The Miami Beach EDITION—Five Things I Loved and Two I Did Not

Developed by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International, Miami Beach EDITION is a hip luxury hotel with lots to offer in the heart of Miami Beach.

 

Located in the Mid-Beach area on a three and a half-acre private enclave stretching from Collins Avenue to the ocean, Miami Beach EDITION exudes Shrager-esque style without compromising on the comforts and accoutrements that you would expect from a five-star hotel.

 

The hotel, which opened in 2014,  boasts two ocean-facing pools, a wellness spa with a gym, a nightclub, a bowling alley and an ice-skating rink (in the basement) that doubles as a nightclub, as well as chic indoor and outdoor event space. It is also home to the Jean George-developed MATADOR BAR and MATADOR ROOM, a visually stunning space with an equally impressive dining experience. More on that to come.

 

Matador Terrace

 

A Fair Comparsion

 

Having stayed at 1Hotel the previous three years (and having loved it) it is only natural for me to compare The EDITION to its neighbor and natural rival a few blocks south. I say rival because are both relatively new (they opened their doors within months of each other), both are immensely popular and command one of the higher price-points on Collins Ave—though The EDITION is slightly less expensive. They also seem to have similar clientele—several people I spoke to while at EDITION had previously stayed at 1Hotel.

 

1Hotel excels in many ways that few hotels in Miami Beach can match. Their focus on natural materials like reclaimed wood (including local driftwood) as well as the abundance of live greenery curated throughout the hotel exudes a mellowness and underlying current of energy that is truly unique. Meanwhile their standard rooms and bathrooms—equip with rain showers, jacuzzi tubs, large sinks and warm stone floors—are huge and extremely comfortable. Then you have the enormous main pool with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean from its second story perch as well as the rooftop bar and pool with even better views, and it’s no wonder they have been one of the most popular hotels in Miami Beach since they arrived in 2015.

 

The layout and expansiveness of the hotel, however, has some slight drawbacks. It takes quite a while to get from the pool up to your room, and while I appreciate their eco-friendly-designed elevator system—designed to maximize the number of guests on each ride—it can be confusing for first time guests and slow at times. And while the lobby is beautiful and expansive with a bar/dining area, gift shop and a large sitting area with a plethora of couches and chairs to relax in or do some work from, it is not on your route from room to pool/beach, nor does it have a view of the ocean. While some guests might not see this as a detractor or care, it is still worth noting.

 

It is worth noting because this is where The EDITION excels. And with that, here is what I liked most about The Miami Beach EDITION:

 

It’s Easy To Get Around and Has Everything You Need

 

The layout at The Edition is simple and intuitive. Virtually everything is a stone’s throw from the lobby (the ocean might be more like a 9-iron) which makes getting around easy and efficient and adds a sort of whimsical flow of positive energy and comradery to the place. Everyone is coming and going to or from something enjoyable. The hotel is also outfitted with just about everything you could want. One of Shrager’s top goals with the hotel was to make it a “one- stop shopping” experience, providing everything a guest could imagine—dining, nightlife, socializing, recreation, culture, work and meeting space—within the complex. Once there, one has no reason to leave if they don’t want to. Personally, I can’t imagine forgoing a dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab or walking across the street to the Broken Shaker and Twenty Seven restaurant which are both at the Freehand Hotel, but if you’re the type that just likes to chill at your hotel, Miami Beach EDITION has you covered.

 

The Lobby

The lobby is visually stunning with its pristine white marble floors and polished white pearl Venetian plaster walls, highlighted with subtly variegated tones of gold and the deep green of indoor palm trees. One of the few hotel lobbies in Miami Beach to offer a view of the ocean, the spirit of the space, like the hotel itself, is “barefoot chic” or “new tropical” as Shrager likes to say. “You might see people in golf attire, a bathing suit, a Pilates uniform, formal evening clothes or jeans,” Schrager notes, “all comfortable, all being themselves, all connected by a certain sensibility.”

 

Lobby

 

The lobby is also the central nervous system of the hotel with a fun pool table (a great hang out place for kids) and adjacent MATADOR BAR right there—plus the pool, beach and “Tropicale” outdoor tiki bar just a short jaunt away. Once you are downstairs there is really no reason to get on an elevator.

 

Dining

There are several dining options at EDITION including the Jean George developed “Marketplace” which offers indoor and outdoor seating, with lots of tables, and is perfect for Breakfast or an afternoon snack if you need to get out of the sun or satiate the kiddos.  Meanwhile, overlooking the pool with Miami Beach in view is the “Tropicale” Bar with tiki bar cocktails, light bites and fun island music that keeps things chill.

 

Tropicale Bar

 

The real attraction however is MATADOR. Upon entering the stately MATADOR BAR, one cannot help but feel instantly transported to another era where class and glamour reign supreme. An expansive black walnut and stone bar is the room’s centerpiece, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide an unobstructed view of the ocean and palm trees dancing in the wind. In the early evening when the thin, sunlight-permeable curtains are closed it presents an even more mystical setting with the tropical setting silhouetted in background perfection. Additional LED lights in the ceiling illuminate the walnut-paneled walls which are covered with photographs by famed French photographer Lucien Clergue and portray the art of bullfighting. Additional floor lights illuminate the half-oval shaped bar making it look almost like it’s levitating at times.

 

MATDOR BAR—Lucien Clergue Paintings on Wall

 

Afternoon drinks at MATDOR BAR

 

After having a Martini at the bar, make your way into the MATADOR ROOM, the hotel’s main restaurant—a grandly proportioned, glamorous oval-shaped space that recalls all the excitement of Miami Beach’s heyday (the kind of place, Schrager says, “one might expect to see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers waltzing through”) and sample Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford’s modern interpretation of Latin cuisine influenced by Spanish, Caribbean and South American flavors. The seasonal menu, composed of small and large plates, utilizes a bounty of locally sourced, Floridian ingredients. The space’s original chandelier has been restored and is suspended over the sunken oval dining room that is reminiscent of the glamorous supper clubs of the 1940s and 50s.

 

Inner circle seating at MATADOR ROOM (there are also tables around the permiter of restaurant)

 

The Beach (and getting there)

Access to the beach is VERY close to the hotel. This is not unique to The EDITION as most of the top hotels in Miami Beach have easy access to the beach but the proximity of the beach to the main pool, for example, seems extra close at EDITION. For comparison-sake I will again use 1Hotel. The pool at 1Hotel is the most impressive I have seen in Miami, particularly because it is hoisted up the second floor thus giving guests an unparreled view of the ocean when sitting poolside. The caveat however is that you need to walk a little further, down some outdoor stairs, to get to the beach. At EDITION the walk to the beach is 30 seconds max from the pool. It may seem like a small perk but if you like to go to and from the beach several times a day it can add up and the close proximity was appreciated.

 

Main Pool, benches and cabanas, beach and ocean

 

Of course, if you want to spend the day at the beach, EDITION has plenty of beach chairs—guests recieve two chairs complimentary—and food and drink service.

The stretch of beach at the hotel is also a bit unique due to a line of rocks at both ends that gives it a sort of “cove” feel and also lessens the overall foot traffic making it feel like you are on your own strecth of private beach.

 

Kid Friendly

While I doubt “kid friendly” is the first adjective Ian Schrager wants popping into people’s heads when they think of his hotels, Miami EDITION is surprisingly quite hospitable towards little ones. From the centrally located pool table in the lobby to the basement bowling alley and skating rink to the ping pong table that is tastefully located (out of site) in the sandy, palm-tree sheltered area of the pool, aptly named “the sand box,” the hotel is friendly with kids.

 

Lobby pool table

 

Basement bowling alley

 

…And Did Not Love

 

As for the aspects of Miami Beach EDITION I did not love? To be clear, there was nothing at the hotel I did not like. There were just a few aspects that I did not love. In no way are these deal breakers.

 

The Rooms
Ocean View Room

 

It’s not that the rooms are not nice. Standard rooms are sizeable and chic with coconut white and light wood colors that give them a stylish and elegant Miami look that is easy on the eye. My standard room at EDITION was plenty big and looked the part, however the minimalist design does not help from a functional standpoint.The bathrooms in particular are a bit lacking (especially compared to 1Hotel).  A perfect example would be the sink which essentially has no cavity to it so with barely any downward curvature the water in the sink lingers after you have brushed your teeth or washed your face. This is by no means a dealbreaker but something many guests will pick up on and wonder if this type of sink design really makes sense.

 

Pools & Benches

Like with the rooms, the pools at EDITION are perfectly fine…I just didn’t LOVE them. The smaller pool (shown below) is actually the main pool or feels like more like the main pool while the larger “Tropicale” pool has fewer benches, seemed to get less sun and was more popular with familes given the extra space and proximity to the outdoor bar (a Bahama for mom and dad and Organic Chicken Strips for the kids…ahmem).

 

Pool at night overlooked by Matador Terrace

 

My main gripe is more with the positioning and comfort of the benches than the pools themselves. Half the benches have morning sun and half have afternoon sun so you kind of have to choose when you want sun. And yes, I understand this is a problem for many Miami hotels given that the sun sets in the west (directly behind the ocean-side pools), but it seemed more pronounced at EDITION vs 1Hotel. Of course, many people today will actually appreciate this as younger generations are much more careful about sun exposure, especailly in a tropical or sub-tropical location where the sun is very strong.

 

“Tropicale” Pool

 

Additionally, the benches are very low to the ground and very stiff. Once again, the minimalist design Shrager is famous for can sometimes look more comfortable than it actually is. Think futon not featherbed.

 

The Final Verdict…

 

The beauty of Ian Shrager’s hotels is that their minimalist design provides style and panache at a reasonable price. While The Miami Beach EDITION is certainly not cheap—for a five-star hotel on Miami Beach, with everything it has to offer at one property, it is still a good value. It has everything that sun deprived vacioners could want, including two very nice, ocean facing pools with beach access that is as easy as it gets in Miami Beach. The most unexpected treat however was the MATADOR Bar which does, as Sharager likes to say, “transport you back in time to an era where class and glamour reigned supreme.” Order  The Pineapple, served in a custom-made copper pineapple and made with the vodka, sherry, house-made bitters and a pineapple-rosemary syrup over crushed ice, or opt for a simple Martini while you enjoy the surroundings. Either way you won’t be dispappointed.