Bal Harbour is known for its amazing shopping high priced real estate and prestigious modern resorts. Unfortunately that is not the case for this hotel. The Sea View Hotel is an old hotel, while still well kept and clean it has not been updated for many years and needs to either be torn down or have a major face lift. I feel like they put this hotel in a time capsule and let it sit there for about five decades. I might sound a little harsh on this hotel but it was the worst experience I have ever had in a hotel and I have been in a lot of hotels. So let’s get into my thoughts on this hotel.
Once I walked into the lobby of the Sea View I felt like I was walking into the past. I checked in and took a look around the lobby. This lobby was very outdated with its old furniture and large crystal chandelier. The check in desk was divided into three sections, The front desk which hat the old style mail slots for each room like you used to see in the old movies. There was a separate cashier window and then a separate space for the concierge. The entire front desk was only staffed by one person so the check in took a while as there were several people ahead of us. There was also a small poorly stocked gift shop in the lobby, however the same person who manned the front desk was the one who worked the gift shop so there was a wait for that as well. Beyond the entrance lobby there was a sitting room with more chairs and tables with lamps. Off to the side were the restrooms that while were old, matched the “style” of the hotel. Off to the other side of the lobby was a restaurant with overpriced options and was only open until 4 PM so if you wanted dinner you had to leave the hotel. There was also a piano bar that opened at 5 PM. While clean and fairly well maintained, the lobby looks like it has seen its heyday in the 1950’s or 1960’s.
After check in and by walk around the lobby it was time to head up to our room. The elevators as everything else I saw so far in the hotel appeared old as evidenced by the shaking and squeaking that was felt and heard on our ascent to the twelfth floor. The elevator opened to a small vestibule decorated with two chairs and a mirror on the wall. Walking down the hallway to our room I noticed the carpet and light fixtures have not been updated for many years.
We arrived at our room, number 1216, Thankfully the doors were accessed by electronic key cards, I was actually expecting to have to use actual keys. The room left much to be desired. While it appeared that an attempt was made to modernize the decor of the room, the attempt failed. The only thing that appeared to be revamped was the headboards of the bed and the fact that the TV was a flat screen. The furniture was old and outdated, The room was double but was on the smaller side for a room with two beds. The bathroom was extremely small and old. I walked into the bathroom and had no room to move, the handles for the water in the sink were chipped, the door handle was rusting and the shower head was dripping. The tiles and tub appeared to have been installed several decades ago. The shower head was one of the original adjusting ones from the eighties and the drain was semi clogged which resulted in you standing ankle deep in water by the time you finished your shower. There were two walk in closets which was far more closet space than needed for a hotel room. Remodeling of the room with a better utilization of the space should have been done years ago. The room was equipped with a mini refrigerator and coffee maker as well as a safe. The final straw for me was the fact that there were no available outlets anywhere in the room. I had to unplug the clock as well as the bedside lamp in order to charge my phone and iPad.
The pool area at this hotel is large with a decent size pool that has a maximum depth of nine feet. There is no hot tub by the pool area but for those that wish to play, there is a shuffle board court. There are a a sufficient number of lounge chairs with umbrellas. Your twenty dollar per day resort fee allows you access to the lounge chairs either by the pool or on the beach as well as towels however, that fee only covers two people. If like me there were three people in our group then they charged an extra ten dollar fee for the third person. The pool deck had separate cabanas that you can rent for extra per day it includes its own chair, couch and bathroom with a mini fringe and a bed. From what I saw, the cabanas were is desperate need of a paint job. Like the rest of the hotel they appeared to be in its original condition never having gone through an upgrade or model. The pool area does have its own bar area, and the restaurant from the lobby has outside seating next to the bar. The Pool and the beach closes at five PM throughout the year, meaning that the chairs are closed up and you are asked to leave the area. I can understand closing at five PM in the winter when that is the approximate time of sunset, however in the summer the sun does not set until close to nine PM. I do not understand why they close at five all year round.
The hotel does offer a gym and its a nice size it had a lot of options for you to use. The location of the gym is in what the hotel calls the lower lobby. That is just a nice way of saying the basement. Going down into the lower lobby was definitely an experience. You pass by the hotel laundry center and some of the offices. It is dark and dingy and if I ran the hotel I would do that I could to avoid having any guest go down there. The hotel also has a small ballroom for party’s but again it is very outdated with old carpets and lights and as everything else in the hotel in need of refurbishment.
This hotel is following the old adage that even the worst property in the best neighborhood is better that the best property in the worst neighborhood. This hotel needs to be ripped down and rebuilt or at the very least gutted on the inside and modernized. Maybe older people still like this hotel since it was built-in their time and reminds them of their youth, but the hotel is out living its stay. There are rumors that say that Marriott bought the property and is planning on making into a family friendly resort. I hope those rumors are true.
Thanks for reading-The Hotel Fanatic
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