from Easton, Maryland
Submitted on 02-07-2017
First, the good news. The Hilton Garden Inn Miami Airport West (HGIMAW) is a nice place to stay. It is well-run, clean and attractive. The usual amenities travelers have come to expect are there: Wi-Fi, swimming pool, executive center with computers and printer that actually work, exercise room and full service restaurant and bar. the staff is friendly and efficient. The public areas are well designed and spacious, the breakfast service is excellent, and the overall atmosphere quite comfor...
First, the good news. The Hilton Garden Inn Miami Airport West (HGIMAW) is a nice place to stay. It is well-run, clean and attractive. The usual amenities travelers have come to expect are there: Wi-Fi, swimming pool, executive center with computers and printer that actually work, exercise room and full service restaurant and bar. the staff is friendly and efficient. The public areas are well designed and spacious, the breakfast service is excellent, and the overall atmosphere quite comfortable.
That said, let's consider the "please-be-advised", not necessarily bad, news and surprises.
The HGIMAW is not just close to the airport, but sits almost at the end of Runway 12, the northwest-to-southeast runway at Miami International. The first time a 737 comes in on its final approach while you are unloading your luggage, your first impuse will be to duck. Interestingly, the noise inside the hotel is almost imperceptible, perhaps a distant hum once in a while. Don't let the noise issue deter you; just be aware that the parking lot will sound, feel and vibrate like the end of the runway.
If you are driving, your GPS may be challenged by HGIMAW's street address, 3550 NW 74th Avenue. We followed our GPS' instructions and ended up in an industrial area behind the hotel, surrounded by 18-wheelers with some very impatient and inconvenienced drivers. Surprise!
The issue is that HGIMAW's property is only accessed by turning onto NW 72th Avenue from NW 36th Street. There are no signs on the street ("HGIMAW next right" or "HGIMAW turn here ->"). If you are driving west on NW 36th Street, you have to cut across eastbound traffic, taking your life in your hands. If you are driving east on NW 36th Street, turn at the gas station (I believe it's Chevron), go over the canal, bear right and there you are. If you can find the Palmetto Expressway (FL 826), then it is easy: exit at NW 36th Street going east and turn right at the gas station.
We had booked this room because the HiltonHHonors website appeared to offer "Park and Cruise" benefits in addition to transportation to and from the cruise terminal. We used HiltonHHonors points for this reservation.
Next surprise: these services and courtesies are not extended to guests who use HiltonHHonors points for their booking, only to clients with cold, hard cash. After some discussion, the HGIMAW Director of Operations, Ms. Maria Cancino, graciously agreed to let us park our vehicle on the property for seven days, free of charge. We were advised, however, that we would be charged for transportation to the cruise terminal in the hotel van. "We'll be reasonable," we said, "and we'll do it your way".
The last surprise came when we inquired about returning for our car to the HGIMAW at the end of the cruise. "You are on your own", we were told, "It doesn't matter what the website led you to believe". No, no van service. Only one way. It turned out to be a $55 cab ride, luggage and gratuity included.
Live and learn. Next time we are led to expect any special services from a hotel, like transportation or complimentary parking, we will check directly with the hotel and get it in writing, website or no website. This experience further increases our skepticism about the HiltonHHonors program. Our GPS has always served us well; specific driving instructions from HGIMAW ("turn at the gas station, you idiot!") would have helped. The truck drivers we incensed by obstructing traffic while trying to find the hotel entrance will need to accept our apologies.
Would we stay again at HGIMAW? It is a good choice to stay for a night if you are flying in and out of Miami International, once you know how to get to the hotel. Just remind your taxi or Uber driver to turn at the gas station.