When it comes to hotels in Miami, beach junkies find themselves limited to two very distinctive options. Behind door one is high-end establishments glittering with glamor and elegance. Behind door number two are a variety of spring-break-esque hotels where vinyl tiles replace vomit stained carpet. Ew. Miami’s hospitality industry has offered very few “in-between” choices, until now. The recent opening of the Freehand Miami Hostel, a reinvention of the historic Indian Creek Hotel, is filling Miami’s hospitality gap with its chic and authentic accommodations.
The Freehand is responsible for releasing an effortlessly cool and well traveled energy into Miami. This feel-good vibe is likely due to the New York City powerhouse creatives behind the establishment. Developed by The Sydell Group, hyped by the public relation gurus at M18, musically sculpted by Honor Roll Music, and designed by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of design firm Roman and Williams. “Our work continues where history dropped off or disappeared” Alesch explained, as it was up to him and Standefer to re-sparked a flame in the historic 1930s Art Deco building.
The two Roman and Williams designers were working with The Sydell Group on the ACE Hotel NYC when the development team approached them about designing a new boutique hostel in Miami. “It actually had no name when we started – We named it – We did the initial branding, naming, and logo for the project,” Alesch noted. Preserving the space was only one of the many challenges in rebuilding the Freehand, “oddly enough the largest obstacle was the Historic Commission in Miami – getting approval on a Modern Aesthetic is easy, getting approval on a historic or eclectic style is near impossible. We have no interest in a clean and contemporary look so we are confronted all the time with confused administrators and also architects who don’t understand our desire to be “unprofessional” in our choice.”
Vintage wood furniture pieces meet an impressive collection of weathered National Geographic magazines in the lobby as the back-door courtyard dripping with palms sets the scene for this Camp-ground gone tropical establishment. The cool yard-sale-style furniture pieces came from “all over the place!” Alesch explained. “We hunt everywhere, we have the best shoppers in the world working with us at Roman and Williams.”
The communal-style boutique hostel pays homage to an ‘endless summer’ as travelers make easy friends around the courtyard pool, artfully surrounded by the graffiti work of artist and photographer, Curtis Kulig, who repeatedly bombed ‘Love Me’ in bright colors across the courtyard fence. An absolute poolside favorite is The Broken Shaker, the Freehand’s tasty interpretation of a hotel bar that features specialty handcrafted cocktails with elixirs, syrups, and infusions made from herbs and spices from our garden, fresh-pressed produce and exotic ingredients from around the world.
The Freehand offers private and shared accommodations, the Super 8, Shared Quad, Private Quad, and Bungalows shelter groups of travelers, while the Standard King claims the adventuring duos. Each of the shared two-toned yellow and blue hostel rooms are outfitted with lake cabin paraphernalia such as worn ladders, wood paneling, bunk beds, and bulky red hooks to hang your towels. Your endless summer begins at $40 a night.