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1144 Ocean Drive, Miami, Florida 33139
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Lovely Boutique Hotel
July 20, 2010
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My husband and I had the unique opportunity to participate in an inaugural launch of the Norwegian Epic from Miami, Florida in July 2010. In order to extend the length of our trip, we flew from Dallas to Miami a day early and spent one night at the ...
My husband and I had the unique opportunity to participate in an inaugural launch of the Norwegian Epic from Miami, Florida in July 2010. In order to extend the length of our trip, we flew from Dallas to Miami a day early and spent one night at the Hotel Victor on Miami Beach. Neither of us has ever visited Miami before and booked the Hotel Victor due to its proximity to the beach. After researching the area, we discovered that most of the accommodations on Miami Beach/South Beach are "boutique hotels" due to their stylish/quirky environment and intimate size (3 to 50 guest rooms). Although it is associated with the "big box" Hyatt Brand, the Hotel Victor exemplifies the boutique hotel environment underpinned by the consistent reputation for quality that Hyatt typically offers.
Location: Hotel Victor is located at the corner of 12th Street and Ocean Drive. Along Ocean Drive are many other boutique hotels with small sidewalk cafes. Miami Beach is separated from Ocean Drive by Lummus Park, a grassy area with a well paved walking/running path that runs parallel to Miami Beach. Due to Lummus Park, Hotel Victor is not directly on the beach; however, it is merely a short (less than 5 minute) walk from the front door of the hotel to the beach and does offer views of the ocean from certain guest rooms. The hotel is also situated within walking distance to Lincoln Boulevard, a pedestrian street which offers many outdoor eating options.
As we were only staying in Miami for one night, we did not rent a car. So, we were looking for a hotel with easy access to the beach and dining options nearby. The Hotel Victor met those expectations. We arrived mid-afternoon, checked into the hotel and then spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. That night, we dined at a casual Cuban restaurant (David’s Café) less than a block from a hotel. In the mood to explore, we walked north up Washington Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard. After a stop for dessert on Lincoln Boulevard, we returned to our hotel via Ocean Drive. Also located less than a block from our hotel was a mini mart where we bought inexpensive bottles of water and a Starbucks where we picked up coffee and pastries for breakfast the next morning.
Lobby/Common Areas: The Hotel Victor’s décor spurred my imagination. Accessories, furniture, and paint colors contained an art deco flair juxtaposed by influences of the ocean. The décor plays with texture (soft velvets, smooth metals, rough stone) and color (dramatic aqua, green, deep purples, and rust colors offset against softer tans and greys). The distinguishing feature of the hotel is its live jellyfish tank which is situated between the lobby and lounge area on the first floor. At night, a black light illuminates the tank, making the translucent jellyfish glow with color. The sea influenced the lighting throughout the hotel as lamps illuminated aqua colored columns within the lounge area and appeared to be like jellyfish floating in an aqua sea. Gauzy metallic curtains were strategically draped outside the lobby, exhibiting a feeling of intimacy and romance and also reminding me of a rusty coral ocean floor. The ocean theme was planned in such a way that a guest can see the inspiration without it being "kitschy" or overly literal. I loved the design of this hotel.
Rooms: The ocean theme extended to the hotel room as well. We were located in a standard room on the sixth floor. Upon entrance, our first impression was ‘small’, but we were aware that most of the rooms in the hotels on Miami beach are not overly large. What the room lacked in size, it made up for in functionality. The décor of the room was fairly standard ‘boutique’ hotel design. The influences of the ocean theme were noted through similar jellyfish lamps which flanked the bed and the circular mirror on one side of the wall which reminded me of a ship’s porthole. The room was nicely appointed with a flat screen television, in-room safe, hair dryer, etc. The room was thoughtfully designed and well planned for such a small space. The view from the room looking directly out was of the nearby buildings. If you looked at an angle to the right, you could see Miami Beach. I would describe the view as ‘partial ocean.’
The bathroom was open to the bedroom area and contained a large soaking tub and rain head shower. The bathroom was clean and fresh feeling and offered a large slab of counter space along one wall next to the sink area. A small window to the left of the mirror allowed bright light into the bathroom area, which was nice. The toilet area was separated by a door which also contained a circular window. For functionality, this window was nice as in many hotels with a small toilet area, the door is solid and when closed can create a claustrophobic feeling. For design, it further emphasized the ocean feel.
Curtains spread from the entry of the hotel room through the bathroom area which allowed a guest to completely close the bathroom off from the bedroom area and create a bit of privacy or open them up for a more spacious feel.
Only two complaints: 1) the mattress on the bed needed to be turned as the left side was sunken in and slightly uncomfortable 2) the open tub to the vanity area became messy after using the shower as there was no barrier to prevent water from splashing onto the counter space.
Noise: I had heard that the Miami beach area could become noisy in the evening hours due its party atmosphere. Our room was located directly above one of the outdoor bar areas. We heard some of the music from the bar; however, being on the sixth floor, it was muted and did not disturb our sleep. Our room was also located directly across from the elevator which was not overly appealing but surprisingly stayed pretty quiet. Either the hotel was not very booked which provided a quieter stay (we were there on a Wednesday night) or the walls of the room were thick enough to cancel most noise.
Pool: When doing my research on hotels, previous guests of Hotel Victor spoke favorably about the pool. Because we were not in Miami for very long, we opted for beach versus pool time. However, we did take the time to venture to the second floor of the hotel to check out the pool area. IMO – I was not overly impressed. It looked like a motel pool that had been cosmetically improved upon. There were cabanas and lounge chairs along the pool, but overall, we did not feel as if we missed out by not enjoying the pool area. The pool did, however, have a nice view of Miami beach.
Service: Service met, but did not exceed, our expectations for this class of hotel. We used the concierge to call a cab to take us from the hotel to the cruise port. The concierge was responsive and friendly. They also provided us with directions to the mini-mart which allowed us to get some cheap water to take to the beach that afternoon. Check-in was quick, but did not offer any special frills. Basically, the service did not go above and beyond anything that was required of them. For example, at check-in, I noticed that they had a carafe of cool lemonade behind the desk with cups that was obviously there for guest of the hotel. However, the lady at reception did not offer us a glass of lemonade upon check in, which I thought was strange given that it was sitting right there. Another example, there was a bell-man and a gentleman that worked the bar area at the front of the hotel. The morning I left to get breakfast, they hurried to the hotel entrance and opened the doors as I was exiting. I was pleased. So, when I returned with my hands full of coffee and muffins, I was expecting the same service. However, the bellman was standing right at the doorway texting on his phone and the bar attendant was indoors with his back turned to the door watching world cup soccer. Therefore, I had to juggle my purchases to open the door myself.
Overall: In general, we were pleased with Hotel Victor as it was clean, contemporary, quiet, and in a good location. It met all of our expectations for a one-night stay prior to our cruise. If we returned to Miami, we would definitely stay in this hotel again and would recommend it to other travelers.
Miami Spice - Isn't Cruising Nice
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