Review: Hilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon
Rate: $111.12 (incl taxes) + $19 parking
Room: 2 Queen Standard (booked); King Junior Suite (received)
After a protracted and horrific drive from Gainesville through heavy storms, heavy traffic, and numerous accidents, I at last won through the hazards and arrived at the Miami Airport Hilton a bit over 2 hours behind schedule. [Such an auspicious start to my digital nomad adventure!] To my pleasant surprise, the check-in and lobby were deserted. My prior visit here in September 2017 saw crowds more in line with what you’d expect for a large hotel adjacent to a major US airport.
I found the hotel easy to navigate to. It’s immediately located off of the NW 57th Ave exit of the Dolphin Expressway – the toll road that connects the airport with I-95/Miami Beach.
Check-in was a breeze as usual, and I found myself upgraded to a king junior suite, room 1060. This was quite unexpected. My research on this property via Flyertalk & the interwebs has led me to the conclusion that the property does not upgrade frequently, even for Hilton Gold and Diamond guests.
My best guest for this luck? A happy confluence of my diamond status, a desk agent that wasn’t overwhelmed, and a dead-day arrival. I arrived on the evening of Memorial Day, when business travel would be low and leisure guests would have checked out en masse that morning. The result? Lots of abnormally open inventory. This property tends to charge a relatively modest premium for its suite rooms, so my guess is that they frequently are selling the really good rooms for cash.
For a third time, I was pleasantly surprised. The room exceeded my expectations for a junior suite in the US. Customarily (with Hilton-family hotels), a junior suite is usually an oversized King bedroom with a great deal of empty space. This room is on a corner and features a distinct living room/study area and a separate bedroom.
The furnishings seem to be in relatively good condition, and finding scuffs/wear required considerable scrutiny. The bed and various seating options all passed muster in the comfort department.
Plane-spotters will love the panoramic views of the active runways. Non-enthusiasts will appreciate that you don’t hear any aircraft noise. Everyone is happy!
Gold and Diamond elites receive vouchers for a complimentary continental breakfast. Hot food, including an egg station, is surcharged at $5 + tax. I typically opt to pay in for a bit of protein. Fruit and pastries are of decent albeit not mind-blowing quality. For that, you are looking at the Conrad Miami. The hot stuff is basically protein-by-Sysco. Skip them, and get an omelet.
Tl;dr: surprisingly good. Hiltons can be wildly inconsistent in the quality of their fitness/pool offerings. I’ve seen everything from broom closets with a treadmill from HW Bush’s presidency to expansive rooms with the latest and greatest. Pool quality is similarly variable.
This property delivers. The fitness room is quite large, well lit, and amply supplied with water and towels. The machines tend heavily towards cardio, though they have some resistance machines and free weights. Those looking to go for a run will enjoy the .5 mile walking/jogging track. The distances are signed, so repeat as needed to reach your distance goal. Also, keep an eye out for the local lizards.
The pool is one of the largest I have seen at a non-resort property. Towels are amply provisioned. Guests shouldn’t have difficulty finding seats at the numerous tables, lounge chairs, bar area, and patio seating. A ping-pong table is suspiciously close to the bar (cough beer pong cough).
Best part? A couple of small cats like to hang out by the pool. They are adorable.
Would recommend and return again. Breakfast could stand a bit more effort, though the staff are great. If rates in downtown Miami/Miami Beach are extortionate, this isn’t a bad option if you have a car or are willing to grab an Uber.