South Beach hotels not for everyone but great for some

There is a big difference between “going to” South Beach and “staying on” South Beach for spring break or just about any other time. A day or night visit is fun. Staying at one of the local hotels on or close to the action is a whole other experience that’s not for everybody.

Visiting for the day or night is fun and just about anything goes while police watch spring breakers, looking for the insanely crazy/dangerous ones. Those they will tend to. The rest are left to have a good time,

I was in town for the Cruise Shipping Miami convention, one of the premiere events each year in the travel business which just happened to fall during spring break. I chose a South Beach hotel, the Chesterfield Hotel, for three reasons; it is within walking distance of the Miami Convention Center, it is on South Beach a block away from the beach and because it was available.

Between conventions and spring break, hotel rooms were scarce.

This one I probably would not have picked as a first choice based on mixed reviews from like this one:

“Worst experience ever!!!!!!!!! Run… away from any deal….you might be offered. Worst managed property in the free world.”

or this one

“The rooms were all horribly dimly lit, had questionable cleanliness and many were entered directly from the street and did not have dead bolts or chain locks. Most of us ended up propping chairs up against the doors and laying “booby traps” in case of intruders.”

But like reading directions prior to assembly of some device, I don’t pay much attention to hotel reviews either. Often, I find some unique properties that way and this is certainly one of them.

If someone were looking for a chain hotel with chain hotel amenities, this would not be the hotel for them. This is a small boutique hotel with a character of it’s own that is undeniably South Beach-flavored.

The hotel is located a block from the beach and a short block at that. Every hotel in the area is old and shows what one might call wear. To me, each one has a story that goes back a long time. If I get a chance to stay on South Beach again I’ll do some research beforehand or make time for one of the art deco tours that are available.

The room I had was a standard king room and it was small, very small, but just fine for one person. I had read reviews complaining about various things but had no problems. The room had a great, huge shower and the people who worked there were just as friendly and helpful as they could be.

This hotel is part of the South Beach Group Hotels which are reciprocal with each other in several ways. You might book the Chesterfield Hotel and end up a building down the street in what appears to be a different hotel. A free happy-hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. is offered at any one of the five hotels in the group. Lightning-fast T1 wireless Internet access is free pretty much anywhere in the area and they provide beach towels too.

When it’s time to shop or eat, there are world-class restaurants and it seems every designer label made has a flagship store in the area. Add it all up and South Beach makes a great place to stay for just about any reason.