Room reaction: We admit, it was a little tough getting over the initial disappointment of the room's bland color scheme (beige walls, beige curtains, grey patterned carpet). But we were at least able to appreciate the room's new-ness, its big, clean bed (topped with a room service tray and TV remote), sleek oversized desk with ergonomic chair, and an easy-to-use air conditioning control.
Best of all, we loved its size. Walking around between the bed, desk and bathroom, we felt like we were in a mini-suite, with plenty of room to spread out. And though that doesn't say much coming from a New Yorker, we were pretty happy about it. And while the window didn't offer amazing ocean views (it rained anyhow), it, too, was big.
Bathroom: Again, there's nothing inspiring about the design of these rooms, and that definitely goes for the bathroom. But functionality-wise, all the bases were covered. Huge mirror (for looking at ourselves), wide counter (for spreading out our belongings), and Purity toiletries (for smelling good). Plus, that endless list of eco-friendly amenities we mentioned above, which help make the hotel so 'green.'
What we liked: What the hotel lacks in interesting room design, it totally makes up for with its public spaces. At night, the high-ceilinged lobby, dotted with original art, is a quiet, relaxing place to sit with a drink while watching a basketball game. No one bothers you, yet it's easy to make friends considering how open the space feels. In fact, the lobby contains 73% ore open space than is required by code.
Alternatively, in the morning, the brightly-colored, open breakfast area is a refreshing place to sit and start your day. We ended up bringing our oatmeal and banana up to our room (deadlines, deadlines!), but we saw plenty of families gathering around their bagels and orange juices, all of which are included in the price of a room.
We also liked the murals of vintage cars installed near the elevators on each floor.
What we didn't like: At the end of the day, it's still a plain old Hampton Inn & Suites, so don't come here expecting top notch service or 500-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. The lobby is punctuated with bursts of color from the impressive art collection, but the vibe is pretty....shall we say, corporate? Bland furniture, robotic staff, and a lack of cool music playing overhead constantly reminded us we were probably better off at one of South Beach's trendier spots.
Bottom Line: We paid a standard rate of $210.35 (including tax), which for the amenities we got (free WiFi, free breakfast, fitness center, rooftop pool), wasn't bad at all.