Some Tips Before You Go. A review of Turnberry Isle Miami, Autograph Collection

I'm a Fairmont Platinum Club Member, so my expectations are fairly high when it comes to its' hotels and resorts. My wife will become a Fairmont Platinum Club Member later on the month.

When we initially arrived, we were quite impressed with the property. There is 300 tropical acres in the middle of posh Aventura. It looked like the other hotels were stand alone buildings. So the Turnberry has a lot of potential as a new Fairmont. There are two Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf courses on site. The resort consisted of 4 residential buildings and they couldn't be more than 7 to 10 stories high. Very refreshing when you look out over the course view (although the pool side view would be very nice as well), because all the other hotels in the area seem to be 25 to 35 stories high. The property is a European inspired Mediterranean tropical oasis in the middle of a developed city.

When I say potential, that's what I really mean, because we were initially shown a one bedroom suite in the Magnolia building. It was run down and not renovated. The terra cotta floors were completely scratched and damaged. The walls were were equally scratched and damaged. Base boards were warped and visibly touched up (not professionally). The french doors to the balcony needed paint. The balcony damaged. The brass and metals were rusted. The floor looked like a dog did-what-doggies-do-doo-doo. The TV in the ensuite looked like something out of the sixties, and I wouldn't use the jacuzzi tub, the spouts looked like there was mold growing out of it. They informed me that the Turnberry just turned into a Fairmont, and agree that the room needed renovations. In fact, this fall they are completely renovating the Hibiscus and Magnolia wings.

I was informed that the President's Club requested to the Room Divisions Manager, to upgrade myself and my wife to an extra special suite. Having informed of that, I'm still wondering why they showed me the suite in the Magnolia Wing initially? A dog's breakfast, ready for a renovation to say the least.

So after I voiced my concerns (seemed like pulling teeth) the typical fairmont service kicked into high gear. We were shown an apartment suite that was impressive and definitely fairmont standard. It was a 1300 square foot Apartment Suite in the Jasmine wing (the Jasmine wing is four years old). It was golf course and tennis court view. 270 degree view if you count the window in the in-suite kitchen. The ensuite was gorgeous - double sink, updated jacuzzi tub, marble bath floor to ceiling, approximately 350 to 400 square feet, marble shower, Kohler toilet and bidet, upgraded mirrors, make up table,etc. The bedroom had a walk-in closet. The suite has two balconies, both with outdoor furniture, and an additional quarter bath. The only thing that bothered me with this room was that the kitchen did not have cooking pots and utensils - it sort of kills the benefits of having a kitchen in the suite, don't you think? The room was articulated with dark woods, and the berber carpet was sculptured with a tile border in the living room. The internet access was a plus. There was a total of 3 tvs in the one bedroom suite throughout. Oh, and the granite counter tops throughout the kitchen, living room bar, ensuite and quarter bath was a nice touch.

My wife and I were quite impressed with the service. The resort has something like 2.4 employees per guest. Nothing but outstanding service. A cheese and biscuit plate appeared in our suite on our first day. A grand touch - I thought I was going to be charged or something. But, that something extra was impressive and greatly appreciated. The staff was everywhere, whenever you needed something at a drop of the hat, its' immediately looked after. The servers in the restaurant was impressive as well. There seemed to be 2 waiter/resses per table. The chef would do the rounds, and the managers were always asking how everything was going. This was the best service oriented Fairmont from our experience.

Valet service was immediate - they ask for 15 minutes, but the vehicle seems to appear within 30 seconds. This Fairmont also has the fastest valet parking bar-none I've ever seen. The hotel wasn't busy when we stayed, but the front of the hotel exhibited Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Cadillacs, etc, even a Rolls Royce convertible. If they weren't busy, I would hate to see it when it is busy. It made me embarassed that I had a Caddy for a rental, it sort of made me wish that I brought my Benz. The front of the hotel was a showcase.

The Willow Stream was impressive, but it did not have a mineral pool which I thought would be standard for a Willow Stream Spa. Spa access is really just access to exercise activities.

Overall, the service was impressive, but the hotel obviously needs updating. The lobby and its' marble accents and the walkways throughout the hotel are impressive. What needs updating is the Magnolia rooms from what I can see. The pool is definitely outdated and needs lots of attention. We weren't able to visit the ocean club because of the hurricane restrictions, but the building outside seems to need a lot of TLC. Great potential for this resort. Once its' renovated, its' bar none the finest resort anywhere in Aventura and definitely one of the best in Miami. The two golf courses are oasis, as well as their 12 tennis courts. Seems like there are a lot of things to do there.

If you are particular about your room, I would suggest eating the coin, and splurge for a deluxe room in the Jasmine wing. It'll do your stay some justice.

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Turnberry Isle Miami, Autograph Collection
706 reviews