My stay at Fontainebleau was nothing less than enchanting.
Let me start with a little background information. I booked the trip for my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. All three of us, my parents and I, have been wanting to go to Miami Beach for a long time. The glamour, the fame, I wanted it all. And my my, did Fontainebleau deliver. I booked through American Express Travel (the main website because Fontainebleau does not participate in American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts), and with the 7-night stay plus 3-person, round-trip Airfare, the bottom line was $600 less than Orbitz for a one-tier room upgrade. So consider all of your options. My first choice is ALWAYS American Express.
Next thing I did was check out the Fontainebleau website. What a well-crafted page. The flash visuals and pleasing aesthetics created a great first impression. I saw on thee website that you can arrange for in-room amenities, so with it being my parents' anniversary, I hopped on this opportunity. Each of the amenities looked extremely sophisticated, all featuring food and VOSS water (my favorite!) I decided chocolate-covered strawberries and VOSS was the perfect thing to send them, along with a card. So I filled out the paperwork and sent it over the night before arrival, and I had confirmation the same night by 11pm (more on that later).
After watching The Bodyguard and Goldfinger, I was somewhat aware of the beauty of the property. Yet upon walking in the front door, you realize the true expanse of the property. In the car from the airport, the first hint of Fontainebleau you see is the beautiful waterfall sign on the Tresór tower on the corner of Collins and A1A. There are three entrances to the resort, the "main" entrance, the "taxi" entrance, and the "Chateau" entrance. After staying and taking cabs as well as renting a car I got this impression from the entrances: the "main" entrance is best if you are wanting to make an entrance for Arkadia Nightclub, are staying in the Sorrento or Tresór towers, or are dining at JJJ, the Italian restaurant. The taxi entrance is best for main entrance to the hotel, getting into Arkadia easily, having a drink at Bleau Bar, and getting to your room in the Cheateau tower AFTER you have checked in. The "Chateau" entrance is best for arrival if you are staying in the Chateau tower and is the best way to access the Versailles tower.
Check-in was seamless. Our two rooms were available when we arrived at 4:00pm. The front desk area was large and there were enough agents to move everyone through efficiently. The front desk staff got us through, with all the information we needed, including information about the property along with a "coupon" book with valuable deals all over property from 10% off the resort store BleauSignature to 20% off Scarpetta Italian.
After we got to the rooms, my parents were unhappy with their view, so I called the front desk and requested to speak with a front office manager (unfortunately I don't remember which one I spoke with). I explained to the manager that it was my parents' 25th anniversary, and they were able to upgrade their room to a balcony ocean-view room. They were thrilled and very appreciative. And the F&B department even got the memo about the room move and had the chocolate-covered strawberries there about 10 minutes after they got settled in. My room was an ocean-view room. Both rooms were excellent! The first thing I noticed was that the recent remodel included a good number of accents from Crate & Barrel, such as the Meryl lamp (see pictures below). It was a guest room that inspired the design for my apartment I am signing a lease on soon. There was also a 42 inch flatscreen TV (LodgeNet...sigh), an iHome system, and a fully-stocked minibar. A first for any property I've been at, there was also an Apple iMac provided with complimentary internet and information about the property...very innovative! The bathrooms were large, with his & hers sinks, television mounted near the mirror, and a large shower & toilet area. The king bed was delightful and the variety of pillows provided was perfect.
Solo, the café on property, is perfect for breakfast essentials: coffee, pastries, etc. In the afternoon, they carry cupcakes, truffles, etc. Delicious coffee. Vida is what I would consider the "main" restaurant on property, as they serve full breakfast (with buffet! :)), lunch and dinner. We had breakfast at Vida one morning and had the buffet. Great selection of meats, fruit, pastries, oatmeal, and an omelette bar. Blade Sushi is also located in the same pad as Vida. Did not have a chance to dine at Gotham Steak or Scarpetta Italian, but I will be back. The last evening of our trip we ate at Hakkasan, the Michelin-Starred Dim-Sum Chinese restaurant. Located on the 4th floor in the spa building, Hakkasan was perfect from start to finish. Stunning contemporary asian decor, great service, and delicious food. If I could remember the name of what we had I would put it here. 3 meat dishes, french beans, and a chicken-noodle dish. Fresh cafe was good for quick to-go dining and breakfast wraps. The first morning I had a bacon egg and cheese breakfast wrap delivered to my room and it was $40. The next morning, for $20, I walked down to Fresh and got the same one. La Côte was probably my favorite. On the beach, there were attendants for food & drink, but there was a very small food menu. So I would go up to the bar at La Côte and order to go. Delicious Ahi Tuna sandwich and delicious chicken sandwich. VERY Stylish uniforms on all the servers. And not to forget about the Bleau Bar located right in the lobby. Every night except Sunday night, it was HOPPING after 10pm. Do me a favor: Peach Ciroc and Orange Juice... you won't regret it.
Around the property...
The pool area is enormous...and beautiful. There is NO shortage of chairs or pool space, and every day the pool was a very popular area. I did not lay out by the pool because I was at the beach or out and about, but it looked very welcoming. Watermelon-infused water stands were abundant, along with attendants to take food & drink orders. You can rent cabanas, pool couches, or chaise lounges for a fee, or just take a chair. Very inviting! Vast grassy areas can be used for party reception (saw that twice while I was there) or extra space to set up chairs.
THE POOL AREA IS FOR GUESTS ONLY and is patrolled by security guards at two different check-points: once at the entrance to the pool and again at the entrance to the beach. The Fontainebleau Beach is great. Crowded, but what beach isn't? Chairs and towel service is complimentary, but umbrellas are extra. The water was beautiful, and on the last day, the tide created a sandbar about 20 feet out in the water.
I did not have a chance to go to Arkadia, but I will be back with friends for that.
I did not have any spa treatments but I did use the fitness center, and I also purchased a spa day-pass to use the facilities. The fitness center is very cutting-edge with LifeFitness 95-series cardio equipment with iPod connectivity built in, and Cybex Eagle weight machines. There was also a Trazer 2 VR trainer but I did not want to figure out how to use it. The fitness center also sold VOSS, Isopure and Muscle Milk protein shakes, and Gatorade. The fitness attendants were all very helpful. Keep in mind, the fitness center is included in the $20 resort fee, but if you are not paying the resort fee per your booking arrangement, you will need to pay that $20 to enter the fitness center. The spa facility was wonderful. The dramatically tranquil spa desk already had me feeling relaxed. After getting to my locker & robe, etc, I checked out the prep areas. Razors, creme, mouthwash, deodorant all provided. GREAT showers in the spa. But the showers pale to the rainfall therapy area, where you literally stand under a downpour. HUGE steam room, and a nice jacuzzi, along with indoor and outdoor lounges. The indoor lounges stocked water with cups, fresh cut pineapple, and a selection of Tazo teas with hot water, sweetener, and honey. There was also a co-ed (swimsuit required) swimming pool in the spa. Being without a swimsuit, I was also without the co-ed pool. The spa retail area had a large array of products and apparel. And the Lapis PABA-free in-room amenities were lovely.
All i can say is EXCELLENT excellent e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t. Housekeeping had my room clean & fresh every day, despite me getting up at noon. And they gave me SO many towels (I use quite a few). Check-in was seamless and quick, in-room dining was great. The beach service could've been better. The towel people (white shirts) were VERY attentive but food & drink staff (blue shirts) was spacey. You had to get someone's attention to order, but I sympathize because there weren't that many attendants and quite a few guests. Restaurant service was great at every outlet, and the spa was attentive. The best service was at Check-out. Attention Anna Hoyos: Casey was great :). Managed our enormous folios for the 2 rooms very well and efficiently got us out of the hotel feeling not ready to leave, but longing to come back.
*biggest thing i LOVED? the room key was a CHARGE CARD. Not just entering a number in the computer, but actually swiping the key charged it to your room. Used this for everything from jetskis to drinks on the beach.
Now, a few things to note. The following did NOT ruin my stay nor bug me, but they are slight oversights that could be fixed easily.
*For some reason, the mini-bar in my room was missing a few of the dry items. No chips, snickers or nuts on the top portion. Everything inside was provided though.
*Beach food & beverage needs more employees
*Traffic flow at Solo is weird. 4 people standing around and then you order a bagel AT the register and have to wait for them to toast it. Take a page out of Starbucks' book and take orders while people are standing in line, that way it's ready by the time you get to the register.
*the amenity process is VERY difficult. thank god I had a very good front desk agent at the hotel I was at the night before my flight. I had to photo copy front AND back of my ID AND credit card AND send the authorization form AND the amenity form. Take the CC over the phone and charge it right then & there. but it got there, that's all I cared about.
In response to the negative comments on TripAdvisor regarding prices, you absolutely get what you pay for at Fontainebleau. A cocktail is about $12 on the beach. You're sitting on the beach. Drinking top-shelf cocktails. That are delivered to you. Hakkasan is about $50-$150 per person. IT'S MICHELIN STARRED. Everything you get at Fontainebleau is top-of-the-line. Relax and factor external costs in when you are booking your trip.
Amazing resort, Amazing location, Amazing trip. Can't wait to come back.
John M Beeler
*not affiliated with American Express, Fontainebleau, evian, VOSS, or any other companies listed in any way. i just prefer the best in life*
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A spectacular blend of Golden Era glamour and modern luxury, Fontainebleau today reinvents the original vision of legendary architect Morris Lapidus – a stage where everyone plays their unique part. At Fontainebleau, striking design, contemporary art, music, fashion and technology merge into a vibrant new kind of guest experience. We invite you to enter a world where you are free to play, shop, dine, spa, meet or simply relax – however you define your perfect day. Express yourself in an environment that surrounds you with every kind of pleasure and invites every sort of adventure. Following a $1 billion renovation, the 22-acre oceanfront hotel features signature restaurants by award-winning chefs; two chic nightlife venues; a two-story, 40,000-square-foot spa, expansive poolscape, a pristine Atlantic Ocean beach and state-of-the-art conference and event facilities. A landmark since its debut in 1954, Fontainebleau has been restored and transformed by a team of renowned architects and designers to create the most dynamic destination resort on the eastern seaboard. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel Miami Beach
- Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach
- Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach