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Hotel Highlights

  • Prime South Beach location
  • Some of the biggest rooms in Miami
  • Exceptional, rejuvenating spa.

Overview

Set in the heart of South Beach, The James Royal Palm in Miami is an art deco dreamboat of ocean views, sweeping grounds and sunloungers speckled around two pools. Inside, it houses two trendy restaurants, a rum bar and a nightclub, giving it more hip than a Rubens painting.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The James Royal Palm with us:

Daily breakfast for two in the restaurant, excluding alcohol

Facilities

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The James Royal Palm hotel - Miami - USA

Need To Know

Rooms

393, including 159 suites.

Check–out

2pm. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $289.00, excluding tax at 13 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $23.73 per room per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (from $20).

Also

Renew, The Spa in the adjacent Lanai building offers ocean-inspired treatments, including salt scrubs and salt-water soaks. There are also yoga classes, wellness consultations and couples’ massages.

At the hotel

Spa, fitness centre, gardens, beach chairs, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, radio, iPod dock, minibar, Intelligent Nutrients bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each room features unique local art, and even the smallest rooms are among the biggest on South Beach. Two-Bedroom Suites in the West Tower have 180-degree views spanning the ocean, bay and Ocean Drive, along with roomy lounge space and a larger ensuite with a soaking tub. Be sure to request a room with a balcony to catch sea breezes.

Poolside

The James has two heated outdoor pools. The main pool is surrounded by sunloungers; the smaller plunge pool has a waterfall tumbling into it. There’s also a semi-private beach area with access to paddle boards, kayaks, beach chairs and towels.

Packing tips

Stock up on glamorous beach attire, along with dancing clothes for the clubs along Collins Avenue. But don’t fret if you forget anything important: the concierge promises to fetch anything you need.

Children

Welcome. The hotel has a playspace, called the Lil’ James, and has cribs at no extra charge; rollaways are available for $25. There are child-friendly treats at the pool and beach.

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Pet‐friendly

Dogs are welcome, for a $75 charge. The hotel will greet Fido with his own bed and food and water bowls. The hotel also has an in-room doggie dining menu and an array of leads and toys.

Food & Drink

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The James Royal Palm hotel - Miami - USA

Hotel Restaurant

Two. Florida Cookery serves regional specialties with a focus on local ingredients. The seasonal menu includes lychee-roasted quail, frog’s legs and mahi mahi with Indian corn. Catch, the dimly lit Philippe Starck-designed restaurant from Top Chef star Hung Huynh, serves globally-inspired seafood dishes, including sourdough-crusted halibut cioppino, and whole snapper with peppers and chilli. Huynh makes his own olive oil, and pairs dishes with a 500-bin wine list.

Hotel Bar

Four. South Shore is a guests-only Cuban lounge with superlative rum cocktails. SL Miami is a local outpost of New York’s trendy club, with booths, international DJs and 200sq m of dance floors. The Lobby Lounge serves coffee (with free iPad usage) by day, then transitions to classic cocktails with bar snacks in the evenings. There’s also a poolside bar for tropical cocktails.

Last orders

The bars open at 5pm, with South Shore closing at midnight, and Lobby Lounge at 11pm. Florida Cookery serves from 7am until 4.30pm, then from 5pm to 10pm; Catch is open from 6pm until midnight.

Room service

Items from the Florida Cookery menu can be delivered to your room anytime. The hotel also offers boxed meals to eat by the pool or ocean.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Don’t hold back: these restaurants attract Miami’s most tanned and glam. Wear oversize sunglasses for covert star-spotting.

Top table

At Florida Cookery, snag a spot on the patio. The second floor of Catch offers better views and less noise.

Local Guide

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The James Royal Palm hotel - Miami - USA
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The city’s art scene has become one of the best in the country. Even if you’re not in town for Art Basel (miamibeach.artbasel.com) or other major art fairs, there are many impressive galleries in the hip Design District and neighbouring Wynwood. Check out David Castillo Gallery on NW Second Avenue (www.davidcastillogallery.com), which showcases emerging and better-known international artists in a converted warehouse space. For bolder street-style art, check out Primary Projects (www.primaryprojectspace.com), an experimental multidisciplinary space in the Design District.

Get out of the city to check out the subtropical Florida Everglades, for a mix of manatees, mangroves and alligators. Or skip straight to the gators at Everglades Alligator Farm (www.everglades.com), where plenty of the guides are missing fingers.

Local restaurants

Prime Italian (+1 305 695 8484) on Ocean Drive is the pasta-peddling new sibling to perpetually popular teakhouse institution Prime One Twelve (+1 305 532 8112; www.prime112.com). Both require reservations. Snag a sidewalk table at Havana 1957 (+1 305 503 3828) to watch the nightly South Beach glitter parade. The restaurant serves generous portions of Cuban dishes and rub drinks, all set to lively reggae music. Katsuya at SLS (+1 305 455 2995), a sibling to the Los Angeles hotspot, serves wholly inventive (and Americanised) sushi with tropical cocktails.

+ Enlarge
Sunny South Beach

The James Royal Palm

1545 Collins Avenue , Miami Beach, Florida 33139, United States

The James Royal Palm is set in the heart of South Beach, on Collins Avenue.

Planes

The nearest airport is Miami International, about 30 minutes away. The best way to get to the hotel is by taxi (US$40). The airport is an international hub, welcoming flights from London (www.britishairways.com), New York and various other American cities on United (www.united.com), American (www.aa.com) and other airlines.

Trains

The Omni Metromover station is the closest station – 15 minutes away by cab. It serves downtown Miami, from Omni to Brickell. The main Amtrak station (www.amtrak.com) is a 30-minute drive.

Automobiles

Roads can be congested in Miami, but renting a car is the best way to explore the Keys or the northern suburbs. From the Airport Expressway, cross the Julia Tuttle Causeway and head for the shore – the hotel's on Miami Beach. Valet parking is available for $39 a day.

Reviews

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The James Royal Palm hotel - Miami - USA

Anonymous review

by Emily Chalmers , Flea-market fan

Easing our way through the warm night air, over the bridge onto Miami Beach, I recognised the broken French of our cab driver but not the accent. ‘Creole,’ our welcoming driver told us. This was a world away from the USA we’d last visited. There was none of the chaos of New York or the calmness of San Francisco. There was something beguiling about Miami, the sparkling lights of a…
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The James Royal Palm

Anonymous review by Emily Chalmers, Flea-market fan

Easing our way through the warm night air, over the bridge onto Miami Beach, I recognised the broken French of our cab driver but not the accent. ‘Creole,’ our welcoming driver told us. This was a world away from the USA we’d last visited. There was none of the chaos of New York or the calmness of San Francisco. There was something beguiling about Miami, the sparkling lights of a welcome party on the horizon.

Set in the revamped art deco buildings that once housed the glamorous Royal Palm, the James has one of the best spots in South Beach, with sweeping views and direct access to the Atlantic. Cool ambient beats and cool ambient bodies emanated from the lobby as we checked in at the decidedly jolly reception. Housing an all-day lounge with pour-over coffee and iPads to borrow, this space could be a Cole Porter set, with art deco zigzags, porthole windows and streamlined furniture.

Weary from a long-haul journey, with a sleepy baby in tow, we instantly felt part of the Saturday-evening vibe… Music followed us, rather nicely, through the long Thirties’ beach-housey ground floor into the lift. Though it’s one of the largest hotels on the strip, the hotel is full of intimate, welcoming elements. Escorted up to the whitewashed driftwood-clad ninth floor, we were steered to our room as indicated by letterpress type (nice touch) on a tiny shelf by the door.

Mr Smith was delighted to discover a well-stocked minibar and was pleased to have an excuse to visit the ice room. The James may go easy on the tea- and coffee-making facilities, but who is thinking hot drinks when a cocktail shaker and ice bucket sit there ready and waiting? The only question: which brand of gin to start with? Memories of travel stresses fully vanished with a wash of my hands with an organic de-stress soap in the bathroom. The ensuite is comfortable in a thick-velvet-pile-bathmat kind of way, and the soap did what it said on the label. With a little help from the gin…

As an interiors stylist and shop owner, I’m a connoisseur of finishing touches. I noted fabulously extra-soft extra-thick robes, iPod dock, quirky old-school alarm clock, dimmable grey-brown pendant lamp… Mr Smith meanwhile saluted the free WiFi. Rooms are unmistakably Floridian, with original art, beachy colours and unparalleled bay and beach views. Peering out of the floor-to-ceiling window, the floodlit pools gleamed reassuringly from below. We were definitely in Miami.

A huge HD TV offered a library of recently released film rental options, perfect for long evenings with a little one. The large flatscreen faced an equally huge bed, piled in layers of extra-large pillows, sheets and feather-light quilts all crafted from the same quality white linen. The James Royal Palm provided us with a very natty cot for baby Smith, but this bed could have easily slept all of us, along with extended family. Lying on that mattress is how I imagine lying on a cloud feels. (Mr Smith and I resolved to treat ourselves to a new bed; he was convinced he was lying on a second duvet by mistake. If the hotel was selling those beds we’d have bought one there and then.)

We woke extremely early due to Brits-abroad jetlag, but here were in Miami, watching the sunrise over the sea… What other treat but to scour our high-definition film options and pass the time with the Bourne Legacy until 6am when we could order room service? An hour later a magical table was wheeled in, laden with goodies. A green smoothie equalled liquid health and my plate was uncovered to reveal ‘Miami eggs retro style’ – shrimps, potatoes, eggs, fruit, muffins and, er, more potatoes. Quite honestly it was the best breakfast I’ve ever had. Mr Smith looked longingly at my carbs for a nanosecond before tucking into his steak and eggs – with asparagus and potatoes.

Sliding back the door onto the balcony we watched the beach coming to life. Runners jogged along the boardwalk and all along the stretch of white sand neighbouring hotels were claiming lounger and tent space. (We discovered you can rent a sun tent as easily as a lounger – another tick on the baby-friendly checklist.) Hot and sunny, with the most delightful breeze the weather too did not disappoint and soon lured us out. Venturing south along the boardwalk we admired flawlessly tanned and toned bodies alongside the perfect art deco architecture and palm trees aplenty. Eye-candy gold. Note to self: keep shades firmly on.

For lunch we installed ourselves at Florida Cookery by one of the pools. True to form, staff here are relaxed, friendly and helpful. Kris Wessel of Miami’s popular Red Light Little River has created a menu of regional Floridian dishes including conch chowder, cast-iron seared Sunshine State frog legs and alligator empanadas…. And who could resist the Lee Schrager burger? Finish with local mango pie: it’s the sweetest taste of tropical paradise.

Fast forward to this family spread out over a couple of low-mattressed sundecks with Mr Smith, usually suspicious of piped music, humming along to the chill-out tunes. The James Royal Palm Miami had made a cool ambient trio of us in no time, just the same as how we’d been greeted.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The James Royal Palm's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Eccellent service, spacious rooms, big lobby and plenty of bars and restaurants in the hotel. The pool and pool area are really nice.

Don’t expect

Can't think of anything.

Rating: 8/10 stars