I spent 4 days at the Surfcomber in August 2014, and below are my observations from that visit. As standard with any review I post, I look for the positives as well as any potential negatives for other travelers (even if my own experience was uniformly positive).
Surfcomber is a small-ish hotel on Collins Avenue at 17th Street in Miami Beach. It is neighbored by the SLS South Beach Hotel, just to the South.
- Excellent staff
- Ideal location, walking distance from the Lincoln Road Mall, Ocean Drive, and many shops. Several gift shops, restaurants, Walgreens, and CVS are all steps away.
- The hotel offers several freebies such as wine tasting, beach chairs, towel and sunscreen, and assorted drinks in the lobby.
- Direct beach access at the rear of the hotel through the pool area.
- Large pool, open 24 hours.
- Because there were no “Do Not Disturb” signs to place on the door handles, three out of four days I was awakened by a staff member knocking to see if I wanted my room cleaned.
- I did not rent a car, but I understand there is only valet parking available for $39 a night.
The pairing of a small hotel with a top-notch staff is a match made in heaven. While I would not say the hotel or the rooms are perfect, the staff at the Surfcomber connects with its guests in a way larger hotels cannot. Every doorman and bellhop greeted me like I was an old friend whenever I left or returned to the hotel. Every staff member said hello, even when passing in the hallway. Virtually everyone I came in contact with remembered me the next time I saw them, and for this I give the Surfcomber highest accolades.
Take, for example, my last day at the hotel when I went outside to take some pictures. As I re-entered, the bellhop outside – who had said hello to me for the past four days – noticed I was alone. “You’re flying solo today?” he asked in his usual friendly tone. “Yeah, today is our last day and I wanted to take some pictures,” I replied.
Looking disappointed, he looked over and nodded, saying, “You’re leaving? That’s gonna hurt. Really. It’s been a pleasure.” He said it in a way that I actually believed.
I stayed in a first floor room with a courtyard view. It cost me $30 a day to upgrade to a courtyard room. Although elegantly designed, it seemed a little smaller than I expected based on the online photos. The room consists of the main living area, closet, and bathroom. There is also a small desk.
- The bed was quite comfortable.
- Air conditioner worked well, keeping the room at the assigned temperature – which in my case was 72 degrees.
- iPad/iPod docking station.
- USB charger next to the bed
- Bathroom was well-stocked with plenty of supplies
- Courtyard view provided nice view of foliage and opportunities at people watching. I found myself looking out the window more than I would have expected.
- My first night, which was a weekend evening, I noticed that techno music played all night in the courtyard. Because my room was near one of the speakers, I could hear this music all night. Fortunately, I like white noise when I sleep, so I set the A/C unit to run all night, and the music was no longer a problem.
- There were no available outlets near the desk. I had to unplug a lamp in order to plug in my laptop. It wasn’t a huge inconvenience, but a power strip would have been nice there.
- No fridge or microwave. One-third of my dresser was locked, and it’s possible a wet bar was in there – but I couldn’t access it. I had a couple of meals where I would have preferred to take back leftovers to warm up later, but couldn’t due to the lack of a fridge/microwave.
- There was no light in the closet. I found it hard to see in there, and had to use my phone’s flashlight on several occasions to find items in that area.
- I found the pillows to be too large and hard for my taste, but fortunately there was a smaller, softer pillow available in the closet.
- Guests staying in the North wing of the hotel must walk through the restaurant to access rooms (unless entering from the second pool area entrance).
- In addition to blinds, there is a blackout shade available, although this wasn’t readily apparent my first day there.
- The closet contains a safe and a robe.
For those requiring a large bathroom, this room may not be your best fit. It has a toilet, sink, and shower, and is not big enough for two people to use at once.
I found the lack of a shower door to be an interesting design, though perhaps somewhat flawed, as I often splashed water onto the bathroom floor.
It takes a moment for the water to warm up in the shower, but I found the water pressure and temperature to be quite stable throughout our stay. I particularly liked the rainfall-type shower head.
Although I feel obligated to list all potential negatives for anyone reading this review, I don’t want the “cons” listed above to leave readers with the opinion that I had an unpleasant stay at the Surfcomber. I found the hotel to be comfortable and quaint, and the staff made me feel more welcome than perhaps any other hotel stay I’ve ever had. I would not hesitate to stay at the Surfcomber again, and I have a feeling staff just might remember me the next time I’m there.
If you’re looking for a spacious room or bathroom, you might want to consider one of this property’s larger rooms, or another hotel completely. If, however, beach access and a staff second to none are your priorities, the king suite at the Surfcomber may just fit the bill. If you prefer the quiet and wish to stay on a weekend, you may want to pass on a courtyard room, as music plays throughout the night in this area.
If you’ve stayed at the Surfcomber, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the property.