Another trip to Miami and another hotel review of a hotel I never stayed in before. It’s summer time and off-season in Miami. That’s why also hotel prices drop down quite low and I got a chance to stay at the Hyatt Regency for a cheap rate booked directly on Hyatt’s website for a standard room (~$140 USD). I drove up with my car to the hotel and got greeted by a bellman. I went inside to check-in. I used the priority lane for top tier members with Hyatt Gold Passport but I was the next one in line either way.
The front desk agent was super friendly and check-in went quick and easy. They even had a big surprise in their portfolio for me. I got upgraded to the Miami Suite. I thankfully accepted that and went to get my bags from my car. He wrote down my information and gave me my parking ticket to pick up my car from valet parking. I grabbed my bags and headed to my room. There are 5 elevators and I didn’t have to wait long to get up to the 16th floor to my suite.
The Miami Suite
The first thing I recognized after entering the suite, room number 1602, was the long wall out of floor-to-ceiling windows. Unfortunately, I only had a great view of the neighboring buildings and a small view of the harbor/bay along the street going down between the buildings. Miami is growing so fast. what is today a skyscraper is a tiny building tomorrow. The suite was very spacious and had a separate work area on the one side of the room and a King-Bed on the other with a 32″ flat screen TV. Next to the bed was a small closet which also had a safe inside.
The bathroom was big enough and the shower tub and toilet were on the end of the room and partly separated from the washbasin.
Overall the suite was really great and gave me a “welcome home” feeling. For me the furniture was a bit outdated, especially the couch and armchair. My suite was facing to the east right along SE 2nd Ave. It can get sometimes noise here when they open the nearby drawbridge. People just start honking the horn and hope that somebody will move. Where to if the bridge is open? Oh, I could write a whole book how stupid and ignorant the people in Miami are if it comes to driving. The worst thing, police doesn’t even care if traffic rules get broken constantly. But anyway that’s not the topic of this post.
One perk of being a Diamond Member with Hyatt Goldpassport is the access to the Regency Club. The club is located on the 23rd floor in this property but got closed 5 days after my arrival. The reason for the closure is remodeling and getting a bigger club room and also moving it to the top floor of the hotel. The indeed needed a bigger space but the execution could have been better. Since there was actually another space assigned to be the new Regency Club two levels higher, why didn’t they kept this one open until the new one is ready and have a smooth transit? They probably had their reasons. Everyone with access to the Regency Club got a little note from the management, that they will receive free breakfast at the Riverwalk Cafe, two free bottles of water every day and some bonus points.
The service at the Regency Club was great, however very small place. Thanks to the off-season not a lot of people were here. I started my day always early and arrived right at the opening time of the Club at 6:30 a.m. there. Every day in the morning there was already a guy sitting in there with his headphones on and talking to someone on his laptop via Skype. I wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t talking so loud that it already drove my crazy in the morning. It was not just a short conversation, it was long. I stayed at the club for maybe 15 – 20 minutes for breakfast and he was talking before I got here and still was when I left. It was very annoying because he was so loud and I even could hear his whole conversation. You can’t even try to fade him out without noise-cancelling headphones yourself. Unfortunately, staff didn’t do anything about that. I don’t care who you are, shut it down when you are in a community area. If you need to talk go back to your room and you can scream all you want. The funny part is, it seems he was not even a guest. He always had his suitcase with him and saw him only for the “free” breakfast. How he got to this floor, I don’t know, because you need your key card programmed to access this floor. I even put my phone into vibration mode that I don’t disturb anyone else during breakfast or where ever I am. This guy certainly didn’t care and the staff neither.
However, the continental breakfast was small but sufficient for me and had all I needed. The pictures you see below are from the old Regency Club. The new Club is scheduled to open in mid-August.
The Riverwalk Cafe and PureVerde lounge are located on the lobby level. The PureVerde Lounge/Bar offers a great view of the Miami River and you can watch boats of all sizes go by.
The Riverwalk Cafe is right next to PureVerde and it offers views of the pool and partially of the Miami Skyline if you sit all the way in the back. The breakfast buffet is amazing. So much to choose from. The breakfast buffet includes more than just the items in the buffet room. You can order pancakes, omelets and more, which is all included in the price. Your other option would be to eat à la carte. I can highly recommend the buffet in the morning.
I never had lunch at the hotel, so I can’t give any feedback on that. If you want to have dinner at the hotel, I highly recommend going Friday or Saturday night when they have their buffet specials. They call it “Pasta Frenzy Fridays” and “Southern Saturdays” meaning on Friday it’s Italian themed and on Saturday southern style. It’s really worth going on this two days. Besides the dessert options on the buffet tables, you can order coffee as well and it’s included in the buffet price which is $26 USD.
There are specials on all the other days as well, but mainly just discounted prices. I didn’t really like their regular dinner menu. It was not very appealing to me and only had limited choices. The food from the regular menu was not bad, but I expected more from this high-class operation here.
If you want an outstanding meal and service, visit the Capital Grille just a short walk over the drawbridge. The food here is amazing and I can highly recommend this place if you like steaks. They comp up to three hours of parking in the attached parking garage if you don’t want to walk.
Also, service staff could be more attentive. In the beginning, they swarm you and bring you your food but shortly after you don’t see anyone anymore taking care of you. You have to waive them in to get a refill on your soda, coffee or even to get the check.
Hotel Amenities and Surroundings
The hotel has an attached convention center and during my stay, they had some smaller exhibitions going on. Nothing crazy which would interfere with your regular hotel stay. On the lobby level is also a gift shop with all kinds of souvenirs or items you might forgot at home. Next to it is a huge business center but they charge you for everything. If you wanna use one of the workstations you have to swipe your credit card and pay $10 for 15 minutes of usage. Same for printing: 1 page b/w $1 and a print in color $2 per page. This is way too much! This should be a standard for every hotel without charge. You can make them swipe the room key to verify that it is an actual guest using the workstation but without charging. I am used to having at least two workstations from my other club visits at Hyatt properties like the Grand Hyatt San Francisco and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. Maybe this property will feature a workstation in the new Regency Club once it is finished.
Close to the business center is an Enterprise Rental Car counter. The passage between the business center and the rental car counter leads to an enclosed passageway to the Metromover and parking garage if you did self-parking. If you follow the signs you most likely end up walking through the big glass doors right in front of you. That’s where the arrow on the sign points but from here you are stuck and have to take a long way. Go back inside and just before you would walk out of the doors, make a left and follow this passage to the Miami Tower Building and Metromover station. The Metromover is free of charge to ride it and a great way to get around in downtown.
Obviously, it has the attached convention center and this hotel is a great place to stay if you attend any conference there.
The pool and fitness center is located a level lower than the lobby and you have to use your keycard to access this floor. My keycard didn’t work at all and I had to get a new one and sometimes I could just press the button and it went straight to the Pool Level (P) even though the placard in the elevator says differently. The fitness center is rather small for that big property.
The pool is nice with lots of space to lay down and even small cabanas. If you feel hungry you can order food straight to the pool. There are a telephone and menu located close to where you enter the pool area.
The hotel is located close to a lot of great places or just a short Metromover ride away. You can exit through the doors on the backside of the building and you get right to the Miami River. There is a walkway along the river until you get to the next drawbridge located to the west of the hotel. It’s a nice place to go outside for a small walk and watch some yachts and even container ships go by. Some homeless people also frequent this area but most of them were actually pretty cool and you could even talk to them. I never felt unsafe. This river walk is also a great spot to watch the city by night. I came here and took some pictures of the river and city by night. The downside to this back exit, the doors get locked and you can’t enter anymore after 10 p.m. You have to walk around to the front side and come back in as usual. They should put at least a keycard reader on one of the doors.
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.