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The Royal Palm South Beach, Review #7 of 7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami

Main entrance to The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

My last stop on my 7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami Beach reviews was The James Royal Palm Hotel.  NOTE: as of March 2015 this property is know as the Royal Palm South Beach, a Starwood Hotel.   And what a treat. This is a great beachfront property. Located just two blocks from the heart of the historic South Beach art deco dining and entertainment district. The central portion of the resort was first built in 1939, but today it is very comfortable and current. 

Reception desk at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Checking in was quick and easy.  Bellmen are available if needed.  Valet Parking.  Key-card required to access the elevators and to enter the resort from the beach. 

Guestroom #846, an oceanfront balcony king at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Room 846 is an Oceanfront Balcony King.  A bright and airy room with a variety of whimsical accessories.  Lots of custom items make the room unique. 

Bed and custom furniture at the The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Was very pleased that this beautiful room included a very comfortable bed with high quality bedding.  A heavy comforter and a lightweight blanket.  Each side of the bed had an LED reading light.  Rest of the room had plenty of light, most of it indirect. 

Classic old alarm clock at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

One of the many accessories that made this room at The James Royal Palm very unique.  I was also impressed with the room's air conditioning system.  It was very quiet, even with the fan on high. 

Small table in guestroom of The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

No desk, but this table was enough for me.  Plenty of pop-up power outlets around the room.  WiFi was very fast.  This room had medium signal strength, 13Mbps Down / 18Mbs Up.  Other areas of the hotel had strong WiFi. 

Plenty of storage, HDTV and cool mirror at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Great HDTV with a beautiful HD signal feed, one of the best I've ever seen in a hotel.  Plenty of drawer storage is provided with a cutout that fits a carry-on suitcase perfectly.  Closet had plenty of hanging space, but the hotel provided only a few hangers.  Closet also had a safe, iron & ironing board, two pairs of slippers and two lightweight robes. 

Minibar and entrance to the bath at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

A very well stocked mini-bar in a custom cabinet that keeps the refrigerator quiet.  No coffee maker.  Door to the bathroom was interesting and included a large mirror, but didn't contain noise coming from the bathroom.

Guestroom bath at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

 Small but very usable bathroom space with plenty of towels.  Good lighting at the mirror.

Guestroom shower stall in The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Large shower with a frosted window letting in outside light.  Having bath products mounted on the wall isn't my favorite; I prefer small personal bottles.

Interesting guestroom lamp installation / artwork at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

 The unique lamp shade, bulb, and clever positioning of the cloth covered cord made this lamp a work of art.  NOTE: as of March 2015 this hotel is now called the Royal Palm South Beach

Nice big window looking out at the ocean and the beach from The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Sliding glass door opened to a very shallow Juliet style balcony.  The expansive view was perfect for my last night in Miami.  One set of sheer curtains and a set of blackout curtains.  A quick security note:  there was no evacuation/floor map on the back of guestroom entry door.  For more about Miami Beach click here.

Comfortable seating area in the lobby of The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

The welcoming lobby of the James Royal Palm resort has lots of seating areas along with a nearby bar.  Note:  My stay at this property was thanks to my sponsors/supporters. This property provided one night of discounted accommodations.

Coffee shop at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Time for a snack or a little caffeine fix?  A coffee shop is conveniently located in the lobby across from check-in.   

Amazing woodwork in the public spaces of The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

These wooden stairs lead up to one of the restaurants.  It is an impressive structure. 

Main pool at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

The James main pool area felt a little crowded.  A second pool is nearby, and so is the beach.  

Florida Cookery cafe/patio dining near the pool at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

Patio restaurant, the Florida Cookery, was excellent.  Its open air design was very much what I would expect in Miami.  No view of the ocean.  

You will find patio dining near the pool at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

In addition to the patio seating, the restaurant has more formal seating upstairs with views.    Another restaurant, The Catch Miami, is a fine dining seafood offering.

, View from the RENEW spa deck at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

On the 4th floor is the spa Renew.  It has a deck looking out over the ocean, where some treatments are given.  Renew Massage is the signature service here.  Many treatments are salt based.  Each visitor receives a complimentary salt scrub.  Check website for latest services.   Nice gym with view of the pool and ocean.

After dark view of the tower at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

The James Royal Palm is just a few block away from the historic and popular South Beach art deco neighborhood.  Plenty of restaurants and nightlife.

View heading from the hotel out to the beach and ocean. The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida 

It is a short walk to the beach.  The hotel provides services via beach attendants and offers a variety of lounge chairs and day beds.  Nearby vendors offer jet skis and parasailing.  I also spotted a few food trucks along the beach.

View from the beach of The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

This resort has two towers.  The room shown above was in the tower closest to the ocean.  Checkout was 2 pm.  Now that is nice!  The property also has party and meeting facilities.

Lounge chairs and umbrella at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach, Miami Florida

If you make the trip to Miami Beach/South Beach for your vacation, you should enjoy it.  And The James Royal Palm has everything you will need.  Great guestrooms, services, public spaces and location.  NOTE: as of March 2015 this resort is called the Royal Palm South Beach


Eden Roc Miami Beach, Review #6 of 7 Hotels in 7 Days: Miami, South Beach

Front view of the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Looking for pools?  Well you don't have to look very far when you are staying the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach.   Here you will find an eclectic mix of modern decor with classic accents.  A large silver vase filled with white roses is featured on one side of the lobby, while a striking, modern graphic is displayed on the opposite wall.  And...did I mention the pools? 

The reception desk is part of the main lobby at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Check-in was smooth, with plenty of staff on duty.  Concierge available.  Didn't notice any visible signs of security around the property.  Sometimes that means they are hidden; other times that means it's non-existent. Valet parking.  

Room #2039 is an Ocean View King. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Tower room 2039 is an Ocean View King, a larger end unit with great balcony views up the coast.  Beach colors with simple modern furniture.  Dark wood accents. 

Large corner guestroom at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

The mattress felt a bit old.  The bedding was nice with a medium weight comforter.  Plenty of pillows.  The small sofa bench was also older and worn in areas.  Plenty of room lighting.  Two nice bright reading lights above the bed.  Good air conditioner with a very quiet low speed.  Two large closets.  One has a safe and iron & ironing board.  Other closet has two bathrobes and a hair dryer.

Nice guestroom desk at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Desk has a iPhone/iPod dock with older 30pin connector.  Very handy power outlets on the desk, along with hardwired internet connection.  Wired connectivity quality was spotty.  WiFi signal was also weak in this room; other parts of the hotel had better signal strength.  3Mbps Down / 6Mbps Up.  Single cup coffee maker provided.  An empty and quiet refrigerator is provided.

Big HDTV at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Nice HDTV, but it had a standard definition cable TV feed -- not the best setup.  Large window had one sheer curtain and another heavy curtain that didn't black out the room.  Floor to ceiling window that opened very wide.  It dramatically extended what was already a large room out onto the beautiful balcony.

Shower has view out the main windows and up the coast. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Two frosted glass windows opened from the bathtub/shower room into the main room, exposing the view out the window and up the Florida coast. 

Guestroom bath. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Tub was a large spa tub with room for two.  Note:  you can't see the ocean view while in the tub, but you can when showering.  The big sink took up a lot of counter space.  Separate toilet room.  Lots of towels.  Mirror was showing it's age with decay along bottom, not unusual due to the sea air.  There was a separate makeup mirror.

Guestroom shower and tub area. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Large shower area next to the tub.  A few basic toiletries, but of high quality from Aveda.  Note: This property provided one night of complimentary accommodations.

View north up the beach from the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

A cushioned chair for two makes a great spot to lie back and relax.  Higher rooms on the north side of the tower have similar views of the Miami Beach coastline. 

View from balcony of the four pools at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

I mentioned pools earlier, and Eden Rock has plenty of pools -- four of them.  The oval one is for adults only.  If you like swiming laps, the big pool is perfect for you.   Guests in the main tower can easily access the pools.  Those in the northern building can take elevators to the lower, meeting room level and use that hall to get to the pools, avoiding the swimsuit in the lobby exposure issue. 

One of the pools with lounge chairs at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Here is one of the four pools.  And as you can see, a great space for soaking in that warm Miami Beach sun!  

Pathway that leads from hotel to the beach. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

 Short walk from the resort over to the beach.  Your room key opens the gate. 

Hotel provides food and beverage services on the sand. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Eden Roc beach attendants are available on the beach and provide bar/food services from the hotel.

A spot on the sand that the kids will love. Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Fun spot for the kids to enjoy a little adventure on the beach.

Cabana Beach Club is a lovely cafe looking over the beach at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

This is one of my favorite spots in Miami, the Cabana Beach Club.   It isn't trendy and hip, but a casual and comfortable restaurant with excellent food overlooking the beach and ocean.  I had a lovely lunch here and lingered for some time, relaxing and soaking in the sea breeze.  

Fitness equipment at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Nice gym with a wide variety of equipment.  Eden Roc does have a small spa.  I had a quick tour, and it looked nice.  Elle Spa offers a signature treatment called "Total Relaxation."   Ask about specials.

Flowers in the lobby of the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

A touch of luxury at this casual and comfortable hotel.  I want to add that this property does have a large ballroom, which might attract some business meeting groups, a situation I normally don't like when on vacation.  They also have a few meeting rooms tucked away on a lower level. 

Interior of the restaurant at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Food is served at the lobby bar and at 15 Steps, the property's main restaurant.  Don't forget the beautiful Cabana Beach Club, which is also open for dinner.  Check the hotel website for additional dining info.  A Starbucks is located adjacent to the main entrance.  If you are staying for an extended period of time, you might want to check out the casual and fine dining options available in the Fontainebleau Hotel just south of the Eden Roc.

Balcony view just after sunset, looking up the coast from the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

After dark you will find activity in the bar and at the Cabana Beach Club bar.  You can find some nightlife venues next door at the Fontainebleau.  Not many shops within walking distance. 

Evening photo of the main tower at Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

This is the main tower at night.  Here is some info on the nightlife in Miami.

Lobby and the lobby bar at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Hotel lobby and bar is modern with touches of classic Miami Beach style.    

Main sign in front of the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida

Official checkout time at the Eden Roc is 11 am.  Ask for additional time if you need it; if they can extend your departure, they will.  This is a great hotel.  The room was showing some age, but the pools, restaurants, and beach made up for that.


Fontainebleau Resort & Spa, Review #5 of 7 Hotels In 7 Days, Miami, South Beach

The signature exterior view of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The Fontainebleau Resort Hotel & Spa has been on my "must stay" list for years.  I knew if I ever did 7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami Beach, this place would be one of my seven.  Normally wouldn't visit such a big mega resort, but I wanted to do the Fontainebleau anyway.  And with its recent renovation and improvements, I had very high expectations.  

Reception desk at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The hotel reception desk is far from the beautiful main lobby area.  This is a huge hotel property with 1504 guestrooms, and the front desk was understaffed when I arrived.  There was a long line; while waiting I noticed large numbers of guests wearing expo/meeting badges around their necks.  This indicated that the Fontainebleau is more than just a popular vacation spot.

Guestroom #832, an Ocean View King, at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

Room #832 is in the original curved Chateau Tower.  An Ocean View King.  Cool colors with light fabrics and blond colored furniture.   A very comfortable pillow top style mattress.   Nice soft and smooth sheets.  Heavy weight comforter.  Plenty of pillows.  Room had plenty of lighting.  Simple but nice artwork on the walls. 

Comfortable desk with an Apple Mac in the rooms at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The nice desk with a Apple iMac computer was the final confirmation that this is definitely more of a business meeting/convention hotel than it is a resort hotel.  The desk was comfortable.  Power and hardwired internet plugs were on the desktop.  WiFi was very slow at 1.7Mbps Down & 4.3 Up.

Beside the desk was a dresser with a safe and plenty of drawer space.  The bedside tables also have additional drawers.  I found personal lubricant from the previous guests in a bed side drawer.  I didn't need to be reminded of the prior night's activities in the bed  I would soon be sleeping in.  Above the drawer unit was a nice HDTV with an HD cable feed.  

Comfortable chair beside the guestroom window at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

Closet provided plenty of full length hanging space.  Two very nice bathrobes.  Extra pillow and blanket.  Iron & ironing board.  The room's air conditioner was a bit noisy -- not what I expected in such a nice room.  A well stocked mini-bar refrigerator & snack tray are located in a bar area just inside the entrance door.  No coffee maker. 

Lovely bathroom at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The marble bathroom was lovely and functional.  Excellent lighting and large shower, no tub. Plenty of high quality towels.  Magnified, illuminated makeup mirror.  The non-HD tv was a little out of place in such a modern bathroom.  Plenty of toiletries from Molton Brown. 

View of the main bowtie pool from my guestroom at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The view from my room was excellent, meeting all expectations for the Fontainebleau Hotel and Miami Beach.  The large knee to ceiling window was great, after cleaning off the oily hand and face prints!  These were so obvious that I knew no one had even looked at the window during the last room cleaning.  Curtains were a heavy blackout and a thin sheer.

One of the many pools at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The property has six pools.  The central bow tie shaped pool is the main one, with the nearby kids pool and water slide a popular spot for the kids.  Personal daybeds ($150-300),  and cabanas ($250-1500) are available.

Entrance to the impressive spa facility of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The spa is a very large operation with a wide variety of treatments.   Lapissage is their signature treatment.  Indoor pool, relaxation space shared between men and women.  A basic spa facilities day use pass is available for $35, a great deal.   The gym/fitness facility is also impressive with expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean.

One of several restaurants in the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

A wide variety of dining options are available during the day; in the evening, add three major fine dining restaurants:  Italian, Chinese, and a steakhouse.  These are expensive, but menus look excellent.  Visit the hotel website for details.  My Chinese meal was delicious, but service was only average.   Not many eating options are located nearby.

Plenty of yummy items here in the coffee shop. Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

This little coffee/bakery/gelato shop was beautiful.  A casual cafe is located on the pool level. 

One of several bars.  This one in the Chinese restaurant of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

Several bars are located around the resort.  This one in the Chinese restaurant was especially beautiful.  Note:  My stay at this property was thanks to my sponsors/supporters.  I received no free services from this property.

The "LIV" dance club / lounge just off the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

Off the main lobby is a major Miami Beach night club, LIV.  Locals told me that it wasn't the hippest place in town at that time.  Popularity of dance venues change over time based on DJ's and promoters. 

Impressive main lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The focus of the spacious lobby of the Fontainebleau are the three massive crystal chandeliers that dominate the space.  Several comfortable seating areas are provided, but it is the central path for what is now a massive resort.  It should be noted that for some guests, the only way to access the pool area is via the main lobby.  A swimwear cover-up is advised. 

Historic Bleau Bar just off the lobby of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The lobby opens up into the Bleau Bar with it's colorful lighting.  Action here picks up after 10 pm with a DJ and high cost bottle service. 

Exterior front view after dark of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

The Fontainebleau is more of a convention hotel than a resort hotel.  Yes it has beautiful pools and a nice beach.  But at every turn I was reminded of the attached convention center facilities.  I don't want to feel like I'm at a convention when I'm on vacation.  You could use this hotel for the main Miami Convention Center but it would be about a 10 minute drive.  It also takes the edge off the romance.

Easy beach access from the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

It is a short walk on an elevated wooden boardwalk to the beach access.  Hotel provides beach attendants and chair rentals.  Beach area is fairly narrow with gentle surf. 

Main building exterior view of the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Florida

Checkout is 11 am.  The Fontainebleau was the only hotel of the seven that I reviewed during my 7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami Beach that was unable to give me a late checkout.  Had to wait in a line for checkout.   This was the one property I was really looking forward to the most, but it ended up being the biggest and only disappointment.  It was dramatically over-priced, and as a guest I didn't feel like I was on vacation.  Check out my other Miami Beach reviews for better alternatives.