There's no shortage of trendy, boutique hotels on South Beach in Miami. Perhaps the trendiest hotel we have experienced is Shelborne. Located at the corner of 18th and Collins Avenue, Shelborne is less than a five-minute walk to the famed Miami Beach. The iconic art deco building was constructed in 1940, underwent some embellishments in the 1950s, and stands today as a symbol of modern luxury. We arrived at Shelborne on a Friday afternoon, the day before a scheduled cruise embarking in Miami. The hotel was a beehive of activity when we arrived with what appeared to be overwhelmed valets trying to get several vehicles moved from the crowded driveway. A brand new Rolls-Royce and Bentley were parked prominently in the circular drive.
Once we finally bid our Uber driver adios and entered the hotel, we found the lobby and Reception to be much less hectic than the front entrance. The interior feels modern without the starkness you find in many contemporary designs.
Check-in took only a few minutes and soon we were in the elevator making our way to the 15th floor and ourOcean Front King with Balcony room.
The Shelborne website claims this room to be from 290 to 370 sq. ft. I am pretty confident that ours was closer to 290. Even though it was compact, it had every amenity you would expect from an upscale property, and a few you might not. The balcony was quite small, with only space for one chair. However, the view from the balcony was spectacular. It seemed as if the room was meant for only one person as there was one robe and one set of slippers provided and one nightstand and lamp beside the bed.
The room has a small, but functional, desk with a martini setup, phone and cool LED lamp. A large, flat-screen television is mounted on the wall over the desk. A credenza hides a mini-bar fridge and is topped with a variety of snack items (at additional cost).
The closet has plenty of hanging space plus an electronic safe for your valuables. The king-size bed is comfortable and adorned with top-quality linens and comfortable pillows. But, the best feature of the room is the bathroom. The dual-sink vanity places form over function, but it looks so cool that it doesn't matter. Just try to use the faucet without getting water splashed on the mirror! Good luck. A hinged makeup mirror has been thoughtfully placed on the wall, although ours was loosely mounted and felt like it might come off in your hand if you tugged too hard.
The roomy shower stall, lined with white diamond-shaped subway tiles, was sparkling clean and very functional. All fixtures looked brand new. I wish I had this shower stall in my home!
After we unpacked a bit, and spent a few minutes admiring the beach from our balcony, it was time to visit the hotel's Sarsparilla Bar for Happy Hour (from 5-8pm daily).
Sarsaparilla is located outside, near the hotel's beautiful pool area. It is hot and humid today (typical for Miami), but we find a table under the shaded covering and order the Drink-of-the-Day and a few Dim Sum items to share.
The Drink-of-the-Day, an "Effin Sweet," was a delightful mixture of vodka and fruit juices.
From the Happy Hour snack menu, we ordered Sea Salt French Fries, Pork Belly Steamed Buns (dim sum) and the Tarred N' Feathered Chicken Wings. The three items were more than enough to serve as our dinner for the evening and all were good. However, the Sea Salt French Fries were the highlight of the three.
If we had another full day to spend here, we would have checked out Miami Beach and more of the hotel's amenities. We did take a stroll down Collins Avenue which is lined with shops and restaurants, all within a few blocks of the Shelborne's front door.
We were pleasantly surprised that, even though it was a Friday night in South Beach, which can get quite raucous, our room was very quiet and peaceful. The bed was comfortable and we awoke the next morning adequately rested for our embarkation at Port of Miami. Shelborne offers a "Sun, Stay, Cruise" package that will appeal to cruise guests looking to spend some time in South Beach before or after your cruise vacation (which everyone should consider).
There are a lot of hotel choices in South Beach. We feel Shelborne is one of the best.
For more information, visit Shelborne.com