Sense South Beach
400 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Families with teenagers, Honeymooners, Chilling out, Design and architecture, Escaping the crowds, Relaxation, Trendiness
Expert review of Sense South Beach
As one of only three new recent hotel constructions permitted on South Beach, Sense piqued my curiosity when it opened in early 2009 at the height of the economic recession. The ultra-modern building stands out among older buildings around it and, despite a few flaws that can no longer be described as teething troubles, Sense offers good value for less than you’d usually expect to pay for a hotel with an Ocean Drive address.
Yes it’s on Ocean Drive, but don’t expect any traffic snafus here. It’s just south of 5th Street, where the hustle and bustle of South Beach really begins, so it’s out of the way yet still directly opposite the ocean and a short walk north to the restaurants and bars.
There are only 18 suites, split into city and ocean view kings and doubles, although the views of the Atlantic from rooms at the front are actually only glimpses between the tall buildings opposite. Yet, because this is a new building, the rooms are exceptionally large and decorated in a funky style, with bright white linens, charcoal grey carpet tiles and simple European style furniture. The wall art might not be to everybody’s taste but gives rooms a modern feel. Lights in the bathrooms operate by motion sensors (as long as the electronic door key is in the right place) so keep moving if you don’t want to be plunged into darkness.
Floor-to-ceiling glass and a vast expanse of empty space gives the lobby a minimalist, even stark feel that will certainly be helped if and when Sense opens its long-awaited restaurant/café to fill the void (see below). The dark hallways and dimly lit lifts are in contrast to the bright open spaces of the lobby and rooms, and I’m kind of confused why.
This is Sense’s elephant in the room. Despite what it says on the hotel’s own website, there is no restaurant (or bar), although they assure me there are plans for one. Soon. Honestly. No matter, there are a myriad of eating and drinking options very close by so it’s no real problem for now.
The fourth-floor pool and deck catch lots of sun. It’s a quiet, peaceful place to spend time, but don’t fall in the narrow trough at the end of the pool that is presumably intended to be some kind of water feature but still needs fixing two years on. Beach towels and umbrellas are available as part of the resort fee.
Alex the concierge is a raconteur of some excellent tales about Miami and knows the city inside out, and he’s always happy to advise of the best places to eat, drink, relax and dance.
Trendy young couples, families with older children, single-sex groups. Very popular with European and South American vacationers.
Probably not worth paying extra for an ocean “view”. Minimal resort fee covers internet, beach towels, loungers and umbrellas.
More information on Sense South Beach:
- 400 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
- High-Speed Internet, Pets Allowed, Swimming Pool