Q: What is it? A: A very good hotel and spa that is located a bit further away from the hustle and bustle that is South Beach. It’s also the first Standard Hotel that I truly enjoyed staying at.
Oh, that exterior from 1957. Architect: Morris Lapidus. The Lido Spa Hotel replaced the Monterey Motel. In 2003 it closed. Three years later it re-opened as the Standard Miami, André Balazs’ first spa hotel.
It’s lobby time! Shawn Hausman Design, responsible for most of the Standard Hotel’s visceral organs are the folks behind this one. In every American magazine they are using Scandinavian references to describe the interior. In my book, this is one of their more successful works.
So it’s bedtime already? The smaller rooms at The Standard Miami are not exactly huge. They have room for one bed and a divan and a curtain and… that’s basically it. Larger rooms have outdoor patios and private showers. But this hotel doesn’t rely on in-room experiences (although you could get a spa treatment in just about any room). Its main attraction: The public areas.
The room are accessed through exterior corridors. This means that the blinds will come in very handy. The hotel sits on an almost entirely residential island, so it’s not exactly that you’ll miss the eruption of Krakatoa outside.
The room that separates the better hotels from the crappy ones. In this fine hotel, however, the bathroom suffered from a few design flaws. 1) A mysteriously tiny toilet pedestal. 2) A somewhat hidden cabinet. 3) A shower that would have earned more points with a new shower head. It also showed some signs of wear and tear. Take note, hotel management!
Honestly, I didn’t know what to do first. I mean, the bathroom looked nice and all, but… where the f@©≤ did they put the cotton swabs?!? ”This is way too minimalistic for me”, I thought. Then I saw the sticker. You may need to look closely to find the cabinet in the bathroom. Not sure if they included that sticker in the original design, but it sure is helpful.
In this compartment you may store your belongings. Here’s the safe and a small closet. Here’s also the minibar with the mandatory overpriced beverages, snacks and, as this is the Standard, products like the one just below…
”She’s up all night for good fun, I’m up all night to get lucky.” This may be the first spa-hotel in the world where mini-bars are stocked with DrinkEase hangover medication and those ever-present Standard-brand condoms.
Take the plunge. The pool and hydrotherapy area will offer you a plunge pool, a hot tub, and a 12-foot waterfall. Whatever the DJ is spinning on the one and twos is delivered via underwater speakers in the chlorine-free Sound Pool.
A gentleman’s reward. Well mixed. And the staff members are some of the most enjoyable folks I’ve managed to came across in Miami. Ever. A special shout-out to you, Shane! I hereby highly recommend the Lido Restaurant + Bayside Grill for lunch or a light snack.
Amazing! The first Standard Hotel that I enjoyed staying at.
I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about the other hotels in André Balazs’ chains. In fact, I have had some of my worst hospitality experiences in them. But after dropping my car keys to the valet at The Standard Miami, I felt Woaa, this is different. Honestly, a lot of things make this hotel different to other SoBe accommodations: To begin with, it’s not South Beach – its location is the mostly residential Belle Isle; a tiny island along the Venetian Causeway that connects SoBe with Miami Downtown. And then, its staff.
Checking in is a pleasure.
A hotel has only so few opportunities to make an impression. With time, I’ve discovered that the attitude of the doormen and – in particular – front desk, are the ones staying with me. Upon check-in here, I sense nothing of the I’m-just-waiting-for-my-agent-to-call-as-I’m-auditioning-this-week-attitude. Heck, they are even dressed in nurse-like outfits that aren’t exactly oozing European fashion design house. And they are smiling. And they manage my early arrival. And they not only seem truly, genuinely friendly. I think they are.
This hotel’s main attraction is outside.
I could spend a few thousand words on the architecture of what is the former Lido Hotel & Spa, designed by Morris Lapidus, who was a huge name during the so-called Atomic Age (roughly 1940 to 1960). He also designed the ginormous Fontainebleau Hotel, located across the bridge in Miami Beach, some 30 blocks north. The Lido Hotel & Spa is a listed building, which means that the most prominent sign on the façade is just that and not The Standard. Apart from its exterior architecture, the garden and the pool areas are making this place fly.
When a poolside bar makes all the difference in the world.
To be honest, rooms are not what will stay in your memory after checking out from here. It’s the staff’s attitude that will. Shane who is running the show at the The Lido Restaurant and Bayside Grill is just top class (drinks aren’t bad either). And then there’s the view… Sunsets are crazy Kodak moments but even the daytime boat show can be entertaining. Apart from the pool area, the hotel has divided the garden into several little secluded/intimate/hidden places where guests may socialize or do yoga or whatever you do in a little spa/hotel garden place.
Come here if you want something different from SoBe.
In an interview, André Balazs once insisted that the Standard, Miami will be the opposite of “everything Collins Avenue has become” and in a sense he has achieved just that. It’s also pretty much the opposite of all the other Standard Hotels I’ve visited. Which this particular reviewer is truly, truly grateful for.
The Standard Miami
40 Island Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a family joint. The Standard Miami will not accept guests under the age of 17.