Here’s what it was like staying at the brand-new Moxy Miami South Beach
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Editor’s note: The Moxy Miami South Beach hosted the author for a first look at the new property.
Marriott’s Moxy brand has grown immensely since its debut in 2014. The brand has expanded to more than 70 locations worldwide and is now entering a new chapter with the opening of the Moxy Miami South Beach. Not only is it the brand’s first property in Florida, but it also marks Moxy’s first foray into resort-style properties.
The new 202-room resort is located in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco district and just two blocks from the iconic Ocean Drive. Most buildings in the area are considered historic, so it’s also one of South Beach’s first new-build hotels in many years.
Despite the pandemic, the Moxy Miami South Beach opened as planned and is ready to welcome guests. The hotel invited me to spend two nights to experience the new property for myself. Here’s what I learned from my stay.
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This is Moxy’s first resort-style property
While there are a few Moxys with pools, the Moxy Miami South Beach is the brand’s first true resort. Altogether, there are six food-and-beverage outlets, two pools, a beach club and multiple meeting and event spaces.
The main pool is located on the second-floor terrace and features tiered lounge seating, pool floats, benches in the water and private cabanas. Poolside service is available here from the restaurant Serena.
Fitting for South Beach’s see-and-be-seen vibe, there’s a see-through cutout at the bottom of the pool the allows guests in the lobby to watch swimmers from below.
Related: A beginner’s guide to visiting Miami
Just off the pool, also on the second floor, is the hotel’s indoor-outdoor gym. The nearby Muscle Beach inspired the outdoor component.
Inside, you’ll find all the essentials, including several treadmills, elliptical machines, a stationary bike and free weights.
Then, on the eighth-floor rooftop, there’s a shallow lounging pool with 360-degree views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.
Also on the rooftop is an outdoor screening area that plays silent movies every night and has games like giant dominoes.
Just off the lobby are three meeting rooms that double as stylish coworking spaces when they’re not rented out. They offer a variety of seating options, each with easily accessible power outlets. If they’re being used or you prefer more of a coffee-shop vibe, there are also plenty of spaces to sit in the lobby or the outdoor courtyard.
Unlike other Moxys, there are actual check-in counters. Normally, the brand eschews the check-in desk and combines it with the lobby bar.
As is the norm for Miami Beach hotels, there’s a $27 ($30.78 or £22 including tax) nightly “destination fee” to assert the resort title. In turn, you’ll get amenities like two beach chairs, on-property fitness classes, bicycle rentals, a free appetizer at Serena and Wi-Fi. Since Marriott Gold elites and higher already get complimentary enhanced internet, they get a $15 (about £11) daily laundry credit instead. Just note that towels aren’t provided at the beach, so you’ll want to bring some from the hotel.
Guest rooms are compact
The hotel has 202 rooms, including king, double-queen, or quad-bunk options, as well as two suites. As is the norm for Moxys, the standard rooms are small, but they’re practically designed and smartly configured.
For starters, the rooms don’t have closets in the traditional sense. Instead, they are outfitted with space-efficient pegboard walls. Instead of an iron and ironing board, rooms are supplied with steamers.
More storage space is available beneath the beds. Also located beneath the bed is a drawer that holds the room’s safe. There are no refrigerators in standard rooms.
There are no standard work desks in rooms, though the hotel has folding tables on order that hadn’t yet arrived when I stayed. But that’s not a problem since there’s plenty of space to cowork downstairs. Whether you book a city or ocean view room, there are floor-to-ceiling windows that brighten up the room and help keep it from feeling claustrophobic.
Tubs are swapped for walk-in showers, which makes sense given the target clientele and optimisation of space. Fortunately, there’s plenty of counter space, which often isn’t the case with smaller rooms like this. Muk-branded toiletries are supplied in large pump-topped bottles to reduce plastic waste.
Moxy is great for groups
Whether you’re travelling to South Beach with friends for Spring Break, a bachelor/bachelorette party or something else, the Moxy has you covered.
In line with Moxy’s youthful spirit, there are two types of quad-bunk bedrooms — one is slightly larger with a separate seating area. These rooms are typically priced slightly higher than standard rooms but are cheaper than suites. As of now, they aren’t bookable with points. Each bed gets its own reading light and pair of power outlets.
Bathrooms in bunk rooms are configured so that different people could be showering, using the toilet and brushing their teeth at the same time while maintaining privacy. Unlike the standard rooms, there are no windows in the showers.
Alternatively, groups could book double-queen rooms with city or ocean views. These rooms have slightly more square footage than the king rooms but have a similar configuration. Although these rooms have windows in the showers, they’re frosted.
The design is true to its locale
While you’ll still find plenty of the brand’s signature pink, the hotel is much more colourful than your average Moxy. Celebrating Miami’s uniquely multicultural style, the design blends the glamour of mid-century Havana, the vibrancy of Mexico City, Miami Modernism and more.
The oval-shaped lobby bar features retro-style stools and an infinity mirror installation above, containing the phone number of El Floridita, the Havana watering hole Ernest Hemingway frequented.
Also in the lobby is a Zoltar-inspired payphone that you can use to get complimentary horoscope readings from the hotel’s resident astrologer. Yes, you read that right. The hotel has a resident astrologer.
The bedrooms feature artwork that depicts artists like Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso visiting South Beach. There are also elements, like the round windows and some of the furniture, that resemble ocean-liner staterooms, nodding to an overnight ferry service that used to operate between Miami and Havana. The design element also carries on to the elevators, which are designed to feel like you’re underwater.
The design is ideal for pandemic-era life
This hotel’s design turned out to be ideal for the pandemic era.
The majority of the public spaces are open-air and blend seamlessly with the indoor areas. Besides the indoor-outdoor gym, the lobby opens up to an outdoor courtyard that you could dine or work in. The public areas also offer plenty of private and semi-private enclaves.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Serena, is ensconced in tropical foliage on the second-floor terrace. The two restaurants opening in April will offer outdoor seating as well.
Although there are traditional check-in desks, guests can opt for contactless check-in — either via Marriott’s mobile app or a self-check-in kiosk. Only a few Marriott properties have these self-service kiosks so far.
Food and beverage is a major focus
If you’ve ever been to Miami, you’ll know that the city has an incredible food scene. And the dining options at the Moxy are no exception.
As mentioned above, the property offers a total of six food-and-beverage outlets, two of which will open in April. They’re operated by the founders of the popular Miami restaurants Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky. Although Marriott elites usually don’t get free breakfast at Moxys, Platinium members can opt for a $10 food and beverage credit as their welcome amenity.
At the centre of the lobby is the retro Cuban-themed Bar Moxy.
Right across it is Los Buenos, an all-day bodega and taco stand. It serves tacos on hand-pressed tortillas, burritos, breakfast items, as well as some grab-and-go options. Prices start at $8 for two tacos or $11 for a burrito.
The restaurants Como Como and Mezcalista will also be located on the ground floor when they open. Como Como will be a seafood restaurant and raw bar focusing on ancient Mexican grilling techniques, while Mezcalista will be a mezcal lounge with a bit of a speakeasy vibe.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Serena, is located upstairs, on the second floor. As mentioned above, it’s mostly outdoors, its design inspired by rooftop and patio restaurants of Oaxaca and Mexico City.
At night, the space has an enchanting atmosphere with twinkling lights and bougainvillaea hanging above, channelling Mexican markets. There’s even a DJ on the weekends. Given that there aren’t many rooftops in the area, I definitely see Serena becoming a popular spot among tourists and locals.
I had dinner here one night and was thoroughly impressed. I wish I’d had a few more people with me to try more of the dishes, which are meant to be shared family-style.
To start, I had the freshly-made guacamole and chips, which were served with a selection of house-made salsas. To drink, I had the Serena Margarita, which did not disappoint.
I then sampled two types of ceviche and the seared tuna tostadas the waiter recommended. The rojo ceviche (on the left) was some of the best ceviche I’ve had, coming with heirloom baby tomatoes, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, chile de arbol, citrus marinade and tangerine infused olive oil. That said, the verde ceviche with cucumbers, avocado, cilantro, serrano chiles, red onions, serrano chile-lime marinade and lemon-infused olive oil was delicious as well. All of the dishes were very light and fresh.
I was beyond stuffed at this point, but I could have ordered warm mains like a grilled skirt steak, short-rib guisado or chicken enchiladas. I still had churros for dessert, though, which were served with Mexican hot chocolate.
Finally, there’s another bar on the rooftop. At night, the space, aptly named The Upside, transforms into a whimsical pink bar exclusively for hotel guests.
Rates are reasonable
The Moxy brand is geared toward more budget-conscious travellers. Rates here currently start at $159 (about £115) for a standard room. Alternatively, you can book a stay here using points.
As a Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy property, an award night will cost you 30,000 points for an off-peak night, 35,000 for a standard night and 40,000 for a peak night.
The Moxy Miami South Beach is a terrific addition to the area and the Marriott portfolio. True to the brand, it’s playful, affordable and stylish. It’s ideal for those interested in more of a South Beach party scene than a purely relaxing vacation. While the rooms might be on the smaller side, they’re practical and you likely won’t be spending much time there anyway since there are plenty of communal spaces for work and play. With lots of great on-site food-and-beverage options, it could even become a place where locals would hang out and have a drink or a bite to eat.
All photos by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy
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