The James Royal Palm | South Beach, Miami, Florida

The Pool at The James Royal Palm

While the rest of the country was under a deep freeze in December, I had the good fortune of escaping the cold to take a cruise and spend a few days in South Beach at The James Royal Palm.  Look at this view!  How could you possibly have a bad time in South Beach when you’re surrounded by sun, sand, and palm trees?

The lobby of the James Royal Palm

After getting off our short cruise on the MSC Divina, we picked up our rental car and headed right to the hotel.  Located in the much desirable Collins Avenue area and only seconds away from the beach and Ocean Drive, The James Royal Palm is a destination for celebrities and the rich alike, but will make anyone feel like a Hollywood starlet.  I had no idea we would arrive so quickly and my fear was that we wouldn’t be able to get into our room until check in, which would be in the afternoon.  But this was not to be the case.  After leaving our car with the valet and heading inside to the lobby, we were not only able to check in early, but we were given an upgrade to a 2-bedroom suite!  In this area is also the Concierge desk, which I later used for restaurant suggestions in the area for dinner.  They’re always helpful and willing to go the extra mile, which I certainly appreciated.

The lovely curves of The James Royal Palm

Originally built in 1939, The Royal Palm was one of the many hotels and other structures built in the area that now is the famous South Beach Art Deco District.  The hotel’s location is perfect for shopping, entertainment, and dining options in the South Beach area.  The 393-room hotel underwent a $42 million renovation and was named a “Hot Hotel” by Condé Nast Traveler for 2013.

The former green glass reception desk is the new coffee bar

Designer Lauren Rottet of Rottet Sutdio has maintained much of the original hotel’s style and grace through a nod to the past in many ways throughout the hotel like by converting the original green glass reception desk into the now fully functional lobby coffee bar.

Our 2-bedroom suite

A quick ride up in the elevator and we were at the front door of our 2-bedroom suite, number 909 in that beautiful curved building you saw above.  I loved the brightly colored walls and funky room number choices which were oddly shaped wooden blocks.

View from suite 909

Once inside, you automatically gravitate toward the 180-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Drive, and South Pointe.

Close up of that amazing view

It can’t possibly get better than this when you have a view of the water and sweeping views from all around the suite.

 Panoramic view of suite 909

If your looking for space while in South Beach, these suites are large and vary in size from 575 square feet all the way up to the super spacious 1,550 square feet suites.  Each has plenty of space to lounge as well as to work or dine.  You can even order from the 24-hour in room dining menus from Florida Cookery and even a lil’ james children’s menu specifically for children.   Your fully stocked mini-bar has snacks, beverages, and let’s just say some adult-type items as well.

The living area within the suite is separate from the sleeping areas with enough space for multiple seating configurations.  Not only is there a large 42-inch plasma TV in the living area, but you can also find the same size TV within each of the bedrooms.  Did I mention that WiFi is complimentary throughout the hotel? Wood, white, and blue are the dominant colors and textures used throughout the funky space.

Bedroom #1

The first bedroom is to your left upon entry to the suite and features a king bed.  Each bedroom is private and the door to each room is a large sliding loft-style door, which only adds to the overall uniqueness of the suite. The James Royal Palm offers 1, 2, or 3-bedroom suites with a variety of configurations including king or double beds.

Bathroom #1

The first full bathroom located within the first bedroom has a tub and shower combo with tiled floors and partially tiled walls.  Bathrooms are outfitted with Intelligent Nutrient bath products in large size bottles.

Hallway leading to living room between bedrooms

The smooth tile floor is perfect for South Beach visitors as it is cool on your feet but is also perfect if you’ve come from the beach.  No one likes trekking sand back into your room even with showers available down by the beach.  The hallway at the entrance to the suite is incredibly inviting as it beckons you to take in the views of the ocean.  To the left in this hallway is a large closet along with a room safe.

Bedroom #2

The second bedroom is to the right when you enter the suite and much like the first bedroom, has a king size bed.  With custom designed beds dressed in natural linens and eco-friendly Keetsa Pillows, I can tell you that I slept like a baby here.  The massive panels of white drapes complimented the white walls and linen and were both luxurious, adding to the romantic old Hollywood feel, as well as functional to keep the light at bay in the morning.

Bathroom #2

The second bathroom located within the second bedroom has a huge shower with a glass enclosure.  Like the first bathroom, it, too, has Intelligent Nutrient bath products.  There are also step stools, great for little ones if they can’t reach the sink, as well as a dreaded, but appreciated bathroom scale.

Living area looking out toward the ocean

The mid-century modern design is reflected not only in the public spaces, but also in the guest rooms and suites.  Personally, my own decorating style at home has changed from contemporary to mid-century modern and so I was completely loving the styling of the suite that we were in.  It’s clean, minimalist, and yet comfortable.

Complimentary triple distilled water

Feeling thirsty?  Enjoy a glass of the complimentary triple distilled water refreshed twice daily in your room. Either that or make a fresh cup of coffee with your in-suite Nespresso machine.

Special wine and cheese tray from The James Royal Palm

There was a knock at the door in the afternoon and I was completely taken aback.  I received this beautiful fruit and cheese tray along with a bottle of sparkling water and a bottle of wine along with a handwritten note from Holly Winter, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at The James Royal Palm and Monica Lewinger, Marketing & PR Coordinator at The James Royal Palm.  It’s those little touches that make your stay memorable and completely unique.

The Lobby Lounge

Whether you want to sit with a friend or by yourself and enjoy a beverage, read a book, or simply wait for someone to come down from their room, The James Royal Palm offers an inviting place in the lobby lounge in which to do just that.  The porthole windows are another original feature that the designer, Lauren Rottet, worked to preserve and restore.  When was the last time you saw 60’s avocado green and thought it looked chic?

The Lobby Lounge

If for nothing else, walking through this area made me want to sit back and relax.  There’s something comforting about the style and furnishings that make you reminisce about the past, even if you weren’t alive during that time period.  They were going for a cool, casual, martini loving, Dean Martin, Rat Pack, old Hollywood, über cool atmosphere and they easily achieved this.

“Match Game” playing on the TV console in the Lobby Lounge

The James Royal Palm also offers a 24-hour business networking lounge with computers, printers, fax machine and video conferencing.  Additionally, the hotel also offers state of the art meeting and event space for conferences or weddings and catering by Florida Cookery is also available.

Floating steps leading to Florida Cookery

If you appreciate art and can’t make it to Art Basel held in Miami annually, you can walk around and view the art collection entitled “An Ocean Apart,” by Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio at The James Royal Palm.  Some pieces were created specifically for the hotel and there is also an Artist in Residence program.  This private collection of paintings, photographs, prints, furniture, and a specially commissioned “art game” is spread among 200,000 sq. ft. of guest rooms and 70,000 sq. ft. of public spaces.  But the art isn’t limited to what’s on the walls as you can see here in the walnut planks of the hotel’s floating staircase.

Florida Cookery Patio

When it comes to dining, The James Royal Palm will more than accommodate you with a variety of food options.  Although we didn’t dine in CATCH Miami, the hotel’s restaurant that has a focus on seafood, which is helmed by Top Chef winner, Executive Chef Hung Huynh, I did see it at the front of the hotel.  Since I don’t eat seafood, we headed to Florida Cookery Patio instead.  Florida Cookery, the main restaurant inside, got its name from a 1940’s-era Junior League cookbook

Florida Cookery Patio (FCP)

Florida Cookery is open for breakfast and lunch daily and dinner Thursday through Monday evenings. The restaurant features regional Florida fare with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.  The food is fresh, local, and light and the atmosphere definitely resembles the food that is served there.  Our server was great at suggesting items as well as making us feel comfortable and welcome.

Florida Cookery lunch menu

When we arrived at Florida Cookery Patio, it was lunchtime and as such, the menu was a slighter smaller version of their dinner menu.  You can find salads, sandwiches, and a few main courses available along with sides like Yucca Fries or Cool Quinoa Salad.

Ocean Drive Chopped Salad

It was hot out and it felt like summer so I was definitely in the mood for a salad.  My choice was the Ocean Drive Chopped Salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, pickled red onions, jicama, avocado, house smoked fish, and pomegranate vinaigrette ($17).  Since I don’t eat seafood, I asked for the salad without the fish and I think that is probably the most integral part of the salad.  The saltiness from the fish probably balances out the sweetness from the vinaigrette so without that, the salad is a little light on taste.

The bar at Florida Cookery Patio

Feel like having a drink with your meal?  How about a drink by the pool?  You won’t have to go too far as the bar at Florida Cookery Patio is well stocked and waiting to get you the drink of your choice.

View from Florida Cookery Patio toward the pool

I loved that from our seat we could see the pool and just beyond it, the beach.  You could lay out all day and relax and jump up for a bite or a drink if you didn’t want it brought to you.

One of the pools at The James Royal Palm

This is only one of the two swimming pools that the hotel offers.  There is also a plunge pool and cabanas are also available on property.  Swim, tan, and enjoy all of the amenities available to you from The James Royal Palm like complimentary freshly-cut fruit and tequila-soaked seasonal fruits like pineapple and watermelon. This is not party central and the overall vibe is laid back, calm, and easy.  If you’re young and single and expecting a Spring Break party atmosphere, you probably want to look elsewhere, which is what the guests here are hoping you’ll do.

Ready to lounge poolside?

Maybe you’re not interested in tequila-soaked fruit.  That’s ok!  Catch up on your reading with the complimentary reading material available as well as the complimentary Kindles and iPods available for lounging at the pool or the beach.

“Gnome Home”

Snuggle up with a book, a Kindle, or someone special in this little “gnome home” as I was dubbing it.  It has a cushy pad inside and can easily fit two people comfortably.  When you’re done snuggling, don’t forget to hit Renew the Spa where you can revive and regenerate with a massage, a salt water soak, or even services for two.

Everywhere around the hotel, including the space between the hotel and the pool, are multiple seating areas available for guests to enjoy.  It can be a quiet place to relax during the day or to mingle at night with others.

Walkway to beach

Thinking of relaxing down by the beach?  Take a quick walk only a minute away and you’ll be lounging beachside in no time.

If you’re looking for pristine, powder soft sand, then you’ll find it right here.  When you’re escorted to your lounge chair by your own personal Sun Concierge who will take care of you throughout your stay at the beach. If you need anything, make sure you let the Sun Concierge know as they want to make sure you are completely and utterly comfortable while you bask in the glow of the sun and the glamour of your stay at The James Royal Palm.

Lounging on the beach

Every guest will receive a lounge chair and a towel, but if you want something more like an umbrella or cabana, you can rent those items for an additional fee.  But considering the hotel gives guests access to complimentary bicycles to use to pedal around the area, a few dollars at the beach will be the least of your worries.  We went without an umbrella as we wanted the sun and it was a perfect.  Can’t imagine how hot the sun would be in August, but in December it was incredible.

Every guest receives a complimentary James Beach Box to enhance your beach experience.  Each box includes fresh fruit and bottled water as well as menus for delivery right to your lounge chair from Florida Cookery. The James Beach Box is also available poolside.

The James Royal Palm

My overall stay at The James Royal Palm was one of the best experiences I have had in Miami.  Every member of the staff, from the front desk clerk to the concierge to the bellman to the valet were all incredibly professional and courteous.  I would not hesitate to make The James Royal Palm my home away from home when I visit South Beach again and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing and sophisticated stay.

The James Royal Palm
1545 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-604-5700
Web site: www.jameshotels.com/miami 

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