On our New Miami blog we often talk about Miami’s role as a trendsetting market for the hospitality industry. Over the last few years, Miami has been a popular launching point for luxury brands, such as The Thompson Miami Beach, Ian Schrager’s EDITION Hotel South Beach, SIXTY Hotel’s Nautilus South Beach, AC Hotel by Marriott and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger’s revitalization of The Raleigh Hotel as a hotel and private club. Each of these brands is competing in an luxury arms race to appeal to affluent travelers. However, Miami’s best kept secret, and potentially most lucrative, may just be a high-end hostel appealing to the elusive millennial market and its estimated $220 billion in annual spending power.
Hostels, long the lodging of choice with the international backpacking set rather than the international jet set, have long been a mainstay in Europe, but have struggled to take off in America. However, since opening in 2012 in the shell of an old motel to the north of South Beach, Freehand has quickly become a popular destination for both locals and tourists. For locals, it’s a popular hangout known for its food, drinks and entertainment. Tourists are attracted to its appeal to locals, trendy reputation and low rates. Unashamedly casual and low-key, Freehand is reminiscent of old Miami Beach and offers an affordable escape from the glitz and glamour of its more luxurious neighbors. Continue Reading