A unique use of Hyatt points: The Plymouth Hotel on South Beach
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South Beach is a neighborhood that glitters with trendy nightlife, striking beaches and an impressive hotel scene lining Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. And, many of those hotels can be booked on points.
It’s no secret that Miami has experienced an influx of visitors seeking sun and fun while fatigued from home confinement amid the ongoing pandemic along with other popular beach destinations across the country. The pent-up desire to travel has resulted in a notable car rental shortage, resorts’ revenue skyrocketing (especially in Florida) and even whispers of a beach and pool chair shortage at popular hotels around the country.
I decided to explore this revival of travel myself and made the 30-minute drive from my home in Fort Lauderdale to South Beach for a quick staycation with my family. I reserved one night at The Plymouth South Beach Hotel — an upscale boutique property that’s part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) collection and can be booked with points or cash through World of Hyatt.
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Truth be told, I had my heart set on a beachfront property (this one was not) and was eyeing The Confidante Miami Beach, where I could use my Hyatt Category 1–4 reward night certificate. However, out of the several Hyatt properties on South Beach, only The Plymouth could guarantee me a room with two double beds that could accommodate my family on such short notice.
Here’s what it was like to stay at The Plymouth South Beach Hotel and experience this Art-Deco-styled property.
The luxury boutique Plymouth Hotel is one of three SLH properties on South Beach, a collection of hotels that prides itself as being anti-chain and anti-same in an intimate setting.
The 109-room Category 5 property in the World of Hyatt program costs 20,000 points per night. You can also save your points and pay cash, with paid nights starting at $109 during the low season (summer months) and rates commonly exceeding $300 per night during the winter months (peak season). Or you can book your stay directly on the hotel’s website and save 10% on the nightly rate, but you won’t earn credit through your World of Hyatt account. Therefore, I opted to reserve through Hyatt.
I chose to book with points as the nightly rate popping up on the Hyatt website was $310 per night, plus taxes and fees. Based on TPG’s most recent valuation of World of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents apiece, I was just about breaking even on my 20,000 points redemption, given the total cash cost would have been $368.
If I’m staying on South Beach for a staycation, personally, I’m looking at the Sunset Harbour or South of Fifth (SoFi, for short) neighborhoods — away from the crowds. But if you want to be in the heart of Miami Beach, The Plymouth Hotel’s location is a mere 10-minute walk from the famed outdoor Lincoln Road Mall, just a couple of easy blocks from the beach and right in front of The Bass Museum of Art.
The north end of Ocean Drive can be reached in about 15 minutes on foot or is just a quick Uber/Lyft ride away. The location isn’t at the heart of the party scene of South Beach, but we saw lots of guests getting into an Uber at night and presumably heading to the busier sector of South Beach.
If you’re in town for business, the Miami Beach Convention Center is just a five-minute walk from the hotel. And you’ll find plenty of restaurants close by on Collins Avenue, just two blocks from The Plymouth’s doors.
Entering this 1940’s classic Art Deco building that houses The Plymouth, I was immediately drawn to the historic decor. The lobby features velvet lounge chairs, large potted plants and painted murals on the walls.
A bamboo tropical-inspired cocktail bar appears at the end of the oval-shaped lobby area.
The check-in area is to the left of the cocktail bar and had a plexiglass divider to separate the front desk from the guests and a counter for patrons checking in for dinner at the on-site sushi restaurant (more on this later).
Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so in the meantime, they had us fill out a COVID-19 waiver form along with providing my driver’s license and a credit card for incidentals. We stowed our luggage with the bellman and went to change into our swimwear inside the bathroom next to the lobby.
Once our room was ready, we made our way up the only elevator toward the guestrooms and arrived at our third-floor room of this four-story hotel. Immediately I noticed two things: Our room was beside the elevator and our Classic Double with two queen beds room was closet-sized.
Even for Miami Beach standards, it was definitely on the smaller side. However, the Restoration Hardware-inspired room furnishings were soft and appealing — with gray wood floors, eggshell-colored walls and big button-tufted bed headboards.
The tiny bathroom had a subway-tiled shower with a rainfall showerhead and an inline glass door.
The bathroom sink was beside the room closet and located outside the bathroom — a bit inconvenient for us. Apparently, some rooms have freestanding bathtubs and separate seating areas, but our Classic Double room had just enough space for two queen beds and a small desk.
All units are air-conditioned and feature minibars, Illy espresso machines and flat-screen TVs with an impressive channel selection. Guests are also treated to individual toiletries by luxury-brand Molton Brown.
Our room faced the street and since I spent some of my college years going out on South Beach with friends, I was concerned about traffic and noise as everyone in my family are light sleepers. To no surprise of my own, we woke up sleep-deprived the next morning from the all-night party-goers returning to the hotel. If you’re sensitive to noises, you’d be wise to request an interior room facing the pool area.
The Plymouth South Beach is boutique in nature and located in a historic building on Miami Beach, so it’s not necessarily equipped with an abundance of amenities. Still, a few important things to note.
The quaint courtyard pool is surrounded by the hotel’s interior rooms and on-site sushi restaurant. A few private cabanas surround the pool, along with a shaded pool bar with covered seating, perfect for sipping your drinks indirectly from the beaming sun.
The peach and brown-colored pool loungers with umbrellas evoke a Miami vibe and though the hotel was at full capacity during our stay, the pool area never felt crowded.
The hotel charges a $40 resort fee, even when booking with points. While resort fees are many times unjustified for the services rendered, at The Plymouth South Beach, you can borrow two lounge chairs (with an umbrella) and two beach towels at the hotel’s designated beach area on 21st Street, just four blocks from their front doors.
Usually, renting lounge chairs with an umbrella on South Beach would cost more than $40 daily, so I was fine with the resort fee.
The hotel also has a converted-bedroom-turned-fitness room that looks like it barely squeezes in two or three people at a time but is adequate if you need to break a sweat. Along with the fitness room, guests receive free Wi-Fi access.
If you’re driving and have your own car while visiting South Beach, you may wonder about valet and parking. Soon after the pandemic, valet parking was axed at The Plymouth South Beach. Now, guests can either leave their vehicle in the parking garage run by the city of Miami Beach (two blocks away) or wander around near the hotel looking for street parking. We opted for the simplicity of the garage and the cost was $20 for overnight parking. While not a bargain, fairly reasonable for overnight South Beach parking rates.
Food and beverage
We arrived at the hotel around lunchtime and had plans to dine on-site. However, the only restaurant within the hotel — Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill — was only open for dinner. However, the hotel partners with Orange Blossom, a restaurant two blocks away on Collins Avenue, where guests eat breakfast and get their room service orders.
We decided to head to the beach and eat elsewhere since the next morning, we would walk to Orange Blossom for our complimentary hotel breakfast. Since the reservation was made through World of Hyatt, we were given a free breakfast voucher for $40 per room, which took care of two entrees from the off-site restaurant. You can also book a room rate including breakfast directly on the hotel’s website.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill is undoubtedly the shining star of The Plymouth South Beach Hotel.
The on-site restaurant serves delectable sushi along with hot-cooked specialties from the kitchen, such as the savory fried chicken — dusted with spicy togarashi chili seasoning and served with wasabi honey sauce and Momiji hot sauce.
We ordered the Japanese short ribs, oxtail fried rice, blue crab tuna roll and not-to-be-missed fried chicken (which my kids gobbled up) and every dish was exceptional.
We were seated in a private cabana outside by the pool deck (excellent for social distancing) and the service was attentive and prompt. Dinner was the highlight of our stay.
Miami Beach (and Miami as a whole) is a city with various degrees of service standards. You may experience top-notch service or utter indifference from hotel employees on any given weekend in South Beach. At The Plymouth South Beach, every hotel employee we came across was helpful during our stay, but I wouldn’t call the service overly attentive.
The bellman offered to show me where the parking garage was located and a hotel employee pointed me towards the gym. The pool bar staff was friendly and our server at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill even recommended a few dishes for my kids.
Overall, the staff was courteous, something you’ll be pressed to find regularly on South Beach.
The Plymouth South Beach is a decent choice for travelers looking for a boutique Art Deco hotel experience in Miami Beach. The property is better suited for couples and groups than for families, as its location close to all the action brings about a late-night crowd.
During the day, the attractive and quaint pool is relaxing for all guests and the on-site restaurant Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill was a treat. That said, with rates around $300 during peak times and as a Category 5 hotel (requiring 20,000 points) in the World of Hyatt program, I’d much rather stay at the beachfront, The Confidante Miami Beach, with the sand literally steps away.
Featured image by Juan Ruiz/The Points Guy
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