Review: Royal Palm South Beach, an SPG Tribute Portfolio Resort

SPG Tribute Portfolio hotels are a mix between a Kimpton hotel and a W hotel, if that makes any sense. They’re modern, in hip areas, on the upper end of the chain, though aren’t quite classified as a true “luxury” hotel. The Royal Palm South Beach is one of SPG’s latest Tribute Portfolio properties.

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The Royal Palm is located on Collins Avenue, about one block from the famed Lincoln Road, where a majority of the shopping and dining area. Again about two blocks in the other direction is Ocean Drive, home to beach front restaurants, clubs and more. Location of the hotel is in a really good area, and you’re right in the heart of the South Bech area – no complaints there.2015-09-30 18.17.55

Approaching the hotel, you’ll notice the main sign on Collins Avenue is a temporary banner strong onto an elaborate post. The hotel did re-brand from another property, though that happened several months ago, and you’d think they’d want to change the sign to something more permanent as soon as possible. The hotel as actually rather easy to miss and my Uber driver had to double back because he didn’t see it right away. Funny enough, my Uber driver taking me back to the airport missed it as well, so it’s not a well-known hotel as far as the locals go yet.

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Once at the front door there are several valet guys able to take your car and open the front doors. The initial lobby you’ll step into is on the smaller side and was quite crowded throughout my stay. Given the “hip” nature of the hotel and it’s prime location, it’s an ideal spot for vacationers and groups, so there was never a shortage of chitter-chatter inside. To the right was the front desk. It was divided into two section — a Gold/Platinum check-in on the left hand side, and a regular check-in on the right. I was happy to see the premium check-in well-protected, and they appeared to be enforcing the Golds and Platinums only rule.

On the other side of the lobby was the concierge desk, which like the lobby around it, was always a source of activity. Walking past the entrance area was a coffee bar to the left, and continuing on, a large seating area on both the left and right, with plenty of seating varieties. There were individual chairs, armchairs, couches, tables and more, with several flat screen televisions. I was really impressed by this space because it not only felt large and expansive, but also felt intimate when you sat down, since everything seemed to be fairly private as far as ambiance goes.

Beyond the seating areas were elevators leading to the main tower of rooms, the hotel’s restaurant, and the pool in the rear.

My room was located in the west tower, which was the tower farthest from the ocean and closest to Collins Avenue. I was upgraded to a one bedroom city-view suite, and even though it wasn’t label as ocean view, it still had a nice peek of the ocean outside on the balcony. Stepping into the room there was a minbar set-up on the right, where two complimentary bottles of water were refreshed daily.

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Further inside was a nice seating area with a long bench-like setup facing a television, flanked by a comfortable pre-reclined arm chair.

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There was also a dining room table of sorts with two chairs, which sat in the corner of the room at the main entry point of the walk-out balcony.

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The balcony itself was small and not enough to sit out on, but had plenty of room to step out and take a breather and take in the expansive city views.

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To the right of the dining room table was the open bedroom, complete with a King bed.

Beyond was the bathroom which was enormous for a room this size. The largest part was the shower which was almost a room in and of itself — it was seriously the size of 3 or 4 regular sized showers.

Breakfast each morning was served in the hotel’s restaurant on the third floor which you could get to via a set of stairs beyond the lobby. The breakfast spread was fairly decent with one set up with cold items and pastries and a second setup with hot entrees. The hot entrees were very fresh ad I was impressed with what was available — on both days, there was a western egg scramble, regular eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and both waffles and pancakes. While the Platinum breakfast normally includes only the continental option, this hotel allowed anything from the buffet.

The pool in the rear of the hotel was constantly crowded, though there was still plenty of places to sit. Servers were on hand for drink orders, and there was also a beach access point where you could head directly onto the sand.

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Keep in mind that this hotel has a hefty $30 a night resort fee, which includes:
The hotel resort fee includes:

  • Pool access
  • Beach access
  • Beach loungers
  • Beach towels
  • Fitness center access
  • Internet access

Is the resort fee worth it? Not in my opinion, as most of these benefits would be included at a regular hotel anyways, though avoiding a resort fee on South Beach is like finding a needle in a haystack.

My Take

Overall, I’d certainly stay here again. I thought the location was perfect as far as accessing all that their is to do on South Beach. The hotel has a young, hip feel to it which is perfect with the South Beach vibe, making this a great stay for vacationers and frequent travelers alike.

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The Forward Cabin Review

Location

Location is terrific in South Beach -- 2 blocks in either direction is Collins Ave. and Ocean Drive.

Room

I was really impressed with the size of the room, though I was upgraded to a suite as a Platinum member. I did not get to try a standard sized room.

Cleanliness

The hotel was genuinely clean, though I did catch a few examples of where the grout could have been a bit more scrubbed in the shower itself. Nothing major, but a catch I did find.

Staff and Service

Staff and service was generally very good. The front desk staff was very accommodating, as well as the staff in the restaurant. Nothing too over the top, but more than acceptable.

Elite Status Recognition and Benefits

The only reason I'd give this a 4 is because the hotel initially recognized my status as Gold and not Platinum, since their computers had not updated. Nothing major, but I did eventually receive all of my Platinum amenities.

Food and Beverage

The breakfast offering was more than fine with plenty of both hot and cold entrees.

Onsite Services and Amenities

The one issue I did have with the property was slow internet at several times. Throughout my stay I had to use my phone's wifi hotspot, so this is something the hotel could certainly improve upon.

Comments

  1. dr kim says

    Seems you were just lucky. I made the same observations: you simply drive past the hotel. From then it is chaotic in the reception area. Maybe they chnaged some after my remarks and premium pax are recognised. Then it is chance if they can get you the room you should get. In my case they could not and they were simply not able to check which rooms were available!
    Breakfast could best be avoided unless you want a buffet. Maybe come early but even then with all the backpackers stufing up.
    In all a very low class hotel selling at high prices if booked from Europe.
    Garage at $42. a night. “Resort fees” why shoould I pay these as we are over 80 and not using them at all. And: your job – are they mentioned when booking?
    No I would avoid this hotel at the price I paid. Looking at the other guests I understood this is not a hotel catering for the class of people they advertise for. So two or three stars at most. And just wait and see what happens.

  2. Joe says

    Resort feel also comes with two free drinks, so that was helpful. I only had one night, and the 12 checkout made it tough to enjoy the beach as they didn’t start setting up those amenities until 11. Winter Haven and Blue Moon by Marriott don’t have resort fees and I strongly recommmed them.

  3. BILL says

    RESORT FEE IS WITHOUT BEACH UMBRELLA !!!

    HAD 15 NIGHTS RESERVED DEC 20 -JAN4 – CANCELLED BASED ON “OTHER” REVIEWS — EVEN YOUR REVIEW I TAKE AS A SO-SO HOTEL FOR WHAT YOU PAY

  4. dr kim says

    Oh a little thing I forgot: out of nowhere on my Amex bill appeared a $10 charge. I enquired but never gor an answer by email. And another thing why should one pay a resort fee for a day when you arrive past 8 p.m?
    By the way did you notice the totally outdated cheap furniture and the fake art deco? And what about the dilapidated mini bars? Awful. This second class hotel does NOT have a restaurant. The breakfast room is hard to find and difficult to reach. If you have any class you stay away

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