Hotel Alexander: New Restoration Makes it A Family Destination
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: While the Hotel Alexander is a beautiful place to stay, and one of the most relaxing and homey-feeling hotels on the beach, it is not a party spot. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to do at the Alexander, quite the contrary, it’s just that I don’t see the outdoor lagoon pools hosting any wet T-shirt contests any time soon. And while nobody is going to be confusing the newly-restored Millionaire’s Row resort with a cramped Ocean Drive crash-pad, the place offers a luxurious atmosphere for people who may want to get away from the action when they are done playing.
Despite The Chandelier And Staircase, Eliza Doolittle Will Not Be Making An Appearance
You realize the Alexander has a more mature feel when you walk into the lobby, the centerpiece of the hotel’s recent $10 million restoration, most of which was done in the last year. The lobby is adorned with large, plush furniture lined by dark oak walls. When you sit down you kind of feel like you are in the living room of some rich relative who decorates their house in stuff you could never afford. The polished Crema Marfil marble floors don’t help that feeling of inadequacy at all, but definitely add an air of elegance to the neo-classical motif. To complete the “living room of the rich and famous” ambience, a grand stairway traipses down the center of the lobby looking as if it were meant for the glamorous host couple to use for their grand entrance. Of course, this being a hotel lobby and not an 18th Century Victorian Mansion, it actually serves as the stairs to the meeting rooms and upper pool deck.
The day I was there the meeting rooms were setting up for some sort of fashion show, so I guess Millionaire’s row can still have some of that South Beach chic to it. Apparently they are most commonly used for weddings, which seemed appropriate given one of the rooms actually came with its own bar. And, since Miami Beach tends to be popular with some of our nation’s Jewish population, the hotel even offers 100% Kosher weddings, not something you find much south of 22nd Street.
A Tropical Oasis In The Big City
The meeting rooms lead out to a pink-tiled walkway that leads out to the deck of the upper pool. I say upper-pool because the Alexander has two pools, essentially on top of each other with a waterfall cascading in between. You can also rent poolside cabanas which feature refrigerators and private changing areas, if you don’t feel like making the trek back up to your room.
While not the celebrity-saturated scenes of the Delano or Sagamore, the Alexander’s lagoon-style pools have phenomenal views of the ocean and a pool café with food under $25. The crowd around the pools looked to be mostly families, which seem to be the most common guests at the Alexander. I didn’t see anyone eating the food from “Top of The Falls,” but the menu looked like it offered pretty standard pool bar fare: Burgers, Chicken Strips, Salads and the like. And, like I said, the Alexander has not seen it fit to gouge you just because you want to eat by the pool. Most items on the menu aren’t much over $12.
Enjoy A Steak While You Remember When Miami Had A Pro Football Team
This is probably because the main restaurant in the hotel in Shula’s Steakhouse. For those not from the Miami area, Shula’s is a series (I won’t say “chain” because that would imply it were like Outback or Sizzler or something, and God knows no self-respecting Miami Beach hotel would associate themselves with THAT) of steakhouses bearing the name, likeness and endless memorabilia of the legendary Dolphins head coach. This Shula’s is no different, with walls plastered with reminiscences of an era when the Dolphins were not the laughingstock of the NFL. Interesting for some, downright depressing for others. Shula’s is actually regularly named one of the Top Ten Steakhouses in the country by whoever it is that rates steakhouses for ads in in-flight magazines. I’m not sure if this is an earned or purchased honor, but as I like to say better to be on that list than not on it.
Inside Shula’s was the hotel bar called the “No Name Lounge,” named either for the defense of the perfect 1972 team, or because it’s the kind of bar that guarantees your anonymity. I’m kind of rooting for the second one. The bar is pretty much a steakhouse bar. A little too upscale and well-furnished to be a standard hotel lounge, but not quite trendy enough to be hosting a regular Friday night party. But that seems to suit this place perfectly.
Giving My Apartment An Inferiority Complex
What really sets the Alexander apart, though, are the rooms. Yes, the lobby makes you feel like you are about to be chastised for not having a better job and the pools give an air of isolated island paradise in the middle of America’s 11th-largest city, but the rooms make you never want to go back to your apartment. The hotel, as its full name implies, is all-suites, meaning that each room comes with a living room, kitchen and dining area, something I couldn’t even say about the place I currently call home. Even better, every room has a view of either the ocean, the intercoastal waterway and its luxurious homes, or both.
I think part of the reason the Alexander is so popular among families is its two-bedroom setup. Yes, there are a lot of hotels that offer two bedrooms, but usually one of them is essentially a couple of twin beds with a 14” TV so your kids will leave you alone while you have sex. But at the Alexander, the Ernie-and-Bert suite features nightstands that match the plush bedding, a flat screen TV, French Doors and balcony access. Not to mention a private bath. So, essentially, the kids won’t feel like they are being locked in a plaster box while the grown-ups enjoy their time together.
The living room has similarly plush furnishings, and the bedroom looks like something out of the model unit at your local undersold condo development. That is, stuff that is very nice looking and well-decorated, but does not even closely resemble your bedroom. Which, I guess, is the point of a vacation, right? The kitchen even has a dishwasher. Because, really, who the Hell wants to wash dishes on their vacation?
Some Alternative To Walking 10 Flights Of Stairs In Temple Clothes
One thing I noticed as I headed downstairs was that the Alexander featured something called a “Shabbat Elevator.” Now, I have stayed at a lot of hotels in my day, even some in Israel, and I have never seen a “Shabbat Elevator.” For those unfamiliar, Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath, and one of the rules is that you are not allowed to use any sort of electrical stuff from Friday to Saturday night. Now, I’m not exactly sure how this elevator works if it is Sabbath-friendly, and being the semi-observant Jew that I am, I honestly couldn’t tell you why you’d need a special elevator. But, at a hotel that offers Kosher weddings, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
The Alexander also has a fitness center which, while not as complete as your local LA Fitness might be, does pretty well for itself. Between the lat pull-down machine, the leg press, the Smith machine and the abductor/adductor machines, you can do most of your workouts with some simple attachments. Which the hotel has. The gym looks out on the pool, so if you run on one of the treadmills or use the recumbent bikes, you have something to look at other than the television. You can also relax after your workout in the hotel’s spa, which features the wide array of treatments one would expect from a hotel spa.
With its new amenities and impressive restoration, the Alexander seems to me like the perfect place for a family to visit if they want to come to Miami Beach. It is far enough away from South Beach that you will not be stressed and hassled, and has large enough rooms that parents and kids can get a little separation. The fact that the rooms make you not want to go home doesn’t hurt either. But make no mistake; this is not just a good hotel for families with small children. It struck me that because of its proximity to South Beach, this might even be a good place for a family with older children to come as they can take a cab to South Beach at night while mom and dad sleep. Although I’m not sure how many Spring Breakers would want to be sharing a hotel room with mom and dad, if they’re paying it never hurts.
The Hotel Alexander is located at:
5225 Collins Ave.
You can reach the hotel’s reservations desk at (305) 865-6500
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