I am back in Miami and it’s time to try a new hotel, I haven’t stayed in before and for a review of this hotel. My choice for this week’s stay was the Element Miami International Airport.
The Element by Westin is part of the Starwood family which now belongs to Marriott. During my stay, I still collected the very valuable SPG Points. The hotel is located close to the Metromover Rental Car Center Station. If you want you can even take the free Metromover from the Airport to the Rental Car Center and walk from there to the hotel, instead of taking the free Airport Shuttle. If you have a lot of luggage and in the Miami heat, it’s definitely better to take the shuttle instead of the train. It picks you up right at the terminal curb.
I had a rental car and in that case, it was a super short drive to the hotel. This was actually awesome because I arrived around 9 p.m. at the hotel and was quite tired from all day traveling. However, they charge you
$12/day now a $20/day parking fee. On the bright side, you get at least a fully fenced property with automatic gates. The gates can be opened with your room key or by ringing the buzzer. This makes me feel safer, because the neighborhood in which the hotel is located, is not the best. On the other side, all airport hotels are located around here.
The Check-In was painless and they honored my Platinum status with Starwood. I got my keys and got some information about the property and location and times of breakfast and other amenities. The use the newer style contactless keycards instead of the once with the magnet stripe. Besides that, they also offer SPG Keyless.
I took my bags and headed up to my room to the 4th floor. My room was almost straight across from the elevator and when I stepped in, I was very positively surprised. The Element is more of an “extended stay” hotel. They feature a full kitchen with sink, dishes, silverware, and a huge refrigerator. Very convenient for longer stays.
I had a two queen bedroom with a view towards the road leading to the hotel. The room is equipped with everything you need for a great stay. The bathroom was huge and very well illuminated.
The one thing I like most about Starwood-Hotels is the shampoo and conditioner dispenser in the shower. You don’t get these small bottles. Instead, you have a nice big dispenser. I always participate in “Make A Green Choice”. This means you don’t get any room service but on the bright side, you get bonus points for every day you deny the room service.
All the other amenities are at the lobby level. There are a big outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool. The pool is fenced in and you also need your room key to open the door. Next to the pool is a BBQ-pit and on the other side an outside seating area.
Right behind the glass wall of the seating area is the breakfast area and lobby lounge. They have breakfast a hot breakfast buffet every day. I was only able to really take advantage of this on one single day of my one week stay. I noticed that the breakfast staff was busier talking to themselves instead of cleaning off the tables. I also hate that people just leave their trash and dishes on the table and run away. They have a cart with crates to drop off your used dishes.
From Monday – Thursday they have an evening reception in the lobby, right where you would get your breakfast. Come down here for complimentary bites and beer or wine.
If you are hungry a lot, you can visit the restaurant located right next to the breakfast area. It’s ridiculous that every order at the restaurant comes with an 18% service charge. Their service is bad and I am not blaming the one and only waitress working at the restaurant. I blame the hotel for not hiring another person. I had the same waitress whenever I had dinner at the restaurant and she was working the shift always by herself. The service charge doesn’t even include gratuity. Food is not that good either. I had a couple of different items from the menu and at the end, it feels like microwave food which takes way to long to get once you have ordered your food.
There is plenty of parking available around the hotel and the hotel as special parking spots for low emission vehicles and an electric vehicle parking spot. However, nobody seems to enforce it.
There was a gas guzzler sitting in the EV charging spot and nobody gave him a ticket. I would have towed him away, this is just rude. Just because you are too lazy to walk.
On the back of the property is a lake, which is not actually part of the hotel. If someone tries, he could get on the parking lot from the lake, because there is no fence on this side but the main hotel property is still fenced in and not accessible without a keycard.
The fitness center is fairly big with a lot of workout equipment and view of the lobby area.
What surprised me most is the laundry facility. It is huge and has a lot of washers and dryers. I have never seen so many in a hotel before. This looks almost like a Laundromat. And you can only get in the laundry facilities with your room key.
Overall it was a great stay at the Element and I wouldn’t mind staying here again. I like that the hotel is fenced in with automatic gates and the close proximity to the airport. As mentioned before, I could either take the Metromover or the free Airport Shuttle.
I stayed here a few more times and have now more experience with the Element Hotel. General service of the hotel staff is bad. Breakfast is supposed to be starting at 6:30 a.m. during the week. Somehow the staff confused the starting time of the breakfast as the starting time of when to start putting out items for the hotel guests. Also, the front desk team needs more training. Some of them don’t even know how their dry cleaning service works, others promised me that they will send the forms I requested to my room but they never even try. Went back down there 45 minutes later to see that he completely forgot about it and his colleague was actually able to find the forms right at the front desk. Then I put the “Make a Green Choice” sign on my hotel door the first night to get additional points. Housekeeping completely ignores it and still services the room. A few days into one of my stay I told the front desk and they told me that they will inform housekeeping and will also add the points. Housekeeping never got informed and still services the room. There is also no “Do not Disturb” sign anywhere in the room.
The property itself is great but personnel is the huge negative factor here. But on the other side it full reflects the Miami-attitude, as I call it. Nobody in town seems to care. I am here for business and not even companies care to get your business.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.