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“Horrible & Disrespectful Customer Service...O & bedbugs!!!!”
Review of Penguin Hotel

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Penguin Hotel
Ranked #83 of 208 Hotels in Miami Beach
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
“Horrible & Disrespectful Customer Service...O & bedbugs!!!!”
Reviewed March 30, 2011

I'm just now getting around to posting this because I went back & fourth regarding my decision. I didn’t want to go off on the internet about my experience, but I’ve decided to post anyways. Me & some friends stayed here for my friend’s birthday a weekend in November. I have stayed on the strip previously at the Beach Paradise Hotel which is only a 2 star & would honestly compare that hotel to the Penguin. I called initially to get information about the room size, pool, wifi, etc. and the person who answered the phone was BEYOND rude. She said we're really busy right now & don’t have time to answer these questions at the moment, call back in a half an hour, then hung up!!! I was so disgusted & disappointed, because after all the research, this hotel seemed really affordable & cute. I’m a big believer in good customer service & this was not the place. Anywho, my friend decided to reserve the room on the internet anyways & it was not a good idea despite the already mentioned episode. There was in-fact no Wi-Fi, the rooms seems very dirty, the beds were half made, then low & behold- the front desk employees & let's NOT forget the 30-something bedbug bites all over my leg!!!!!! My friend who slept in the other bed didn’t get bite but I DID!!! I talked to the front desk people about switching to another room & they kept saying that it would be an increase in price when I’m the one who was inconvenienced!!! The funny thing is I mainly called the first time to ask about the Ocean view room because we wanted a room with the extra bed near the window. I did like the designs in the hotel but my stay was no worth it- it took months to get my skin right again. The only good service I received was when I called back to complain & the front desk person transferred me to the reservation agent who took my info but unfortunately never called back. I would be very interested in how the expect to remedy this situation....

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
Helpful?
Thank Jai15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, April 1, 2011
Hello, I wanted to respond to a number of your issues. I apologize for the initial service you received at the hotel by phone and I am glad you did make your reservation at our hotel.

I have been the General Manager here since November 1 of 2010 and and unfortunatly have not heard of your issues and problems you encountered.during your past stay.

I can assure you that since my tenure here and past management The Penguin Hotel or our sister property The President has never had a bed bug issue.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you desire

Frank Marchese
General Manager
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English first
New Hope, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviewed March 22, 2011

I should have heeded the previous Trip Advisor warnings, but the price spoke to me, so I booked. First of all, the location was perfect. Just where I wanted to be and close to everything. The exterior was cute cool deco...one of the original gems of SOBE. Now for the bad parts. We arrived early in the morning before check in. They took our bags and let us change clothes. They were not unfriendly, just uninterested and preoccupied. The doorman was very pleasant and helpful. We were informed of a $15 "resort fee" (it was NOT a resort by ANY stretch of the imagination) which was not outrageous but seems like it should be included in the price. The fee covers use of beach towels, folding chairs, 2 bottles of water (never saw 'em), drink coupons (the worst margaritas on the planet) and a very, very basic hostel-style breakfast.
We had a great view from our corner room! Yeah! It was nice and cold in there and the air conditioner made lots of noise to drown out the cars below. There was NO internet whatsoever. Even though I called the previous day to confirm they had internet, they did not. They told me to go to their sister hotel, The President Hotel, to get a connection. The blinds were broken, as was the handle in the bathtub (which makes a horrible squeaky noise when you step in).
This hotel has SO much potential. It says it is run by Swiss management, but it doesn't have the Swiss attention to detail. It is probably a cash cow though so they don't seem to care. I heard many customers complaining about it at the front desk. My advice: Clean the whole place up. De-funk the halls because it smelled like a college dorm. Upgrade it and charge a lot more for the rooms.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LewisKalmbach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2011
Thank you for your review.

We do have the best location in South Beach steps from the beach and all the activity on Ocean drive. I apologzie for the staff no being attentive.

I'm glad your enjoyed you ocean view and apologize for the air conditioner.

I'm happy to say the The Penguin is operating with WI-FI.

Pleae contact me on your next visit to South Beach here at the President and Penguin hotel so I can ensure you will have a wonderful experience.

Frank Marchese General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2011

I stayed at this hotel from June2010 - July2010 as a celebration of graduating university. whilst staying at this hotel we ate at the restuarant and there was never any mention of warning to any indiduals who suffer from allergies. i had a veggie burger as i am very health conscience and unknown to me they cook this in almond oil - i have a severe allergy to nuts. an hour later i had collapsed and couldn't breath - i thank God i was staying with my friends as they had to force a waitress to admit what they cooked the food in. An ambulance was called and i ended up staying in hospital during the 4th of July celebrations - one of the highlights i was looking forward to on my trip.

Nearly a year later, after trying to pursue the company to pay for my stay at the hospital and compensation due to what i sustained due to their negliance, they have stopped replying to my emails. i have tried several times to get hold of them and they just ignore me. So i will definitely be going through small claims court.

All in all, the hotel isn't bad - i guess you get what you pay for. the only thing that saves this hotel is its location - right opposite miami beach. However i wouldn't sacrifice its location against my life - because they genuinely do not care about you.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank Debbie1988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2011
I wanted to repsond to your review. First I must say I am very sorry for your experience at the Front Porch Cafe. The restaurant was a leased operation and not run by the hotel. I have contacted the owner of the restaurant which is still here in South Beach and I have the insurance information which shows medical bills were paid on your behalf.

I also have information that may be of importance to you, if you would contact me directly, I will give you the information of the owner and the insurance information.

I'm glad you enjoyed the location of the hotel with the veiws of the ocean and directly on Ocean Drive it is the best in South Beach.

Thank you Frank Marchese General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2011

We came from 2 nights at the 5 star Westin, Coral Gabels with $2000 bedding, room service & pool on the roof ... to stay our last night in SoBe. True, the Penguin is a no nonsense, obsolutely no frills, clean (though YES the halls are filled with deorderizer - I actually held my breath) Heck the hotel must be 90 year old and must be covering up some smell. WiFi in the lobby. Nice Front Desk Staff.

Ours was a small basic room with tile floor, frig/ safe and a some what updated bath with marble sink with new tile. New soid card lock doors, strong AC and a amazing hand painted print - ours of deep bamboo forest on the wall behind the bed.

The Valet is really the business of the guys at the cornor lot - Colins & 14th (so save $5.00 and park it yourself) or wait. You will be walking all over SoBe so might as well leave the car in front, check in and park it yourself. Yes the Hotel requires a $50 deposit -so what- dont trash the place and we got a credit back on our card upon check out.

We stumbled down Ocean Blvd from dancing at Mango's a few block down, woke up and walked across the street and jogged along the beach....then ate breakfast (funny that every cafe offeres the same $5.75 for really interesting Breackfast) at a tony umbrellay covered open restaurant and people watched over coffee and eats.

YUP - I would and will stay here again. I was going to say NO so I have a room when I want it .. but - I'm feeling nice today.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank enerserve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, March 22, 2011
Thank you for comments on The Penguin, yes we have the best location in South Beach, across from the beach, near all the famous restaurants and club on Ocean Drive and block from Lincoln Road

We pride ourselves on the cleanliness and the friendly staff and glad you enjoyed our new added
WI-FI.

The Penguin is one of the original art deco hotels built many years ago and is 44 charming boutique hotel.

Again, thanks for commenting and on your next visit to South Beach contact me directtly to ensure your stay is again a wonderful experience here at the Penguin and President hotels.

Frank Marchese General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2011

1. There is a valet sign, but after waiting for 5 minutes intraffice, I went inside and was told that they would not call a valet until I paid them 30.00. I asked what to do with my car and was told to just leave it there in Ocean Drive traffic.
2. I was told that I had to pay a 50.00, "Security Deposit". I questioned why this was required as I had already paid 175.00 for my room AND they had my credit card. The rude woman did not answer my question. There is a signa t the desk that stated it may take up to 10 days to get your deposit refunded.
3. They will also try to charge you a 10.00, "resort fee". It is for breakfast at some otehr hotel and drinks. I wanted neither and refused to pay it.
4. The small rickety elevator is slow. You can take the stairs. It smells like an old hospital with a strong disinfectant smell. The hallway was painted dark blue and was so dark I could hardly see. Felt very unsafe and dirty.
5. The bed was small and the room only had a window air conditoner right besdie the bed. You can be either cool or have quiet. Not both.
6. The walls are paper thin and door didn't seal wehn shut. It was very noisy all night long.
7. The room is cute in a tacky, 1980's dico sense.
8. They advertise high speed internet. This is a lie. I see comments about plans to haveit installed in Jan 2011. This is March. The rude person on the front desk phone said it did not exist. I was not about to across the street to use it.
9. They advertise kitchenettes. It is a tiny fridge and a tinier sink. No mircrowave or any ype of utensils at all.
10. When leaving, I had to walk 3 blocks dragging my luggage to find my car. (AFTER runing a half marathon) The valet couldnto bring it to me. For 30.00 I expected my car returned to me or at least to be given clear directions on where to find it.

No apologies from an extremely rude staff. This hotel was in a great location for my purpose, but I feel that I should receive a partial refund as none of the ammenities that were presented were available--especially the internet that I needed for work.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Run4fun50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clinton, IA
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2011

Stayed here before we left on our cruise. Got a GREAT rate. Looked at this hotel, because it is right across from the park, right next to the beach. ABSOLUTELY GREAT LOCATION!! Arrived at 12:30am. Place is a little cheezy, very dated, run down, but clean. Lobby is simple and small. 4 "hand" chairs and 2 couches. Took an HOUR to check in... at 12:30AM!!! Front desk guy felt bad, and gave us the free breakfast at the President, which is right behind the Penguin and they are run by the same people. We finally got our room. It was small, cheezy, but clean. The bathroom was very small, but receintly updated with new fixtures. Husband is used to staying in current name brand hotels, so this was a stretch for him. I mentioned that we were only there for a short time. He said it was a very good deal. Bed was comfortable. Sheets were thin, but clean. No noise to speak of. We got up, showered (bring your own stuff, as what they offer is MINIMAL), went to the breakfast, came back, and checked out. Check out is at 11AM. They held our bags for us so we coudl wander around, becasue we didn't need to be to the dock till 3PM. We wondered, came back, changed and they called a cab for us. All in all, it was different than I'm used to , but nice. Quaint for Miami Beach.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AmazonKaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, March 7, 2011
So glad you enjoyed your hotel stay, our staff all try hard to ensure that your experience here at
The Penguin Hotel is wonderful. Our location is superior and one of the best here in Miami Beach

I apologize for the long check-in process, but I empower my staff when issues arise to compensate the guests for their inconvenience.

We are in the process of updating our lobby and hopefully on your next visit you will see our changes.

I hope you had a wonderful cruise and please contact me directly on your next visit to The Penguin or The Presdient Hotels here in South Beach.

Frank Marchese General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. John's, Antigua
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2011

Having stayed in many of the hotels in South Beach it was decided to stay at the Penguin hotel for a few days during the boat show that just took place in Miami. I have to say that I was thoroughly disappointed with the experience and is definitely not one that I'd recommend.

Many of the things that were mentioned in the description when taking this hotel into consideration were definitely off. Firstly the hotel claims to have high speed internet service which it definitely doesn't. They claim that the internet is down but that you can go and use the internet at their sister hotel across the way. This is all fine and dandy but if the hotel is claiming that it offers "in room" available internet service and doesn't in fact I beleive they're really misrepresenting their offerings. This holds true in many other areas with the hotel including the cafe which was not open, moreover even if it were operating it was in such a state of filth that there'd be no way I'd drink anything from there.

The staff was friendly however the rooms weren't cleaned all that well. There was a lot of dirt and debris on the floor and an awful smell in the room, hallways and throughout the hotel. Also if you're expecting quality soaps, lotions or any of those sorts of things in your bathroom don't they offer the bottom of the barrel when it comes to this kind of stuff and more importnatly they don't replenish. So if you're staying here I'd recommend that you bring your own soaps, shampoos and personal products.

I really beleive that this hotel is misrepresented in many of the reviews that I've found on the internet as many of the thing's being said can't be true as they're non-existent at the hotel.

The one good thing that can be said about the hotel is that it was in a great location close to great restaurants, the beach, cafe's, etc... so if you're willing to really slum it and can deal with all of the aforementioned it might not be a bad place otherwise you'd be better off spending a few more bucks and staying at one of the nicer hotels perhaps a few doors down as I ended up doing my last night there.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank soulskape
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fmarchese, General Manager at Penguin Hotel, responded to this review, March 1, 2011
Please let me say I am sorry you didn't enjoy your stay with us. I apologize for the internet not working and also the room cleanliness. The housekeeping staff work very hard and every room is inspected by a supervisor to ensure that they are to our standard. On the bathroom amentities we are more than happy to provide as many soaps, shampoo, body lotions or conditioners as needed during you stay.
I appreciate the comment on our friendly staff--they all try very hard to accommodate the guest and make the guests feel welcomed.
It's always helpful if we know the guest is not happy with something when they are staying with us and I wish you would have let us know so we could accommodated your needs. Please contact me on your next visit to South Beach so I can personally ensure that you have a wonderful experience.
here at the Penguin Hotel Best, Frank Marchese General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Penguin Hotel

Property: Penguin Hotel
Address: 1418 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139-4108
Location: United States > Florida > Miami Beach > City Center
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #83 of 208 Hotels in Miami Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Penguin Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 43
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