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Hotel Mandarin Oriental Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
500 Brickell Key Dr Miami, United States of America -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

This large hotel is faithful to the Mandarin Oriental brand in its decor and facilities, although it did leave us slightly disappointed. We expected something of a more human scale, but this 300 room hotel could not make up for its shopping centre atmosphere. The hotel is an attractive place to stay, although its location does feel a little isolated from the rest of the city. The hotel has no beach but it has brought in sand to create an exterior relaxation area by the water's edge (swimming is not allowed here). The hotel is ideal for guests who are faithful to the Mandarin Oriental brand. The hotel is a good alternative to staying at a hotel in South Beach or Downtown. The high point at this hotel is dining on the Café Sambal-Restaurant terrace, which is set close to the water and facing Downtown's skyscrapers.

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    • Hotel Mandarin Oriental

      Mandarin Oriental   -   © Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

    • Hotel Mandarin Oriental

      Mandarin Oriental   -   © Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

       
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    Location 5.0 /10

    The hotel is located on Brickell Key, the nearest key to the centre of Miami. It is accessible via Downtown and is a twenty minute drive to South Beach. There isn't much in the surroundings on the actual key. It is more of a local atmosphere, with a park for young children nearby. The hotel is also a short drive away from Coconut Grove, the upmarket bohemian area of the city.

    Accommodation 7.95 /10

    The hotel has 326 guest rooms and 31 suites, making it one of the larger hotels in the city. Most of the rooms have a balcony that gives out onto Downtown across the water. Due to the bridge linking the mainland and the key, it can be a little noisy when you open the window. Also, a huge disadvantage here is that you share a balcony with your neighbours - they are separated by a think piece of fabric, but it is transparent and your neighbours are audible, so it is not the best place to hang out if you want some privacy. Further to this, inside the rooms, your neighbours are also audible when they are in their rooms - this is especially disturbing if you are in a communicating room (meaning that there is a locked door linking your room to your neighbour's).

    Otherwise the rooms are of a good size, they are bright and very comfortable. The decor is the same for all rooms. It is contemporary, with a few oriental touches, like the green and gold palette and the silk fabrics used for the bedspreads and cushions. The 'untidy bed' look has been adopted here, so don't worry if your bed looks slightly unmade! Every room has some simple but attractive art work, which adds a welcome personal touch. The rooms have a large flat screen television opposite the bed above the large desks. The open plan honey-coloured marble bathrooms are also of a good size and are very well appointed, with a free-standing separate shower cubicle and a full-size bathtub. All amenities are of the Gilchrist and Soames brand. The bathrooms feel extremely homely and are stocked with all the hospitality products you could want.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    Although the hotel decor is contemporary, its oriental touches set it apart from the rest. The bellboys and doormen are all dressed in adapted bright red Chinese outfits for example. This sets the scene for what awaits inside. The lobby is large and feels like being inside a shopping centre. The lobby's bright cheerful colours and the waterfront backdrop visible through the large bay window make it a pleasant experience. There isn't much happening on this floor - the business facilities are situated just above the lobby, meaning that you'll see lots of business types wandering around during numerous coffee breaks, which tones down the holiday atmosphere somewhat.

    The restaurants are both situated to the extreme right hand side of the lobby behind a dividing wall. The rooms are all located on the upper floors. The hotels is actually situated on several levels. The ground floor, one floor down from the lobby, is largely exterior, where you will find the lovely infinity-edged pool and the beach area. The pool area is extremely crowded, which is a real shame. You also have to get up early to nab yourself a sun lounger on the hotel's sandy area or 'beach'. The beach area is a relaxing place to sunbathe. Looking out onto the open water and the edge of Downtown Miami, it is planted with palm trees and has cabanas with complimentary refreshments and sun cream. The beach service here could be better. The attendant comes round giving out towels, cold water, ice and fresh fruit skewers. Although this area is on the water, it is bound by a cement ledge - swimming here is not allowed. Also, this area isn't really controlled by the attendants, meaning that anyone can access the area. Young children must be supervised at all times here.

    The hotel opened in 2000 and has been very well-maintained since. In the way of other facilities, the spa is a main feature. Although it is large and was the only spa in Florida to receive the Best Spa Award by Forbes in 2010, we didn't think it was anything spectacular as the style is extremely contemporary and not very relaxing. However, the VIP suites are equipped with their own private Jacuzzi tub on an elevated platform close to the bay window, which give sout onto Downtown across the water. The therapists are extremely friendly, especially Karen, who did a great job of kneading our tired muscles, but we found the atmosphere here a little disappointing. It was crowded, there was little privacy and the time in the relaxation area felt stressful due to the spa being full. The 15 000 sq ft spa is set on several levels and the entrance is on the pool level. There are 17 treatment rooms including six VIP suites. There is also a new and well-equipped gym which has a large bay window looking out onto the water, which is very pleasant.

    Food and drink 8.95 /10

    There are three main outlets: Azul, the evening dining restaurant, Café Sambal for all day dining and M-Bar situated on the first floor (lobby level) to the right hand side of the reception. The hotel's signature restaurant, Azul, serves a fusion of modern European flavours with American and Asian influences. Azul's wine program has been designed by sommelier Cynthia Betancourt, and features more than 700 world-class wines. Guests are advised to make a reservation at least 24 hours ahead of time during high-season. Azul is closed on Sundays. The Café Sambal was one of our favourite dining venues in the city. With a relaxed atmosphere and a great setting on the water looking out across Downtown, it is perfect for dinner as the sun sets. We really enjoyed the food here too. You will find a range of contemporary Asian dishes on offer here and everything is sublime, from the sushi to the Korean-Style Kobe Beef Skirt Steak. The restaurant offers a buffet for lunch and dinner as well as an à la carte option. The restaurant has indoor seating - it does get fairly noisy and animated during the day though, so we recommend the terrace at all meal times!

    Beach 5.70 /10

    The hotel advertises its beach, however there is no beach as such. There is an outdoor sandy area by the water, which has been made to look like a beach for relaxation, but a cement ledge surrounds it and swimming is not allowed here. You wouldn't want to swim here as it can be extremely dangerous. The area is however very pleasant and well though-out although the 'beach' service leaves a lot to be desired. The attendants are slow and snooty. You will find several smart black rattan sun loungers and cabanas for rent, as well as a table with various sun creams and refreshments. The beach is sometimes closed for functions, so do check with the hotel before making your reservation.

    To know

    There is a kids' club, the 'MO Kids' Club'. Although the hotel advertises a beach, no swimming is allowed here and the water cannot really be accessed, but the area is very pleasant. The hotel's signature restaurant, Azul, is closed on Sundays. The hotel has no fourth floor as it is bad luck in Chinese culture.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      beauty salon, massage, sauna, hammam, keep fit, Turkish bath, spa, wellness

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      fitness, aerobics, water-polo, gym, sports, tennis, beach volley

    • Animals allowed
    • Hairdresser
    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • Dining at Café Sambal at sunset.
    • The waterfront views of the city.

    disadvantages

    • Sharing a balcony with your neighbours!
    • The shopping centre atmosphere of the hotel.
    • Very average service, especially in the beach area (service at Café Sambal was spot on though).

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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