When I was presented with the opportunity to take an Upgraded Points-related work trip to Miami in late August, I didn’t hesitate to agree.
Even though there was a lot of work to be done, who doesn’t love a weekend in the sunshine of South Florida?
Almost immediately, my mind turned to choosing the right hotel for this trip. We wanted something on the beach, but not obscenely priced. Foolishly, I thought we’d have our pick of properties in the area. It was late August, after all — the typical “off-season” in Miami, thanks in large part to the high temperatures and humidity.
But in this post-pandemic world, traditional travel seasons no longer apply, and Miami is one of the country’s most popular destinations, so prices were still high across the board.
Ultimately, we settled on Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection. I was excited because I’d had my eye on the property for a couple of years. It was a Courtyard by Marriott property for many years, and then in 2017, it closed to rebrand and eventually reopened in 2018 as the Cadillac under the Autograph Collection umbrella.
Read on to see what my stay was like at this property!
Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection is located oceanfront in the Mid-Beach area of Miami Beach. It’s a bit quieter of a location than the center of South Beach several blocks away, but it still provides access to all the entertainment the area is famous for.
It’s about 11 miles away from Miami International Airport (MIA), and it takes 15 to 20 minutes by car to reach the hotel with light traffic. Alternatively, the hotel is about 27 miles from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), and it typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to reach the hotel, depending on traffic on the famously congested Interstate 95.
I flew into MIA for this trip and rented a car through Silvercar. I had to pick up my car at a local Audi dealership in the area, which meant I didn’t go directly from the airport to the hotel.
Hot Tip: You can expect to pay $20 to $25 for an Uber each way for this journey, and about $40 to $50 each way for an Uber from Fort Lauderdale.
Hotel rates were expensive across the board for the weekend I visited, but the Cadillac proved to be the most affordable option for what we were looking for: an oceanfront property that had a dose of style and Miami glamour, without the enormous price tag of some of the top options in the area.
We paid $472 per night for a 2-night stay in an Oceanfront King room, totaling $944. I paid for the stay with my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on the property.
For the weekend I was traveling, only base rooms were available to book with Marriott Bonvoy points (at 120,000 total for the 2-night stay), but we wanted to book an oceanfront room with a balcony for the purposes of this trip, so we paid cash for the room.
I pulled up to the Cadillac in my Silvercar just after 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Predictably, the lobby was buzzing with guests checking in for a weekend of fun in the sun on Miami Beach, but thankfully there were just a couple of guests in line ahead of me.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, I stepped up to the desk, presented my ID and credit card, and was checked in just a few minutes later. The friendly agent thanked me for my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, informed me that I’d receive 1,000 bonus points, and asked whether I wanted additional bonus points or a complimentary continental breakfast each morning.
Of course, I chose the breakfast benefit, and then I was handed the keys to room 916, an Oceanfront King room just like I’d booked. She told me that the hotel was at capacity for the weekend so there was no opportunity for a further upgrade, but I was more than content with an oceanfront room, so it was no problem.
The Cadillac was originally built in 1940, and its art deco details have been preserved in the decades since. The lobby was full of nods to the hotel’s past, with palm leaves carved into the ceiling, imposing white columns, terrazzo flooring, and light fixtures that are at once thoroughly modern and also reminiscent of the hotel’s heyday.
Immediately to the right of the front door was the concierge desk, and next to that was the property’s front desk.
There were some areas to sit, like the hallway nearby that had a collection of very comfortable armchairs.
Overall, though, it’s not an especially large space, which makes sense considering the building’s age.
Just off the lobby was the appropriately named Lobby Bar, which serves cocktails, beers, and wines in a space that harkens back to the 1940s with plenty of potted plants, bronze accents, and bold colors and patterns.
The Cadillac is a relatively compact property and as such doesn’t have as many amenities as some properties in Miami Beach. Nevertheless, it offers plenty to guests.
Let’s take a look at what was available:
Since I rented a car, I needed to park it at the hotel. It cost $49 daily for valet parking, and self-parking was not available.
I had no complaints about the Wi-Fi connection at the property. It didn’t extend to the beach, but I didn’t expect it to. And it worked fine at each of the pool decks.
The Cadillac offers 2 pools to guests: the main family pool and a smaller adults-only pool.
The main pool was located in the “courtyard” area that’s formed by the hotel’s 2 main buildings and the beach.
It had a unique feature that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere: the deck wasn’t concrete or stone but rather artificial turf. It looked great and was really practical because it didn’t get as hot as some other commonly used materials.
Surrounding the main pool were loungers with comfy blue cushions and umbrellas to protect pool-goers from the intense sun.
At the far end of the main pool was a stairway that lead to the pool bar and restaurant and then finally to the beach.
Looking to the ocean, the adults-only pool was to the left, through a small entryway that’s protected from the rest of the property with a couple of trees.
The adult pool was a simple rectangle in shape, with a raised edge finished with blue tiles.
It had a nice look and was definitely more serene than the family pool. The blue-padded loungers carried over from the other pool, and there were cabanas for rent for those seeking more privacy and sun protection.
There was also a hot tub on-site, which was a nice surprise. I feel like many properties forego a hot tub these days, which is a shame.
This is an oceanfront property, so you’re just steps away from the beach once you get outside.
There’s a small gate that leads from the Bungalow by the Sea (the hotel’s pool bar and restaurant) to the beach.
Note that you’ll have to cross the promenade that runs several miles along Miami Beach. It can get pretty busy, so make sure to look both ways!
But once you cross the promenade, you’re on the powdery white sand of Miami Beach.
The hotel’s private stretch of beach was wide and beautiful. It’s a full-service beach, so guests can order food and drinks right to their chairs.
And it’s a large enough space that the hotel had even set up an area for guests to play cornhole!
I really liked the continuation of the navy theme on the beach — the neat rows of loungers looked great in front of the stark-white buildings, the white sand, and the turquoise water.
There was a charge of $23 per visit to rent chairs and an umbrella on the beach. I’ll also note here that the hotel’s website mentions “signature toys” for children and a dedicated play area on the beach, but I didn’t see any evidence of these during my weekend stay.
The Cadillac offers a 24/7 fitness center that’s stocked with plenty of equipment to use, including 2 Peloton bikes, which I’m sure are a hit with many guests.
The gym itself had a somewhat odd shape, and it resulted in some cardio machines being placed in a seemingly completely random location.
With that being said, I have no doubt that guests would be able to get a quality workout in at this property.
The Cadillac doesn’t offer a physical spa on-site, but rather it provides a “spa cabana” at the adults’ pool and in-room spa treatments.
Spa treatments range from massages and facials to manicures and full-body scrubs (check out the menu of treatments available).
I didn’t have time to get a treatment this trip, but I could certainly see myself springing for a massage by the pool during a future stay.
The Cadillac has a pet-friendly program that’s known as Cadillac Pet. For a flat $100 fee, your pet will be treated to the following perks:
- A Waggo pet bed
- A Waggo food or water bowl
- A guide to pet-friendly spots in the Miami area
- A complimentary treat upon check-in
Note that there is a 2-pet limit per room and a maximum weight of 75 pounds per pet.
I enjoyed my room at the Cadillac. It felt at once modern and like a throwback to the golden age of glamour in Miami.
Let’s see what it was like!
I opened the door to my room into a long and somewhat narrow foyer.
On the right side was the bathroom and the room’s closet. The closet was on the small side, but it was more than adequate for 1 person.
The closet had a set of drawers, which also contained the room’s safe.
The foyer continued into the main room, which had a king-size bed as the centerpiece of the space.
There were wood moldings that ran from behind the bed up to the ceiling and add a heavy dose of art deco charm, which I loved.
On either side of the bed were 2 side tables that featured a lamp, alarm clock, and built-in power outlets for keeping your devices charged — and near you at all times.
The lamps showed some signs of wear and tear, which wasn’t entirely unexpected given the high volume of guests the hotel likely receives in a given year.
Across from the bed were a long desk and chair below a large TV and a freeform mirror. The desk had 2 power strips, making it the perfect place to get some work done on Friday afternoon.
In the corner of the room was the minibar, which was trimmed in bronze — another nod to the hotel’s art deco past.
On top of the minibar were a Nespresso machine, several pods, and assorted other items including cocktail glasses, an ice bucket, a few bottles of wine, snacks, and more.
In the top drawer were a few more wine glasses and a bottle opener.
Below the minibar was the minifridge which contained soft drinks, some beers, and a few pre-mixed cocktails.
On the other side of the room was a small leather chair and side table, perfect for relaxing with a book or a cocktail.
Just outside the sliding door was the small terrace, which had 2 chairs and a small table. It wasn’t a large space, but the views were expansive — and beautiful.
Now, let’s go back to the bathroom. Off the foyer and directly across from the closet was a single vanity with a large mirror and palm-tree wallpaper behind it. Very on-theme for Miami.
The toilet and shower were behind a door in their own room. The space — like much of the rest of the room — was trimmed in bronze and the shower was trimmed in white marble with a geometric tile floor in yet another nod to art-deco glamour.
The shower was stocked with reusable L’Occitane toiletries. I’m still not the biggest fan of reusable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash containers, but I’m acclimating to them.
The shower provided good temperature control and plenty of pressure — a win in my book!
Food and Beverage
The Cadillac offers guests 3 places to get food and beverage on-site. Here’s a look at each of them.
Donna Mare Trattoria
Donna Mare is the hotel’s all-day restaurant that serves up Italian fare including meat, fish, pasta, and pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.
The restaurant was large, with an open kitchen on 1 side and a bar on the other, and plenty of seating options in between.
There’s also an outdoor seating section, but it was too hot to eat out there. And I think everyone else agreed with me — I never saw anyone dining outside during the weekend.
I had a busy weekend planned, so I, unfortunately, didn’t have the chance to eat more than 1 meal at this restaurant, but I did squeeze in breakfast on Saturday morning.
Thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, I was entitled to free continental breakfast (typically $18) each morning, which included 3 pastries, fruit, and coffee, tea, or orange juice. However, I wasn’t especially thrilled by being limited to pastries and fruit — I prefer something more substantial at breakfast.
I took a stroll past the full buffet ($27 per person) to check it out before I made any decisions.
It featured everything a breakfast buffet should, including cold items such as fruit, granola, bread, pastries, cold cuts, and cheeses.
It also featured scrambled eggs, made-to-order eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, and more.
However, I knew that my eyes were going to be bigger than my stomach (as they always are at a buffet), so I chose to order á la carte instead.
I chose the eggs Benedict ($18), which was served with breakfast potatoes. It wasn’t the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had, but it did the trick!
I didn’t have a chance to dine again on the property since it was such a quick weekend filled with plans.
Donna Mare is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and menus and pricing are available online.
Bungalow by the Sea
The hotel’s pool bar and restaurant Bungalow by the Sea (which also provides service for the beach) serves smaller plates with a focus on seafood and rosé wines.
The restaurant is entirely outside, and it’s set right in front of the beach. The centerpiece is a large palapa bar.
Surrounding it were numerous tables, in addition to further seating directly in the sand.
I sadly didn’t have the chance to dine here, but I’d love to try an alfresco beach lunch or dinner in the future. Bungalow by the Sea is open daily for lunch and dinner and menus and pricing can be found online.
The Lobby Bar is open daily at 11 a.m. and focuses on beer, wine, and handcrafted cocktails. As I mentioned earlier, the space itself was beautiful and glamorous, with large potted plants, plenty of bronze accents, and a rich color palette.
It was buzzing on Saturday evening as I was heading out to dinner, and I think it’d be a great place to have a pre-dinner beverage, but I sadly didn’t have time to indulge.
I wanted to finish up some work after I arrived on Friday, so I decided to stay in and order room service once I had wrapped up. I chose a chicken Caesar salad ($20) and a side of French fries ($12) — a room service classic (at least in my book).
I was quoted a half hour for delivery, but it showed up in fewer than 10 minutes. I’m glad I didn’t decide to take a shower while I waited! At any rate, the food hit the spot, and after I was finished I called down to have the tray removed, which also happened practically in the blink of an eye.
I didn’t interact all that much with the staff during my stay, but I have no major complaints in this area. My check-in was quick and easy, I received turndown service nightly, and during checkout, an employee was quick to rectify an erroneous charge on the bill.
I will say, however, that the service at Donna Mare was on the slow side. And when I went to the pool after breakfast on Saturday morning, no one came around to offer water or a food/beverage menu. I figured out later that Bungalow by the Sea had yet to open, so maybe I should have adjusted my expectations on that front.
All in all, I had a positive experience with the staff at the Cadillac.
I had a good stay at Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection. It’s not the most luxurious property in Miami Beach, but it’s not trying to be. The hotel provides an upscale experience in an oceanfront setting with beautiful pools, a great beach, and a number of restaurants and bars.
And while I wouldn’t say my rate was inexpensive, the hotel is often priced at below $300 per night for a base room, which makes it a great option for anyone looking for a beachfront getaway that doesn’t break the bank.
I would stay here again without hesitation if my favorite hotels are out of the budget, which seems like a more likely bet in the post-pandemic “new normal” of travel.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.