3000 Florida Avenue
FL 33133Coconut Grove, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
The Mayfair Hotel and Spa, a standalone hotel not to be confused with the likes of The Mayfair in London, looks a lot better on its website than in reality unfortunately. That is not to say that the hotel looks unattractive though. The design is based on an Italian mansion, although it looks more like a shopping centre as it is spread out over several levels built around an open air courtyard. The concept is casual as opposed to luxurious, so guests are left alone instead of being greeted 10 times a day like at other hotels in the city. The surrounding area is very calm and peaceful and is close to a small shopping area in the area. The highlight of the hotel is its lovely rooftop pool. Ideal for couples looking to holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre or South Beach.
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Coconut Grove is a lot mellower than the rest of Miami, which makes for a very welcome breath of fresh air if you are in need of some down time. Coconut Grove dates back to 1825, making it one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods. It is full of art galleries, bars and restaurants and has retained its bohemian atmosphere despite the wealth that it has attracted in the last ten years.
Today, this former artist colony is still home to many working artisans and hosts several annual art festivals and events such as, The Coconut Grove Arts Festival, King Mango Strut and the Orange Bowl Parade.
The hotel is located close to the Coral Gables shopping district and international business and banking centers of Brickell Avenue and downtown Miami. South Beach is a 30 minute drive away.
There are 179 rooms altogether with the same look and concept but they are all of a different shape. Opt for a Venetian Suite, which is roomier if you like your space. All rooms have a Japanese hot tub on the balcony. The rooms are well-equipped, with a flat screen television, a dining table, small sofa and really lovely balconies, hidden with lush exotic greenery, giving guests full privacy. The rooms feel fresh and homely, although they can be a little dark due to the plants blocking the sunlight from the balcony. There is plenty of storage in the form of a full-size fitted wardrobe in the corridor. The bathrooms are otherwise well-appointed, they have bathtubs and double sinks. Although it looks a little untidy, there is also a small television here for guests to watch while soaking in the tub. The toiletries are of the 'Archive' brand, which has been made especially for the hotel. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and every room has a DVD and CD player.
The hotel's décor is a little odd. It is a bit of a mish-mash where style is concerned, which is not necessarily unpleasant. The small dark lobby looks contemporary with minimalist rattan furniture, whereas the cobble stoned floor and terracotta roof tiles reminds of the ancient villa concept the designer, Kenneth Treister (who also designed the Holocaust Museum of Miami Beach), based the design on. You will also find a collection of Buddhas scattered all over the hotel, as well as some other bits and bobs collected from various travels. The hotel was built in 1984 and has been The Mayfair ever since although the hotel has undergone a major renovation in that time, so it looks fairly new.
The front door, a small single black door opens automatically as you approach it, letting you into the lair that is the lobby. Here you will also find the all-day dining restaurant, 'Spartico', which had just been renovated during our visit in January 2011. Snacks and drinks are also served on the roof, around the pool. The hotel is spread over four floors including the roof top terrace. The levels are divided up with plants, soothing blue mosaics and fountains.
In terms of facilities, the hotel has a small gym (which is sometimes locked, so do enquire about opening times with reception. There is also a spa (underwent a complete renovation in 2005), where the spa manager is extremely friendly and very keen on tending to his guests' needs. The spa has a steam room, sauna and treatment rooms. The spa is basic as far as spas go, but the stained glass ceilings and windows in some of the treatment rooms are real Tiffany pieces, which adds a little colour to an otherwise quite bland area. Use of the facilities here comes at a charge.
The all-day dining restaurant, 'Spartico', is situated on the ground floor just off from the lobby area. It had just undergone a full renovation when we visited in January 2011. The restaurant is really very pleasant and stylish creating a welcoming and casual atmosphere that puts you at ease immediately. The staff here is also very friendly and efficient. The restaurant serves a Mediterranean fare - the pizzas are very tasty, although there was a little too much crème fraîche for us!
Drinks and snacks are also available at the roof top Cabana Club, which is the real highlight of the hotel. As the surrounding area is quiet, it is possible to have a quiet relaxing dip in the pool here. To the back of the bar area, the area has been inspired by an Arabic style shisha lounge, with banquettes lining the walls. Otherwise, for guests wanting their privacy, room service operates from 6am to 12am everyday.
The hotel is situated about half an hour's drive away from South Beach, so hiring a car is recommended if you plan on sightseeing. As the hotel's roof top pool area isn't in the shade of a neighbouring building, guests have longer sunshine hours than at most hotels, which end up in the shade either in the morning or evening.