Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Kimpton Epic Miami

29 Oct 2010 by AndrewGough

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Part of domestic chain Kimpton, which has more than 50 hotels throughout the US, the Epic Miami opened in December 2008. The 54-floor gleaming glass and steel tower block has 411 rooms across levels 18-30, as well as residential apartments on floors three to 14 and 45-54. It is minimalist and modern, with welcoming staff and an airy lobby where free coffee and newspapers are available in the morning.

WHERE IS IT? On Biscayne Boulevard Way in Downtown, about 15-20 minutes’ drive east of the international airport and 8km west of Ocean Drive, over the MacArthur Causeway. It’s in an excellent position for any business traveller, with the American Airlines Arena and Brickell Avenue – the main thoroughfare through the financial district – in walking distance. It is right next to Miami River on the mouth of Biscayne Bay.

ROOM FACILITIES Bedrooms all have city or water views, a large balcony, an iHome dock, 24-hour room service, a flatscreen TV, air conditioning, minibar, an iron/ironing board, a safe, comfy Posturepedic bed, long workdesk, twin sinks in the bathroom and a separate tub and shower. For the lonely, there are free hosted wine hours by the pool every evening (or a goldfish in a bowl can be placed beside your bed). HP PCs are installed in every room and have free wired internet, though you have to pay US$6 per day to use Microsoft Office. Wifi is free for Kimpton In Touch loyalty scheme members (US$10 per day otherwise), but when I was there the signal kept dropping on the PC, and it was difficult to stay online through my iPhone. I liked that my Water View Double room had sliding doors that opened on to a balcony, which meant I could get fresh air whenever I wanted. If you are a Kimpton In Touch member you can place requests in advance, whether that is for a particular snack or a favourite magazine.

The 29th and 30th floors house the Club rooms – they offer the same amenities but guests can avail of the lounge, which serves food and drink between 6.30am and 11pm, as well as a dedicated concierge and private check-in.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are two restaurants. Zuma (zumarestaurant.com), which is on the ground floor and is independently run, is the first US outpost for this renowned chain. It serves contemporary Japanese cuisine from 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 12am Monday to Saturday. Area 31 bar and restaurant is on the 16th floor and has outdoor seating on the pool deck. It is a relaxed spot for daytime dining and in the evening has a good buzz when locals drop by for cocktails. Hearty and healthy all-American breakfasts are dished up in the morning – start the day with a Jamaica summer cocktail (watermelon purée, white peach, mint and club soda) for US$6 and an egg-white omelette with cheese grits for US$12. The evening offering is heavy on fish, with a five-course sustainable seafood tasting menu available for US$50. I tried the fettucine with slow-poached farm egg, pepper and truffle pecorino (US$27), which was rich and delicious.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The event spaces are on the 14th floor and consist of eight flexible meeting rooms – the Metropolis ballroom is the biggest, holding up to 300 delegates, while the two boardrooms can seat up to ten in each. Only two rooms have daylight. There is also a business centre with three PCs, free internet, a printer and an ATM machine. An artificial lawn in front of the hotel can be used for teambuilding activities, and a marquee for 500 delegates can be erected here. The 1,300 sqm pool deck can host up to 600 people.

LEISURE FACILITIES Exhale spa is located on the 15th and 16th floors and has 14 treatment rooms, a 24-hour fitness centre with Technogym equipment, a hammam, relaxation room, abdominals workout space, and two studios for yoga and core fusion. The outdoor wrap-around deck on the 16th level features two heated pools, ten private cabanas and sunbeds with dramatic views of the river and neighbouring buildings. Yoga, pilates and meditation channels are available through guestroom TVs, with mats available on request.

VERDICT An excellent new high-end option for the business traveller. The Epic is in a central Downtown location near the airport, has extensive meeting and leisure facilities and good in-room amenities that should make working and keeping fit that bit easier.

Jenny Southan

FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 411 rooms across several categories – Double, Double Premier or King Premier (all with a city or water view option), Tall (with extra-long beds), Water View One-Bedroom suites, and City and Water View Club rooms and suites.
  • ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The PC access, free wifi for Kimpton In Touch members, iHome dock, and sweeping river and city views.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in December started from US$315 for a City View Double Premier room.
  • CONTACT Epic Hotel Miami, 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way; tel +1 305 424 5226; epichotel.com
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