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!