Why Mandarin Oriental Miami Is A Hotel That Everyone In Luxury Travel Should Be Looking Up To
Five-star hotels, we love them, rave about them, and want more from them. If you're disabled, then all too often the suites in these magnificent hotels are no go areas with little accessibility, meaning that unless you're able to get creative with transfers the rooms themselves are often too dangerous. However, this is finally changing, at least in one hotel in the USA.
The Mandarin Oriental brand is iconic, it's known for being one of the most luxurious hotel and resort brands in the world, with grand entrances, beautifully designed rooms and grounds, as well as offering an unforgettable experience on every level. As a hotel, Mandarin Oriental, Miami blew me away.
The moment you cross the bridge over to Brickell key, Miami's man-made island, you know that you're in for a treat. Mandarin Oriental, Miami's design welcomes you with open arms, and its wrap-around design makes the views from the hotel even more spectacular, especially as night falls over the city. This is a top-rated hotel, the arrival area is often busy with drop-offs and pickups, but the hotels Bell Men are on hand to help with any luggage and shopping the moment you arrive.
The entrance, reception and main lobby area are all open plan, and the floor to ceiling windows allow the space to feel airy and calming, while there is lots of space to move around. There is also a little shop selling gifts as well as MO Bar + Lounge, which does some fantastic cocktails! I tried one myself after I checked out of the hotel. At check-in, I was offered a welcome drink, something I would recommend accepting, before being shown to my room.
My room of choice for this review was the Premier Bay View Suite, located on the 8th floor this room was right at the end of the corridor, which although somewhat tiring to get to, it was completely worth it! The suite is roomy, airy, and even better - they have accessible suites! These suites have two bathrooms; the first is on the left as you go in. This bathroom has a bath with rails for transfers, as well as a toilet with grab rails, and a sink that wheelchair users can actually use!
The second is ensuite to the master bedroom and unfortunately doesn't have any rails to get into the roll-top bath, but if you prefer to use this one and look out onto the balcony and views of Miami, the depth of the bathtub is deeper than one would think! This bathroom also has a shower which isn't wheelchair accessible; this upset me a little as I felt that it would be helpful given the size of the accessible bathroom to give disabled guests a choice between shower and bath. This ensuite bathroom also has a door out on the large balcony that comes with the suite.
Nevertheless, I was very happy that this suite had any accessible features at all, as it isn't something that happens in every hotel. This was the first suite I've seen tagged as accessible with actual accessible features and shows that suites can be made accessible for disabled guests so that there's more choice of rooms at the hotel.
The living area was beautifully designed and laid out, with corner sofa, writing desk and one of two TVs in the suite. It also contained a minibar which I was told at reception was complimentary for my stay, I'm not sure if this is across the board for all stays or something offered to me as a little extra as there wasn't a price list in the suite, so do double check if you stay here! There was also a welcome food platter of cheeses, fruits and nuts which after my long flight was most welcome along with two bottles of water which had been left with the platter.
The living area has a second door which leads out to the balcony. However, both doors have lips, and there was no ramp in sight, which meant I had to pull a wheelie to get out onto the balcony - something not every wheelchair user is able to do. However, once outside, the balcony was huge and gave beautiful views of downtown Miami and the bay, something which became even more stunning as night fell. There were also table and chairs out on the balcony although I wanted to explore more of what the hotel had to offer so didn't spend much time out here.
The master bedroom of the suite had a queen-sized bed with a beautiful throw and pillows to match the theme of the room along with wardrobe space, another TV and a chaise. There was plenty of space to move around the bedroom, and the windows allowed for yet another beautiful view of the bay.
Outside of the suite and onto breakfast, where if you select a breakfast included rate you have $30 to spend in the restaurant. Breakfast was a mixture of A la Carte and buffet options, I chose the buffet, and the choices were extensive, to say the least! The restaurant was beautifully designed and had enough space to move around without too many obstacles in the way. The buffet was also low enough that I was able to get my own food without needing assistance from anyone telling me what was on the buffet, as it was low enough that I could reach and see things myself.
The restaurant is on the same floor as the access to the spa area, and I highly recommend having breakfast and then heading here. It's a reasonably long way around, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to see what I got there! The pool, spa and beach area is all in one spot and even has its very own bar area, there's plenty of sunbeds poolside, and the infinity style pool made the area suitable for those snaps! But above all, the pool had a hoist! No awkward chair to floor transfers, no loss of dignity and above all, no injuries occurred getting in or out of the pool! The pool attendants are always on hand to help with the hoist or moving beds and made no fuss about anything I needed help with which made me feel comfortable with asking for help when I needed it.
Overall, I think Miami's Mandarin Oriental is a fantastic hotel with a resort feel. The way guests are catered for is like nothing I've seen before at any other hotel. I felt welcomed, cared about and above all, no problem or query was too big for any of the staff to help out with. The rooms were beautifully designed, and whilst improvements to the accessible suites could be made and would be further welcomed, the fact that this hotel has even bothered to allow guests a choice of room, enabled all guests to use the facilities available, and clearly given staff the training to be able to recognise what help a disabled person may or may not need, and how to help without being seen as being intrusive is something that every hotel in luxury travel should be looking at and wondering why they haven't done the same!