1 Hotel South Beach

The 1 Hotel is a large new luxury hotel with roughly 420 rooms, 4 pools, a small kids club, numerous dinning options a great gym and a spa.  The general vibe of the hotel is eco-friendly with light & grey colored reclaimed wood throughout with white and cream décor.The sleeping rooms are generous for South Beach with high ceilings and separate sleeping and seating/lounging space.  The bathrooms have glass walls allowing for an open view from the bathroom to the ocean through your windows.  A full length curtain breaks up the vantage for anyone not wanting to shower on full display to their chamber mates.  While at the hotel I also took the opportunity to tour 2 and 3 bedroom suites which are truly 2 or 3 bedroom apartments.The 4 pools offer a bit for everyone.  The very trendy/loungey penthouse pool and deck area is adults only with great ocean and city views, a bar and food service.  In the evening the area turns into a cocktail lounge with a rather laid back vibe.  The other 3 pools are closer to ground level and have loads of seating area, cabana style day beds,  bar and food service, and accommodating staff.   While the hotel does a good job of having something for everyone.If fitness is your thing the gym is probably on par with a high-end health club in any metropolitan city.  They are currently running the gym out of a temporary space and it has everything Arnold Schwarzenegger would have needed in his hay day for a full on work out.  If a gym is your thing, this one is probably the best of any Miami hotel.  Similarly the spa is currently operating under temporary space but still has a full offering with great space.  Once they are in their permanent gym and spa I doubt anyone will be remotely close to their offering.We ate at the Beach Craft and both food and service were fantastic with a clean casual set up.   The hotel makes a concerted effort to be “green’ in many ways and I would highly recommend 1 Hotel for almost any type of traveller.  The hotel is large but they seem to maintain a sense for service that makes if feel smaller and more intimate for example by offering complimentary private shuttle service in one of the hotels Tesla electric sports cars.  A service usually only found in small luxury boutique hotels.

Ian Schrager's Latest South Beach Addition- The Edition

The Edition is a relatively new South beach addition (just over one year old) with a typical Ian Schrager/South Beach minimalist décor.   The Edition brand of hotels are a partnership between Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotel Group.   The main lobby has a great vibe with lots of comfortable lounging, a pool table, and access to outdoor patios and is flanked by two restaurants.  We ate breakfast and a casual dinner at Market which is bright, fresh and casual. The menu has pizza, pasta as well as steak, fish, chicken dishes.  I would recommend for breakfast or a casual lunch or dinner. Although the food is good I would not classify it as fine dining, more along the lines of comfort food.  The hotel’s signature fine dining venue is Matador by celebrity chef Jean George.The sleeping rooms are styled with light wood floors, crisp white bathrooms, furniture and beds.  High ceilings gave a great sense of space and everything is slick with clean lines.    No surprises if you have stayed at other Miami Shrager properties although if you plan to stay for more than a few days and bringing much of your wardrobe don’t plan on much drawer space.  As mentioned the rooms are very minimalist and therefore there is very limited space for storing clothing.In the basement of the hotel is a night club, ice rink and bowling.  The bowling is a nice diversion for any family looking to fill an hour gap in your day or small group wanting to sip a margarita and make a friendly wager on your friends rolling 100 or better.The pool area is large with lots of seating and there seemed to be a good number of staff on top of things.  The location is great with a number of fine dinning options within walking or short car ride distance.   The Edition would be a great hotel for family, business, or couples traveling.  A good level of service, clean simple and effective design with most of what you need on sight and everything else nearby.

The Faena -Opulence in South Beach

If you have a love for art, décor and all things esthetic then the Hotel Faena is definitely the place when visiting South Beach.  Every carpet, painting, sculpture, bedspread, inch of tile and staff uniform is designed to create a sense for the opulent.  The spa was operating without the use of some of their facilities so they were still not quite in high gear but close.  Despite that, the service level overall at the property is extremely high, especially in a town like South Beach where “QUALITY SERVICE” is hard to find.  I never opened a door, waited a fraction of a second for service pool side or felt it difficult to be in touch with the concierge desk.The room we had was on the small side (Oceanview King), which wouldn’t have been a factor if we had not been travelling with our seven year old son and needing a rollaway.  My only other complaint was the the room did not have anything resembling a desk or work station…maybe that was not a design flaw however for those needing to hammer out a few emails you may be doing it from your lap.   I did tour the larger room categories (junior suite and up) and found these rooms very adequate in size and quality.   I would strongly recommend going for a Junior Suite or larger room category if you require some space.  And, of course, lets not forget the butler service for your every need including packing and unpacking.The gym is decent with a handful of aerobic stations, a few free weights and a half dozen strength machines.  Everything is perfectly new and of the highest quality.  The spa once it is fully operational will be spectacular.Drinks at the Veranda Bar is ultra cool…no other description fits.  The décor is a mix of leopard and cheetah (faux of course) upholstered sofas, plush velvet chairs sitting on richly colored carpets.  A jazzy Cuban band is playing and the mixologists are all seasoned veterans capable of putting any drink together to perfection.  We ate at Pao the first evening and although it’s on the pricy side the service and food made it worthwhile.It will probably be a while before another hotel scoops the “trendiest hotel in Miami” award away from the Faena.  If you don’t get a chance to stay there go for the pool side lunch, a drink, spa treatment or just a stroll.  It is certainly worth a look.