Review: Element Miami Airport

Introduction
Review: Avianca Domestic Lounge Bogota Airport
Review: Hilton Cartagena Hotel
Review: Sofitel Cartagena Hotel
Review: Avianca Lounge Cartagena Airport
Review: W Bogota Hotel
Review: LAN Lounge Bogota Airport
Review: Element Miami Airport


Our flight from Bogota to Miami landed shortly after 7PM, while our flight the next day was departing around noon.

We also had an overnight on the way to Colombia, where we stayed at the Sheraton Miami Airport, which I’ve reviewed before.

So I figured we’d mix it up and stay at the Element Miami Airport this time around. I figured this made sense for a few reasons:

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I booked the Element for our one night stay for ~$130. That was the same rate as at the Sheraton, and seems to be pretty standard for hotels near Miami Airport.

We headed to the outside roadway at Miami Airport, where the Element shuttle showed up after about 30 minutes, which is an annoyingly long wait (I called the hotel after 10 minutes, and they said it should be there in five minutes). The shuttle completely filled up, and it quickly became apparent that everyone else on the shuttle was on a canceled flight to Brazil, and was staying on an airport accommodation voucher.

Since the bus was full at the first stop we couldn’t pick up any more people at the other stops, but the driver still stopped every time someone tried to flag down the shuttle, which lead to some lengthy conversations at times.

When we showed up at the hotel we were the last people out of the shuttle, so there were probably 10 parties in front of us in line to check-in, with only one agent. And since they were all on airport accommodation vouchers, they took even longer than usual to process.

Technically there’s supposed to be priority check-in for SPG elite members, as far as I know, so after waiting for about 15 minutes I was getting sort of annoyed. Not at the agent working the front desk, but rather at the lack of a system which ensures that these lines exist.

While I was a bit annoyed at this point, after a two hour taxi drive in Bogota, immigration being a complete zoo with a contract worker yelling at us, waiting 30 minutes for the shuttle, and then waiting another 30 minutes to check-in, I actually couldn’t help but give the front office associate one of those “job well done” certificates.

I’ve never seen a front desk associate be so friendly and compassionate with people checking in, even if she was taking her time. As each guest came up she’d say something along the lines of “I can only imagine how tired you must be and sorry your flight was canceled, but we’ll make sure you get a good meal in our restaurant and a great night of sleep.”

So while she apologized profusely when she saw an SPG Platinum member at the end of the line (I didn’t bring it up, by the way), I just thanked her for being so friendly, because you don’t often see that.

Within moments we were issued keys to our room on the third floor, where we had been upgraded to a one bedroom suite.

We were assigned room 312, located at the far end of the hallway, so it was quite a hike from the elevators.

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Element Miami Airport floorplan

This seemed to be a pretty new Element property, so the rooms were in great condition. Upon entering the door we found ourselves in the living room.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite living room

There was a comfortable “L” shaped couch, a dining table with four chairs, and a desk with a comfortable office chair. Talk about a well designed room — the couch was comfortable, the office chair ergonomic, and there were plenty of plugs.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite living room

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite living room

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite desk

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite power outlets

Then there was a kitchen with a microwave, stove, fridge, etc.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite kitchen

There was also a single cup coffee machine.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite coffee maker

Separated from the living room by a sliding door was the bedroom, which featured a comfortable Westin-style king size bed.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

There was a TV mounted in the corner of the room between the windows.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

On the side of the room located closest to the door was a closet, as well as a comfortable lounging chair.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

The bathroom was located between the living room and bedroom, and featured a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bathroom

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite bathroom

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite toilet

The shower had two heads, which is pretty rare for a limited service hotel, in my experience.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite shower

Element properties have dispensers for shampoo and body wash, a concept which I’m supportive of in theory. The one part which disgusts me is the dispenser button as such, since I imagine it’s not cleaned very often.

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Element Miami Airport one bedroom suite toiletries

Overall I loved our room at the Element, and thought it was much nicer than the Sheraton. New limited service hotels really are consistently quite excellent, in my experience.

I really like the lobby setup, given how communal it is, without feeling like it requires forced social interaction. There are couches, dining tables, and high-top tables. As someone who likes working outside my hotel room (to avoid being tempted to get into bed and fall asleep), I quite like Element’s standard lobby design.

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Element Miami Airport lobby

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Element Miami Airport lobby

Element hotels also offer a complimentary happy hour and breakfast. We arrived too late to partake in the happy hour, but the breakfast selection was quite good, and included cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, breakfast sandwiches, scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc.

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Element Miami Airport complimentary breakfast

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Element Miami Airport complimentary breakfast

I should also note that the hotel has coffee available for free in the lobby 24 hours a day, which I love.

We left the hotel at around 11AM for our flight to New York, and the shuttle left promptly on the hour.

Element Miami Airport bottom line

Miami Airport hotels are pretty underwhelming on the whole, especially as they’re mostly quite dated. The Element Miami Airport is modern, and in general the Element “concepts” is one of the limited service brands which resonates most with me. I love the communal space, the modern and functional rooms, and the fact that the brand as such doesn’t try too hard to be cool, as many limited service properties do nowadays.

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Comments

  1. +1 on the review. I stayed here about 18 months ago (?) and had a pretty much mirrored experience, including the challenge with the shuttle (well, we went around twice because we missed someone).

    Overall my second fav MIA airport hotel.

  2. I don’t think many people travel to stay at airport hotels so not sure if such reviews are as useful as the flight reviews.

  3. In general, Hyatt Place and SPG Element are very much alike ? While I am trying to complete that SPG 11 brand promotion, it’s tough for me to find Element (as I am not based in U.S). I think there are only two elements in Europe (FRA and AMS). I wish Amsterdam Element were set up as an airport hotel like FRA one (instead of that Sheraton AMS airport hotel). Anyway trying to find an excuse to stop by FRA Element.

  4. I stayed at the Doral location, and one thing I noticed is that aside from the duvet, the bed was -definitely- not Westin. It was much firmer and scratchier. Is that the case here? (I believe they’re the same management company.)

  5. That front desk clerk is what you call a trooper! Good on her for dealing with the rush in a friendly and efficient manner. Hope her managers recognize her efforts and gives her a raise!

    As for the dispenser buttons, just wipe them off with a moist piece of TP or paper towel. Simple.

  6. @ jessie – You’re thinking of Hyatt House. Most but not all rooms at Hyatt House have kitchens. Hyatt Place only has mini fridges.

    No reason to avoid Amsterdam Element because of its location. Uber to and from train station and airport was quick. Just be wary of the rates. It’s only category 3 but has been well over 200 euro a night.

  7. I don’t want to be rude, but I always think Element reminds me of a hot sheet hotel. I just don’t get it. There is something cheap about the experience – but what do I know!

  8. I arrived at this hotel for a one night layover on a recent trip and think it should be noted that they have excellent pool facilities at this hotel. This was really nice considering is was and especially humid summer day.

  9. For Miami Airport I would recommend the EB Hotel Miami. Very convenient location beside the airport, quite new hotel with really nice rooms and very good service. Probably not the first choice for points, as it belongs to a south american group, with their other properties being in Venezuela and Argentina. As it can be booked through a number of OTAs from $130 per night, it still could be a good option…

  10. Ben, do you not use SPG Keyless? I’ve found it to be quite reliable now, as most of the kinks seemed to be worked out, and it can save soooo much time at the front desk.

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