Florida's South Beach is a must see, and the Sense Beach House is a great new hotel located just a block inland from the sand. It is a perfect spot to enjoy the ocean by day and the South Beach nightlife by night. This is the 2nd of my 7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami feature. With just a handful of rooms, this hip, contemporary hotel is a nice respite from the larger area resorts.
The small lobby has a casual beach cottage theme and shares its space with the first floor restaurant. Can be a bit crowded if more than one or two groups is arriving or departing. A single staff member was on duty and checked me in without any issues. Parking is available for a fee. I suggest you not park on the local streets, parking regulations are strictly enforced.
Room #4 was large, bright, and airy with a simple modern feel. Categorized as a "Blue Room" -- an ocean view king with a view only from the balcony.
A memory foam type mattress was very comfortable. Soft, high quality sheets. Mid-weight comforter. A variety of pillows, including two memory foam pillows in the closet. Bedside clock radio with older 30 pin iPhone/iPod dock. No input wire for other devices. Nice large HDTV with HD cable.
Large long desk with power above and underneath. A quiet, stocked mini-bar refrigerator. Little room for adding your own items. No in-room coffee. Two glasses in main room, none in bath. Minimal drawer space. Additional drawers were in closet, but they couldn't be opened because they were blocked by a broken closet door. Closet has lots of hanging space. Table top ironing board. Iron, hair dryer, safe. WiFi was fast at 17Mbps Down and 5Mbps Up.
Bath was spacious, but had only one sink, and the brilliant lighting from directly above was harsh and unflattering. Large shower, but the rain style shower head was caked with ugly minerals. Bath amenities were from Pascal Morabito, Paris. Only one small bar of soap for the sink & shower.
This room at the Sense Beach House offered a lovely, narrow balcony. Window coverings were a single sheer and a heavy blackout curtain. I should note that during my visit the sliding glass door had no lock. Front desk said it would be repaired soon, either that day or the next. Found this unacceptable, but they told me no other rooms were available. Security of their guests should be the number one priority of any hotel, boutique or not! The glass door also didn't close tightly, allowing street noise to enter all night.
The balcony was a nice spot for a little relaxation. The access to the beach is just one block away. Watch for traffic when crossing the street. Note: My stay at this property was thanks to my sponsors/supporters. I received no free services from this property.
A short walk to the beach, then a longer walk out to the water's edge. Excellent sand and a gentle surf made for a lovely day.
The Sense Beach House does not offer services on the beach, but independent operators do. Chairs, umbrellas, cold drinks, and minimal snacks are available. Beach attendants were nice and friendly.
If you would rather skip the beach, a shallow rooftop pool is available. Due to limited space they offer only seven lounge chairs. This property does not have a spa or gym. The local Equinox gym offers visitor rates -- click here.
The roof also is home to several other unique seating areas. Small tables for two, couches, and round lounging beds -- a great place for star gazing. While you are watching the stars, you will be pleased to know that check out isn't until 12 noon.
Located on the first floor is the Local House Bar & Grill. This restaurant offers inside seating and outdoor seating on the sidewalk patio. Food was delicious and service excellent. You can learn more about the restaurant at the hotel's website. General Note: many restaurants in the area add a tip to your bill. Check for that; don't double tip.
After hour options are plentiful. Even though Sense Beach House is not located in the heart of the South Beach scene, it is just a short walk to all the nightlife that South Beach is known for. I found this contrast to be a welcome gift.
Even with the broken door lock and other small issues, I still would recommend the Sense Beach House. It might not be the best spot for families, but for couples wanting to stay in a smaller boutique hotel near South Beach, it's a good option.