Exclusive hotel GM interview reveals details of multi-million-dollar overhaul … and what’s looming ahead
Nestled along the picturesque Biscayne Bay is the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay hotel, which stands as a beacon of luxury and leisure in the heart of Miami. Offering a stellar downtown waterfront location, unparalleled views and an array of thoughtful amenities, this hotel is a gateway to a world of relaxation and revelry.
Situated in the heart of the bustling Magic City, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay has graced the iconic skyline of this world-renowned destination for over 40 years. The property is an oasis of tranquility amidst the vibrant backdrop of Miami. Its ideal location right along the water allows guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Biscayne Bay, while staying just minutes away from the city’s bustling entertainment and cultural districts. In fact, the hotel is within close proximity to Broadway performances, world-class museums, art galleries and an abundance of shopping and dining options.
In connection with the bay waterway, which is near Biscayne National Park (America’s only submerged national park), the hotel’s downtown locale is optimal not only for the region’s famed culture and nightlife, but also for biking enthusiasts, boating and watersports, swimming and nearly anything else offering fun under the South Florida sun.
But, it’s the stay, itself, that’s sure to make memories that endure. With over 600 spacious and stylishly-appointed guest rooms, the refreshed Marriott Biscayne Bay ensures a comfortable stay for visitors—be they families, couples, guy or girl groups, business and solo travelers, eventgoers and whomever else covets customer service-forward hospitality. The remodeled guest rooms and suites boast a vibrant oceanic design, with each featuring views of Biscayne Bay and the surrounding cityscape. Many accommodations options do also include a private balcony. No matter which you choose, each room is designed to cater to both leisure and business travelers with plush bedding and an array of modern creature comforts.
Culinary and spirits experiences are another highlight at this particular Marriott hotel. The new Gold Coast Kitchen + Cocktails, located on the lower level facing the bay, features a bright, Streamline Moderne-inspired design with Art Deco influences throughout. With both indoor and outdoor patio seating available, the eatery features a thoughtful menu of coastal cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients. Complementing the culinary experience, the restaurant also offers a unique variety of craft cocktails with a focus on rum and mezcal creations, as well as a wide selection of wines, champagne and a robust beer list. This includes a selection dedicated to IPAs sourced from local breweries.
As part of the extensive renovation, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay now offers guests access to downtown Miami’s first M Club—a brand signature at Marriott Hotels properties globally. With panoramic bay views, the space serves complimentary refreshments, breakfast buffet, light bites and hors d’oeuvres in the evening. There are also private workspaces and dining areas. M Club is available to Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador members, and is also available for guests interested in upgrading their stay to include this particular amenity.
In addition to serving guests from around the world, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay is also well-suited for hosting conferences, business meetings, weddings and other special events with over 20,846 square feet of adaptable rental space to accommodate a wide range of experiences. Business travelers will appreciate the hotel’s comprehensive meeting and event spaces, great for conferences and seminars, complete with cutting-edge technology and adaptable setups.
Amid the property’s recent completion of its large-scale, multi-million-dollar renovation, I connected with Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay General Manager Julissa Kepner to discuss what was involved in the comprehensive overhaul. Here’s a bit of that conversation.
MK: I know the properly recently undertook a refresh, so what can you tell us about that?
JK: Yes, we have been working diligently to bring our property to a new, immersive and elegant appearance, with an elevation in service and overall quality. A new, stylish stay awaits in our downtown hotel, which is located on the waterfront in the cultural epicenter of Miami. We are proud to have completed an entire hotel renovation, encompassing all guest rooms and suites, a reimagined lobby, a new restaurant and, coming soon, a stunning fifth floor rooftop area that will have a new pool, pool bar, poolside cabanas and 14,000 square feet of event space overlooking the city and bay.
Our new M Club addition delivers style and ease for our on-the-go guests, and with 24-hour exclusive access, you can make the most of your stay. A full breakfast buffet is served each morning, with hot hors d’oeuvres Sunday through Thursday evening. Enjoy snacks and beverages throughout the day, with beer and wine for purchase at night.
Also new to the hotel experience is The Market, which features fresh food to go, brewed beverages, grab n’ go snacks and other beverage offerings like fresh juices, probiotics and protein drinks, as well as fresh-to-order juices, smoothies and acai bowls.
MK: What might people not know about the property, but should?
JK: Surrounded by 360-degree views and stunning neighborhoods, our newly renovated hotel is the perfect scenic backdrop delivering on local flavors, cultural experiences and, of course, a beautiful sunrise. Our hospitality is second to none. All of our guests should expect a warm welcome, a friendly face, attentive service, heartfelt thanks and the feeling that this hotel is their “home away from home.” We also focus on providing personalized safety and security measures for different guest profiles like women, children and the elderly.
Guests can also arrive effortlessly amid two international airports, the Port of Miami (among the most modern in the world), and the newly-reimagined, state-of-the-art Miami Convention Center that are all conveniently located just minutes from our hotel.
Plus, exploring the local area is easy with multiple transportation options that are all within steps of our downtown location. From nostalgic trolley rides to scenic water taxis and elevated trains, you can readily access celebrated attractions, shopping, nightlife, beaches, the port and more.
MK: What is your personal favorite aspect of the property?
JK: Definitely our breathtaking view and our cozy outdoor space, but also my amazing 200 associates that come to work every day with an exceptional passion for hospitality.
MK: On that note, how would you sum up the property’s approach to hospitality?
JK: We put people first. “Take care of associates and they will take care of the customers.” This is our founder’s philosophy and it has made Marriott International a great place to work for more than 95 years. Our associates are the “heartbeat” of our hotel, bringing our culture of service to guests and our communities to life.
At the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, we continue to elevate the art of hospitality by placing people first. Every day, our associates go above and beyond—connecting people through the power of travel. From creating incredible moments at our hotel to making a lasting impact in our local community—our associates embody the true meaning of hospitality. We pride ourselves on consistently delivering heartfelt service and ensuring our guests’ experiences are elevated beyond the everyday.
MK: What is particularly notable about your new on-site food and beverage options?
JK: Gold Coast Kitchen + Cocktails captures the flavors and feeling of the coastline of Greater Miami and all along the Southeast Atlantic. By sourcing the freshest ingredients from local farmers and fisheries, we deliver the best of The Gold Coast to your plate—and your glass. Mix in the rich cultural heritage found in the surrounding neighborhoods of our downtown Miami Biscayne Bay hotel and you’ll discover a menu that’s as eclectic, fresh and creative as life at the water’s edge. Our cocktail program features native Florida citrus fruits and flavors while also highlighting a diverse selection of white, rosé, sparkling and light and approachable red wines.
MK: How will the property continue to navigate or address the difficulties presented by the pandemic?
JK: At the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay , the health and safety of our guests and staff remain our top priority. As we continue to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic, we are committed to following the guidelines and recommendations provided by local health authorities and government regulations. We have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols throughout the property, including regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces, increased ventilation and the use of approved cleaning products. We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for our guests, whose well-being is our utmost priority. We strive to provide a worry-free experience at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.
MK: How has technology impacted the guest experience?
JK: Through Marriott’s Mobile app, guests can chat with our hotel staff before, during and after their visits to ask questions or provide special requests for their rooms, such as more pillows, for example. They can also browse local travel content based on the experiences of other Marriott Mobile app users.
MK: What are some of the sustainable initiatives that the hotel is currently implementing on its daily operations?
JK: We promote conservation of energy and water along with other eco-friendly practices. Our hotel is currently implementing low-flow plumbing fixtures that result in 30% indoor water savings. We also place an emphasis on healthy materials verified as low emissions/non-toxic. Renewable Energy Credits were purchased to offset five years of electricity use to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. High-quality LED lighting is provided in all guestrooms to reduce energy usage, minimize glare, approximate natural light, cut maintenance cost and lower materials and resources inputs.
MK: How will you continue to uphold your image in the competitive hospitality marketplace?
JK: We are putting the final touches on our total hotel renovation with the upcoming launch of our brand new, stunning fifth floor rooftop area featuring a pool bar, new pool, stylish cabanas and 14,000 square feet of event space overlooking the city and bay. We are focusing on generating awareness of our stylish new product while continuing to deliver an elevated guest experience
MK: Any interesting/unexpected/little known facts/trivia about the property/location?
JK: Our property is situated on the Biscayne Bay Manatees traverse, Miami’s extensive canal system during the winter months. A popular spot for them is the area from Black Point Park & Marina near Biscayne National Park to Biscayne Bay. Manatees typically poke their whiskery snouts out of the water every two to five minutes, but can stay submerged for as long as 20 minutes, so be sure to pack your patience.
In all, the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay hotel is more than just a place to stay; it’s an experience in itself. With breathtaking views of neighboring South Beach, Brickell, the Port of Miami and the subtropical beauty of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the central location is brimming with opportunity. With its luxurious accommodations, delectable dining options and a range of activities both in and around the hotel, this property offers a complete Miami experience. Whether you’re in the Magic City for business or leisure, this waterfront oasis stands ready to make your stay a memorable one.
Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on cultural shifts and trends as well as noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the “Savvy Living” lifestyle TV show that airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and other major markets on CBS, FOX and other top networks; as well as the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show that airs nationally on FOX Business TV and Bloomberg TV. Merilee also hosts the Savvy Ventures Podcast & Radio show available globally on W4CY Radio—the #1 ranked live streaming radio station—among others as well as all major podcast platforms, including Pandora, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Streamyard, iHeart Radio and dozens more. As a prolific lifestyle, travel, dining and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/MerileeKern / Twitter www.Twitter.com/MerileeKern / Facebook www.Facebook.com/MerileeKernOfficial / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***