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Miami’s Hostel Takeover: The Freehand

Written by Cator Sparks Posted on January 25, 2013

Anyone remember Miami in the 80s? It was a bit run down, great local seafood and there was always that random Gianni Versace spotting. These days Miami is booming with mega luxury hotels, super clubs and pricey restaurants (although the service is still on par with a gas station in Guadalajara).

Needless to say we were happy to discover a low key concept hotel, make that hostel, that recently opened called Freehand. There are bunk beds, shared rooms, local food and an amusing bar called The Broken Shaker.

We had a chin wag with Roy Alpert, Brand Director of Freehand to hear more about this anti glam and idyllic little getaway.

What is the concept / vibe of Freehand and why is it suited to Miami right now, especially with the mega rich taking Miami to Dubai-an levels of wealth? 

The concept behind Freehand is to create a premium hostel brand that incorporates innovative design, destination local food and beverage, and a truly social hospitality experience, all offered at an affordable price. This concept suits Miami for a few reasons.  One is that Miami attracts Europeans and South Americans, as well as other international youth travelers, that are accustomed to shared accommodations.  They are really embracing the concept.  Secondly, our local food and beverage program is a great destination for locals.  It’s very rare for locals in the US to hang out at a hostel, but thanks to The Broken Shaker, our popular mixology bar, this is happening.

Are there going to be dress codes and velvet ropes here or will we find a more relaxed Miami vibe?

The local community has been somewhat abandoned due to the “Las Vegas-ification” of Miami.  There are too many mega clubs with $18 vodka sodas and velvet ropes.  The locals have really embraced the friendly backyard vibe of the property, as well as the accessible price points.

Where will the restaurant be located?

We are in the process of restoring a historic house on the property, and transforming it into a restaurant, bar, and common area.  The House will invite solo travelers and groups of all sizes to forge new connections over good food and in good company.  The restoration will preserve the beauty of Russell Pancoast’s original 1930s design while providing new, modern touches, like a rooftop garden above the Kitchen.

What should we expect from The House?

The food will be made from scratch – local when possible, and organic when it is better.  The restaurant’s focus is Miami, so the cuisine will have heavy Latin inspiration and touches of Asian influence.  For the most part, dishes will be creative, healthy, and light, prepared with modern techniques that make the food exciting and current.  Daily specials and themed nights will keep things interesting for guests.  Lower price points, larger portions, and family style service will appeal to both international travelers and local regulars.