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I tried the Miami hotel everyone says is the best pre-cruise option. It was comfortable, but my stay had some issues

08 May 2024
Calista Kiper

InterContinental Miami is one of the top pre-cruise hotels in Miami, so I decided to try staying there.

We always recommend you fly into the city your cruise leaves from the night before embarkation day. This ensures that any delays won't impact your cruise, since the ship won't wait for you.

A quick Google search will show you that many cruisers recommend InterContinental Miami, an IHG Hotel located in downtown Miami just 0.7 miles (a 7-minute drive) from the cruise port. 

InterContinental Miami is listed on TripAdvisor as the second-best hotel close to the port of Miami, with a total of 4.5 stars.

In preparation for my Royal Caribbean cruise out of Miami, I decided to give the hotel a try.

I booked a classic room with one king bed and an ocean view. 

The total cost (for two guests staying for one night) was $349.17, plus a $37.29 resort fee due upon arrival.

I had a late flight and arrived to the hotel's bright glass doors at11:00 P.M.

While I didn't expect anyone to help me with my bags, a valet stopped me and told me that someone would come to help.

I stood there and waited for about 15 minutes, watching valets continue to pass me by, before giving up and lugging my bags into the hotel myself.

I was disappointed with the speed of service, but understood that it was late and they probably didn't have many staff on duty at the time.

Check-in was quick and smooth, and the staff at the counter informed me that check-out time was noon, but I could call them if I needed to get that extended.

The hotel felt huge, as my room was located on the 24th floor.

When I arrived at my door, it was already open a crack, which put me on high alert. Had someone already walked in? Had staff left it open for the next guest? 

I took some time to walk around and examine the room to make sure it was completely safe.

It was a huge, spacious area, with a counter in the entryway. The counter held bottles of water, an ice bucket, and a coffee machine.

Below this counter, two mini fridges held a stunning variety of snacks and drinks.

In the entryway, I also found the door to the bathroom.

It was huge, nearly the size of the Royal Caribbean stateroom I would later stay in!

The sink was wide enough for three people to stand at together, with a bright light around the mirror.

The bathroom also came with one matching bathrobe for guests to wear during their stay.

The marble floor matched the walls of the shower.

Opposite the shower, there was also a large closet that held the safe, an iron, and storage space for clothing.

I thought the bathroom was almost unnecessarily large and luxurious.

However, I kept hearing strange gurgling noises throughout the night.

At first, I couldn't pinpoint what was making such loud noises, until I realized it was the hotel's toilet. 

There must have been something wrong with its mechanics, but I'm not sure why they wouldn't get that fixed before putting new guests in the room.

I saw that we had a large, comfortable king bed. It was decorated with half a dozen fluffy pillows and a tall blue headboard.

I shared the bed with my friend who was traveling with me, and when we woke up, I told them the bed was so large I could barely tell they were in it!

Each side of the bed had a bedside table and lamp beside it.

A large flat-screen TV also faced the bed.

Beside the bed, there was a comfortable L-shaped couch with a series of artful pictures and a lamp above it.

Opposite the couch, there was also a round table where we could sit and eat.

Between the two sat the long window, decorated with two automatic shades: a blackout curtain and a lighter-toned shade.

Both were controlled by buttons on the right side of the bed, so you just had to push one button to bring them down, or another to pull them up.

My friend said that the blackout curtains helped them sleep so well that they decided to get some at home.

That night, we headed out to the city to grab some dinner. When we returned, a man was getting arrested and pulled into a cop car directly in front of the hotel lobby.

While I'm sure this wasn't the hotel's fault, it added to the general anxiety for my safety that I'd already been feeling.

When we got back into the room, I noticed that we could hear our neighbors on the other side of the wall.

However, we slept comfortably and all was well. 

In the morning, I woke up excited to see the view from the hotel window.

Since our room was designated as an "oceanview" I had expected a direct ocean view.

However, directly in front of our window faced another side of the hotel.

I had to lean to the right to see a sliver of the ocean on the side. 

As we prepared to pack and check out of the hotel, we started our search for food.

To receive complimentary breakfast, you have to book the hotel's InterContinental's Breakfast for 2 offer.

Otherwise, the hotel has room service nearly 24/7 and several restaurants onsite where you can pay to dine.

These include Ole!, Starbucks, Bluewater, and Toro Toro.

It was quick and easy to checkout; despite everyone having the same checkout time there weren't many lines to the elevator or in front of the counter.

While we waited in the lobby for the Uber, I noticed the abundance of comfortable seating and the fun, jazzy house music playing.

As we exited the hotel, a staff member immediately took our bags from us and helped us into the Uber.

Hotel review: I stayed at the Intercontinental Miami for a pre-cruise stay

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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