I was down here for a conference at the Intercontinental hotel across the street. These two hotels while similar in name are two very different hotels. While the intercontinental was charging over $200 a night I was able to stay at this hotel for $134 for three nights. I had done a fair amount of research and had read all the reviews on several sites before booking this hotel. In fact after reading some of the reviews, I brought along a set of sheets and a towel from home.
The location is fantastic. It was very close to my conference and close to the ports and a short ride to the beaches. It is right next to the metro mover, which is free. It is very close to Bayside which is a conglomeration of restaurants and stores. There are several brand name hotels you can switch to including Holiday Inn and a Courtyard Marriott. Check in is at 4pm but they will allow you to check in at 3pm. I arrived a quarter to three and was told I would have to wait until 3 or they could hold my bag for me at $1 per bag. The front desk person was nice enough and moved me to an upper floor when I asked. He was able to answer most of my questions about the area. There is a bellman there that can assist with your bags should you need it. Customer service is not a strong point of this hotel. The lobby was clean there were several people using the WiFi connection. As a side note one of the elevators was out of order but was repaired by the second day I was there.
The room was small with a pretty good view of the Arena and the bay. The windows were small. The bathroom was especially small but it was clean and in good working order. I did call down for extra towels. It took quite a while for them to come up. The hotel does not have a housekeeping staff. They contract out to a separate company. The bellman had to bring up the towels. The carpet although worn was clean. The walls were scuffed from the bell cart being dragged along the wall one too many times. The towels and sheets were worn but clean. I would definitely not use the bedspread as a blanket though. The furniture was dated and a little beat up. The bed was relatively comfortable. The TV has 8 channels that come in. Four of them are all in Spanish and one is PBS. The mini fridge was operational and cold. I never did use the sheets or towels that I had brought.
The restaurant is open only for breakfast. It seemed to be staffed accordingly to the amount of people eating there in the morning. The bar did not open while I was there and according to the front desk never opens. Close buy there are two drug stores, CVS and Walgreens. There is a Subway, a Quiznos, a McDonalds, a Pollo Tropical, a smoothie place, a Spanish tapas bar, a Starbucks, a Brazilian buffet and a corner cuban sandwich shop all within walking distance. Across the street is Bayside which has a Hard Rock Cafe, a Bongos, A Bubba Gump???s and several small restaurants and ice cream shops. There is live music there almost every night. It is worth noting that many of these places downtown are not open on weekends and especially on Sundays.
Parking is a challenge downtown. Meter parking is available on Biscayne Blvd. from 6am to 2am for $3 for the first 5 hours and about $1.50 for every hour after that. Weekends it is more and special events are $15. Bayside parking garage is $10 per 24 hours with no in and out privileges. There is a garage next to the hotel that is $15 a day with in and out but it closes from 9:45pm and opens at 6am on weekdays and at 9am on weekends. The plus is that when it is open you have in and out. The Intercontinental has valet available 24 hours a day for $34 a day.
In short this is a cheap hotel. It is maintained like a cheap hotel. This no frills. Great for a place to stay. I had a great time and as I knew what I was getting in to was not shocked when I arrived.