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Our score: 4.3/5.0

SLS Hotel South Beach

Miami

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Emily Palmer Avatar for Emily Palmer

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Daily breakfast for two
Continental breakfast served in the restaurant
Room upgrade upon arrival
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Baring All
  • Rooms are small; book a higher category of rooms for more space
  • Full immersion in the Miami Beach/pool party scene possible here
  • Book the hotel restaurants well in advance as they are busy every night
  • Book pool party tickets and cabanas early
Arrival experience

Pulling up outside this hotel, I felt like I had ‘arrived’ in South Beach as my feet touched the red carpeted staircase leading up to the entrance. The welcome was friendly and I was shown to the reception where I was helped almost immediately by a staff member behind the desk, who was chatty, friendly and efficient. As I had arrived early, my room was not ready but as I was going out this was not a problem and by the time I came back a few hours later, my bags were waiting for me in my room.

The lobby is busy most of the time due to the open kitchen, the bar and several long bench-like wooden tables where people sit for breakfast, lunch or a casual dinner. It’s a unique space which is functional and interesting to look at. I rather liked the area but there is nowhere to really sit should you be so inclined or be waiting for someone.

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Rooms and suites

Entering the room, I noticed it was decorated exceptionally well in tasteful hues.. At 265 ft² (24.5 m²) this is a fairly small room but it seems spacious due to the white décor, with touches of grey and pink in the soft furnishings. The king-size bed was large and very comfortable, with a full-length chaise longue dominating one full side of the room by the window which looks out to the ocean beyond. Above the bed is a mirror, on an angle so as to save your blushes, and the clever painted tapestry-style wall covering gives a clever impression of a French boudoir back in the day. The décor is very chic, maintaining a fresh, contemporary look. Well what else would you expect from Philippe Starck?

There is an open plan closet which also houses the minibar and a fridge. There is not much hanging or storage space but as most people would not be staying in this sized room longer than a few nights, it should be ample for a weekend wardrobe.

The technology in the room is not anything impressive but there is a large 42-inch flat screen TV on the wall, high-speed WiFi internet and an iHome music system with a USB connector for charging or playing music. Sockets are fairly limited.

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The bathroom

I was disappointed with the bathroom which was functional but very small. Cloaked behind a sliding door was the WC, a single vanity and a shower cubicle with an impressive rainfall shower. It would be very difficult for more than one person to be in the bathroom at the same time. The lighting was good and there was an illuminated makeup mirror on the wall.

CIEL amenities in decent 50ml sizes, shampoo, conditioner, soap and shower gel, plus a body lotion and vanity kit.

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Dining

Celebrity chef restaurants in luxury hotels is de rigueur everywhere now and the SLS Hotel South Beach is no stranger to the concept with two great offerings: Katsuya by master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and Bazaar by José Andrés. I dined that night with a colleague in the sleek Katsuya Restaurant, designed by Philippe Starck, the choice dinner destination of many celebrities in Miami. That night we dined alongside Miami Heat basketball player Goran Dragić, the team’s Point Guard and although I had no idea who he was he certainly turned a few heads.

Over the years, Chef Katsuya has been a recipient of top Zagat reviews for his fresh take on classic sushi and robata dishes. We dove into the likes of spicy tuna rolls, miso-marinated black cod (my favorite), rock shrimp tempura, sashimi and wagyu ribeye and ordered a sauvignon blanc wine by the glass which was perfectly chilled and paired wonderfully with our order. The service was impeccable even though the restaurant was full and we were, next to the basketball player anyway, nobodies.

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Pool and beach

The two swimming pools at the SLS are part of the 8000 ft² (743 m²) space of Hyde Beach, the popular nightlife destination which comprises the pool, the beach and both indoor and outdoor spaces. Numerous themed pool parties are hosted throughout the year with DJs and party-goers enjoying the moment night and day. Designed by Philippe Starck yet again, cabanas can be reserved (at a cost) with a private stairway leading into the pool.

Do note that if you are looking for a relaxing moment by the pool, this probably is not the venue for you. For those looking for the true pool party experience however, this is the ‘place to be’. Check the calendar of events.

The beach here, accessed from the hotel grounds via the Hyde Beach Club, is large and offers full beach service complete with sun loungers and umbrellas.

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Staff and service

Throughout the hotel, the staff were all super friendly, courteous and efficient. Those working in the food and beverage outlets really shined through, happy to chat at length and comfortably discuss the food on the menus, offering insight and often recommending items, including some delicious signature cocktails.

Although, not as sophisticated as some of the other hotels in Miami and considering the guests at the hotel are much younger than those at other luxury properties, the staff are adept at giving the hotel a relaxed and professional feel while still maintaining the Miami vibe.

 

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Guest profile

Young professionals, models, design and fashion industry folk; this is the hotel for the young and cool. For those looking for the signature Miami hip and trendy party scene and a chance tocatch a glimpse of an A list celeb or two, this is the place to stay.

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Departure experience

Check-out was very quick and as it was the same staff member on the desk as when I arrived, she asked me lots of friendly questions about myself and my stay. It was a nice farewell.

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General information

  • icon-briefcase
    How to get here

    25 minutes by road from Miami Airport

  • icon-bed
    Accommodation

    140 Rooms & Suites

Amenities

  • Wi-fi

    Wi-fi

  • Swimming pool

    Swimming pool

  • Spa

    Spa

  • Gym

    Gym

  • Restaurants

    Restaurants

  • Beach

    Beach

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