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The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach [In-depth Review]

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Nick Ellis
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Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
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After the conclusion of an Upgraded Points-related work trip to Miami, I decided to extend my trip to meet up with a couple of friends who were traveling down to South Florida for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

After a nice stay at the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection, my friends arrived and we decided to move to another hotel for the long weekend.

We knew we wanted to be in the heart of the action for this particular weekend, so we narrowed our hotel search to South Beach and Mid-Beach (a neighborhood a few miles north of South Beach) so we would be near the restaurants and bars we wanted to frequent during the weekend.

Ultimately, we chose The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach for our holiday break. I visited this hotel almost immediately after it reopened following an extensive renovation in 2019 and was impressed with its new look, so I was eager to check in for another stay to see if it still had its charm.

Read on to see what my stay was like!

Hotel Location

Ritz Carlton South Beach Entrance
The hotel’s entrance is inconspicuous.

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is situated right in the center of the action on South Beach. It’s found at the corner of the famous Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue, directly on the beach.

This assured that we’d be in the center of all the action. That’s exactly what we wanted from this particular weekend, but most of the time I prefer being away from the hustle and bustle of the area because it is very touristy and can get overwhelming at times. All of that being said, I did appreciate the easy access to nearby restaurants and bars.

The hotel is located about 13 miles from Miami International Airport (MIA). It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the hotel under normal traffic conditions, but this can be much longer if you’re driving during rush hour. I only took an Uber from the hotel to the airport at the end of my trip, and it cost me $21.

Alternatively, you can also fly into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), located 28 miles away from the hotel. This journey typically takes a little under an hour, though it can take quite a bit longer if there’s heavy traffic on I-95.

Booking

I booked my stay at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach well in advance, almost a year prior to our stay. I was poking around aimlessly on Marriott’s website and saw award nights over the Labor Day holiday weekend going for 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

While this isn’t exactly cheap, I considered it to be a good deal, especially considering hotel prices these days are exorbitant. Labor Day is traditionally considered “low season” in South Florida because of the (at times) oppressive heat and humidity, but the pandemic changed everything and Miami has remained incredibly popular over the last few years, driving up hotel prices.

Room rates were going for just under $650 per night, so I achieved just higher than our 0.7 cents-per-point valuation of Marriott Bonvoy points at about 0.8 cents per point. However, and more importantly, I kept around $2,000 in my pocket by using points.

Ritz-Carlton South Beach Booking
Image Credit: Marriott

The hotel charges a $45 per room, per night resort fee. According to the hotel, this is what you get in exchange for your 45 bucks:

  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • A daily 1-hour health and wellness class for up to 2 people
  • Beach chair/umbrella service
  • Beach games, including volleyball, paddle ball, and beach toys
  • 2 complimentary bike rentals, up to 2 hours (subject to availability)
  • 1 complimentary serving of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach signature ice cream by Aubi & Ramsa

I paid for my incidentals with my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to earn 6x points per dollar spent at the property, in addition to the bonus points I earned as a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member.

Hot Tip: Read our guide on how to qualify for elite status with Marriott Bonvoy!

Checking In

I got to The Ritz at around 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon. There were a few people checking in ahead of me, but I only waited about 5 minutes to check in with the front desk agent.

The front desk agent was so friendly, and we struck up a conversation while he was checking me in.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Front Desk
The front desks are accentuated by beautiful black marble.

He recognized my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, awarded me bonus points for checking in, and proactively informed me that the hotel was at capacity for the holiday weekend and thus no upgrades were available. Unfortunately, Platinum Elite members don’t get complimentary breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton properties. In fact, they don’t get much of anything at these hotels. I was prepared for this, but it could come as a shock to people who aren’t as versed in the ins and outs of the Marriott Bonvoy program.

I figured that would be the case, so I wasn’t disappointed when I got the news. I was handed the keys to my room and was told my bags would be in my room when I got there.

Lobby

Due largely to the age of the building itself, the lobby doesn’t have a lot of natural light streaming in. In fact, it’s a downright dark space.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lobby From Entrance
The lobby is dark, but it has a great vibe.

But, the hotel embraced this and in the renovation made the space moody and glamorous, with dark terrazzo flooring, black and gray furniture, dark marble, and more.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lobby Furniture From Above
The dark furniture evokes mid-century design.

The individual front desks are fashioned from dark wood with bronze accents, and behind them is a beautiful piece of dark marble that contributes to the moody atmosphere of the lobby. Despite the renovation, the hotel preserved the giant curved wall with half-circle sconces, which added light and art deco pizzazz to the space.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lobby Seating Area
The curved wall definitely makes a statement when you enter.

The furniture exudes a mid-century modern vibe, while the abundance of potted plants adds color and style to the space.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Mezzanine
Mezzanine furniture.

At the back of the lobby is the Lapidus Bar, which is named for the hotel’s original architect, Morris Lapidus, who designed the property back in 1953. It was known as the DiLido Hotel in those days. I’ll get back to this bar later on in this story, but for now, I’ll say that it’s a beautifully designed area that looks like it came right out of the Roaring ’20s.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lapidus Stairs
Looking up to the Lapidus Bar.

Amenities

While this Ritz-Carlton is relatively compact, it manages to squeeze in all the amenities that you’d expect of a 5-star resort.

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

Parking

I didn’t have a car for this stay, but valet parking is available at a cost of $45 per day, excluding tips.

Wi-Fi

While I didn’t conduct an official test of the Wi-Fi speeds, during my stay I had zero issues with my connection. The network worked well everywhere save for the beach — not that I expected it to reach all the way there.

Pool

The resort has just 1 pool, but it’s a pretty large one. It’s in the shape of a cross, and I imagine it’s a feature that’s been preserved from the DiLido days.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Pool Overview
The pool at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

I loved the look of it, and there was plenty of space to spread out in it so it never felt like you were on top of any other guests when you were cooling off from the hot Miami Beach sun. The spacious deck surrounding the pool contained a great deal of generously sized loungers.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Pool Detail
There are plenty of loungers around the pool deck.

And speaking of the loungers, they were fitted with smart-looking and well-stuffed gray or gray-and-white-striped cushions. Long story short, they definitely passed my lounger test with flying colors.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Exterior From Sun Deck
Not a bad place to take a nap in the sun!

My next point is a bit nitpicky, I must say, but I will note that the pool felt too warm at certain points throughout the day, though this is understandable because it was scorching hot outside the entire weekend and the sun beats down on the deck for several hours each day.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Exterior From Pool
The pool got very warm during the day.

Beach

Ritz Carlton South Beach Loungers on Beach
South Beach is famous around the world, and The Ritz-Carlton has a prime spot right in the middle of it.

The hotel is beachfront, so it has a generous stretch of beach dedicated to hotel guests. The hotel says the resort fee covers the use of several beach games. I didn’t see these out in the open, but I imagine the beach staff have all the necessary materials in their huts and will be happy to set them up at your request.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Beach Service
The staff at the beach will help with anything you may need.

There’s a small path leading from the ground floor of the hotel — 1 level down from the pool deck — to the beach. You’ll cross over the promenade that runs the length of South Beach, which can get quite busy at times.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Path To Beach
This way to the beach.

Once you reach the beach, though, it’s a wide expanse of sand, and you’ll see neatly arranged beach chairs and white umbrellas in front of you.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lounge Chairs Beach
The hotel’s beach is expansive.

Umbrellas, chairs, and beach service are included in the aforementioned $45 resort fee, and as you’d imagine, you can order from a full menu of food and beverages to be delivered to your chair.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Exterior From Beach
Feel free to order food and drinks to your beach chair.

I didn’t eat at the beach, but I did make sure to order a mojito from the server. It was perfectly made and refreshing — especially for a hot summer day in South Florida.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Mojito
A mojito and South Beach — name a more iconic duo.

Fitness Center

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach offers a 24/7 fitness center for guests. Located on the third floor, it’s somewhat hidden behind a nondescript black door.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Gym Entrance
The very inconspicuous entrance to the hotel’s fitness center.

Inside, it feels like a relatively small space with low ceilings and not a lot of natural light.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Gym Cardio
The space is small, but there’s plenty of good equipment.

However, the equipment is new and in good condition — and you should have no trouble squeezing in a complete workout here.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Gym Weights
Weight machines at the fitness center.

Spa

The Ritz-Carlton Spa is also located on the third floor.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Spa Exterior
You’ll find the spa on the third floor of the hotel.

It offers a full range of treatments, from hair and nails to massages and facials. Also, it has the only “Timeless Capsule” in the country, which the hotel says is “an elliptical room designed to condense spa treatments” that “is ideal for time-restricted guests.”

Ritz Carlton South Beach Spa Treatment Room
A peek at a treatment room at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

I didn’t book an appointment during this stay but judging by other Ritz-Carlton Spas, I’m sure guests would be happy with the services.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Spa Lobby
Relaxation awaits through this hallway.

Club Lounge

The Ritz Carlton, South Beach Club Lounge
Image Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach offers a Club Lounge — a dedicated space that delivers an extra dose of exclusivity and a number of enhanced amenities, including a dedicated concierge, complimentary beverages, and several food presentations throughout the day.

It offers breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., lunch from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., “light snacks” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., hors d’oeuvres from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and desserts from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

You have the option to reserve a Club Level room when you book your stay, but I knew I would be eating out often, so I decided against it. For what it’s worth, I have heard rave reviews of Ritz Club Lounges from others.

You can ask for an upgrade at check-in, but it’ll usually cost around $300 per night — certainly a steep upcharge.

The Room

Ritz Carlton South Beach King Bed Overview
My room at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

As part of the hotel’s large renovation in 2019, the guest rooms and suites got a full makeover. In 2022, my room still felt fresh and luxurious — for the most part.

Bedroom

I was assigned a room on the fifth floor.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Corridor
The hallways have fun flamingo-themed wallpaper, adding to the tropical feel of the property.

I opened the front door into a foyer with the bathroom door on the right and the closet on the left. The closet contained a few hangers, a robe, a safe, an iron and ironing board, and more.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Closet
My room’s closet, complete with a plush bathrobe.

I could see all the way to the window, which framed a “view” of the outside wall of another building.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Room Foyer
Looking into my room.

I know I didn’t book an oceanfront (or even ocean view) room, but it’s pretty disappointing to have such an unpleasant view at a hotel of this caliber. On the other hand, it’s a building from the 1950s, so I’m aware there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Window View
The not-view from my room.

When I saw the rest of the room, though, my slight sense of disappointment melted away. The king-size bed was fitted with crisp white linens and positioned in the center of the space.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Room Overview
The room itself was very stylish and modern.

Behind the bed was a tufted navy leather headboard. In front of the bed was a navy velvet ottoman that, of course, served as my de facto closet during my stay.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Wall Art
I loved the deep-blue headboard.

There was a stylized wood accent wall with intricate moldings that gave the room an additional dose of style and — in my estimation — recalled the heyday of this hotel at the height of South Beach’s art deco period.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Side Table Left
The wood paneling added a lot of visual interest to the room.

To the left of the bed was a tiered side table with built-in power outlets that came in handy for charging my devices.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Reading Chair
The night table had convenient built-in power outlets.

To the right was another side table that housed the room’s telephone/alarm clock combo, a lamp, and various other items.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Side Table Right
I found the in-room dining menu by scanning this QR code.

In front of the window was a small sitting area with a pair of gorgeous-looking mid-century modern chairs and a small table, should you want to eat, enjoy a beverage, or even get a little work done in your room.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Sitting Area
The small sitting area was adequate for eating and doing a bit of work.

Across from the bed was a large — and also mid-century-looking — credenza with a flat-screen TV and the room’s minibar selection resting on top of it.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Room View From Bed
All of the furniture pieces tied well together.

Hidden within the credenza was a minifridge with more beverage options.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Minifridge
Look, but don’t touch. Your wallet will thank you.

There was also a hidden Nespresso machine that came with a number of pods.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Nespresso
At least the coffee’s free!

As you’d expect, items from the minibar weren’t cheap — the mixed nuts cost a whopping $14 — so I successfully resisted breaking into that.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Honor Bar Snacks and Liquor
Part of the Honor Bar selection.

While the view wasn’t great, I was more than satisfied with the room itself. It felt modern, fresh, and stylish. The bed was supremely comfortable, and the climate control worked flawlessly (very important during the summer in South Florida).

Bathroom

The bathroom got a makeover during the hotel’s relatively recent renovation, but it’s apparent they weren’t taken down to the studs for a full reworking.

There was a double vanity with a smart-looking black granite countertop that matched nicely with the heavy black veining in the marble that was used generously throughout the space.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Bathroom Vanity
The bathroom evoked the art deco era with its black-and-white color palette.

There was a rather sad-looking tub on one side — that was the giveaway that the bathrooms hadn’t gotten a complete redo as soaking tubs in new properties are much larger and frankly much more appealing.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Tub
This tub reminded me of my childhood — and not in a good way.

There was a separate water closet behind a frosted glass door.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Water Closet
The separate water closet.

The shower was tight — another clue giving away the true age of the bathroom. However, the water pressure and temperature control were great.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Shower
The shower was small but it had great pressure.

Similar to The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, the amenities were in multi-use bottles and from the luxury French brand Diptyque.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Shower Toiletries
Toiletries from Diptyque.

This was a nice bathroom, to be sure, but I think the hotel could have done more to bring it in line with the rest of the refreshed room.

Food and Beverage

Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach have a few options for food and beverages on the property. Here’s a look at what you can expect.

Fuego Y Mar

Fuego Y Mar is the hotel’s multi-purpose restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. It draws inspiration from the cuisine of a number of Latin American countries, including Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Fuego Y Mar Booths and Tables
The interior of Fuego Y Mar.

It offers an indoor/outdoor dining experience with glass-paneled doors opening to the covered patio outside.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Fuego y Mar Outdoor Bar
The bar is just outside the glass doors.

Inside, there are a number of seating options, including large booths, small tables, and communal high-top tables. The restaurant has a refined beachy aesthetic design with light wood floors in a chevron pattern, blue and white gingham chairs, striped benches, and plenty of blue used throughout.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Fuego y Mar Interior Seating Variety
Seating options inside Fuego Y Mar.

Outside you’ll find a full bar where you can select from one of the craft cocktails or have a cold beer.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Fuego y Mar Bar Seating
Not a bad place to have a cold drink.

There are also a number of tables for dining — most of the space is covered to provide shade and protection from the intense sun.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Fuego y Mar Outdoor Seating Covered
I loved the restaurant’s outdoor space.

I only ate breakfast at this restaurant on the morning I checked out.

Before I made any decisions, I investigated the buffet situation. I immediately encountered the cold beverages, which included a selection of milk as well as fresh-squeezed grapefruit and orange juice, as well as a strawberry smoothie (that looked particularly delicious).

Ritz Carlton South Beach Breakfast Drinks
The buffet had several types of milk and juice to choose from.

Continuing through the room, there was a station with a selection of cold cuts and cheeses …

Ritz Carlton South Beach Buffet Cold Cuts
Meats and cheeses at the buffet at Fuego Y Mar.

… another with pastries …

Ritz Carlton South Beach Pastries
Pastries at the Ritz!

… and of course the bagel and toast station.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Bagels
Pick a bagel, any bagel.

Finally, there were a number of hot breakfast classics on offer, as well as a make-your-own omelet station.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Buffet Hot Food
Hot breakfast options included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and more.

Ultimately, I decided against the buffet and sat down with the á la carte menu. I ordered a fresh-squeezed orange juice ($15) and the eggs Benedict ($26). I loved my eggs Benny — they were served with breakfast potatoes and a few pieces of asparagus. The OJ was a delight, though I’m not sure it was quite worth $15!

Ritz Carlton South Beach Eggs Benedict
In my opinion, few breakfast dishes beat eggs Benedict.

Fuego Y Mar is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

DiLido Beach Club

Ritz Carlton South Beach DiLido Beach Club
I didn’t get a chance to eat at the restuarant’s physical space, but the patio looked very inviting.

The DiLido Beach Club is located oceanfront, 1 level down from the pool deck. I never sat down to eat at the restaurant’s inviting patio, but it serves food and drinks by the pool and at the beach, so I did get to try it out during my stay.

Ritz Carlton South Beach DiLido Beach Club Seating
Seating nooks at DiLido Beach Club.

I ordered the Mary’s Farms Organic Chicken Sandwich ($26) to my pool chair one afternoon and loved it so much that I ordered it again the next day. It featured chicken breast, pesto aioli, provolone cheese, arugula, onion, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette, all served on a delightful ciabatta roll with French fries on the side.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Chicken Sandwich
I really, really liked this sandwich.

And as I mentioned earlier, I also had a couple of mojitos ($22 apiece) on the beach one afternoon.

The DiLido Beach Club is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lapidus Bar

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lapidus Front
The Lapidus Bar is a stunning place to have a cocktail.

The Lapidus Bar is located in the back of the lobby, up a set of stairs. The space itself is stunning, drawing heavily on the hotel’s art deco past to treat patrons to an elegant and glamorous bar featuring hand-crafted cocktails.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lapidus Side
Art deco abounds at the Lapidus Bar.

There’s an abundance of rich bronze used, beautifully accentuating the white-marble bar top and black terrazzo flooring.

Ritz Carlton South Beach Lapidus Furniture
The jewel-tone benches match the vibe of the bar perfectly.

The Lapidus Bar is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Bagatelle House Miami

Bagatelle House Miami
Image Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach

Bagatelle House is the Miami outpost of the world-famous chain that’s famous for its elaborate brunches served up in the middle of a nightclub atmosphere.

I didn’t have a chance to visit Bagatelle during this visit to Miami but I’ve heard a lot of stories about the chain, so I’m sure anyone who does visit will have a memorable time, to say the least.

This location is open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Service

I experienced superb service throughout my stay. From the moment I arrived, I felt taken care of by the hotel’s staff. The front-desk agents were helpful and conversational, the pool and beach staff were incredible, and the bartenders and servers were on top of their game throughout my stay. Sometimes good service can get lost at busy properties like these, but I have nothing but positive things to say on this front.

Final Thoughts

Ritz Carlton South Beach Ocean View
I’m looking forward to another stay at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.

I enjoyed staying at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. This was my second time at the property, and I’d return again. The location is ideal for exploring South Beach, but may not be for everyone (admittedly, it’s not always for me, either) if you’re looking to unwind and escape the crowds.

Overall, the hotel looks great after its refresh, offers a solid array of food and beverage options, has an expansive pool deck and beach, and delivers excellent service. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in the middle of all the action on South Beach, this Ritz-Carlton should be on your shortlist.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is parking at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach?

Valet parking is available for $45 per day.

Who designed The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach?

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is housed in a building originally designed by architect Morris Lapidus.

Who owns The Ritz-Carlton?

The Ritz-Carlton brand is owned by Marriott International, and the majority of its properties participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

How many rooms does The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach have?

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach has 376 guest rooms and suites.

Nick Ellis's image

About Nick Ellis

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.

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