Freehand, a new venture in ’boutique hostels’ that recently opened in Miami, will be a hit with the short-on-cash but big-on-style boho crowd that inundate the city every year for Art Miami Basel. Situated in an 1930′s deco building a block from the beach the hostel is kitted-out with a welcoming mix of vintage flair and contemporary art.
Located in the former Indian Creek Hotel, the hostel is a new venture by the Sydell Group the taste-makers behind the ACE NYC and Palm Springs, the NoMad Hotel in NYC and the recently opened Saguaro Hotel in desert art hub, Scottsdale. This is the first of several planned ventures in the ’boutique hostel’ space and it seems fair to say that they are onto something. If the interiors look inviting that’s because they are by New York outfit Roman and Williams, the space-maker team behind the buzzing Breslin at the ACE hotel and the jaw-droppingly awesome 18th Floor Club at NYC’s Standard Hotel. In short: this joint has design credentials.
From US$35 a bed, dorm rooms are a thrifty option for solo travellers, a band on tour, or a bunch of friends out to raise hell in Miami. Lovely double rooms (from US$150) are also available though it’s hard to say whether a quiet night’s sleep is assured, what with all the ji-jinx going down. (We can’t speak from experience as we haven’t tried it yet, so if you have, please let us know!)
What We Love
What we like the sounds of: The friendly, community ethos of a hostel combined with loads of style. The social strata mash-up, similar in ilk to the fantastic Michelberger Hotel in Berlin or the Lloyd in Amsterdam. On the menu: a swish swimming pool, ping-pong tables, bicycles and organised events for interested guests based around art, music and local culture. The on-site bar, the Broken Shaker, promises affordable cocktails using herbs and spices from the on-site garden. (No doubt they also have their own supply of hipster bees creating politically correct honey for your organic breakfast in the morning as well…)
Room to Improve
In our experience staff are not the quickest to respond to email queries which is clearly not ideal if you are pressed for time. For in-house guests, the real problem seems to be sound issues- ie: sound-proofing of rooms and noise from that bar that is open until the early hours of the morning. The hotel cultivates and attracts people who are up for fun – so, if you want to sleep you might enjoy your stay more if you book during the week, or at least, pack some ear-plugs!
Keep in mind that prices escalate at peak times and weekends, so either book ahead or be prepared to pay more. Come the weekend the bar and restaurant are are inundated with locals, which is great for the buzz, but if you’re thinking ‘peace and quiet’, then think again. If you want to join in, make sure you book a table. There are bikes for hire, but they can be popular so get in early if you’d like to spend the day cruising around on two wheels. Don’t forget to take advantage of events such movie screenings in the garden or art classes.