Miami is a world-renowned hotspot for culture, nightclubs and restaurants with more than 5 distinctly different neighborhoods. I am not a Miami expert yet, but I can certainly say that the Kimpton EPIC hotel is the perfect option if you’re looking for a downtown location with easy access to every neighborhood. We were ecstatic to experience the EPIC for their 10th anniversary and recent renovation, so read on to find out what we love!
Just a short 20-minute drive from Miami International and 45 minutes from Fort Lauderdale Airport, the EPIC is in a prime location for business and leisure travelers alike. It’s located on one of the many canals in Miami, with stunning views out to the bay.
From the hotel, it takes approximately 10 minutes to Little Havana and 20 minutes to South Beach. While there aren’t tons of shops and restaurants located directly next to the EPIC, there are a lot of options for getting around, like Uber and the scooters. Be warned if you take the scooters though, there are very small designated zones in Miami so be sure to check that we’re you’re going is in the scooter zone and avoid getting stuck like we did!
Lobby & Check in experience: 4.5/5
As you walk up to the entrance of the EPIC hotel, two bellman greet you at the door and you step into a stunning, grandiose lobby. The lobby is circular in shape with an expansive check in area, a fine jewelry shop and the Zuma restaurant (not part of the hotel). The front desk people are friendly, helpful and we were checked in at 10am, which was amazing, to a Junior Suite on the 28th floor.
Overall, the check in experience was efficient and friendly, though they could have made a bigger deal about the surprise #epicallyupgraded experience. We were part of a program where they choose select guests to upgrade and experience the newly renovated rooms, with added touches like a bottle of champagne and cute flip flops. Even our keys were different, but the front desk agent didn’t actually tell us much about the program – honestly, I think he was just too excited! Given that we knew we were part of the program, we were able to deduce what the special elements were, but we hope they make a “bigger deal” about it to future guests because it was awesome to get an upgrade and have some amenities waiting in the room for us :).
Something to note is that they offer complimentary coffee every morning from 7-10 and complimentary happy hour from 5-6 daily in the lobby. These two features are some of our favorite Kimpton perks.
We made our way to our 700 square foot Junior Suite, room 2833, located on the 28th floor (second highest) at the end of the hall. We stayed at the EPIC earlier that year and let me tell you, the renovation is incredible. While I thought the rooms were wonderful before, you are greeted immediately by the warm blue, grey and white tones of the room. The elegant, modern yet retro decor feels sleek, expensive and brand new. Our Junior suite had floor to ceiling windows along the entire length of the room, with a small balcony near the bed.
The bathroom is large, with a separate tub, rain shower, double vanity and private toilet room. The closet is small and drawerless, which made it a little tricky for folded clothes, so we ended up using the vanity as a place to put folded clothes.
There is wonderful, L-shaped sofa in the living room, with a TV that can be turned to face the bed or the living room. There is no desk in the room, but I found the sofa to be the perfect place to get work done.
The king bed was comfortable, with delicious sheets and pillows. One of the things I love about the EPIC that I recall from our first stay is that the rooms are silent. You can’t hear your neighbors, or the outside city noise at all and it’s very impressive. We slept very well in the quiet room. We really enjoyed the fact that they had water in the room that was complimentary. You can always request more, which we did every day.
The hotel room did not come with a coffee machine, but you can request a Keurig by calling the front desk, which we did. There are few things are lovely as a nice cup of coffee on the balcony in the morning.
The EPIC has everything you need for a great Miami stay, including two restaurants, two pools, pool service and an EXHALE gym and spa. Guests are allotted 1 free class at the EXHALE gym per stay, which is a nice perk.
The pool area is beautiful and expansive, The pool boys were some of the friendliest people we encountered during our stay and we had a blast getting to know them. The website mentions that suites have daily reserved sun chairs – while we did not seem to have this set up for us every day, there were more than enough pool chairs to choose from. The pool area had sun all day, and we were there in October. The pool service was excellent and we ordered drinks and lunch there. The food was served quickly and in nice containers. Their drinks were delicious, and were definitely a good deal considering they poured with a heavy hand.
We mentioned this earlier, but coffee and beverages are served in the lobby daily. This is one of the perks we have always loved about Kimpton hotels. The happy hour is great, with beer and wine for an hour, which is the perfect pit stop before going out for dinner.
The hotel owns Area 31, on the 16th floor. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as service the pool area. We had dinner here the first night and absolutely loved it. The food and service were exceptional, and we randomly had the same waiter, Marcus, as we had several months earlier when we stayed at the hotel. Our favorite dishes were the octopus and the risotto. We had such a wonderful time admiring the view of the canal with the twinkling lights, while eating delicious food and drinking delicious cocktails.
We also checked out Area 31 for brunch. While the views and food are lovely, the service was just ok. Both the hostess and waiter were disinterested and forgot about us for a while. If the service was better, we wouldn’t hesitate to return for the delicious food, though.
Overall, most of the people we encountered were friendly, efficient and really wanted to help you. The front desk staff always had a smile on their faces and genuinely cared about hospitality. They were excited to tell us about the renovation and find out what we liked about the new rooms. The EPIC also has a texting line where you can text requests and questions. They are typically very quick to respond there.
When we look at service, we also include housekeeping and turn-down service (when available). Usually, these are very telling indicators of overall service at the hotels. The first night we arrived, the turndown was amazing. The room was clean, the robes were hung, the pillows were fluffed and a little linen spray was left for us on the bed. It was such a lovely experience! We were so excited to find out what happen the next night. However, the next night, the housekeepers came, but only the lights were turned off, the blinds were still open and the robes were on the floor. There was no “nightly” gift so we figured they either forgot or it was a one-night-only thing. The last night, they didn’t come at all, so not sure what happened there. Similarly, day-time housekeeping never replaced the waters or the coffee pods, despite a few asks.
Overall, the staff were incredibly friendly, but it all comes down to consistency. 5-star service for us is anticipating our needs and exceeding them, or at the very least, being consistent.
The renovation really was amazing at the Kimpton EPIC. The style is very Miami, very beachy and very glamorous, without being too flashy. We loved the marble, blue tones and artwork throughout the rooms. The style met the three criteria of consistency, quality and authenticity. We also loved the many USB ports and charging ports next to the bed. The hotel also passes the curtain test: close the blinds and you still feel like you’re in Miami. We love that they incorporated artwork from local artists and the retro vibes of the city.
Overall, we loved the EPIC the first time we stayed and the renovation made us love it even more. The location is perfect if you’re looking for a great home base to explore the great neighborhoods in Miami. The rooms are large, quiet and luxurious. We love staying in South Beach, but the modern luxury of EPIC is a great value for the money.