pool food is good, but expensive. The people watching is perhaps some of the best I have seen anywhere. You will see a mix of celebrities, those that are trying to be celebrities, bachelor parties and families. It is an interesting mix. If you are looking for a nice quite pool, this is not the place for you.
For breakfast, we take the platinum breakfast amenity and it is one of the best breakfasts at any starwood. It is served in the dutch and for a small up charge you can get the full buffet. The location and quality are great.
Dinners are nice, but there are not many family friendly options. We were the crazy people who took a 15 month old to Mr. Chow and since there is no kids menu served him a piece of $40 sea bass. The good news was he loved it and the staff was great with him, but I'm sure the rest of the patrons were not so happy to be dining next to a kid. There are some great options just outside of the hotel on Lincoln Rd.
Be prepared when arriving at this hotel that it will be expensive, but well worth it. Tipping is expected all around.
Service at the front desk is OK; it depends on who you get. There is a SPG platinum ambassador available and who usually reached out prior to the stay so this makes things much easier.
The hotel does get a little rowdy during certain times (e.g.: music festivals), so be sure to know what is going on during the time of stay as that makes a huge difference.
Overall, I love this hotel and will definitely be back. It is not a great value as the price is so high, but you do feel like a million bucks when staying here.
- 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