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Hotel The Congress (previously The Strand) Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
1052 Ocean Drive Miami, United States of America -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Casual and small, the Congress Hotel is an original deco hotel located on Ocean Drive. It consists of five different buildings each with a distinctive architecture, which is some of the most emblematic in the area. It has reasonably good quality accommodation and a lovely pool deck looking right onto Miami Beach. The views from the pool are well worth the stay. The Congress is ideal for a wide-ranging clientele, from couples to groups of friends, to families wishing to be based on Ocean Drive and not wanting to stay at some of the larger more impersonal resort hotels.

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    • Hotel The Congress (previously The Strand)

      The Congress   -   © S. Poli / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel The Congress (previously The Strand)

      The Congress   -   © S. Poli / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 9.05 /10

    The Congress is situated right on Ocean Drive just across the road from Miami Beach. It is within walking distance of the main shopping hub on Collins Avenue and Lincoln. The airport is a 30 minute drive away and Downtown is about 20 minutes away.

    Accommodation 6.70 /10

    The 69 rooms at The Congress are spread over five buildings. They have all been renovated recently and look modern. The neutral decor does lack a bit of personality but the rooms are functional. Fully-equipped with kitchenettes (with everything from a toaster to a dishwasher), sofa beds, small flat-screen televisions and complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities, the spacious rooms make for a good base to explore the rest of the city from. The suites have separate bedrooms and living areas and bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs. All rooms have balconies, although the views aren't great as every other room's balcony is visible, which isn't very private. No two rooms have the same shape, so if you have any particular requirements with regards to room size and view, make sure you express them at the time of booking. Otherwise the rooms are generally very bright and airy.

    The bathrooms are generally well-appointed and stocked with the hotel's own-brand products and all rooms have bath tubs - but do verify this when you book.

    Overview 6.70 /10

    The Congress is an original 1930s Art Deco build of five very distinctive buildings, which makes for an impressive example of the South Floridian Art Deco movement. The main building looks just like a cruise liner complete with barriers, deck and porthole windows. The best way of admiring this architectural gem is by walking across the road, and you will see that the playfulness of Ocean Drive's wacky architecture will jump right out at you!

    The hotel is fronted by the Atlantic restaurant, which is independent to the hotel. The hotel access is down a side passage leading up to the small but contemporary reception. There is an elevator here that leads up to the rooms. Otherwise the rest of the rooms are situated in the other four buildings on either side of the main, original building. The main building has a beautiful pool deck with stunning views of Miami Beach. At night, the pool is lit with fairy lights. The pool deck is well worth staying here for in low season (it is usually quite cramped in high season as the area is small for the size of the hotel). There are no other facilities to speak of, but the staff is very accommodating and will help you with any information you may need concerning spas, gyms and restaurants.

    Food and drink

    There is no restaurant attached to the hotel as the Atlantic is independent. Guests can choose to eat here for convenience or to have a wander around Ocean Drive and the rest of South Beach to explore its range of eateries. It is worth mentioning that prices on Ocean Drive tend to be fairly high for the quality of the food. Be aware that most prices on the menu do not include tax, so make you know what you are paying before you order.

    Beach 7.70 /10

    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 doesn't have a designated area on the beach, but it does give its guests beach towels. Anyone can rent sun-loungers for a fee on the beach.

    To know

    Parking in Miami is extremely expensive, especially on Ocean Drive. The Congress used to be known as the Strand - some people still refer to the hotel under this name - and opened as The Congress in 2010. Do not mistake the building with the sign 'The Congress' for that of the hotel's - this is just a shop selling all kinds of naff tourist Miami memorabilia. Otherwise there is complimentary Wi-fi throughout the hotel.

    Equipment

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

      massage, keep fit, spa, Turkish bath

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      gym, beach volley, fitness

    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe

    advantage

    • Wonderful roof-top pool deck with views of Miami Beach.
    • Original 1930s playful Art Deco architecture.
    • Location.

    disadvantages

    • Lack of facilities.
    • Neutral room interiors.

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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