I'm going to preface this by saying that before you book at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, you MUST do your research and come prepared to spend.
I booked semi-blindly via Hotwire. After spending an entire day researching beachfront hotels on Miami Beach (amenities, prices, etc), I narrowed down Hotwire's secret 5-star resort to be the Fontainebleau, took a risk, and was correct. At the time of my booking, the Fontainebleau was averaging about $229 per night on most websites. I was able to snag it at $169/night on Hotwire which was only about $40 or so more than my second choice which was a 3.5 star beachfront hotel on Collins Ave.
Even though I am a loyal "Hotwirer", I only used them this time because I was 99% sure of what I was getting (5 stars). I wouldn't book anything less than 4 star in Miami Beach via Hotwire because there are simply too many disgusting places rated at 3 stars. Don't risk it!
OK, now on to my review of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach :) :
My husband had a business meeting scheduled in Miami for Monday morning, so we decided to make it a mini family getaway since it hasn't stopped raining in Tampa for 2 months and my kids have been craving the beach.
Check in was a breeze, although the valet was a little busy on our Sunday 2pm arrival. Our room was ready and the bellman brought our bags within minutes. The room in the Chateau building was amazing, and had a view of the bay, one of the towers and a partial ocean view. Other than the weight-monitored minibar being right on top of the dresser (which can be a BIG problem if you have young kids) our room was perfect for our family of 4. My kids are older and so they knew not to even think about touching any of the items on the minibar.
We changed right away and headed down to the beach. Towels were plentiful and we got some great lounge chairs right in front of the ocean. You have to ask the guys at the kiosk for help. They will find you something and set it right up. Beach umbrellas are $25. We rented one, which really only pays off if you plan to be at the beach for a long time. I was regretful for our decision when my husband decided an hour later to head to the pool area. Warning: The moment you collect your items from your lounge chair, they clear off the covers and give them to someone else. This goes for both the beach and the pool.
The pool area was packed both Sunday afternoon and all day Monday. I arrived at the pool Monday morning around 10 and there were some, but not many chairs left. Unless you are a group of hot young girls, don't expect the pool guys to rush to help you set up your lounger. After waiting almost an hour for someone to come and put the covers on my chairs, a group of 15 college students showed up and were helped right away. I finally waved down one of the pool guys who told me I'd have to wait for the group to get settled in. I remarked that I had been waiting there a long time and he ended up setting me up first (took like 2 minutes) and went on with his big group.
Because of the crowds, my husband and I took turns taking the kids to the beach for a bit, so as to not lose our umbrella covered loungers. (umbrellas are no charge at the pool) The kids had fun on the pool slide in the children's area, even though they are older.
We ordered lunch and drinks by the pool both days. Yes, the drinks are expensive, but the food was semi reasonable and they bring it all right to you. Kids meals are $10, half pizza was about $12, sandwiches and salads around $12-$16.
We had dinner on the property both nights and it was very good, albeit pricey. Gotham was better IMHO than Scarpetta. Both had an easy reservation process, and neither balked when we changed our reservation time at the last minute by phone. My one annoyance was a woman in cut off jean shorts and a blue bra top eating dinner at the table next to us. I suppose there is no dress code on Miami Beach.
Did we feel nickel and dimed? A little. $38/night valet, plus $20/night resort charge, plus what we paid just to book the darn place. It definitely was not cheap, but we had a great time, the weather was perfect and we only had to drive 4 hours to get there.
Here are some tips for traveling to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach:
I packed a small duffel bag with water bottles and snacks (pretzels, granola bars, etc) as well as a box of cereal. My kids had cereal and granola bars for breakfast (fruit or bagels would've worked as well) in our room, and I took some snacks and water in my beach bag to the pool. This saved us from having to pay for a sit-down breakfast (which would've probably run about $100 for us four and taken up a good chunk of our morning). The snacks helped keep them satisfied between meals.
Valet takes a good 40 minutes when checking out. We wish we would have called ahead.
Thongs and Brazilian cut bikinis are everywhere on Miami Beach, and not limited to the people who can actually pull them off. If you are sensitive to bare bottoms, or have a problem with your kids seeing them, this is probably not the place to visit. Also, there was a group of guys smoking a hookah on the edge of the pool. Something to think about if you aren't ready to explain that to your kids.
On the flip side, there were several orthodox Jews swimming in long skirts and covered heads. Everyone seems to just fit together here...it was kind of interesting and a lesson in acceptance.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets and Jetsetter so you can book your Fontainebleau Miami Beach 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.
- Also Known As:
- Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel Miami Beach
- Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach
- Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach