Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Miami: Stay

I've never actually been to Miami. Sure, I've flown into Miami airport, then begrudgingly convinced my rental car to go to the outbanks of Miami, otherwise known as South Beach. I've since equated Miami to South Beach, which is not only unfair, I happy to report its completely absurd.

Miami has changed since the last time I saw it, in the late 90's. Now the skyline looks like mini-Manhattan. Sure, its only one or two streets deep of 60-story buildings but still its an impressive, if not unbelievable change. I liked.

View From Room

I don't usually comment on hotels, more or less from my travel perspective a hotel is a room to store stuff, shower and sleep. However, in this case I feel compelled.

Attention other hotels, you should be learning from Epic.

Location: Ideal. Safe. Surprisingly quiet. Walking distance to major event venues, retail, upscale and hole-in-the-wall dining, nightlife, museums and design district. 10-minute drives to Little Havana, Little Haiti, Coconut Grove and beaches.

Decor: Modern, sleek, sophisticated. Floor to ceiling glass, rich wood tones and white in varying textures set the tone. Epic's focus is on solid design and architecture. Not pummeling patrons to death with every sparkle-and-fade trend.

Pool: On the 16th floor, a pool with a great view. Two infinity pools, many canopy covered seating areas, roving wait staff, plenty of eye candy and several private 'cabanas' around the perimeter.


Rooms: Consistently followed the decor theme. Beds were disturbingly comfortable. Bathrooms were well-stocked and spacious; ceiling mounted rain showers were a nice touch. The view from my patio on the 23rd floor overlooking Brickell Ave and the water was incredible. Requisite flat-panel TV, iHome alarm and wireless were all in check.

Service: Class. Epic has service honed to an art form. Not once was I upsold, cross-sold or pitched anything. Genuinely friendly staff are always available but never intrusive. All requests I had became feverish missions for the staff. Expectations exceeded.


"I'd like a restaurant that can handle both an organic vegan and a carnivore, preferably an Italian or Thai and within a 15-minute drive" -- They found two. They made reservations, printed a map and the next day followed up to make sure we enjoyed.

"I'd like a 7-10 mile walking path through downtown." Done. Map printed, path highlighted in yellow; recommended sites, coffehouses and restaurants circled, areas to avoid were outlined in red. An umbrella was handed to me on the way out for those everyday at 3pm, 'surprise' rainshowers.

"Is there any way I can get a coffee maker in my room?" Moments later a Keurig appeared with a variety of coffee pods.

The next time I travel to Miami I will not check for other hotels, I will simply make a reservation at Epic and feel 100% confident that I'll enjoy my stay.

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