As we continue to cruise around the world, we’re always on the lookout for convenient hotels and resorts for stays before or after our sailings. Most recently, we checked in at the lovely Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay for an evening prior to boarding our MSC Divina trip. For cruise travelers sailing from the Port of Miami, you can’t beat the close proximity of this property. It looks right over the cruise terminal and is all of a five minute cab drive away.
The hotel recently underwent a $31 million renovation and now features a sleek updated decor that clearly takes its inspiration from the nearby sea. From the lobby and restaurant to the concierge lounge, warm woods and earthen stones invite guests in while cool wave patterns enhance the visual movement. Comfortable alcove seating lines the lobby, and rather than a standard Starbucks, a refreshing European-style Espressamente Illy Cafe takes up residence on the first floor.
The house restaurant on site is the stylish Catch Grill & Bar with casual indoor and outdoor patio seating that overlooks the adjacent marina. The location is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a wide selection of tempting seafood dishes. Lunch and drinks are also served poolside where there is plenty of outdoor lounge seating and abundant areas for sunbathing. Of course, the most convenient dining option is always room service from which I enjoyed a delicious grilled fish sandwich. In between meals, the convenient concierge lounge also serves snacks and drinks throughout the day as well.
Other hotel amenities include sizable conference rooms, a sundries store, fitness center, car rental service, business center, activities at the adjacent marina, a barber and beauty shop, and convenient on-site laundry facilities. There is also a small dated shopping mall attached to the hotel that has a very eclectic selection of shops and diners, but anything you need is available from the world-class hotel directly. Truly the best thing about this hotel is the exceptionally great service from the friendly staff.
Of the property’s 579 rooms and 21 suites, we enjoyed a 1 bedroom junior suite with a stunning corner view of the marina and cruise ship terminal below (as seen in the first image above). The suite is laid out in the round with the bathroom situated in the middle, a balcony just off from the beds, and expansive floor-to-ceiling glass windows all around. Beds can be configured as a single king or two doubles.
The interior design is welcoming with a nice balance of warm and cool colors, and the ocean-inspired wave patterns from the lobby continue on the carpet. Two chairs, a sofa bed and a coffee table sit in front of a 37-in flat-screen television, and a separate 4-person dining table, dresser and office desk rest off to the side. The room is easily accessible with lots of open space from section to section. Always a plus is the hotel’s smoke- and pet-free policy eliminating any foreign odors.
Really the only thing small about the junior suite is the standard size of the bathroom and closet across the way. Nonetheless, the bathroom is cleanly designed with updated fixtures, a shower/tub combo and a space-maximizing arced shower curtain rod. Indirect vanity lighting around the mirror illuminates the space with a pleasant glow, and the abstract painting adds a nice touch of color.
Additional perks in the room include Wi-Fi access (paid service), mini-fridge, connecting room access, doorbell, on-demand television content, and a new laptop, MP3 player and video hub. Still, there’s no denying that our favorite feature of the suite was the awesome wraparound view that allowed us to watch our cruise ship pull in before boarding it later that day.
Kudos to an expertly run Marriott that feels more like a Marquis property than not. We will definitely be returning, and you should try it out too. For a pre- or post-cruise stay, it doesn’t get much better than the excellent Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.
For more information on the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay and to arrange for your own stay, visit the hotel’s website here.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT