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.  


The Surfcomber Hotel, Review #4 of 7 Hotels in 7 Days: Miami, South Beach

Evening view of the front of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Good News!  The Surfcomber in Miami/South Beach is run by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group.  What does that mean?  For me it means I will enjoy my stay.  And that was the case here.  I've stayed at Kimpton hotels nationwide, and have always enjoyed their unique boutique style hotels.  The Surfcomber (not Surfrider) is a youthful, casually hip beachfront resort hotel for couples and families.  This is #4 in my "7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami Beach" review tour.

Lobby and reception desk of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

The modern eclectic theme of The Surfcomber starts at the large lobby with plenty of room to relax and lounge around.  Check-in was fast and efficient.  Valet parking.  The hotel is in a lively neighborhood of hotels, restaurants, and shops.  Five minute walk to a CVS drug store, and a 15 minute walk to the historic South Beach area. 

Guestroom #235 at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Room #235 is a Standard King Room with a whimsical decor that reminds you that this isn't a normal chain hotel.  Was surprised they didn't provide a suitcase stand.  Had to use a bench intended for seating.  Bed was comfortable.  Sheets were average with a lightweight comforter.  Pillows were lacking.   

Comfortable desk at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

A comfortable desk for those who want to get some work done.  If so, the WiFi was strong and fast at 24Mbps Down / 27Mbps Up.   Plenty of lighting.  A handy power strip mounted on the side of the desk is a good home for gadget chargers.  Room's AC unit was average. 

Surprising art on the wall. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

As you can see the casual, yet stylish decor of the hotel is obvious.  Not just the crazy, casino-like carpeting, but what is that tied up on the wall? :-)   Smaller HDTV.  FM clock radio beside the bed with iPhone/iPod doc with 30pin connector.  Includes input cable for connecting other audio devices.  Stocked Mini-Bar, key required.

Room had a small closet at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

The closet was very small.  But four very large drawers in room made up for this lack of space.  The Surfcomber Hotel provided very comfortable robes, a yoga mat, and a large safe.  A large 6ft mirror beside entry door.  No coffee maker, but you can request one.  The hotel provides a large coffee service in the lobby each morning. 

Nicely renovated bathroom. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

The bathroom was small, but usable and efficient.  Nice rain shower style head in shower.  Nice amenities from Bigelow Apothecaries.  Excellent lighting at mirror.  Did you forget something at home?  Don't worry -- a card in the bathroom describes a long list of items that the Surfcomber provides at no charge.  Includes: Cell phone charger, coffee maker, make-up mirror, toothbrush & toothpaste, tweezers and much more.  Very Nice!  But typical of a Kimpton Hotel. 

View of courtyard from room at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

 Window looked out over the courtyard that separates the two buildings that make up the hotel.  The majority of guest rooms have views like this.  The windows opened to let in a little fresh sea air.  Curtains were a set of beach inspired, louvered blinds with a full blackout curtain behind it. 

Yes! A cow in the courtyard at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Is that a cow in the courtyard of the hotel?  Well Yes!  Not really... 

Nice long pool at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Time to get down to business because this is Miami Beach!  The Surfcomber has a very long pool with staff offering bar and food service.   Open during daylight hours, but I saw many guests enjoying a swim after dark.

Cabanas around the pool area. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Plenty of private cabana like hide-a-ways on two levels.  A small multi-purpose room for events/meetings is available.  Not really an ideal wedding location. 

NOT! a cow grazing on the grass at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Hey, it's that cow again, doing a little early morning trimming of grass near the pool bar.  He is headed over to the large beach sand pit with lounge chairs and pillows. 

Very short walk for access to the sand. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

 It is just a short walk from the hotel over to the beach.  

Chairs and umbrellas are available from the beach staff of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

The Surfcomber Hotel offers beach attendants and services on the sand.  Chair rental is included with your resort fee.  Note: This property provided one night of complimentary accommodations.

Nice pile of beach sand for the kids to play in. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

A fun spot for the kids. 

View of the Atlantic from the beach of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Not a bad way to pass the time while on vaca... 

Very small gym. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Very small gym near the pool with minimal equipment.  But they do have hula-hoops!  No spa, but cabana/poolside massage and body treatments are available. 

Restaurant and bar just off the lobby of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

A small bar & dining area are located just off the main lobby.  In-room dining is available.   See the hotel's website for more information.   Additional dining options are located nearby.

Wine bar hosted by the hotels management. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

 The Surfcomber provides an excellent "Complimentary Wine Hour" each day from 5-6 pm in the main lobby.  Excellent selection of wines.  

Sitting area near lobby. The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Another quiet spot located just off of the hotel lobby.  Since you are so close to the historic South Beach area you might want to take a walking tour.

View of pool after dark at The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

My busy "7 Hotels In 7 Days: Miami Beach" schedule didn't give me enough time for a dip in the pool, but I was very tempted.

Exterior as seen from the pool/beach of The Surfcomber Hotel Miami | South Beach, Florida

Check out time is 11 am.  Call The Surfcomber front desk if you need more time.  If they can give you some extra time, they will.  But if they are busy, your chances are slim.  This is not a shiny, new towering luxury hotel, but it is a very friendly spot in a good location.  A short walk to South Beach and shopping.

 


Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Review #3 of 7 Hotels in 7 Days: Miami, South Beach

  Exterior view from the beach of the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami, Florida

Known worldwide as a top ranked spa, the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa on Miami Beach, Florida met all expectations.  From the all-suite accommodations to its beachfront location and the expansive spa and fitness facilities, it provides guests with its own unique Canyon Ranch experience.  This is an upscale, exclusive health-focused retreat with a modern mix of tropical and Asian vibes.

Lobby area of  Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The lobby greets you with an overload of expansive space filled with a huge mangrove sculpture, lots of teakwood and coral, and a delightful staff.   Check-in is done at individual desks.  Sounds of a distant exercise classes can be heard from the fitness facilities several stories above, reminding you that this isn't just a posh beachfront resort.  This is a world class mind and body experience.  This is my 3rd hotel of 7 Hotels In 7 Days:  Miami Beach.

Kitchenette and living area of this One Bedroom King Suite at Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

All accommodations are suites.  In my One Bedroom King Suite, the first room had a kitchenette and living room area.  The rooms were bright and comfortable.  Large windows let in lots of natural light. 

Lots of kitchen supplies/equipment are provided at Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Kitchenette was very well stocked with equipment and utensils, but no food items were provided beyond coffee.  A Publix market is just across the street.   The room didn't have a normal desk, so I set up my laptop on the kitchenette's island table.  It had power outlets good for charging gadgets.  WiFi was 3.7Mbps Down and 3.8Mbps Up.  I seemed to have occasional bandwidth issues even with a very strong WiFi connection.  Didn't have a chance to see if WiFi was available on the beach.  

Pillows for lounging around in the living room area of this suite. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

A large HDTV with an HD cable signal feed.  Large pillows are provided for relaxing on the floor.  A very well designed space with lovely art accents. 

Comfortable pillow top bed. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The bedroom was also beautifully done.  The pillow top mattress was soft, but offered just the right amount of support.  Bed linens were very fine, as were the pillows.  An extra blanket was tucked away in the closet.  A Bose radio filled the room with music.  Suggest you bring a few CDs or an input cord for your smartphone.   The air conditioning kept the large rooms comfortable, but was just a bit louder than I expected for such a luxurious property. 

Reading light on each side of bed are very handy. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

It is often the little things that make you feel like you are in a special hotel that is focused on your comforts.  I loved having these small reading lights on the beds.  This room did not have a balcony.  Others at the Canyon Ranch Hotel do.  

Both the living room and bedroom have big HDTVs. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The bedroom also had its own TV.  Two large drawers were provided along with an average sized closet for storage.  Just didn't seem like enough space for two guests with several days of clothing.   Safe, iron with board, and a drawer in the closet.

Large bathroom with shower & tub at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The bathroom was luxurious and beautifully appointed.  Plentiful bath amenities from Lather.com.  I especially enjoyed the deep soaking tub.  Bathrobes are provided.

Colorful mosaic on bathroom floor. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

An amazing tile mosaic in the bathroom floor caught the light and sparkled like a jewel.  Very impressive. 

Having a separate toilet room is nice for privacy. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Separate toilet room and makeup table.  Note that if your bathroom seems a bit like a hospital facility, you have been placed in a wheelchair accessible room.  Ask for a change to a regular suite.  

Found this romantic moonlit patio overlooking the Atlantic at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Plenty of areas to enjoy this romantic resort after dark.  The ocean breezes are especially nice after a hot, humid Florida day.  Note:   My stay at this property was thanks to my sponsors/supporters.  I received no free services from this property. 

View from my suite at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

This view from the windows was a bit plain, and the windows could have been cleaner.  The windows appeared that they might open, but I couldn't figure it out.  Didn't ask for help. 

Lots of sun on the patio overlooking the beach. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Several seating areas look out over the ocean.  On a bright sunny day, this wonderful Miami weather can be a bit intense. 

Quite little spot I found overlooking the beach at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Early on, I found this delightful little hideaway overlooking the beach.  Protected from the sun, it allowed me to get some work done on my laptop.  I was able to get a WiFi connection.

Hotel provides staff & services on the beach at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Hotel attendants provide food and beverage services on the beach.  Very comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas make for a great day on the sand.  

Grounds at the resort are beautiful and well kept. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

It is a narrow beach and only a few steps from the hotel.  When you return, a cool bubbling fountain awaits your sandy feet.  NOTE: I did see some families here.  TripAdvisor suggests some things for tourists to do in the area.

One of the several pools found at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Several pools are available on the property.  I was able to visit three.  One was closed for maintenance.  Depending on the time of day, these various pools are in full sun or shade. 

Entrance to the expansive spa and fitness facility at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The spa and fitness facilities at Canyon Ranch are some of the best in the world.  For more information about the spa visit the hotel's website.  I've personally experienced Canyon Ranch facilities while aboard the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner several times, and found them excellent.  I didn't have time to try them here.

View from the main fitness equipment room is right out at the Atlantic Ocean. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

The equipment room contains a wide variety of gear facing out toward a beautiful view of the ocean.   

Rock climbing wall at Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

Looking to stretch your abilities?  How about a rock wall climbing class!  The options at Canyon Ranch are plentiful.  

Rooftop pool at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, Florida

A note about the food.  I wasn't able to try the hotel's restaurant.  My schedule didn't permit it.   The health-conscious menu at the Canyon Ranch Grill looked interesting.   A cozy little bar is located just off the restaurant.  Two blocks north of the hotel are a variety of local Miami restaurants.

When covering 7 Hotels In 7 Days, I can almost always experience enough of a hotel to give readers a good idea of a property's qualities.  Canyon Ranch was one of the few where I didn't have enough time to cover the property completely.  It has so much to offer!