A South Beach Hotel Takes Its Cues From Nature


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One of four pools at the hotel.

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1 Hotel South Beach

Rates

From $431 a night.

Basics

1 Hotel South Beach opened in March 2015 as the first hotel of an eco-focused, “nature-inspired” brand created by Barry Sternlicht, the chief executive of Starwood Capital Group. (There is also a 1 Hotel Central Park, which opened last summer, and a 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge opening later this year.) Driftwood accents, billowy curtains and muted tones imbue a relaxed, sophisticated ambience, while living-plant walls add a tropical element. A pleasant scent of eucalyptus, cardamom, cedar and oak wafts through the air. In the lobby, the nature theme takes a whimsical turn as decorative mushrooms sprout from columns; moss clings to walls; and driftwood-inspired furnishings are topped with cactus-filled terrariums. Reuse and recycle is a pervasive message. Key cards are fashioned from reclaimed wood; hangers are made out of recycled cardboard.

Location

The blocklong oceanfront hotel sits at the northernmost fringe of South Beach. Museums, shops and restaurants are within easy reach. There are also three Tesla electric cars driven by staff members and available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for free drop-offs within a three-mile radius of the hotel.

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An airy, spacious bedroom.

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1 Hotel South Beach

The Room

Our fourth-floor room was spacious and airy, with an L-shaped couch, large wood coffee table and multiple cushioned chairs. The king-size bed, outfitted with a “hemp-blend” Keetsa mattress, was perched on a raised oak platform. Missing but not missed from the room: a phone and brochures. Instead, a hand-held device, called the 1 Guide, doubles as a TV remote and is used to order room service, text the valet, request turndown service, and more. Unfortunately, the system failed more times than it worked. While breakfast was delivered in a timely fashion, other requests required follow-up calls. And when we tried to check out via the device, we received an error message and a bellhop never came up to collect our bags. Worse, no one answered when we called for assistance. Amenities included a yoga mat and a Nespresso machine. A minifridge contained juices, organic beer and coconut water as well as the usual soda and liquors. Snacks included kale chips and chocolate bars with sea-salt.

The Bathroom

An opaque sliding glass door with a driftwood handle opened to a spalike bathroom with a deep soaking tub and separate shower stall. An oversize interior window facing the bed let light into the bathroom. One design flaw: The privacy curtain was hung on the bedroom side, outside the bathroom, allowing your roommate to peek.

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Tropical plants are found throughout the hotel.

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1 Hotel South Beach

Amenities

There are four pools, including a 112-foot-long, adults-only rooftop pool and an expansive hot tub on the main pool deck that was overtaken by children (including ours) during our November stay. A free fruit stand in the lobby was continuously replenished. The Bamford Spa and Spartan Gym is set to open in December. On the beach, loungers, umbrellas, towels and toys are provided.

Dining

Two eggs ($6), house-made sausage ($6) and toast ($3) ordered at 7:21 a.m. through the hand-held 1 Guide arrived 34 minutes later. There are seven dining outposts including three from Tom Colicchio — a lobby bar, Tom on Collins; a poolside grill, the Sandbox; and Beachcraft, a farm-to-table restaurant serving organic and local fare with an emphasis on grilled seafood dishes.

Bottom Line

Spacious, comfortable and appropriately stylish, but the quality of service was undermined by the glitchy hand-held 1 Guide.

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