What We Love
- Daily breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Courtyard oasis with a swimming pool, ping-pong, bocce and board games
- Home of the Broken Shaker, arguably Miami’s best-loved bar, which serves artisanal cocktails and snacks
- Lobby activity board and constantly updated website list opportunities for fun in the sun
What To Know
- In keeping with Miami Beach custom, an 18 percent gratuity is included in tabs at the Broken Shaker
- Hallways are subdued, unlike the bright, cheery rooms and art-filled lobby
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Miami vacation?
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Grown-up summer camp. From the hand-painted map of Miami Beach on one wall of the lobby (parts of South Beach are labeled “Boobs” and “Gay Dudes,” respectively) to the activity board with flyers advertising free art classes in the courtyard and yoga on the beach, everything at the Freehand is quirky, witty and site-specific. The entry is papered with vintage travel ads for Miami, the courtyard is studded with Midcentury Modern patio furniture — even the tissue boxes in the rooms are covered in road maps of the Magic City.
Bed & Bath
Spotless shared rooms — quads and eight-beds that can be rented by a group or split with other solo travelers — have ship-shape bunkbeds, woven blankets in primary colors, and the ambience of a perfect place to play truth or dare or tell ghost stories. But a private room is perhaps more your thing. Private King rooms are basic but surprisingly large, with well-chosen details: flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and design-conscious bathrobes embroidered with the word Miami. Bathrooms are as retro as the Art Deco building itself, with beige-and-white tiles and full tubs, and the same attention paid to little something extras, such as hair dryers in embroidered bags dangling from the back of the bathroom door.
The in-house bar, the Broken Shaker, opened as a pop-up experiment in the courtyard of the old Indian Creek Hotel before its transformation into the Freehand. Its artisanal cocktails — made from housemade bitters, courtyard-grown herbs and house-pickled garnishes — proved so popular that locals clamored for its return. Now it serves drinks and a small but impeccably procured food menu (locally made Proper sausages on pretzel buns from Zak the baker) starting at 6 p.m. each evening. There’s also a light menu of wraps and salads available all day by the pool, and the restaurant, 27, made its debut in fall 2014, serving tasty creations with produce sourced from the on-site garden.
In the Area
Two blocks from the shores of South Beach, the Freehand sits in a quiet neighborhood of luxury hotels 11 blocks from the pedestrian mall of Lincoln Road and about 15 from the Art Deco madness of Ocean Drive. Guests can rent bikes ($15) to take in the sights, stroll over to the beach for yoga, or hop in a cab to admire the graffiti art during the Wynwood Art Walk. The friendly Freehanders at reception can arrange for further adventures, such as paddleboarding on Indian Creek. Everyone is focused on visitors having fun and getting to know Miami and its inhabitants — which will happen even if you stay on campus, as locals flock to the Broken Shaker come sundown.