After booking flights to Miami, we turned our attention to location specifics. I knew I didn’t want to be in South Beach, toyed with some Coral Gables hotels, before discovering Surfside, some 7 miles north of the main hubbub. Initially, we went with our default option which is always a Marriott with Husband’s corporate discount, and I think we would have been moderately happy with the new Residence Inn in Surfside – good brand, not expensive, ok location. But after a stay in an ‘average’ corporate hotel for work earlier this year, Husband decided he wanted a bit more for our stay.
And that’s when we found the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside which I have already declared one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. It was a little bit of a splurge, but we rationalised it by making it into a trip to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (I feel old saying this). Plus, Husband and I have had a bit of tough 2016 so far, work has been crazy, and we just wanted to treat our old selves. We cancelled the Residence Inn (good job too, as it still hasn’t even opened) and booked an ocean front room through Expedia.
Best decision ever.
When we checked in, the receptionist gave us a sly grin and said she hoped we’d enjoy our room on the 7th floor. What she neglected to mention was we had been upgraded to one of the amazing 2 bedroom oceanfront suites – 1 king size bed, 2 double beds, 2 sitting areas, four bathrooms, and two balconies including one which wrapped around the side. We both screeched loudly as we ran around the 1000 square feet of utter luxury, and honestly, that first night we didn’t know what to do with ourselves.
There’s our balconies! We spent most nights on the one to the corner as that had a very comfortable outdoor sofa – a perfect vantage point to watch the electrical storms that lit up the sky over the Atlantic. It was also a great place to take tilt shift photos – I don’t think I’ve ever taken one with such a cute outcome before:
When we managed to tear ourselves away from the room, we were treated to free welcome drinks (a delicious sangria) and took a wander around the property. The whole ground floor has the reception desk, a reading nook/library, lobby bar, gelato/espresso bar, and restaurant – and yet still feels ridiculously spacious and light. There are two pools and hot tubs between the sea and the back of the hotel, plus another adults only pool and hot tub on the roof (with a sky bar where we drank cocktails on Thursday night watching the sun set), a secluded and peaceful palm garden, and then of course the beach. There’s also a spa but we didn’t have time to use it, what with all the relaxing in our favourite lounge chairs.
The three seats with the umbrella over to the right was where we spent the whole of Thursday and Monday, reading and napping. Aside from a tiny bit of noise from the building site nearby (a Fendi property, apparently), we were perfectly hidden away from any hustle and bustle. There was fruity water on tap, plus we got a free pina colada taster (more please!), and we were even able to have our lunch served to us. We barely moved the whole day.
On the Friday, we grabbed one of the day beds around the rooftop pool – when we got to the pool, there was no one there so we had the whole place to ourselves. Even when more people ventured upstairs, it still didn’t feel remotely busy.
Every member of staff we spoke to was courteous, friendly, and charming which really added to the luxury feel. It really was a faultless stay, and I’m struggling to think of what could have made it better. We said to each other on a number of occasions that it didn’t feel real – the palm trees, the sky, the beach, the sea – everything felt like a film set. We didn’t ever get bored of any view and on our last night, sat outside the restaurant wishing we didn’t have to leave.
We do have a couple of regrets around not hanging out on the beach more, not having breakfast at the hotel (which looked amazing, but we were always full from dinner so always skipped breakfast), and not visiting the spa, so I do feel like the Grand Beach Hotel and I have unfinished business.
We will be back. We just need to figure out when.