Can you believe Miami is the one city in America I've never been to?! Known for mixing business with pleasure, I made sure to fit Miami into our serial killer research road trip, covering the Deep South. And what a relief that was! Miami is a hot and vivacious city and I'm grateful to have spent two fun-filled, though brief, days there.
We've been renting an AirBnb in Hell's Kitchen. Let me tell you, it's been a joy. I was not a fan of Airbnb to begin with after horrific experiences spanning from LA to Paris. This charming, cozy apartment absolutely renewed my faith and I'm happy to say it'll be my go to place in Manhattan.
I only bring up my Airbnb experience because next to our apartment is the Dream Midtown Hotel, situated on 55th between 7th/8th avenue. I probably would have never stumbled upon it otherwise. I was attracted by its whimsical decor, the two story aquarium, and the funky yet welcoming vibe. In that moment, I made a mental note to do my research on Dream Hotel Group. Turns out the brand encompasses three lines: Hotel Management, Proprietary Brands, and Dining & Nightlife. Under the hotel umbrella, Dream Hotel Group consists of Dream Hotels, The Chatwal, Time Hotels, and Unscripted Hotels. Clearly this was luxury boutique hotel heaven just reading. But let's start with Dream Hotels Group for now :)
It was a telltale sign to explore this vibrant hotel lifestyle brand the moment I discovered that there was a Dream Hotel in the heart of South Beach Miami. I immediately booked my stay at Dream South Beach and was under the excellent care of James Anderson, their incredibly attentive and brilliant Director of Sales and Marketing.
Being greeted by a glass of Prosseco helped fizz the 9 hours of driving away, having just driven from Charleston, SC. I was upgraded to the Gold Junior Suite with a complimentary breakfast for two (greatly appreciated). When the staff know you mean business, they start rewarding you. I am grateful they can see the passion through my writing and the pictures I curate on my social media feeds.
Dream South Beach is located in the hip, Art deco area of South Beach. Only 50 yards from the beach, this hotel boasts an ideal location.
The lobby was simple yet chic, a mix of French Moroccan and Art Deco. I loved the beach plantation shutters. It added a celestial touch.
Thankfully, I got better pictures in the morning since I arrived so late. It was incredibly hot, already reaching the high 80s by 8 am.
The room was simply awesome with a huge influence of Art Deco everywhere (we loved the art deco stencil bed headboard). Very hip and modern. There was a little more space than I had anticipated. Definitely one of the many reasons I appreciated the upgrade. I felt the standard rooms were going to be stingy on space.
Loved the mini chandelier hanging by the bed. Always a huge fan of sparkle :)
The thoughtful amenities! There were free flip flops in the closet which was a sweet touch. Though they were too big (I have the smallest, narrowest feet), the staff sent up smaller ones which were still too big (haha) but it's the thought that counts. I also loved the suggested food/drink amenities at the mini bar. Examples include Cheesy situation (Chef select fruit & cheese platter and a bottle of wine); Love Connection (A bottle of Italian Prosecco and Fresh California Jumbo Strawberries); and Get the Party Started (2 redbulls, 1 carafe of cranberry juice, 1 carafe of orange juice, 1 carafe of soda water, and super premium Monte Carlo Vodka).
The turn down service served with dainty chocolates & bottle of water placed on your bedside.
Easy wifi login. I cannot stand hotel resorts that make you sign up for everything and input a bunch of silly details, only to be spammed later. It's 2017, guys. Wifi should be free. We pay enough to stay here to begin with.
The ice bucket was already filled upon check in. Super convenient for our nightly rituals of Scotch. Anticipating the need before the customer thinks of it. Thanks for the intuitive service, Dream Hotel!
Poor lighting (there's two to choose from: normal and mood lighting. The normal hardly produced better lighting. I get the theme of the hotel but this girl needs her light to see!)
Not enough desk space - vital since we both work from our laptops.
No door for the shower. I am not particularly fond of open showers because the way they're designed has water seeping into the bedroom. Or do I just splash too much? :D I appreciate the modernity but don't like dealing with wet, hazardous floors.
Maybe people don't think about this but the placement of the box of tissues in the bathroom. It was placed on the toilet. I much prefer the tissue to be near the sink for hygienic purposes.
No view but I appreciated the peace and quiet.
The (small) rooftop pool carried a weird vibe; however, James Anderson informed me that it was undergoing a transition. With that being said, I give it a pass because I do recognize its potential. You can tell I didn't spend much time up there and more time at the beach.
Waiting for us was a bottle of wine, a beautifully arranged fruit, nut and cheese platter and a card signed by James Anderson, who just has impeccable class :) You shall see why as you scroll through the post.
Room tour below:
Wifi throughout the hotel
Pet friendly rooms
350 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens - ahhh :)
Fully stocked mini bar with thoughtful/suggested food + drink amenities
CO Bigelow toiletries
iPod docking station
Room Service/Restaurant - The Naked Taco (excellent Mexican/Cuban flair restaurant!)
Rooftop restaurant - Highbar
Cheeky Mexican Cuban fare at Celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano's Restaurant, The Naked Taco - The Best Taco You Ever Ate Out
I had so much fun at this restaurant, I believe we had every meal there with the exception of one meal ordered via UberEats. Apart from the colorful and delicious food, a true highlight of this restaurant was the beautiful, flamboyant soul named Benny. He regularly spoke of how human beings have lost connection. It saddened him to have served a table of 4 with everyone's eyes glues to their phones. Believe me, even though I wouldn't have a job without my phone, I actually dislike taking pictures before every meal or every hotel experience just to get that "Instagram-able shot." Sometimes it can be a nuisance and can truly take away from the experience. But the compromise I draw is that I'm sharing the joy I experience from my greatest passions - food and luxury hotels. So what's the point of joy if it can't shared?
However, social media should never replace good ol' authentic human interaction. Who was the last person you thought of? Call them up and physically meet for coffee. Don't just snap them your food ;)
Our go to meals consisted of endless Key West Shrimp tacos, guacamole + chips, and margaritas, of course! You cannot order a bad thing from the menu. The customer service was utterly flawless.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go
I thought this hotel provided a marvelous and comfortable welcome into the first of many visits I will be making to Miami. I cannot get over how friendly everyone was, especially a fellow Filipina at the front desk named, Jane Zaraspe. What can I say? Us Filipinas rule the hospitality industry as it runs in our DNA. I will now be in Miami frequently as we've just decided to partially set our rock n roll TV series there, The Circus. As we were getting ready to check out, James Anderson arrived with some goodies - a hilarious Miami V neck top and some shades - and gave us a round of drinks to complete our Miami stay on a high. I definitely felt the glow of Miami hospitality.
James is yet another Marketing director who truly valued and respected my work and did not define me by a number. He loved the whole concept behind From Nada to Prada and remarked how he wished more people like me stayed at his hotel. If you're reading this, James (you eventually will), your words touched me and people like you make my work so fun and rewarding. Thank you.
I look forward to checking out the other Dream Hotel properties in America, especially the one I walked by near my Hell's Kitchen AirBnb apartment, Dream Midtown, the one that started this hotel love affair :) See you in October!
Miami beach joy!
Dream South Beach
1111 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139