After booking a trip to Miami for spotting, it was time to find a hotel. I was looking for one that would be close enough to the airport eliminating the need for a car. The one I found to be the most ideally located was Days Inn Miami International Airport hotel, and so I proceeded to book it.
While at $150 it was fairly pricey, it was still one of the cheaper hotels around the airport for my dates, and it was located just a short walk from one of Miami’s prime spotting locations.
Below is a brief review of the hotel both in terms of its facilities as well as its usefulness for photographing aircraft.
From the airport to the hotel, it is about a 15 minute drive, and the hotel provides a free shuttle. It operates every half-hour from 5AM until 1AM, and its pick-up point is on the second floor of the terminal, one level above the arrivals.
In terms of spotting locations, the hotel is just a five minute walk from “El Dorado” – one of the two main spotting locations in Miami. To get there, just cross the street in front of the hotel, and head straight. Cross the main road with Exxon on its corner, and walk straight a bit further until you reach a dead end.
The other main location – “the holes” – is a bit further from the hotel. To get there, I used Uber. It took about 10 minutes, and the ride cost about 6.5 dollars.
Before booking the hotel, I was reading some reviews, and given the fairly high number of negative reviews, I was a bit worried. However, when I arrived at the hotel, I realized that the reviews were a bit exaggerated – at least based on my four-night stay. One thing they were right about, though, was that the hotel facilities were fairly dated.
The hotel front desk staff was quite friendly, and got me checked in in no time. Near the reception, there were some couches which were especially useful when waiting for the airport shuttle. There was also a pair of vending machines – one for drinks and snacks each.
To the right of the reception were some restrooms, and a hallway leading to a game room with a small pool table in the middle and a large number of retro arcade games. There was also the breakfast room.
The hotel provides free breakfast every morning from 7AM until 10AM. Do not expect much – there were some bacon and eggs, toasts, and cereals. It was still enough to get the day started.
On the right side of the hallway, was another hallway with the guest rooms and an entrance to the outdoor pool area. In the outdoor area, besides the pool, there was also some seating, and a gym.
Just as the rest of the facilities, the room was fairly dated, but otherwise it was alright. It was spacey enough – although my judgement of that might be skewed as I am staying at Japanese business hotels with tiny rooms a lot.
To the left of the door was a closet which also contained an iron and a safe.
To the right was a basic bathroom. There were minimum amenities – just shampoo and a soap bar. Interestingly, there was also a tea and coffee set in the bathroom.
The room had a small table with two chairs, a TV stand, and a working desk as well. There was also a refrigerator and a microwave oven. All of this was along the left wall.
Finally, there was a pair of beds which were far from being too comfortable as they were a bit too soft for my liking. However, they still managed to get their job done.
The biggest problem I had with the room was its soundproofing or the lack thereof. While some people might have problem with it in relation to the aircraft noise outside, that was not a problem for me. The biggest issue I had was people talking loud in the adjacent rooms and people getting to the hotel late at night.
The reason is that while the whole hallway was covered with carpet, just in front of my room there was no carpet – only tiles. I never imagined suitcases and luggage carts could be that loud. Especially past midnight!
The room could also use some more lighting.
Unfortunately, without a car there are not many places to get food. The nearest store of any kind is a food mart attached to the gas station two minute walk from the hotel. To get there, just leave the hotel and walk straight.
The nearest actual (if fast food counts) restaurant is a Wendy’s that’s about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Just turn left at the Exxon intersection, and head straight.
Finally, there are some delivery menus in the room – all for pizza – and based on some reviews they might all be coming from the same place. Anyways, as the reviews for those were worse than bad, I just skipped on those.
While the hotel facilities were outdated, and the breakfast was subpar, the hotels location outweighed all the negatives to me personally.
As such, it will highly depend on what your preferences are when deciding whether or not to stay here. If you want to do spotting at Miami airport, and do not want to rent a car, this is the place to be. However, it comes at a cost in terms of comfort.
To me, it was more than worth it – it is tough to beat being able to wake up, have breakfast, and then just take a five minute stroll to what I think is the best location for spotting in Miami, and one of the best in the world!