We have never have been to Maimi and being interested in design we had searched for a place to stay in the Art Deco area of South Beach. We looked at many hotels, narrowed our search to about 4 and eventually chose The Colony Hotel right on Ocean Drive.
I think it was a good choice. We are smack dab in the middle of the beach scene and are able to walk the area to view all the fascinating buildings.
We arrive late afternoon on Saturday and the joint is jumpin’ so to speak. We are not partying types and we walk into party central, but we are there to see what Miami has to offer and the Ocean Drive street scene is part of what South Beach is.
The Colony has leased out most of the lobby and sidewalk space in front of the building, it is now a restaurant/bar. I think this is rather unfortunate because it takes away from the “hotel experience”. You now arrive at the hotel and the front desk is a dismal counter at the back of the lobby. The front section has a few tables and a bar, none of which is in keeping with the Art Deco decor and frankly tacky. The image of a entering a grand hotel from the 1920’s is dissipated quickly.
The front desk attendant is very personable and has us checked in very quickly. We are given a room with an ocean view. This means on the front of the building and overlooking the sidewalk cafes and bars that line the east side of the drive. It is Saturday and I suspected the noise will continue late into the evening. I am right, the bars stay open until 5am, but we manage to drown out the noise by leaving the AC on. We normally would have just used the ceiling fan but with the AC going we both sleep well and the street noise is not an issue.
The room itself is small but has been remodeled lately and done appropriately in what looks to be an early 20th century style. It is very comfortable and serves our needs well.
The exterior of the building could use some work. The lighting, an integral part of being on the avenue, is not functioning properly with some lights hanging from their mounts and others like the “O” in Colony burned out on two sides.
Overall it does not cost much to stay here but with a few changes the experience could be much better. The building would be much improved if a regular maintenance schedule were to be implemented. If the lobby was changed back to its original glory, a grand entrance with a place for the guests to sit and watch the comings and goings, with perhaps a more civilized street cafe it could make the traveler feel special and the hotel could command a greater fee.
As a place to stay, The Colony Hotel is fine but as a place of fantasy it does little to promote dreaming.