Checking In: The Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach

I consider hotels to mostly be a functional part of my trips, not a place I’m going to be spending a ton of time nor a part of the adventure I focus my efforts on. So when I’m heading to a convention that means, to me, generally just staying where the event is being hosted. In this case the event was on South Beach and none of the hotels there are big enough to host the IATA Annual General Meeting on their own so, along with the rest of the media, I was pushed to the overflow property, The Royal Palm Hotel, which is part of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. I arrived at the event just in time to make the cocktail hour and dinner while most of my colleagues had already checked in; the stories they were telling over drinks and canapés did not leave me terribly optimistic. I was spectacularly surprised.

SPG Royal Palm Hotel Balcony View
View from the balcony at sunrise

I checked in relatively late in the evening, probably around 10pm, for the 2 night stay. There was a bit of playful banter with the woman at the front desk as she noted I was an SPG member and that I had Gold status (I’m not actually sure how I have it, maybe left over form an old AmEx Platinum card??). She also mentioned that the status rated me an upgraded room which I was definitely not expecting. Turns out that most others in the media have no SPG status, I guess, and they all booked the cheapest room available (as did I) because I ended up with an ocean-front room in the front of the two buildings, including a balcony with spectacular views of the beach, pool area below and the ocean beyond.

The rear building doesn't have the ocean-front balconies nor the same view.
The rear building doesn’t have the ocean-front balconies nor the same view.

The desk/sitting area was not great for working but it got the job done. And given that most my my in-room work time was very early or very late I actually just sat outside to handle that. Not great if I had a ton of work to do, I suppose, but it was hard to argue with the views. And I hit my head on the lamp at least a half dozen times, though no permanent damage to either party.

SPG Royal Palm Hotel Ocean Front Room Interior
Room interior

The bathroom was stylishly done and certainly functional. That said, the porthole setup for the window in the shower lets in plenty of light. Ultimately it didn’t really matter to me as I was awake before the sun both days but I could see how that could be a problem if you’re more in the late night scene.

Well appointed bathroom
Well appointed bathroom
The porthole is cool, but lets in plenty of light
The porthole is cool, but lets in plenty of light

And I really cannot get over the views from the balcony. Probably because the first morning I sat awake and watched a thunderstorm doing its thing a mile or two off-shore as the sun rose in the background. I probably would’ve been happy with anything else given that view. But the room really was nice, too.

Ultimately I was a big fan of the property. Great staff, room was nice and just “quirky” enough for me to enjoy while still being “normal” enough for me to be comfortable. And the group rate was reasonable considering the demand for rooms while I was there.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.