Greg Fleming checks into East Hotel, Miami.
Brickell, Miami’s downtown financial centre, sometimes called the Manhattan of the South, about 15 minutes from Miami airport. Lots of restaurants, bars, and high-end shopping — a 25-minute Uber from Wynwood (an interesting and up-and-coming arts-filled suburb) in one direction and the famous South Beach in the other. The hotel is the first North American foray for Hong Kong-based Swire Hotels and was opened in 2016. East is part of the $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre and sits above a brand new shopping mall — nearby there’s a Saks Fifth Avenue (downstairs is an excellent food court which I discovered only on the last day of my stay). The hotel’s 352 rooms include 89 residential suites.
Check-in experience: Fine, I arrived late at night, had to cut through the long lines waiting to go to Sugar, a very popular Asian-influenced restaurant/club on the 40th floor and was in my room within minutes. The lifts operate a little differently than most other hotels, you use a touch screen navigator in the lobby to call your lift, but once you’re used to it, it’s fine.
Price: Prices start at about $450 a night depending on season, availability and room type.
Room: An urban king with a wrap-around balcony on the 34th floor — it offered amazing views out to the Miami skyline and felt like you were up there with the eagles and aeroplanes, both common sights from the vertigo-inducing balcony. The view of the city at night was even better. Decor-wise, it’s a sleek, minimalist vibe. The espresso machine comes with locally roasted Panther coffee — but don’t let that stop you seeking out a proper Cuban Coffee at a nearby ventanilla (I asked one of the porters who directed me to one operated out of a supermarket a block over), there’s no other coffee like it. It does take a while to get used to the hi-tech lighting controls.
Bathroom: Stunning — a large rainfall shower, and a tub right by the window. Shaving and dental kits provided. Bathrobe, slippers and East branded jandals also come with the room.
Toiletries: Malin Goetz.
Hotel facilities: Four pools (with palm trees) on the fifth floor, also a state-of-the-art gym, basic lobby coffee bar.
Dining: Quinto la Huella is based on one of South America’s finest restaurants Parador La Huella — they import all of their beef, much of their lamb and even the extra virgin olive oil from Uruguay.
Highly rated and although I didn’t have a chance to have dinner there, the breakfasts were good. The continental — which came complimentary with the room — was fine, lots of fresh fruit and good pastries. But beware, food is pricey.
Verdict: A modern, hip hotel in a great location. As an adult getaway or for business this deserves its growing status (it has been voted one of Miami’s top hotels by Conde Nast Traveller).
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