Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

One of the best travel deals I found this year was for 3 nights at The Ritz-Carlton’s Key Biscayne property in Miami.

Key Biscayne is a tiny island that’s both secluded and so close to South Beach you can see it from your balcony. The island is fairly suburban and sleepy, so if you are looking to party in Miami (~30 minute drive to South Beach), this may not be the best location for you.

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Luckily, I was looking for a laid-back, poolside weekend, which the hotel happily delivered. I was also lucky enough to a score a lie-flat bed to Miami on my flight over for $106.20, so my weekend of pampering (read: ballin’ on a budget) was already off to a good start when I arrived.

View of one of two pool areas from my balcony, with South Beach in the distance

Getting There

From Miami International Airport (MIA), it’s easy to hail an uber, which will cost you roughly $20-$25 for the ~30 minute ride. The drive is pretty; you ride past the downtown Miami skyscrapers and can see boats go down the Intercoastal.

The Property

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is known for its tennis center. Aside from that, there are 2 pools (an adults-only pool, which is where I spent my time), a “beach” (more on that below), and a pool that can be used by families. There’s also a gym, which is top-notch.

The Room

I booked an Oceanfront View room, which had an incredible view of the ocean, South Beach, and the hotel pools.

My glorious bed.

I cannot say enough good things about the bed – it was incredibly comfortable, and the turn-down service and A/C also helped me sleep like a baby.

Pearl Watch

The bathroom was big, with a separate shower and bathtub. Also, the room’s entertainment system allows you to log into Netflix, so if you wanted to put on a robe and spend a night binge watching your favorite shows, you definitely can.

Basically No Beach

If you’re heading to Miami for a beach vacation, this might not be the property for you.

Although the hotel is situated next to the water, the beach is not the crystal clear blue-type water you’d normally expect in South Florida, and it’s not the best swimming beach (lots of seaweed).

Picture taken about a 10-minute stroll south of the hotel property.

Still, you can hear the waves crash at night and I would recommend taking a stroll down the beach and the nearby dunes.


For the right price, I would definitely stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne again. The room was comfortable with a gorgeous view, the property was beautiful, and the proximity to the water are hard to beat.

Note that the trip I took was in June, which is not ideal for visiting Miami, as it’s start to getting way too hot. That said, Key Biscayne is more of a laid-back island with a nice breeze coming through it, and the heat wasn’t unbearable.

What’s your favorite hotel in Miami? Let me know in the comments!

How I scored a lie-flat bed on American Airlines for $106.20

Did you know that American Airlines uses lie-flat bad in its first class between New York City (JFK) and Miami?

When I was looking at booking a flight between these cities, American Airlines has the best deal, coming in at $106.20 after taxes for June travel. When I went to pick a seat, I noticed that the plane had lie-flat beds (notably, the flight on American leaving later in the day did not), and decided that I would request a 500-mile upgrade for the flight.

For those who don’t know, American Airlines has a unique feature where, once you obtain premier status on the airline, you’re given around 500-mile upgrades to use for future flights (with Gold, I was given 10). For each 500 miles that you fly, you need to use 1 of your 500-miles upgrades. If you want to purchase more upgrades, it costs $40 for each one.

I generally like this system, as it makes it so you only request an upgrade when it’s most beneficial to you – and I’ve found I’m much more likely to get a 500-mile upgrade when I use it, compared to complimentary upgrades on United, where I also have status.

Unfortunately, the flying distance between JFK and MIA is 1,090, meaning it cost 3 500-mile upgrades (if it was just 90 miles less, it would have been 2!). Still, I decided to try for the upgrade because of the flat bed.

The flight was fairly empty, and I got confirmed for my upgrade at check-in. Because I’ve yet to go through all 10 500-mile upgrades (and I’ve upgraded on 3 flights now, including Turks & Caicos to Charlotte), I was able to score a flat bed for cheap!

The flight wasn’t particularly amazing, but, despite the short flight time, I actually used the bed and took a nap. Since I doubt I’ll maintain my American status, the good news is that the flight was around $300 to book directly for the flat bed; which, although not ideal, isn’t totally unreasonable.


How I scored 3 nights in an ocean-view room at The Ritz-Carlton in Miami for $337.30 total

I spent a lot of time going to Florida as a kid. As a Jew from New Jersey, many of my relatives made the “Jewish Migration” from the northeast to South Florida, and I would (generally) love my visits down there.

As I grew up, I became less in love with Florida, but always managed to have fun whenever I went. That’s why I knew I had to hop on this amazing deal I found at The Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne.

I was first alerted to the deal by an e-mail from I definitely recommend singing up for their newsletter – while most deals will likely be unavailable simply because of location, a few pop-up, like this one, which are incredible.

The original deal was $49/night (before fees) for an Ocean View, 1 Bedroom Residential Suite, so I booked the first dates I found available, which were in mid-June. After fees and taxes, this came $261.03 for 3 nights. I was in heaven. I even made sure to book on The Ritz-Carlton website directly, thinking there was a better chance they would honor this deal than a website like (which, in my experience, almost never honors these mistaken hotel fares).

But my dreams were short lived. A few days after I booked this deal, I got an e-mail from hotel itself, saying that they had to charge me full price for the room. Being a lawyer, I fought them on it. In fact, I had a back-and-forth with one worker for around a month, and finally got him to give me less nice, but still great deal – instead of what I originally booked, I was offered 3 nights (over the same dates) in an Onceanfront View Guestroom at a rate of $674.61 after taxes. The actual rate for room (according to the hotel’s website) is $1,974.11 for the same dates. So, although I am paying much more than I had anticipated and am losing a suite, I am still getting an incredible deal.

Even with my deal, I was still feeling too cheap to pay it. Miami can be fun, but Key Biscayne is a little slower and it’s in June, when weather down there is far from ideal. But not wanting to give up on my hard work of securing a great price, I reached out to an overworked friend of mine, easily convincing him of his need for a weekend away. He agreed to split the cost with me, making my total damage $337.30 for 3 nights on an ocean-view room in The Ritz-Carlton in Miami.

I’ll be sure to update you after my stay to let you know how it was!