Staying at the New and Improved Clevelander Hotel
ABOVE: The view from the C-Level Rooftop Terrace.
The Clevelander has always been one of the few places on Ocean Drive that most of my local friends agreed was a decent place to hang out. The majority of the places are considered too “touristy”, whatever that means. But, the Clevelander was different; though filled with tourists, sometimes overfilled, it still had a nice, easy vibe that appealed to the South Beach folks, as well.
It was with both excitement and disappointment that we learned it was going to be renovated. Disappointment that we would lose a favored hangout, but excitement at what the updates would look like. There was also the fear. So many of our places have renovated recently and changed their entire format for the worse (see Feelgood’s, for example). The question on everyone’s mind was whether the new Clevelander would be as enjoyable as the old, or would it be perverted into something unrecognizable?
ABOVE: The Clevelander’s notorious patio and poolside bar.
ABOVE: Inside the Game On Sports Bar.
Finally, the new Clevelander has opened and we can find out for ourselves. On Friday night, we rolled by their soft opening party during our regular nightly roamings. Despite the fact that most people did not even know it was open, there was a good crowd there. Happily, it looked very much like the old crowd, a bunch of tourists and some locals hanging out. The service was good and the staff was very friendly, though being the opening, they might have been stepping it up to make a good impression. We will see if that continues.
Above: A standard guestroom at the Cleve.
Saturday night, we were lucky enough to be one of the first to stay in one of their new rooms. Again, the staff was impeccable. After being escorted to our room on the 5th floor, the first thing we noticed was the size of the room. Actually, the whole design of the room kind of reminds one of one of those old sci-fi shows from the 70s. They are small, yet sleek and very space efficient. Frosted glass, strategic mirrors, low beds and clean design all add to the feeling of more space than is actually there. Besides, who needs much space when visiting Miami Beach, just a place to sleep and shower.
Above: The step-in waterfall is a nice place to cool off after the beach.
They gave us a mini tour and the cool pool on the top rooftop was, by far, the coolest idea. A small waterfall with seats behind it into a shallow wading pool allows sunbathers to cool down in a soothing atmosphere. The street level pool bar area still looks very similar, just quite a bit nicer. The food there is as good as ever, but a couple bucks more expensive. They have added a nice sports bar, as well as a small nightclub area. Two roofs areas have also been converted into lounge areas, so there is really something for almost everyone.
Above: The SPF 4 sun deck is for hotel guests only.
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"Staying at the New and Improved Clevelander Hotel"