Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at MIA, I picked up my Hertz rental and keyed in the hotel’s address on the north edge of Ocean Drive, just beyond the Versace mansion. My route took me north on Ocean past the restaurants and key locations in South Beach. The hotel is located on the opposite side of the street, requiring what I call a “Philly move,” making an aggressive U-turn to reach the valet parking attendant (a move I repeated many times during my stay). The car was swiftly taken, and during my entire time at The Betsy, the front door and parking staff were helpful with my vehicle, which was always waiting for me out front. The building, formerly the historic Betsy Ross Hotel, was totally renovated in 2009, adding the Carlton Hotel as a wing of the property in 2016 to create a single hotel.
Check-in could have been a little swifter, but several guests were lined up at the same time, and the team was friendly and courteous. Our luggage was taken to two different and distinct rooms in the Carlton Hotel wing, now known at the Art Deco Wing. The Betsy Ross Hotel wing is referred to as the Colonial Wing. Getting to the rooms is part of the adventure; from the front desk you take a stroll past the pool and then to the next set of doors on the right to an elevator. Once on your desired floor, you navigate around hallways — and in our case, past a quaint reading room and library — to your room.
Guest Quarters: I found the mini suite, room 136, comfortable and set up shop immediately in the little built-in workstation on the far right of the living room. Not huge, the area did have a sofa and a TV on the opposing wall, though the TV was a little on the high side for viewing. On the far end of the area, sliding doors led to a surprisingly large porch located on a large inner courtyard, perfectly suited for events. A few steps from my porch, on the right side of the courtyard, another space provided a quick exit to the side street.
Adjacent to the living room, the bedroom held a massive kingsized bed which just about fit; the bonus was a large walk-in closet to store luggage and hang clothes, complete with padded hangers and a safe for locking up valuables. Between the two rooms, the bathroom featured Goetz Peppermint shampoo, cilantro conditioner and rum hand and body wash. A nice, disposable loofah was tucked behind the product dispensers on the inside wall of the large shower, which boasted an aggressive showerhead. The one sink in the bathroom was in keeping with the historic look of the property.
Services/Amenities: The team was there to please, and we developed a fine rapport with the bartender, Nick, at the B Bar in the Colonial Wing. We had dinner there one evening, ordering from the LT Steak & Seafood restaurant menu. We enjoyed some really lovely grouper and sirloin that evening while tasting some handcrafted cocktails combined with Nick’s wit and sarcasm. Nick talked us into a stroll down to the beach; the water was amazing, and the sand was soft on our feet. Breakfast was also served in LT and was quite enjoyable. Check out the rooftop bar, Ocean Deck, where you can relax, and have a spa treatment at the Wellness Garden & Spa if you wish — yoga classes are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 a.m. with the sunrise!
◆ The room included a nicely presented and stocked minibar.
◆ The Betsy is in a fantastic location within walking distance of great eateries like A Fish Called Avalon.
◆ In this terrific section of South Beach, you can swim in the warm waters and enjoy the South Beach sand.
◆ Proud of its support of writers and their craft, the hotel lists more than 300 artists who have called The Betsy home.
The Betsy South Beach
1440 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
tel 305 531 6100
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.