The Pool Palace: A Review of the W Miami
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To The Point
The W Miami is a solid Marriott hotel if you don’t need to stay on the beach. Pros: Good location, a massive pool with a fun vibe and delicious food. Cons: Using the gym was a bit of a hassle, and some of the classic W feel is lost on this property.
After a great stay at The Betsy Hotel South Beach, I moved to the newish W Hotel in Brickell because prices on South Beach over the 4th of July holiday weekend were sky-high. I was also interested in checking out how this property transitioned from once being part of the Viceroy Hotel group to a W in 2017. There are two other Ws in South Florida: one on South Beach and another up in Fort Lauderdale, though this is the smallest of the bunch with only 118 rooms. I really like the Brickell area because it provides easy access to both South Beach and Wynwood, along with hosting of a slew of cool restaurants and bars. I also had a few Suite Night Awards night awards to burn and, since I enjoy W hotels for leisure stays, I decided to give the property a go.
I booked a prepaid rate about a week out on the Marriott app that averaged out to $191 per night plus taxes and fees. I earned 14,097 Marriott Bonvoy points (worth approximately $112 according to TPG’s latest valuations) thanks to the 75% Ambassador Elite bonus, along with a targeted bonus I was eligible for. I had applied Suite Night upgrades at the time of booking, and about 48 hours prior to check-in, I got notification that I had cleared into a Fantastic Suite!
This property is a Category 6 in the Bonvoy award chart, meaning that if you book before September 14, 2019, you’ll need 50,000 points per award night. Once the new peak/off peak chart is implemented on Sept. 14, you’ll need anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 points for a free night, depending on what the algorithm decides for this hotel.
The W Miami is located right off Brickell Ave and shares many facilities with the massive “Icon Brickell” apartment complex.
There are plenty of water views from the pool deck, which faces Brickell Key on one side and the Miami River on the other.
Miami International Airport is about 20 minutes away by car, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is about 45 minutes away. The area is slightly strange in that there aren’t many restaurants or bars at street level, but there are many venues at elevated levels in hotels, malls or other complexes. Our favorite dinner nearby was at La Mar by Gaston Acurio, which is a pleasant 10-minute walk away in the Mandarin Oriental hotel.
We arrived to the hotel at around 6 p.m., and there was no line at the check-in desks.
On the other side of the lobby was Panther Coffee, which is a local coffee chain.
As we began the check-in process, the agent mentioned that our Fantastic Suite was on the newly renovated 6th floor, with tile instead of carpet in the halls. We chose breakfast as our welcome amenity, and it was served on the 15th floor by the pool at Addikt. The alternative was 500 points.
The hallway on our floor looked brand-new, and throughout our stay, maintenance workers were still tinkering with the ceiling and lighting fixtures.
Our Fantastic Suite opened up to a long corridor with views of the Miami River in the distance.
A half bath was on the right-hand side of the hall.
The main living area had a sofa, TV, large desk and dining area. The desk was massive and a comfortable place to get work done.
On the left hand side, there were two sliding-door closets with a small kitchenette behind one.
The coffee machine felt more akin to something you’d see at a Sheraton or Marriott rather than a W.
The bedroom was very large, with a very comfy king-size bed as the centerpiece. I found the art and color scheme a bit stark for sunny Miami.
The balcony stretched across the whole suite and offered sweeping views of the maritime traffic cruising down the Miami River. The Brickell Avenue drawbridge (other side of the view below) did prove noisy whenever it opened and closed, but it never disturbed our sleep.
The master bathroom was toward the back of the bedroom and equipped with a large bathtub.
There was a small water closet on one but it had a frosted glass window that you could see through, which proved very awkward.
As with all Ws, the bathroom was stocked with Bliss toiletries.
The shower featured a rainfall shower head but was a bit on the tight side.
The room was an extremely comfortable place to relax. I really liked having a living area and a bedroom, and the whole place was bigger than my (albeit tiny) apartment back home!
Food and Beverage
Breakfast was served on the 15th floor at Addikt. On our first day we were given a special menu and told that Platinum guests had to pick between scrambled eggs, pancakes or a continental spread, which wasn’t too exciting.
The next day we overheard another waitress mention elite guests are entitled to approximately $40 of credit to spend on breakfast from the a la carte breakfast menu, which was a lot more enticing. We went down that route the next two days, and our favorite items were the chilaquiles and the acai bowl.
We enjoyed our breakfast outdoors in the balmy Florida breezes.
Addikt also had a solid happy hour with $8 cocktails, $5 beers and super friendly bartenders. While it wasn’t the flashiest hotel restaurant, we found it to be a good option.
The massive pool on the 15th floor is shared with the ICON Brickell apartment complex. Guests have to scan their room keys to access the pool deck and are then issued a wristband upon entering. Chairs and cabanas were free for all guests on a first-come, first-serve basis. There was also a large hot tub and a kids’ wading pool.
There were a few servers making the rounds and taking drink orders. It was probably one of the biggest pools I have ever been to, and it was a definite scene.
To access the gym, guests had to trek down and up a flight of stairs and walk across a parking garage to one of the ICON Brickell buildings. I’d budget least 15 minutes to get there and back, if you are planning to get a workout in. Once there, the gym was really nice and had a full schedule of classes, which are included for guests. As you can see, the gym was packed. The ICON also has a spa for all of your pampering needs.
The W Miami is not your classic W experience. There is no lobby bar with DJs spinning on a Friday night or swanky restaurant serving Asian-fusion fare. I also found the distance of the gym slightly annoying, especially for a quick workout. That being said, the pool deck was awesome, breakfast was tasty and we really enjoyed our room upgrade. I enjoyed my stay at the property and would return for the right price, though I won’t be actively planning a trip to Miami to spend a few nights at this W.
All photos by the author.
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