I’ve heard of luxury hostels, but none quite like Miami’s The Freehand, located on the infamous South Beach. Miami is a notoriously expensive city to visit, so I was impressed to see the sheer number of hostels in the area. But be warned that not all hostels are created equal, as this one was created for “a new generation of travelers,” mostly young and hip.
The decor feels very much like what you’d expect from a hotel, mostly because it was built in the former 1930s Art Deco-style Indian Creek Hotel. Free WiFi is available throughout the hostel and reception is staffed 24 hours by their multilingual team. Breakfast is included, mostly Cuban pastries and juices. There’s a pool and lounge, as well as a bar that serves food. It’s near public transportation, stores and a few restaurants.
The hostel plans nightly activities like movie nights and trips to the Marlins games. The dorm rooms, opened through a keycard, are nicer than I’ve found at any other hostel in any country. The Super 8 dorm, which I stayed in, included lockers and 2 ensuite bathrooms. They are cleaned daily. I was able to rent a DecoBike right down the street from The Freehand, which took me to the center of South Beach, as well as catch a bus to the Wynwood Walls in downtown Miami.
The Broken Shaker bar is easily one of the hostel’s top amenities, bringing in locals and visitors alike, most of whom aren’t staying at Freehand Miami. It started as a pop-up bar but now has a permanent home at the hostel. I was given a free drink voucher upon check-in, which allowed me to sample one of their craft cocktails, which typically run upwards of $9. The bar is open from 6 pm to 2 am on weeknights and from 2 pm to 2 am on weekends.
There were a few things that I wish had been different, namely the parking situation. I realize that parking in South Beach is hard to come by for everyone, but I had to park nearly ten blocks away at a metered spot that I continually had to add money to. The elevator is being worked on, so if you’re on a top floor, be prepared to climb.
There’s no kitchen, which I found hard to believe, but I guess they expect guests to dine out. There aren’t many restaurants within walking distance, so you’re better off eating before you come back for the evening. Breakfast is a bit small, so if you get hungry, I recommend bringing something extra. The bar also stays open late, so bring earplugs if you plan on falling asleep early.
For More Information
The Freehand is located at 2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33140. Check in isn’t until 4 pm and check out is at 11 am. Parking is not included but there are metered spots nearby on Indian Creek Drive as well as a metered lot on 27th Street. I recommend parking and keeping your car there to avoid the stress of finding a new spot.
The hostel offers both dorm rooms and private rooms, ranging from $17-30 for the Super 8 dorm to $95 for an entire bungalow, ideal for groups and families. Be aware that prices change for big event weekends and high season.
If you’re arriving by Greyhound bus, take the C bus and get off at Indian Creek and 29th Street. If you’re arriving by Amtrak, take the L bus eastbound to the same stop. If you’re arriving by plane, take the Airport Flyer bus #150, which also stops at the bus stop on 29th.