My sister and I had a girls weekend at the Biltmore in October 2011 to celebrate our birthdays. We have very mixed feelings about our stay, as some aspects of the stay were stellar, and others left us wishing we has stayed at a reliable chain hotle, instead of a presumabley high end historic hotel.
At check-in, we were greeted with grace and extra treats: a bottle of wine brought to our room and breakfast vouchers for our stay. The bellboy was conscientious and showed us how to work everything in the room and had our bags delivered.
The room, a junior suite, was pleasantly decorated, but rather cold, even when we turned up the heat. Walking down the hallway to our room was always interesting because you hit a certain point and there was a sudden temperature drop. The bathroom was beautiful and spacious. The bedroom had two beds, with lovely linens and duvets; white and fluffy. The television had crazy reception and poor interactivity with the controller. We gave up on watching television as it was an effort in futility. It is suppossed to be set up to interact with the room billing, but it was not functional. TV spontaniously came on and off by itself a few times; there may have been a timer setting on it, but we never figured it out.
Our junior suite, while pretty and comfortable, positively reeked of mildew. It was an awful, pervasive smell. We notified staff, but did not come away with any resolution, or any sense that the staff were caring or concerned. We simply received a very false sounding, "I am so sorry." No offer to move us, or try to seek out the cause. The smell invaded our luggage and our clothing, which was very unfortunate for us, because we left on a cruise right after our stay at the Biltmore and the smell went with us.
The housekeeping staff did a beautiful job of caring for the room in a non-invasive way. We never saw them or heard them, but our room did get cleaned.
We pre-booked spa treatments, which were enjoyable, but the up-selling after the treatments completely undermined the relaxation we were going for. Attempts to lead clients in their bathrobes around the store, pushing items at them, is not a great way to keep the happy mojo flowing. While having treatments, we found the staff were clearly experts at allowing the clients to set the tone: friendly and chatty or quietly relaxing. The pricing was about what I would expect to pay at a higher end spa.
The restaurants were absolutely exquisite. The service was always impeccable and the food was perfect every time. The staff were always attentive, whether picking up a fallen napkin, helping us with a wine selection, or identifying when we were ready for the next course. Our restaurant expereinces were the highlight of our stay. Well done.
I agree with what other posts have remarked: weddings seem to take precedence over hotel guests. Restaurant service, valet parking, desk service...were all slow or non-existent when wedding parties were present. At times, we were even asked to leave areas or asked to wait so that wedding parties could have free access.
We used the gym areas and also attended a yoga class. The gym personel were not very professional, using electronic devices and having personal conversations while guests waited for service. You must sign a waiver form to use the gym, which we did on the first day. the next day, we walked into the gym and a staff member literally ran after us and told us to leave because we did not stop at the desk and sign the waiver. Wow. Very poor service when staff try to make guests feel that they were somehow wrong in that situation.
Like so much of our expereince at the Biltmore, the yoga class was a combination of good and poor take-away sentiment: the class was in a very small room, with way too many people in it and not enough equipment for all the attendees. The instructor was great - mild-mannered, patient, explained everything for those who are new to yoga. She was also rather late. There must have been a kitchen right next to the yoga room, because there was a lot of pots and pans kinds of banging going on and the occassional tirade of swearing. At one point it sounded like someone needed some serious medical treatment or maybe just a mouth washing with soap.
We spent some time walking the grounds, and again I have to agree with other reviewers: the upkeep of this hotel is faltering. There is definite decay in general maintenance; walkways and stairs are crumbling, paint flaking away, worn-looking edifices... It is a beautiful building with interesting history, I hope the owners can find the means to refurbish what they have before it becomes unamanageable.
I would not recommend this hotel to others, simply because at times, I felt hotel guests were not treated in the manner that this calibre of hotel should be treating its customers. Additinally, the mold and mildew are not just offensive, but a health hazard to those with allergies and asthma.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Graced with effortless beauty and sophistication, The Biltmore Hotel is a national historic landmark located in the exclusive Coral Gables area with close proximity to Miami Beach and downtown Miami. The 273-room resort resembles classic Italian, Moorish, and Spanish architectural influences spread over 150-acres of tropical landscape. A favorite of world leaders and celebrities since its opening in 1926, the hotel offers a restored Donald Ross 18-hole, 71 par championship golf course, tennis courts, the largest hotel pool on the East Coast of the United States with private cabanas, a European spa, and an award-winning fitness center. The hotel's dining destinations include the award winning Palme d'Or, recognized by Zagat as one of the best restaurants in the country; Fontana, a traditional Italian restaurant surrounding The Biltmore courtyard and fountain; the poolside Cascade and the 19th Hole Golf restaurant. The hotel also recently unveiled its culinary academy offering an array of hands-on cooking classes for adults and children. The Biltmore is one of South Florida's preferred sites for leisure and business travel, high-level corporate briefings, public policy conferences, and an extraordinary wedding destination. The Biltmore is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Biltmore Hotel Coral Gables
- Biltmore Coral Gables