Overlooking Collins Park, the W is one of the few South Beach hotels with no building right next to it, on the south side at least, giving most bedrooms stunning, long views down the beach and across to the city. Lincoln Road is a short walk south along Collins Avenue, or the beach, and the hotel’s also very close to museums, theatres and the library.
The condo/rooms at the W are works of art in themselves. Even the smallest are close to 600 square feet, and have huge glass balconies overlooking the ocean. I was blown away by the interior design, which gives a hip modern European feel with low, grey Italian sofas, floor-to-ceiling glass chandelier lighting and ultracool black-and-grey Cipollino marble bathrooms. The tiled floors are finished with wood grain and the contemporary look is completed by twin plasma screen TVs and wall art featuring the work of rock photographer Danny Cinch. Many of the bigger rooms and suites have their own washer-dryers and kitchens.
W has a “Living Room” instead of a lobby. It’s part art gallery, with £37 million worth of pieces from New York property tycoon Aby Rosen’s private collection, part relaxing lounge with an eclectic array of colourful, plush seating and part business centre, judging by the number of suits with laptops. For me, however, the most picturesque part of the hotel is The Grove, the Provencal-themed outdoor garden where you can mingle, eat, drink, walk or relax under sea grape trees. At night, it’s beautifully lit with lantern candles and subtle spotlighting.
Eating and drinking
The ground-floor Mr Chow Asian restaurant is among Miami’s hottest celebrity hangouts, but it’s prohibitively expensive and often difficult to get a table at short notice. The Solea restaurant’s not that much cheaper but is far more casual – you don’t feel like you’re on public display. Give the cocktail servers at the Living Room and Wet (poolside) bars free rein to create something amazing for you – they can tell you everything you’d possibly want to know, and more, about where your drink was sourced and how it was made.
There’s nothing stuffy about the Bliss Spa, it’s meant to be fun. I’ve not seen many other spas where you can chomp down on chocolate brownies while listening to rhythm and blues! There are rooftop basketball and tennis courts, and a newly opened VIP pool to complement the main pool – which is called, simply, Wet.
There’s a Whatever/Whenever button on each phone, which sums up the hotel’s attitude to service. It’s generally very good, though some holes can seem to appear at really busy times, such as long queues at the undersized reception desk. A nice touch is a free car service for guests to anywhere in Miami Beach.
Who stays there
Mostly younger couples and groups, a few families and a large number of Europeans. Celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow have been known to stay.
There are extra charges for almost everything, including one of the most expensive mini-bars and in-room snacks, branded the Munchie Box, that I’ve seen anywhere! But a good range of package offers, and the terrific car service, are big savers.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- First-time travellers
- Sporty types
- Great views / scenery
- People watching
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Free car service
- Massive rooms and fabulous views
- Miami's coolest hotel
- Claustrophobic reception area