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The Tides - © S. Poli / EASYVOYAGE
The Tides - © S. Poli / EASYVOYAGE
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Mark out of 10 for geographical location
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Looking for understated luxury at the heart of South Beach right on the Ocean Drive strip? Then you may just have found it at The Tides. Let the soothing neutral tones and natural materials used to create the hotel's unique atmosphere entice you. Under the same umbrella as the Viceroy Miami, designer Kelly Wearstler has done yet another dazzling job. Nothing like the Viceroy Miami, The Tides is a lot tamer and is worlds apart from the other hotels in the area. Elegant and of excellent quality, this Art Deco bijou of a hotel is a great all-rounder if you're looking for a grown-up choice right across the street from the beach. Although it looks fairly conventional from the outset, it has its fair share of celeb guests, like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Anniston, but the hotel has also starred in Will Smith's 'Miami' music video. Although the hotel is not closed to (well-behaved children), it does remain an adults-only hotel on the whole.
The Tides is located right in the centre of the Ocean Drive strip in South Beach. Miami Beach is just across the road. Downtown is a 20 minute drive away and the airport is about 30 minutes away.
The hotel is an original 1930s building but was redesigned in the early 1990s before it became a Viceroy property in 2006, when the hotel was renovated and reopened in 2008. The other Viceroy hotel in the city is situated in Downtown Miami and, one of Kelly Wearstler's best efforts, is a veritable gem. Otherwise, in terms of the internet connection, Wi-fi runs through the entire hotel but costs $10 per day in the rooms and is complimentary in the lobby for guests who have their own lap-tops.
The building has a neo-Art Deco architecture, which sets it apart from the rest of the Art Deco builds on Ocean Drive. The grey facade with its portholes and waves sculpted in its walls is a reminder of the 30s. The smart outdoor terrace is the perfect place to sit and relax whilst having a bite to eat as Miami life strolls by. The hotel re-opened in 2008 after a major renovation under the Viceroy brand, which is when the room walls were knocked through to make them more spacious - a real advantage over the rest of the hotels in Ocean Drive. Inside, a Poseidon theme has been used elegantly and in a subtle sophisticated manner whilst staying original. The hotel's neutral colours and decor give it a relaxing and soothing atmosphere, which is ideal if you are looking for a quiet base to explore lively Miami from. You will however notice that the original terrazzo floors have been kept, giving the hotel a certain 1930s charm. To the left of the entrance is 'La Marea', meaning the tide in Spanish, which is the hotel's restaurant.
At the back of the lobby and to the right you will find a small bar resembling a high-end intimate British parlour with lacquered panelling and a warm reddish glow in the lighting. The bar is rarely used by guests. There is also a small gym that is free for guests to use. The pool area is small, but extremely smart and pleasant. Well-planted, private and with efficient service, the area works well. For guests who wish to have a spa treatment, the concierge can organise an in-room treatment with an outside company.
The hotel has ten floors but with only 45 rooms, it remains within the 'boutique hotel' bracket. A relaxing thread runs right through every space, and the attention to detail prevents it from falling into the 'cold and sterile' über-designer category of many new builds.
There are 45 very spacious rooms spread over ten floors, giving guests all the privacy one could ask for. Original features of the hotel's late 1930s debut remain, like the shape of the windows, or the flooring, and this adds charm to the already beautiful style and furnishings, which tend to vary slightly from room to room. The standard room starts at 550square feet, which is practically unheard of on the Ocean Drive strip. Most rooms have lovely views of the beach and its surroundings, but it is best to clarify your preference at the time of booking to ensure you have what you would like. Be aware that there is a mark-up on rooms the higher you go as the view gets even better. There is a $100 premium on the 6-8th floors; for Premiere Suites (9th floor) and Penthouses (Amber, Coral and Tides), it is best to enquire directly with the hotel.
The rooms all have walk-in closets, bathrobes and slippers, a safe, and complimentary tea and Nespresso coffee. All rooms have a mini-bar (not free) and a large flat-screen television. Guests also have complimentary access to the hotel's DVD collection at reception.
The bathrooms are equally spacious and well-appointed. Every room is stocked with products by the high-end French brand, Fragonard.
La Marea, the hotel's restaurant, is beautifully set out with exceptional attention to detail in the furniture, like the cord-sculpted chairs, and tableware. The walls are adorned with turtle shells (worry not, they are resin replicas!), which reinforces the marine theme that runs throughout the hotel. For guests not wishing to step outside their room, the hotel provides 24 hour room service. Guests can have a quick breakfast everyday in the lobby between 7:00 and 9:00am, which includes hot drinks, whole fruit and pastries. Drinks and snacks are also served at the pool-side and on the front terrace throughout the day. The restaurant closes between services and at 11:00pm in the evenings. The menu varies from Mediterranean cuisine to all-American food.
Although the hotel is not directly on the beach, it is only across the road. Miami Beach is pretty much the same all the way along: a long and wide stretch of sand with reasonably clear water. You won't see any locals in the sea until at least April though, but the ?snowbirds', as the Miami crowds call the New Yorkers, who come to Miami for a spot of sunshine during their big freeze period are happily splashing around; this does mean that the beach is rarely crowded at the beginning of the year. The hotel has a designated area on the beach, which is run by an outside company Boucher Brothers. The hotel doesn't charge extra for this service, but it is included in the room rate.