People from all walks of life are drawn to Miami Beach, Florida for various reasons. Whether they are visiting for business, entertainment or leisure they have plenty of impressive hotels to pick from. Z Ocean Hotel is not the largest or most well-known hotel in South Beach, but after one stay in this boutique hotel, it is hard to leave without plans of becoming a repeat guest. The attentiveness of the staff to each person entering their hotel combined with the hotel’s physical location makes this hotel a no brainer to book. Unlike some hotels, the staff at Z Ocean makes each guest feel welcomed the moment they enter the lobby until they check out. Because of the hotel’s location on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, guests can walk a few yards to the beach, a couple of blocks to shop on Lincoln Road or one block to Española Way to eat at some of the city’s best restaurants.
If arriving by car, no worries as the valet service out front is efficient and friendly. It is a short walk up a few stairs to the lobby doors. As you walk into the lobby, the front desk staff greets you along with everyone from the bellhop to the concierge. Overall, my personal check-in was uneventful and it would be nice if all check-in experiences were as easy. The lobby is noticeably cooler as you walk in from the outside heat, warm tones of dark wood décor and marble plus casual seating welcomes each guest. Nearby the seating area is complimentary infused water for those who have worked up a thirst in the south Florida heat.
The Z Ocean Hotel only has 79 rooms, however with all rooms being suites with large balconies and lounge areas, there’s not a bad accommodation in this hotel. Each suite comes with floor-to-ceiling windows that run the length of one side of the room. The suites are designed by Arquitectonica with four different suite style designs offered at the hotel. The four suite options are spa suites, luxury suites, pool lanai suites and rooftop terrace suites. I had the opportunity to stay in one of the 26 rooftop terrace suites. This suite leaves nothing to be desired by guests. Designed with the same dark wood theme from the lobby with tans, creams and well placed color bursts in artwork and an accent wall. The bathrooms are large with two separate dressing areas and spacious shower.
The rooftop terrace suite comes with an oversized two story balcony with a spiral staircase that goes up to a more private area. Once you walk out of the sliding glass door from the room you step on to the first balcony level to a table and four chairs. The second balcony level is furnished with a four person hot tub, lounge area, another table and four chairs and wet bar. This area is equipped with surround sound that includes iPod/MP3 connections as well as remote controlled sunshades and retractable curtains so guest can have 24/7 privacy. Only some of these rooms have partial ocean views, so be sure to ask the hotel representative if that is important to you.
Although the Z Ocean Hotel doesn’t have its own hotel restaurant per se, they share the main floor with The Front Porch Café, a Miami Beach hot spot. This restaurant may not be under common ownership with the hotel but they share a partnership as it pertains to the Z Ocean guest experience. Upon check-in Z Ocean guests are provided with one drink ticket per guest to have a free drink at The Front Porch Café. The Café also provides in-room dining and pool side service to the hotel’s guests.
The Front Porch Café has been operating since 1990 in South Beach. All guest need to do is walk out of the Z Ocean lobby turn left and walk down the open breezeway to get to it. It takes less than 5 minutes from your suite to the café. Guests will pass by several lounge areas and the Breezeway bar where they can use their aforementioned drink tickets if they choose to do so. Otherwise the hostess stand to The Front Porch Café is only steps away. The café accepts reservations and walk-ins all the same. They have one of the best home style breakfast options in South Beach and guests should expect to wait if it is during peak breakfast hours.
Another unique attribute of the café is that guest have multiple options on where they want to eat. They can eat at the bar, in the restaurant, poolside, in-suite, on the terrace or in the breezeway. It’s not a surprise that locals and tourist alike flock to The Front Porch Café and its laid back atmosphere and of course the food. They serve breakfast all day with as well as an affordable lunch and dinner menu. Anyone who has been to Miami Beach knows that food can be a little pricey, you will have several affordable options at The Front Porch Café which makes it a favorite.
There a few notable extras that the hotel offers its guests. As previously mentioned, they are located within a hundred yards of the beach. Because of that close proximity to the beach the hotel offers full beach service. The ocean front beach service for hotel guest includes oversize towels, a large umbrella and loungers provided by attendants. All guest have to do is go to the attendant stand, provide your name and room number. Once confirmed the attendant will provide you with your towels and you are set to go to Z Beach. That is the area with the Z Ocean Hotel logo umbrellas and lounge chairs. If the beach isn’t your style, then no worries, as the hotel has full pool service as well that includes a stocked bar. As guest hang out around the private glass bottom pool and hot tub at the hotel they have the opportunity to order food and drinks from the comfort of poolside.
The Z Ocean does not have an actual spa on site, however that does not stop them from offering spa service to its guest. In fact, the hotel brings the spa experience to its guest in the privacy of their suite, balcony or rooftop terrace. Licensed therapist are able to provide services to up to two people at a time if guest are interested in joint appointment time. The onsite fitness center is outdoors, a first for me to see. It comes complete with all the usual fitness equipment like treadmills plus free weights, medicine balls and mats. On Wednesdays, the hotel has a standing yoga class at 6pm.
If you go: There’s not much this hotel could do better, as it covers all the bases expected of a luxury boutique property. The hotel is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (“IHG”) so booking directly through the IHG site will save you money, especially if you are an IHG member. If you are not, it is recommended making reservations online through a booking site such as Booking.com or Priceline. Valet parking is available 24-hours a day and unfortunately you do not have the option to self-park. Due to the location of the hotel, avoid driving if possible, and opt for walking or Uber if for some reason you can’t walk to where you want to go. For more information, contact the hotel direct: Z Ocean Hotel or call: +1 305.672.4554
All photos by Tomeka Allgood