Congress Hotel South Beach
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25th to 27th May 2008 Well, I am on my way home, but first I have stopped off in Florida for a week full of fun and relaxation. I arrived into Miami from Quito on Sun, 25th May. I decided to splash the cash and hire a convertible car for the week then I was on my way to Ocean Drive in Miami. It took me 4 hours to get to the hotel, about 2 hours …
Welcome to Miami, the city of glitter, glamour, special lunch deals and 1 Gallon cocktails for $25 (Go for Happy Hour and you get two of 'em) but watch out and bargain the deal before you sit down (as my Mom would say). The first days my Yvi (my sister), Tyler (at this point fiance) and me, we would check the wedding location at the Mandarin …
... again the way we had come. Which was the best move we made because we cruised right passed a rare manatee – sea-cow – on our way back.
The next ‘activity’ which was my choice meant we had to jump straight into the car and head north, to Orlando, where I wanted to visit my Brazilian friend Jojo and finally experience her all-time favourite night of the week – Thursday night out at ‘Cowboys’.
As the ...
... South beach style with stuffed head boards and red polka dots on the walls. The bathroom, my favorite of this trip, was completely marble and modern, they got that one right at least. Then it was off to get some more drinks and party down...the rest is kind of a blur so I'll just cut to the next morning when we woke, fully clothed from the night before and ravenously hungry.
We set out to find the Famous Eleventh street dinner and after walking ...
... trash Vegas diet, it was vitamins all the way.
We took advantage of an afternoon siesta and spent the evening in the TV lounge, which kind of reminds us of a lecture hall. We discovered an all new game show called “Jeopardy” which is incredible, especially if you play against the other people in the hostel to see who knows the most general knowledge. Mel, of course, knows an insane amount of useless information so she was well up there. The hostel has a ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Fitness/Health center
Historical Traveler Reviews Congress Hotel South Beach Miami Beach
Great customer service/room/location
Just got back from a 2 day stay at the Strand. Upon arriving I was a little confused as to where to go since the retail stores in the front of the building (where you expect the lobby to be) were under construction. But once we found the lobby we greeted by a very helpful front desk manager, who, even though it was barely 11am, was able to find us a room. It wasn't ocean front but had a partial view of the beach if you walked out onto the balcony. The staff was very accomodating, pleasant and friendly (no attitude whatsover). The rooms were larger than an average NYC studio or even one bedroom apt, with cool decor. My only complaints would be that there was no room service menu (although the front desk said we could order food from the restaurant next door), no wireless connection and no DO NOT DISTURB sign that I would have hung on the door knob so the maid wouldn't have woken us up at 8:45am on a Saturday morning. The pool overlooked the ocean and had great breezes. Despite these few minor complaints all in all I would definitely stay there again. I think it was a good deal for the $$ ($189/night and I think we had a junior suite w/a kitchenette w/fridge/freezer/cooktop/microwave and a small dishwasher). Great place!!
Not ready for customers
Disappointed Great location and Great Views but they are not ready for business. Check in was difficult when the front desk staff spoke little English. That went for the majority of the staff. Parking was a staggering 35 a night but I was offered 25 a night if I was willing to pay cash in advance for the week! The room was dirty, paper towels behind the couch a crust of unknow origin on the couch which was neatly covered up with a cute pillow. Dirty bathroom floor. My bare feet were blackened while walking in the room. The staff was never able to work the in room safe. For 5 day I was awakened at 7am with construction noise directly below me. I appricaiate the renewal that projects like this bring to a histoic area but I they opened to soon. I wanted a relaxing few days away from kids and family and I didn't get. I would have stayed away from my room more but I was tired. A jack hammer under your bed at 7am every morning left me exhaused and tired. I didn't get to see alot of the night life. The staff did not address any of my reqested or needs. They actually blew me off. Don't waste your time or money at the Strand. There are plently of charming hotels in the area that are ready for business..
Questionable Managment Practices
After booking through Orbitz, I cannot recommend this hotel for many reasons. My biggest concern, in addition to many others, was the possible privacy law invasion. The morning we checked out we were enraged to find out that the hotel had, unbeknownst to us, made photocopies of our driver's licenses and credit card information. When we asked to have the copies back, the front desk clerk REFUSED to give them to us. He claimed it was Orbitz's policy to prove we had stayed there. Orbitz confirmed that it is NOT their policy nor is it the policy of any other established hotel we have ever stayed with. After getting Orbitz involved and hours of long distance phone calls, the hotel claims they destroyed the information...we, of course, have no way to prove this actually happened.
In addition to our experience, another guest had fraudulent charges posted on his credit card made by a hotel employee and the management would not get involved. There are some definite breach of security issues at this hotel and guests need to be aware.
It was shocking how dirty the "new" hotel was. Stains and cigarette burns on the carpets, dirty walls, stairwells that were littered with stains, light fixtures that didn't work, and floors that didn't seem to ever be vacuumed. I had to wipe my feet off before getting into bed each night from the dirty floor that was never cleaned-even before we arrived. The hotel staff was unacceptable. I asked for a hair dryer that was on it's way---it NEVER made it, nor was there a follow-up. Security was not an issue as it seemed in earlier reviews. The doors were secured and locked. The music from down the street starts around midnight and goes on for hours and I would recommend requesting a room AWAY from the parking garage who's alarm goes off several times a day for hours. If you are sensitive to light---bring an eye mask. The trendy window treatments are opaque and even at night...it's daytime, though that may depend on where your room is located.
Overall, the management practices are extremely questionable. The staff doesn't seem to be of the highest quality, and the rooms are trendy and the small space is well utilized but dirty and cheap. Did I mention how the curtain rod kept falling on me when I was taking a shower?
This is my first review and hopefully my last..And I am an avid traveler. Be careful when considering this establishment.
Has alot of Potential
We stayed at the Strand Ocean Drive for a weekend get away with some friends in May. Let's start off with when we arrived on Friday. We got to the hotel about 2 PM, when check in was 3PM. Of course the rooms were not ready, but the front desk clerk informed us that the two rooms we booked were going to upgraded to a junior ocean view sweet and a one bed room ocean view sweet. At 3 PM when we returned to check the clerk had left for the day and the assistant manager told us that the one bed room upgrade was not possible. She did however offer the three people straying in this room free drinks at the hotel bar which was nice.
The rooms were another story. They were nice sized room with nice deco and have a lot of potential but who ever owns/built this place forgot a lot of the little details. We had closets with no shelves or rack to hang anything on, still have no idea what they could be possibly used for. In the one bed room sweet we had a sliding door leading from the bedroom to the bathroom that had a lock on one door but the other door was not finished with the lock set so you could actually Locke the door. The same held true with the door into the bathroom for the living room of the sweet. The bedroom in the sweet was so small that when you tried to walk around the front of the bed you would either hit the wall or the flat screen TV. The Junior Ocean view sweet is anything but that. The room was nice and huge but when you pay extra money for an ocean view that what you want. You could see the ocean if you went on the deck ad looked to the right. But there was on ocean view while you where in the room. Also besides the unfinished rooms a lot of the stuff advertised on the website for the hotel is not even built. One restaurant is not even close to being opened and none of the stores are even built yet.
The one amazing thing at this pool and the view of the beach and all of ocean drive from it. All in all The Strand Ocean Drive was okay. It was not what was expected of a new hotel. I have been to south beach 4 times, and stayed at better hotels in the past. If you do not need a sweet, I would suggest you go to the Victor, Tides or Beacon. At least till this hotel is actually finished.
Perfect Location, Beautiful Rooms
I stayed at The Strand for one night with my wife and another couple. Both of our rooms were great and the rooftop pool was incredible! Both of our rooms had brand new EVERYTHING and they spared no expense in furnishings. The staff were very accomodating, although our contact with them was somewhat limited. The location of the hotel is absolutely perfect. It's right next to Versace's Mansion and the Clevelander Hotel/Club. I would definitely stay here again.
We booked our room through Expedia and got it at $165/night. There was only 1 room available at this rate and so I wonder if the room we got was priced lower than the rest due to some of the issues that we found with it.
Overall, we liked this place very much. The location was great - in the midst of the Deco area, directly opposite the beach and beside the Versace mansion. Check-in was a breeze and the hotel staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. The decor in our room was very nice. Everything was modern and stylish and the bathroom was lovely. We didn't really use the kitchen though having the fridge was a terrific bonus, as was having the coffee maker in our room. Our bed was very comfortable and they provided lots of towels in addition to a robe. The roof top pool was nice and the view was fantastic. The hotel provides towels for the pool/beach.
1 - there were no drawers in which to put our clothes (though lots of hangers in the closet). As the room was fairly small, it would have been nice to stow our suitcase under the sofa but this wasn't possible as it was the only place to store clothes that couldn't be hung.
2 - our room was located in the back opposite a parking garage which was lit all night. The window coverings in our room were white blinds which did not block the light in any way and so it was as though a light was on in our room ALL NIGHT. This was a dim light and so did not inhibit our ability to get a good nights sleep but it was not ideal.
This hotel gives more than what you are paying for in South Beach. The rooms are very spacious, the bathroom was wonderful and big but most of all it was so clean and the perfect location. I would definitely recommend anyone to stay here.
Average Hotel, Great Location
Hotels on Ocean Drive are pretty expensive regardless of where you stay. For the amount of space, the Strand ranks pretty well. However, due to the recent opening, there are many kinks that still need to be worked out. For instance, inconsistencies in cleaning, elevator down for most of our stay, safe would not work. The little things were the most frustrating. Other than that, GREAT location, clean room, large space, and beautiful roof-top pool!
Strand was not what we expected
Arrived 10AM at the Strand on 3/11 and after requesting early check in a week in advance, our room was not ready until late afternoon, this was a minor inconvenience. The hotel is actually 3 buildings of individually owned condos and the rooms are very nice and brand new. They do utilize the small space nicely with a small kitchonette. The beds are hard as rocks and the windows have no drapes so there is no way to sleep in after partying all night. There is also a small pool on the roof with good views of Miami Beach.
However, the hotel was not fully set up,they are still doing construction in the lobbies and setting up some rooms. We were 3 girls and we felt there was NO security at all, we came in one night around 1AM to find a drunk man sleeping in our hallway, who threw up all over the floor and the stairwell. We immediately reported this to the front desk clerk who told us housekeeping didn't return until 7AM in the morning and that he was the only person on staff. So we did not feel very safe, the door to our building was not staffed and apparently anyone could walk in at any hour, upon check in they do give you a key to the main door of that building, but no one else ever locked it, usuallly it was blown open!
We reported the throw up in the hall and stairwell every day for 3 days and it was not cleaned until the day we left. We also waited hours for extra pillows, blankets and towels. This is no the way for a brand new property or any hotel to leave an impression on guests who paid more than $350 per night.
Upon checkout they overcharged my credit card and it took 3 days and 4 phone calls to resolve.
I do think that this could be a great property, it's in a great location and the rooms are stylish, functional and although the beds were hard, it was very clean. However at this time they are not in a position to charge $350 per night for bad service and poor security.
We wrote to the Jerry the manager to voice our concerns who replied by saying, "during spring break all hotels have these problems". I beg to disagree, as the hotel was not overrun by drunk spring breakers, just poor management.
My advice: give this place some time to get up and running, they have lots of kinks to work out.
The Strand - Awesome location and style
Awesome location, we felt like a star. Just opened but still working out the kinks, we had a great room, gorgeous ocean view, sumptous designer towels and supplies plus eager staff. Incredible pool view on the top of the 3rd tower.