A few weeks ago, we visited Miami and decided to stay at the SLS Hotel in South Beach. The SLS is a boutique hotel and it has a great location right on the beach. It was a bit of a departure from our usual hotel stays because if I'm being honest, we are kind of boring and unexciting. The SLS is probably best known for Hyde Beach, which is essentially a giant all-day pool party. (Hotel guests have the option of a separate pool area, but they get free entry to Hyde Beach while non-guests have to pay to get in.) Needless to say, we didn't get to Hyde Beach, but we did really enjoy our stay at the hotel. It was unique and interestingly decorated and the location worked well for us.
In our usual fashion, we arrived early Saturday morning after a Friday night red eye. Unfortunately, we were so early that our room wasn't ready, so we left our bags at the front desk and went searching for some coffee in the scorching heat. After about an hour and a half, we got a call that our room was ready and we were really looking forward to a shower.
The check-in area is quite small and the front desk is next to The Bazaar, a tapas restaurant at the hotel. There's really no lobby to speak of, so if you didn't have a room or a reservation at one of the restaurants, there is literally no place for you to go. Our check-in was processed quickly and they had already sent our bags up to our room, which was a very nice touch.
We headed up to our room and on the way, I noticed a live video feed of the beach right behind the hotel. In case you didn't want to walk all the way out there to see what it was like, you could get an idea right after stepping off the elevator. It was basically like the Huntington Beach live feed in Hollister, but cooler.
After the excitement of the video feed, I was a bit overwhelmed by the oddness of the hallway. The halls are nearly completely black from floor to ceiling and when you come out of the elevator, there is no sign or sense to which direction the rooms can be found in. The numbers don't seem to go in a sensical order and there are several rooms that must be accessed by heading into the emergency exit stairwell.
In a pretty stark contrast to the hallway, our room was completely white with light pink accents. It was actually quite gorgeous and was a little flamboyant, but still tastefully done. According to the hotel's website: Philippe Starck channeled the ghost of Madame de Pompadour. Fit for Louis XV's legendary mistress, the trendy boutique design reflects the sophistication of old French aristocracy while naughty nods such as mirrors on the ceiling and a box marked "sinners" keep things historically accurate.
The room was simple, with a king bed and a long sitting area that ran nearly the length of the room. The "closet" was interesting and housed the minibar as well as a small gift shop of sorts. In case you were dying to get your hands on a SLS Hotel baseball cap, there was no need to leave the room. The mirror on the ceiling was also quite hard to miss.
The bathroom was small, but gorgeous as well. The pink accents continued and the bathroom featured the second best shower I've experienced this year. You had the choice of a rain shower or a traditional one and the shower area actually ran the length of the bathroom. I most appreciated the shower pressure and the fact that the bathroom didn't flood every time I used the shower.
The toiletries were Ciel branded, which is actually the SLS Hotel Spa's own brand.
On our way out to the beach, we walked by the pool that's solely for guest use. It was a nice size and I really enjoyed the giant duck that could be found behind the pool. Hyde Beach was located just past the pool, but we didn't make it over there unfortunately.
One of the best benefits of the hotel is the beach right behind it. South Beach is absolutely gorgeous with white sand and blue-green water, but it can definitely get crowded. The SLS offers free beach chairs for guests and you can get service from Hyde Beach if you're hungry or thirsty. It wouldn't be Miami if something wasn't free, so if you want an umbrella, it's gonna cost you $25 - better make sure you have sunscreen!
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at the SLS and were pleasantly surprised. Since we're on the low-key side of things, it was a bit over the top for us, so we probably wouldn't choose this hotel again next time we visit, but we had no complaints and appreciated the courteous staff and the design aesthetic of the hotel. The SLS is a solid option if you're visiting South Beach and would be especially so if you're interested in partying while you're there.
Just a twenty-something with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.