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How is The Raleigh Now That Andre Balazs Has Checked Out?

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  Site Where: 1775 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139
May 24, 2010 at 10:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

On Friday we told you about the chill pool scene and abundance of toilet paper in the pool restrooms at The Raleigh. But what else did we notice about the hotel in the absence of Standard Man, Andre Balazs? The short answer is: nothing bad, but nothing that wowed us either.

The hotel is celebrating its 70th anniversary at the moment (special rates include a $70 food and beverage credit per day) and any cons about the rooms are thanks to this vintage. The retro furniture and old-school bathrooms have always been a feature of The Raleigh, part of its charm, but we're wondering if it's time to give it a bit of a spruce up all the same. Especially with so much new competition on Miami Beach from hotels with fresh new design like the W South Beach and the Mondrian.

We probably have those hotels to thank for the quieter scene at The Raleigh, however, and that was definitely something we enjoyed. The hotel is still known for being a nightlife staple, but we loved the relaxed weekday feel and not having to fight for space down by the pool.

Other things we liked: The easy, friendly service, from the bellmen to the front-desk clerks, to the pool attendants and the (gorgeous) room-service guy. There was no pretension and we received drinks by the pool and late-night dinner in our room in under 20 minutes. We loved the partial view of the pool and the ocean, and the general look of the room. The food was solid, the best item we tried being the calamari.

Things we'd improve: If we had to change one thing it would be the carpet. It looks cheap and fugly in a room that does have some nice retro-beachy pieces. The sliding doors on the closet also need replacing or just a good dose of oil, because they're as squeaky as hell. We don't mind the tiny Deco-era bathroom with old fixtures, but if they were to upgrade them we think plenty of guests would be happy.

Overall impression: Even though Andre did a runner on The Raleigh, the hotel seems to be running smoothly in its new hands. We're curious to see if any changes eventuate, especially on the reno front, but for now, we like the hotel's relaxed vibe. We're not too keen on pool parties or nights when it could become a scene, but during the week and on the wrong side of high season, The Raleigh was a great place to retreat.

Rooms start at $229 a night. We paid a media rate of $150 while on assignment for another publication.

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