Sunday, January 1, 2012

South American Adventure - Miami

  1. Booking
  3. Miami
  4. MIA-SCL
  5. SCL-IPC
  6. Easter Island
  7. IPC-SCL
  8. Santiago
  9. SCL-MVD
  10. Montevideo
I booked the Sheraton Miami Airport hotel on SPG points because I would receive about $0.04 of value from each point.  My personal SPG spend threshold is $0.03 of value per point.  I was arriving in the evening and staying by the airport; getting to sleep sooner was more important than getting into town.  The hotel shuttle came by in less than 5 minutes and it was about a 3 minute drive to the hotel.  The check in process was fast and I was in my room less than 10 minutes from leaving the terminal. 

I was upgraded to a suite, but I had never had one like this.  It was two floors tall and a regular room wide.  There was a spiral staircase connecting the lower living space with the upper bedroom.  The room was a little dated, but everything worked and the bed was the Sheraton standard and wonderfully comfortable.

The club lounge was being renovated so I was given a voucher for the full breakfast buffet in the restaurant.  The food was not worth the advertised price, but not a bad alternative to lounge food.  There were also some snacks, drinks, and computers off the lobby for club level guests to use at any time.  Nice set up really and much better than other what other hotels have provided when the lounge is closed.  I liked this hotel and won’t hesitate to stay there again.

The best hotel of my trip was the W South Beach.  I had a free resort night from SPG and this seemed like a great way to use it to save the $600 nightly rate.  The W SoBe categorizes itself as a resort, so they do not honor all SPG policies like early check-in and late check-out.  I did get a nice room close to the ocean and free wifi, so there were some benefits to being SPG Platinum.  The room was amazing and the common areas were great.  I also took advantage of the free Acura ride to go down to Smith and Wollensky’s.  The driver was friendly and car was really nice too.  It was the favorite part of my stay.
W South Beach View
The hotel is right on the beach and has a beach club set up for guests for a fee.  There is also a small pool more for lounging around than swimming in.  The W South Beach defiantly has more of a club feel than a resort feel, the quintessential W hotel if you read the brand marketing material.  You can also buy residence, rooms like mine start at $750,000 + $800 a month.
W South Beach Room
The W South Beach did poorly on the human aspect.  There were only two front desk people and always a line.  Also, housekeeping didn’t do a good job of cleaning the balcony.  The concierge staff just used City Search and didn’t have any insight or tips to share for good dinner spots (not the last of my concierge problems on this trip).  The staff had a general arrogance to them that was rather off-putting.  I've experienced similar attitude problems with W's, but never this bad and widespread.  There are better hotels in the area in the same price bracket, but not a bad use of a free promotion night.

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