First Look | The Freehand Miami Beach
When it opens in time for Art Basel Miami, the high-style hostel Freehand may be Miami Beach’s most unlikely scenester hideaway. And its developer, Andrew Zobler, the C.E.O. of Sydell Group (which owns the NoMad Hotel and brought the Ace Hotels to New York and Palm Springs), is betting that it’s a game changer in the hospitality business. He hired Roman & Williams, which designed the Ace New York, to create the interiors — colorful spaces, some with bunk beds, that look like a styled-out room at sleepaway camp. “Think seaside boathouse, lifeguard school, a homemade summer camp near the ocean,” says the designer Robin Standefer. Zobler, who traveled to hostels in the States and abroad and says he found that they “offered some- thing lacking in many hotels — a culture where the guests were open to and often seeking out meaningful interactions with each other and where new friendships were being formed.” To that end, Freehand will have a vegetable garden, swimming pool, table tennis, bicycles and even art classes, as well as a restaurant and bar run by the folks behind local favorite Broken Shaker. And there will be towels, sheets, pillows and an amenity-stocked bathroom for every room — not always a given at hostels. As Standefer puts it, “it’s not a place with cheap beds to just crash in.” About 15 of the 60 rooms will be private (for one or two guests), while shared rooms will accommodate up to eight beds, with rates starting at about $50 for a bed in a shared room. Booking begins today.