At the end of last year, as the weather in Vancouver gets colder and the TV advertisements entices people to head to sunny destinations I started looking for destinations to go to. In the meantime I had 2 free resort nights to burn as a result of the Starwood Preferred Guest Promotion. There was also a plan to attend a cousin’s wedding in Los Angeles so I would be planning 2 rooms, but the value of the free resort night is the ability to get free rooms on any category of resorts in the world and SPG resorts in Los Angeles are pretty cheap, and it is perhaps better to pay cash there.
Initially I played with the idea of visiting Hawaii, but the flights was a bit too expensive and my parents have been there before. So I looked at The Phoenician, one of the best Luxury Collection Resorts, though I realized the hotel can be quite cheap on certain other dates. Thus it brought me back to Miami where I had wanted to stay at the W South Beach. I have read that this was better than the W in Fort Lauderdale. I did enjoy my last stay in the W Fort Lauderdale the last time and was attracted by the vast ocean and beach view from the room.
Thus I set about booking 3 nights in the W South Beach and the 2 nights free brought the cost considerably. We arrived at the W South Beach at night with a layover at Dallas-Fort Worth through American Airlines, and collected a Cadillac SRX SUV from Avis. Driving to reach the hotel was direct enough using GPS navigation by Garmin and we use the valet for the whole 3 days we were there. Upon checking in, it seems I have been upgraded to a 2-room Oasis suite for one of the rooms that I purchased. Thus the free nights seemed unnecessary at that time.
After obtaining our key cards, we checked out the suite first and it was a very spacious suite, with ocean views too! There was a full kitchen upon entering the suite, and a round dining table that seats 4 persons with additional bar stools by the kitchen console. The living room consisted of 2 oversized sofas which can comfortably seat 3 persons each and a balcony that opens out to the garden and beach/ocean views.
There is huge shared bathroom decked out in marble has a bathtub on the right hand side and a separately enclosed walk-in rainshower and toilet on the left hand side. It was amongst the most beautiful bathroom I have gotten in North America. The main bedroom faces the ocean along with the living room and has its own balcony and TV, while the smaller bedroom is made up of a sofa bed and a TV. It does, however have its own wardrobe.
The best part of the suite was the ocean view from the balcony. There is also a lounge chair and deck chairs on the 2 balconies in the suite, along with an outdoor dining table and chairs so one could actually dine out in the balcony while admiring the great view.
The bedroom that I was assigned to had also been upgraded to an Ocean View Spectacular Studio and it was already quite spacious even for 2 person. A long narrow foyer leads to the bedroom, while the bathroom occupies the space beside the foyer. There was a single sink unlike some larger Spectacular Studio which can be seen from the floor plan on W South Beach’s website. Unlike the suites, the Studios did not have a bathtub but it does have a walk-in rain shower, and an enclosed toilet. At the end of the Studio is a very comfortable sofa and sitting area, thus making the room feel more like a small Junior suite rather than a normal room.
The room was situated facing the ocean directly which might be a bonus for some. Though due to the lower floor of the room, the view wasn’t particularly amazing as it was blocked partially by the palm trees and it can get noisy during the day due to the crowded pool.
The best part of the hotel is obviously the beach front location through the swimming pool. Compared to the W in Fort Lauderdale, the lobby here is more lavishly designed and is furnished very beautifully! There is also a vibrant bar scene at night and an amazing restaurant named Mr Chow that serves Chinese cuisine. We had dinner at Mr Chow one night and I have to say the food is worth heading for. Food in Miami is also pretty good all around as we did also try one restaurant along Ocean Drive as well as Samba Sushi, though I did find Mr Chow was the highlight of all my meals in Miami. In addition, we also ordered room service the night of our arrival and the quality of the food was pretty good, better than the average hotels.
However one major fault in the hotel was the management of the lounge chairs around the pool. I was swimming in the morning one day and wanted to use one of the lounge chairs but was told all are fully occupied. However there was a lot of empty chairs around and no one at all occupying these chairs even up till I left about 30 minutes later.
The beachfront location of the hotel and the upgrades given by the hotel made this stay nice enough, considering I was only SPG Gold at the time. Overall this might have just been the best W Hotel in mainland United States and spending the free resort nights here was very well worth it!