Mother Nature pulled a trick on us when we were in Miami in January with some cool weather and rain showers; but our stay at the James Royal Palm was still a good one. The staff was helpful and friendly; like the front desk manager who spent time with us choosing the best room. She took us on a tour so we could pick between two rooms and even helped out with an upgrade to a better view. Lucky us, the hotel wasn’t crowded in early January.
The rooms were efficient (read: not too big); but had a small sitting area and balcony big enough for two. The beds were very comfortable and the bathroom had a large walk-in, glass shower and plenty of counter space. We appreciated the organic elements in the room including complimentary in-house distilled water and the Intelligent Nutrients bath amenities.
The warm and fuzzy feeling extended to Give, the hotel’s gift shop. It features local and/or sustainable items that give back in some way, including FEED products, Tom’s shoes and a local fashion line that employs single mothers.
We spent an afternoon at the Renew spa for pedicures and blowouts. The zero-gravity treatment chairs were a soft landing and the pristine foot baths pampered us. We weren’t surprised that the aethesticians used SpaRitual’s vegan nail lacquers.
There are a couple of pool areas from which to choose, though only one was open for our stay. We enjoyed our cocktails under an umbrella- to keep off the rain, not the sun. Our favorite was the Michelada.
The only low point was the service and wait at their restaurant, Florida Cookery. We were big fans of Kris Wessel’s Red Light Little River which is now closed and were hoping for a similar experience. While the food was good, especially the barbequed shrimp, a 45 minute wait for an appetizer isn’t worth it. Fortunately, the waiter comp’d it before we even had to ask.
A better choice would have been to go to the James’ other offering, Catch, which is right on Collins and has a much more fun and lively atmosphere. It’s an off shoot of the one in NYC and features a raw bar, sushi, rock shrimp tempura, mussels and the most amazing cookies and desserts. (Smores pizza, anyone?) Wash it all down with a Zeus, a tasty blend of Ciroc vodka, peppercorn syrup, lime and cucumber.
We would go back to the James for its service, the location on Collins in the middle of South Beach, the pool areas and beach access. During our stay, it also had a more chill and healthier vibe than say the W South Beach, which fit our mindset perfectly.
For more info and reservations, go to JamesHotel.com.