Mr. C Miami - Coconut Grove makes a strong impression from the get-go, in a retro-feeling building dotted with porthole windows in the front.
The lobby is small, filled with nautical, vintage-inspired details from the plush velvet seating to a lacquered wood desk like you'd find on a fine sailboat. To the side was a midcentury modern-style rounded bar that led out to a tranquil courtyard. The space was small but said a lot through its understated approach to hospitality.
Check-in was quick and I was handed a Bellini cocktail. All guests are treated to one at check-in, a nod to the Italian rooftop restaurant upstairs of the same name.
After handing over the required documents, I was off in the elevator to head up one floor to my room.
I was booked in a Deluxe City View King on the first floor, though it was really the second. My room was located right near the elevator bank, which always makes me nervous when it comes to noise. More on that in a minute.
The room was tasteful and elegant and well-sized at 300 square feet. My husband was traveling with me and it never felt small or cramped for two people and our luggage.
Decor leaned in hard to the nautical theme with more glossy walnut wood in the form of a chic desk with a built-in bar cart, wardrobe closet, and a thick sliding bathroom door.
Deep blue hues painted the room, with a tufted leather headboard in gradient shades of blue and turquoise that matched the walls for a calming effect.
If I was on a cruise ship, this was a premier cabin.
On all walls were images and artwork depicting boats and sailboats. The theme was sophisticated, but not all that subtle.
The floor was wood like you'd find on a well-kept deck, save for a blue-patterned rug under the bed.
The bathroom was equally posh, with a bright blue tiled walk-in shower, dual sink vanity, and amenities branded by Mr. C hotels, crafted in Italy.
Outside, I had a nice balcony with two contemporary wicker chairs that were separated from neighboring balconies by a white tarp that looked like it was made out of the same material as sails. It was a nice perch but my "city view" was of construction next door. There wasn't much to admire.
The other side of the building faced the hotel's courtyard and parking lot. To really appreciate any views, you need to be booked on a top floor to face the ocean in the distance, but it's a ways away. It's a lovely sight, but don't expect full ocean views, even in the bay rooms advertise as such.
Outside, I had a nice balcony with two contemporary wicker chairs that were separated from neighboring balconies by a white tarp that looked like it was made out of the same material as sails. It was a nice perch but my city view was of construction next door. There wasn't much to admire.
Overall I liked my room a lot. The theme felt authentic without being over the top, and the hotel's location was well placed to discover and appreciate Coconut Grove.
I'd stay here again but with a few caveats. My room was noisy. Like I've experienced on cruise ships, the walls were thin, and I heard noise from next door both late at night and early in the morning when it woke me up. I also heard the click-clacking of heels overhead from guests walking around, as well as housekeeping's vacuum. Doors slamming in the hallway and people headed to the elevator were also loud. I slept fine with earplugs, so come prepared if you're a light sleeper.
My room type was only offered on floors one or two, so to stay on the highest fourth floor without guests above (the top fifth floor is made up of meeting spaces, the restaurant, and rooftop pool), I'd have to book a different room category. I'd also request a room further down the hall to minimize foot traffic.
There are only 100 guest rooms and suites in this boutique hotel, which range from 300 to 1,400 square feet, all with private balconies.
The standard Superior King starts at $167 and is located on all floors and is actually a few square feet larger than my room, and comes with a larger balcony with chaise lounge bed, making it a better value in not only price but amenities.
Upgraded Premier Bay View rooms offer a better vantage point for views and will be similar to the Superior Room, but facing the more desirable side of the building. There are also signature suites for a more lavish stay that includes separate living areas and spa-like bathrooms with bathtubs. These rooms range from $350 to $600 based on type, with the Signature Suite offering the lowest barrier to entry at just $320 to start per night.
I'd happily return, but either to a top floor standard room or a suite priced only a bit more.
If Coconut Grove is a hidden secret, then those who harbor it likely also know about Mr. C's Italian restaurant, Bellini. It was packed to the brim with fashionable locals when I stopped in for dinner.
It too felt like booking a table at the fine dining option on a sleek ship, with waiters clad in white tuxedo jackets and black bowties. It's the perfect place to enjoy freshly-made pasta and people watch.
There's also outdoor seating which feels a bit less formal, with pretty bay views. The crowd was made up of older couples and cool locals, some hotel guests, and plenty of people taking business meetings. I even spotted a celebrity for the latter.
Adjacent to the restaurant was a lovely rooftop pool with gorgeous views of Biscayne Bay and filled with sailboats in the distance. There aren't too many chairs, but this is a small boutique hotel and I spotted plenty of available loungers. There are also plush cabanas available to rent if you'd prefer.
The pool is a great place to perch and reset, but you have to walk through the restaurant to reach it. It might feel a bit off-putting to don a bathing suit and skimpy cover-up and then find yourself passing by well-dressed diners and tuxedo-wearing waiters. The staff assured me there are no rules about it though, so strut your stuff.
The beach is a 15 to 30-minute drive away, depending on where you want to go. The hotel partners with vendors to arrange beachside amenities that include two beach chairs and towels. Rentals for an additional feel are also available such as beach umbrellas, wave-runners, parasailing, paddle boards, and more.
Next to the small lobby was a small leafy courtyard filled with vintage-style furniture lit by string lights. It's a great place to grab a coffee, cocktail, or snack from the small bar inside and mellow out. Sure, it sits next to a parking lot, but you'd never know it from the ample plants and greenery well-placed throughout.
There's also a small gym with just a handful of machines. It's good in a pinch and stocked with Evian waters, but I skipped it in favor of exploring nearby parks for exercise instead.
The hotel advertises a spa, but it's really a private treatment room for facials or massages, with sauna access.
Apart from the spa, many of these amenities are included in the daily $25 resort fee. It also compensates for Wi-Fi (though you can only register two devices for free), free morning coffee in the lobby, bicycle rentals, and pool access.
Coconut Grove is a delight, so save time to explore. Right next to the hotel is The Bazaar, a cool concept design and home store with a coffee shop and wine bar. Down the street, popular stores like Bonobos and Warby Parker have outposts, and local coffee favorite Panther Coffee has a shop.
The surrounding area is filled with lots of inviting open-air restaurants and bars, and well as intriguing boutiques worth wandering.
The hotel is also surrounded by pretty parks including Barnacle Historic State Park, and Peacock Park, which runs up to the water and features community yoga classes and also has a cute wine bar, Glass & Vine with weekly promotions. Or stroll further to Kenneth M. Myers Bayside Park for nice views of the waterfront.
Mr. C Miami - Coconut Grove is ranked 70 of 135 hotels in the city of Miami on Trip Advisor, with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from past guests.
Previous visitors praise the beautiful, clean rooms and contemporary, nautical-inspired design. They also liked the highly walkable location. Writes one guest, "I was totally impressed by the facilities, employees, front desk, and Bellini Restaurant. The room, although not huge, was exquisitely decorated. Rich veneered glossy wood desk, closet, bathroom, and floors project a feeling of being in an Italian sailboat. Nice balcony overlooking the Coconut Grove bay. Although construction going on next door, not one sound."
Those who felt negatively cited poor customer service, and problems with noise both from meeting rooms upstairs, other patrons, and outside traffic and construction.
Previous visitors praise the beautiful, clean rooms and contemporary, nautical-inspired design. They also liked the highly walkable location. Writes one guest, I was totally impressed by the facilities, employees, front desk, and Bellini Restaurant. The room, although not huge, was exquisitely decorated. Rich veneered glossy wood desk, closet, bathroom, and floors project a feeling of being in an Italian sailboat. Nice balcony overlooking the Coconut Grove bay. Although construction going on next door, not one sound.
Who stays here: Repeat visitors to Miami looking to explore somewhere new, those who are fans of the Mr. C brand from LA or NYC, and those with business in or near Coconut Grove. The crowd is a mix of older couples and some families.
We like: The nautical theme is a fun touch that is expertly executed so it feels charming and never kitschy.
We love (don't miss this feature!): While I didn't get to use it, the rooftop pool was beautiful, and the Bellini Restaurant is excellent. It's easy to see why it's a local favorite.
We think you should know: Coconut Grove, while a superb place to be, is a bit far from downtown Miami and the beach. The closest beach is 15 minutes away, and while the hotel offers facilities, it does not provide a shuttle.
We'd do this differently next time: I'd choose a different room to try and mitigate the noise for a more peaceful stay.
Mr. C Miami - Coconut Grove is a refreshing alternative to the rest of mainland Miami and even the beach. If you're looking for something different that feels more small-town and charming, and less in your face than Brickell or South Beach, it's an excellent place to be.
Prices are also far more reasonable, starting well under $200 for elegant and spacious rooms that feel pulled directly from a luxurious Italian sailboat.
Some rooms are noisy and the hotel is small, with just 100 rooms, so don't expect deluxe resort amenities. It's not your typical stay, and neither is Coconut Grove, but if you're willing to try something, and somewhere, different, it's a lovely hotel with tons of personality to spare.