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First Impressions from the James Royal Palm

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1545 Collins Ave [map], Miami Beach, FL, United States, 33139̴
November 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM | by | ()

We don't know whether we instinctively knew to go check out the James Royal Palm on the specific day we were in Miami, or maybe the gods were smiling on us. Either way, we happened to show up at the hotel on opening day last week, and an eager staffer kindly offered to walk us around the property.

So! What did we think?

Because the hotel was pretty much empty—things were still so new, no guests had actually checked in yet—we actually got a pretty good, exclusive look at the long, corridor-like lobby. We've seen brief shots of the bright, "minty-fresh" bar already, but this time we walked past the front area into the back, where there is an entirely different theme. Large portholes are carved into the walls, and there's plenty of rich dark wood, glass, and more of that beach-y vibe we saw before in the rooms.

What we liked most about this "back section" of the James Royal Palm lobby is the sense of privacy. A long corridor stretches from the main entrance straight through the back of the hotel to the pool—kind of like its Miami Beach neighbor, The Delano—but off to the side, there are little clusters of chairs and coffee tables, perfect for a post-swim coffee or maybe a game of cards. Sophisticated, design-y...but not heavy-handed.

And the rooms?

We've seen promo shots of the rooms before, but actually standing inside them is quite a different story. The beach vibe is very apparent, and the material on the headboards almost looks like driftwood. The glass on the funky hanging lamp, as well as the tumblers, feels very 70s-ish, which is actually a refreshing change from all the white-washed Art Deco that you find everywhere else in Miami.

The corner seating area, with its cushioned bench and table and chair, is a much more appealing alternative to the standard hotel desk, which became the subject of much dispute a few weeks back. Let's put it this way: if we had to be working during our Miami vacation, we'd gladly set up here, maybe sipping an iced tea and wearing a Hawaiian shirt—working, yes, but mostly just feeling like we were on the beach.

Getting a first-hand look at the lobby and the rooms (we had to forgo the pools, since we were there at night, and there weren't any guests swimming anyway), it's obvious that the James is trying to do something a little different from the other Collins Ave properties. You end up feeling like you're in someone's beach bungalow rather than an art museum. The furniture looks like it came out of some eccentric, but tasteful, neighbor's yard sale (we even spotted a bench made of plastic cups that sink under your weight when you sit down—nerdy but cool.)

As we said, we visited the hotel just as they opened their doors for the first time. By now, guests will have started to trickle in, and hopefully, fill up the lobby and sit at the mint green bar drinking...mojitos (to go with the green theme?).

What do you think of the hotel's look? Is this somewhere you'd stay on your next Miami trip? Let us know in the comments below!

[Photos: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Perfect Location in Miami Beach!

What a great property! I was so obsessed with finding the right location to stay in Miami Beach that I did not book until I drove by all of the hotels I thought had potential! The James Royal Palm had a great "SOBE" look on the outside and it was the perfect location to walk everywhere. (I actually never even used my rental car!)
Well inside was just as wonderful too with long corridors of lounging space, cabanas like booths outside to sip your drinks. Its beach and pool areas designed so you do not have to walk through the lobby in your flip flops! (That is priceless when you are not as young as you use to be! The hotel is ON THE BEACH and also has a great big warm 24 hour pool.
Cute great bars, coffee bar too...and restaurant...not to mention Jerry's 24 hour Deli almost across the street for a great bowl of chicken soup or Corned Beef Sandwich!
The rooms were not inexpensive but the location was worth the price. The rooms are a combination of classic 50's modern meets California Green. If you are looking for elegant these rooms may not be for you. They are beach casual,comfortable, clean and bright!
Great big showers! Great sweet staff! Nice beach area. Staff walks you to your lounge chair on the beach so there is no weird feeling of you choosing who to sit by. (Don't forget to take a few bucks to the beach to tip the lounger setup staff.) The addition of an occasional pass with free fresh fruit cups and free bottled water in a basket with the restaurant menu is a nice touch on the beach!
I can not wait to return!