Worth a stay: A review of the Confidante Miami Beach by Hyatt
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Editor’s Note: During the COVID-19 crisis, our team has temporarily ceased taking review trips. However, we have resumed the publication of new flight, hotel and lounge reviews, from trips taken before the lockdown; and we are also republishing a selection of reviews from previous years.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
Update: In light of COVID-19, a spokesperson for the hotel says Bird & Bone is no longer open. According to the hotel website, there are currently two food and beverage options available: The Backyard and Cafecito Bar.
Earlier this year, we sent three TPG staffers on three very different trips to Miami. To find out what’s the best way to fly from New York to Miami, reviews editor Nick Ellis flew on low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines. Points, miles and deals reporter Vikkie Walker flew first class in a lie-flat seat on American Airlines. And I lucked out and flew on a private jet. Once there, we stayed at three redemption-friendly hotels: Nick stayed at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Vikkie stayed at the glitzy W South Beach, and I stayed at the family-friendly Confidante Miami Beach, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.
This beachfront hotel received high marks from a TPG contributor who reviewed the property in 2018, so I was excited to see how my experience would stack up.
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Cash rates at the Confidante start around $180 (£145) per night in the low season, but can easily exceed $400 (£321) per night in other parts of the year. The rates were on the higher end of the spectrum for my dates because we were booking fairly last-minute and it was peak season in South Florida. Fortunately, points came to the rescue.
As a Hyatt Category 4 property, award nights cost 15,000 points per night.
As is the case with most Miami Beach hotels, the Confidante charges a $39.90 (£32) resort fee, but it’s waived on award stays and waived on paid stays if you have Hyatt Globalist status. It provides benefits that most hotels would usually offer anyway like free Wi-Fi and fitness-centre access, as well as some valuable perks like the use of loungers and umbrellas on the beach, on-property fitness classes and bicycle rentals.
The Confidante Miami Beach is on Collins Avenue, along Mid-Beach. It’s much quieter than the heart of South Beach and is still a hip area with some of Miami’s most iconic resorts like the Faena, Fontainebleau, Eden Roc and the Soho Beach House. If you want to experience the hustle and bustle of South Beach, the action is a 10-minute car ride away. Alternatively, you can borrow one of the hotel’s bikes or take the free South Beach Trolley. The hotel also provides easy access to the beach, which is right behind the property.
The hotel is about a half-hour car ride from Miami International Airport (MIA) under normal traffic conditions and around an hour from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Or, if you’re flying BLADEone into Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF) as I did, it’ll take you around 45 minutes to get to the hotel.
I arrived at the hotel around 4 p.m. on a Friday. There was one person ahead of me in the check-in line at that time. (The area looked much busier on Saturday and Sunday.) The agent was friendly and explained the benefits included with the resort fee, even though I was exempt from paying it because my stay was booked using points. I don’t have elite status with Hyatt so I wasn’t offered an upgrade, but I was still thanked for being a World of Hyatt member and handed a bottle of water.
The Confidante has 354 rooms spread across three towers with separate elevators. I was assigned a standard king room on the 11th floor of the historic main tower, facing the city. Although I appreciated a room on a high floor, the elevators were slow and always made many stops, so getting to and from my room was never quick.
As with the rest of the hotel, the room had a very art deco vibe. The colourful design reflected the retro-glam roots of the hotel, which opened in the 1940s.
I had three nights of terrific sleep on the king bed. I appreciated the easily accessible power outlets and USB ports on both sides of the bed.
Next to the bed was a small wardrobe with hangers, a safe, two robes, an iron and ironing board, and an umbrella — a necessity for Miami’s unpredictable weather. There were also a few hooks on the wall to hang clothes.
The room is furnished with a desk under the TV and a small sitting area next to it. The desk has plenty of workspace and easily accessible power outlets and USB ports. The chair isn’t comfortable enough for working for a long period, but when you come to Miami Beach, you hopefully aren’t wasting time at a desk anyway.
There was a set of earplugs on the desk, but street noise was never an issue for my 11th-floor room with a view of the city. I did, however, hear every single detail of my neighbours’ conversations.
There was a retro bar cart, but surprisingly, no minibar. There were only two bottles of complimentary water, an ice bucket and an empty fridge. There was no coffee machine, but complimentary coffee and tea were available in the lobby in the mornings.
The bathroom felt a bit tired compared to the rest of the room, but it was functional. There’s a small vanity with one sink, a toilet and a standing shower. The bolted mirror above the vanity reminded me of a porthole on a ship. The toiletries included champagne-scented products by Jonathan Adler and plenty of cotton balls and cotton swabs.
Food and beverage
Complimentary coffee and tea were available from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily in a small nook in the lobby, next to the hotel’s main restaurant.
The restaurant, Bird & Bone, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from a menu featuring Southern-inspired fare. It has indoor and outdoor seating.
Breakfast is served from 7-11 a.m. daily and offers a full buffet ($32; £26), continental buffet ($21; £17) and à la carte options. I went with the full buffet, with made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, sausages and potatoes, as well as all of the continental offerings, which consisted of oatmeal, fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt, pastries, cheeses, cold cuts and smoked salmon. Coffee, tea and juices were also included. Although the selection wasn’t that extensive, I enjoyed all of the food I tried. A perk for families who opt for the buffet is that kids ages 4-12 pay their age and kids under four are free. As is often the case with Miami restaurants, a 20% service charge was automatically added to my bill.
Also in the lobby was a bar that doubled as a coffee shop in the mornings and a lounge area in the evenings.
As a cheaper alternative to the main restaurant, I went to the coffee shop for breakfast another morning. I had an orange juice, yoghurt parfait and Cuban pastry, but considering the $20 (£16) price tag, I would have been better off sticking with the main restaurant where I could’ve had the continental buffet for roughly the same price. Or I could have gone to a local coffee shop. A 20% service charge was still added to my bill despite the grab-and-go setting, and in a state known for its oranges, I was disappointed to see my pricey cup of orange juice poured out of a store-bought bottle.
The Backyard bar provided poolside and beachside food and drink service. Choices included ceviche, tacos, salads, sandwiches, burgers, cocktails and fresh coconut juice. Guests place their orders via an app you download on your phone or by flagging a server, though the latter was not easy and took me about half an hour.
I ordered ceviche ($17; £14), which came with plantain chips — a bit drier than I’m used to, but tasty nonetheless. Once again, a 20% service charge was automatically added to my bill.
Room service was available, but only for breakfast from 7-11 a.m. and for dinner from 5-11 p.m. The choices and prices mostly overlapped with what was available downstairs at Bird & Bone.
A hotel-wide happy hour, dubbed “The Confidante Crawl” was available from 4-6 p.m. daily.
Between the guest rooms and the beach is an outdoor area called The Backyard with a garden and lawn games like giant Jenga and a ping-pong table.
There are two nearly identical pools on-site, one for families and the other for adults. They are surrounded by several types of cabanas available to rent and have various Instagram-friendly pool floaties. Although not as eclectic as some South Beach hotels like the W, there’s often live music at the pool area on weekends.
I had no trouble securing a pool chair Saturday morning, but I needed to wait before I could get one Sunday, which was a bit concerning since I only needed one chair, didn’t mind where I’d sit and the hotel wasn’t even fully booked. The hotel sells day passes via ResortPass so that might be partly to blame.
Right out the back door behind the pools and boardwalk is the beach. Beach chairs were plentiful on the day I visited and included with the resort fee. Beach cabanas are usually available for $150 (£120) for the day but were offered for $85 (£68) because of high winds. There were also more lawn games on the beach.
The hotel’s spa is on the 10th floor. There is also a 24-hour fitness centre, which was well-equipped with a variety of strength-training and cardio equipment.
Complimentary daily fitness classes like yoga, boxing and boot camp were offered on an outdoor terrace with ocean views.
Also included in the resort fee was a daily two-hour bike rental, but the rental process was a bit convoluted. I needed to download an app, provide my credit card information (in case I didn’t return the bike on time) and connect to the bike via Bluetooth and then scanning a code.
The art deco theme was evident throughout the property. The ground-floor walls were filled with art pieces from local artists, available for purchase.
Wi-Fi was included as a part of the resort fee. It was easy to connect to and worked well, with download speeds of 4.12 Mbps and upload speeds of 4.62 Mbps. It didn’t reach the beach, but I didn’t expect it to.
Service was a mixed bag, but with more positives than negatives. The front desk agents were friendly and helpful and slippers were delivered promptly when I requested them. Housekeeping did a great job of keeping everything clean and fresh in the room, but I would’ve preferred they not knock on my door at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday to clean the room.
As I mentioned before, it was hard to flag down servers by the pool. There were pool attendants frequently walking around to pick up trash, but they wouldn’t take orders or help call a server. However, I did appreciate the delicious mango smoothie shots the staff distributed to guests.
I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend getaway at The Confidante, and at just 15,000 points per night or a free-night certificate, there’s no denying that it offered a great bang for the buck. The hotel had some family-friendly aspects, but it also did a great job catering to adults, especially with the separate family and adult pools. I liked the vibe and decor of the hotel and appreciated the easy access to the beach.
All photos by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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