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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!


Sense Beach House Review #2 of 7 Hotels in 7 Days: Miami, South Beach

Front Entrance of the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Lobby of the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Guestroom #4 at the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.  

Interior of guest room. Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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. 

Desk & Mirror, Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Bathroom at the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Large floor to ceiling window at the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.  

Balcony and view of beach. Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Just a short walk to sand from Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Vendors on beach provide services.  South Beach, Florida

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.  

Small shallow pool with lounge chairs on the roof of Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Rooftop seating area is great for relaxing in the sun at Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.  

Local House Bar & Grill is located on the ground floor of Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.

Evening at the pool on the roof deck of Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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. 

Entrance to the Sense Beach House, South Beach, Miami Florida

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.