Quirky germaphobe searching for a suitable South Beach hotel. That was me until I discovered Dream South Beach, formerly the Palmer House. I spent countless hours reading reviews for other hotels, none of which struck the balance of cleanliness, service, location, safety, and price I sought.
Soon I realized that most Miami accommodations were pricey but expensiveness did not equal quality. Not only was Dream's standard suite comparable to if not cheaper than many of its competitors, the peace of mind and relaxing setup proved priceless.
Attendants remained in the lobby around the clock. Often they remembered my name and asked about my itinerary, gleefully providing suggestions upon request and asking how I enjoyed spots I visited. One employee even offered to snap a picture of me when he noticed me photographing Dream’s exterior.
The staff stayed attentive without stalking. I sensed they would recognize non-guests lurking about. Since I was solo, feeling secure in my surroundings was especially important.
Phone calls and internet service are additional charges, but beach chairs and towels are free. For me, parking was a non-issue because I chose to forgo renting a car. The hotel is in walking distance to the beach and restaurants.
Those who don't mind mingling with the masses can catch the SOBE local one street over for a quarter or splurge on a $5 day pass to explore other parts of town. Also, the Airport Flyer provides cheap and quick service, so there's no need for a cab to and from the location.
This boutique establishment proved tranquil overall. Sounds from other rooms were minimal. However, I could sometimes hear loud employees at the hotel next door. Its kitchen and patio area faced my room. Closing windows significantly muted the noise.
I scoured the suite for cleanliness issues and found one foreign eyelash (even I could live with that). The lighting felt weird at first: subdued blue and white hues throughout, including the shower. Dark, rich wood flooring covered all areas. Luxurious bedding allowed me to sleep comfortably after my first night there. That's a virtual feat when I'm in unfamiliar surroundings.
Upon returning home, I dreamt of duplicating the Dream suite on my turf, especially the bedroom.