HOTEL CAVALIER : THE DUMP OF SOUTH BEACH AT $300 A NIGHT

…. having traveled to many destinations in America and abroad in my 52 years. Located on Ocean Drive in South Beach, it certainly has the best location you can ask for. A truly beautiful beach is found right across the street ! But that is the extent of its advantages. Better hotels are found nearby, as this is the famed Art Deco district of South Beach.

When my girlfriend and I arrived, we had come with reservations for a room with two double beds.

Indeed, that is what they sent us to. The room did have two double beds, but nothing else. Not a desk, not a chair, not a dresser. Not a lamp. It did have a view of a dark side alley. The walls were drab and completely bare. Not a picture, not a mirror. It truly looked like a jail cell.

My girlfriend and I were shocked. The nerve of the hotel in trying to pass this off as a room, for three hundred dollars a night, no less, was maddening. If the price was $79. it still would have been absurd. We complained.

So we were given a room with a single bed, Queen sized. This second room was better. The room overlooked the beach and had some unimpressive furniture, and even a color tv. A nice picture was on the wall. And there was a desk with a clock.

In this neighborhood, people party till 2:30 AM. The streets still have lots of foot traffic and the Latin and Reggae music up and down Ocean Drive is festive. (If you get over there, be sure to take in the ambiance at Mango’s down the street. Johnny Rocket’s stays open pretty late, too and has tables right on the sidewalk.)

We did find a dead gecko on our window sill. But that was easy to dispose of.

We begged them repeatedly to lower the central air conditioning. The thermostat was not working and the air was blowing so cold, it was unhealthy. We both were afraid we would get sick. After a couple of days begging the staff to do something and getting dumb looks and unkept promises, we found a more responsive gentlemen. I felt it necessary to put on my lawyer hat. I asked who the owner was and for his phone number and carried a pen and notebook. I explained that I was a lawyer and a web publisher and the negligent attitude was infuriating. This fellow was helpful; albeit after pressure… The air conditioner vent was blocked, and the room temperature was at last bearable.

The furnishings of the room were just pathetic.. The mattress was so painfully stiff we woke up sore often. The chair was decorative. If you sat on it you slipped off.

I made a prediction to my girlfriend. I asked for a wake-up call for the last day . I predicted they would blow it off.. Sure enough, their wake-up call didn’t come. I had fortunately awoke early anyway.

We couldn’t fathom if this was anti-Anglo bigotry in some aspects, because this was a Hispanic staff that pretty much made you feel like outsiders. It just seemed a bit of a flop house for international perverts. One morning at 3 am I was awoken by a man down the hall yelling in what sounded like German and spanking two women. There were clearly many persons there of alternative sexual persuasions and exotic lifestyles from around Latin America, Britain and Europe. It seemed as if most folks came for a weekend, and left on Monday. We were there for 11 days, so we needed more of a nest.

If after you read this and you still want to stay at the Hotel Cavalier,. don’t be afraid of the elevator. It looks very antique-like, but was reliable when we were there.

Also on the positive side, the housekeeping staff was pretty good. Being in the center of the Art Deco district and right near Lummus Park beach was more than enough compensation for staying at a flop house for weirdos. Although the place advertises itself as having been remodeled, there was nothing there to suggest that. One shudders to think what the Hotel Cavalier was like before it was remodeled.

Despite the fact that Hotel Cavalier can best be described as a dive on a good day, we were not enthusiastic about leaving. It is after all, February and we were in Miami Beach and Boston was freezing cold. Here I am, back, and snowed in.

DAVID GROSSACK

NANTASKET BEACH, MA 02045

February 24, 2008

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply