As a flight attendant, many of my nights are spent at Hiltons, Sheratons, Doubletrees, etc. When I travel for pleasure, I crave a different experience. Freehand Miami was just that.
My husband and I checked in on February 2 for two nights before going on a cruise. We booked a private, 4-bunk room. The beds are twins, so you'll either really have to snuggle up really tight or just sleep separately (we chose the latter).
I pre-purchased our stay from Hotels.com. Upon check-in, we were charged again by mistake. It was refunded immediately, no big deal. Actually I take part of the blame because I wasn't paying attention when my husband was checking in or else I would've caught it before we were charged.
The lobby is really cute and low-key, as is the hostel in general. There are bicycles available for rent and board games you can check out. There is a little bulletin board that has daily activities listed next to the front desk -- we went to the Lincoln Road Farmers Market and had a wonderful day there. We wouldn't have known about it had it not been for that bulletin board! The garden and pool area is absolutely gorgeous. There are ping pong tables, plenty of seating around the pool, and seating throughout the garden. I'm calling it a garden because it was that beautiful. Just a really cool, low-key, eclectic space. There is a bar outside with very reasonably priced cocktails. We were there on a Saturday night and the garden/bar area was packed all night, at least until 4am. It is a great scene and the music was SO good anytime -- day and night. Sunday was Super Bowl and although the property has no TVs, they brought in a gigantic screen and showed the game in the garden/bar area. Awesome.
A block away is a little strip mall with a Subway, a liquor store, and two restaurants. We ate at the Cantina, and it was excellent. Very convenient if you need a quick thing or two and/or you don't want to trek all the way down to SoBe.
At first I was afraid we'd be really old compared to the other guests (we're both 33), and although there were many guests younger than us, there were also families with small children as well as a handful of guests that looked to be in their 40s. A lot of Europeans, which doesn't bother me because my husband is European. Everyone was friendly and open to chatting, which I really like. If you're a keep-to-yourself kind of person, you can do that here too.
The rooms are kind of loud. The hallways have wood floors and don't absorb much sound, so I did wake up a couple times on Saturday night when people were coming in after a night on the town, and I'm a pretty heavy sleeper. Honestly, that would really be my only complaint about the Freehand Miami, and that's not that bad as far as complaints go. The rooms are clean and cute, kind of Ikea-esque. Each bunk has a little light and a cubby to plug in your electronics. I thought that was cool. My husband and I had a lot of fun climbing around on the bunk beds -- I say bunk bed, but really it's an entire wall unit, like a built-in. Very sturdy.
South Beach proper (what you see in the movies, etc.) is about 1-1.5 miles away, accessible by a beachfront boardwalk, or you can walk up Collins Ave. It was a little farther than ideal, especially after the 5-mile run on the boardwalk I did every morning, but we're active and pretty fit, it was really no big deal. It would probably suck after a night of drinking, though. A cab is about $5 one way and readily available.
All in all, I would definitely stay here again. Really cool vibe, nice, friendly people, and a great staff. My first and most excellent hostel experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.