As I said in the Introduction to this Trip Report, we only stayed in Miami for two nights, but award availability wasn’t cooperating with a single hotel. I wanted to book two nights at the Z Ocean Hotel but I could only get it for the second night. For the first night, I used a Hotels.com free night that I received from a previous promotion. This secured us a room at the King & Grove Tides Hotel located on Ocean Ave., right in the middle of the South Beach buzz.
KING & GROVE TIDES SOUTH BEACH
Located on Ocean Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, this hotel has boutique character to it but doesn’t suffer from the small footprint that many SoBe boutique hotels do. In fact, when you walk past it, you can’t help but notice wide steps and a grand entrance inviting you to take solace from being harassed by pretty girls with thick accents promoting daily food and drink specials all along Ocean Ave.
I reserved an Oceanfront Studio for the night and it was a surprisingly large room. There was a spacious sitting area with sofa right by the window that faced Ocean Ave. and the beautiful beach. The bathroom featured a large shower/tub combo and a single vanity. There was also another room where the bell hop put our bags. The minibar was also in this little room. At that point, we wished we had two Hotels.com free night credits because we were so thrilled with our accommodations.
After grabbing a bite to eat, Joann
and I decided that we should head to the pool. This was probably a good idea since we arrived in the middle of a heat wave. The heat index was about 110 degrees. The Tides pool is small but it does the trick. There were only 2 other couples there so it was quiet and relaxing. The one attendant who served us was friendly and prompt; drinks strong and plentiful. It was a nice way to wind down our arrival day.
The next morning, we went to the beach. All guests receive complimentary beach chair setup – 2 chairs, 2 pads, 1 umbrella. One glorious umbrella. Without a cloud in the sky, I could not be happy that the umbrella was directly on top of me while Joann baked in the sun. This free setup is valuable because if you had to pay, it would cost about $50!
Z OCEAN HOTEL
After soaking up some sun the next morning and checking out of the Tides, we walked 2.5 blocks north to Priority Club‘s Z Ocean Hotel. I like this location a lot more because it’s JUST out of range of the craziness that is Ocean Avenue but that craziness is still only a few minutes walk away if you want it.
The room was a suite, not necessarily more square footage than the Tides but definitely a better layout. As you entered the L shaped room, there was a small kitchenette and bar area, perfect for eating breakfast in the morning. The bed was separated from the living room by a shelving unit that had 2 TV’s, one facing each way. Interesting way of designing a room and a bit wasteful to us as we didn’t use the living room much. The entire wall along the bed and living room was floor to ceiling glass with a sliding door out to the L shaped patio. There were 2 chairs and a table along with 2 loungers, plenty of room on the balcony facing the pool on the inside part of the hotel.
The bathroom was HUGE. There were two vanities that were about seven feet apart, which gives you a feeling of how big the bathroom was. The toilet was in between the vanities, kind of an odd spot. The best part was the shower. It reminded me of the best shower ever, which was at The Halele’a Spa in the St. Regis Princeville on Kaua’i. It had a regular shower head, a rainfall shower head, and four jets on the wall that sprayed horizontally. I felt bad showering for more than five minutes because it was a waste of water but it was awesome after a hot day at the beach.
The only amenity we really took advantage of was the free beach setup. Like the Tides, the Z Ocean has an agreement to give their guests “free” lounge chairs and umbrellas. Free really means it’s included in the $20 resort fee that guests have to pay but that is waived for any Priority Club members, even non-elite like myself. So if you stay here, be sure to at least sign up for Priority Club Rewards.
The Z Ocean features an open air bar which we didn’t visit because we decided to walk Espanola Way at night. There’s also a great restaurant right downstairs called The Front Porch Cafe where I ordered breakfast to go. Service was quick and the walk back to our room was less than five minutes.
Of the two hotels we stayed at, we both preferred the Z Ocean Hotel due to it’s combination of lower key location, large suite, and potential for redeeming points! Suites like that in South Beach would easily cost upwards of $250. Considering how easy it is to earn or buy Priority Club points, I’d say 25,000 points a night is a stellar deal. I think we found our go-to hotel in Miami.