This was my first hostel experience. I traveled with a group of 14 girls for a bachelorette weekend, Thursday-Sunday. The bride-to-be is an avid hostel-goer and chose the Freehand. Luckily, because of the size of our group, we all filled out the private quads and bungalow with ourselves and never had additional guests, even the two in the shared quad never had to experience sharing their room.
You get what you pay for here. The breakfast is blah, the pastries were sometime stale and the fruit not yet ripe. The cleaning crew does come daily, however we chose to just have fresh towels, toilet paper, and trash bags delivered so that they didn't have to climb over our stuff in the bungalow or potentially have something thrown out that we wanted to keep. The pool area is great, the bar is nice, but overpriced as many in Miami are. The rooms all have electronic keys like hotels and there are lockers inside for valuables, just bring your own lock.
In more detail about the bungalow, which is the room I was in. We had bungalow 2. We did not realize there were more than one bungalow, otherwise we would have booked both instead of having our group all split up amongst private quads etc. the bungalows are also not attached to the rest of the property, they are outside across a small courtyard/driveway and there is no access back in without having to walk around to the main lobby. You could wait for someone to open the back hall door but good luck with that. It was spacious in the common are and that's about it. The "kitchen" was the size of an NYC apt kitchen, with barely any room to actually move in it, but it did come stocked with plates, utensils, pots, pans, glasses etc.
The biggest FAIL of bungalow 2 is that there is only one bathroom and it is very small. It was difficult sharing this with 3 other girls. Also, there was not a single full length mirror in the entire place. Our other girls had full length mirrors in the quads, but the bungalow had none. The hot water took forever to heat up for a shower, the toilet was awkward with flushing, and the bathroom was essentially a "hot box". No windows, 2 door access - hallway and bedroom. No counter space, no place for hair items etc. no place to hang wet swimsuits so we basically made a mess of this entire unit by the time we left.
We walked to the beach every day, but it is not "south beach". The beach behind the complex is Miami north beach. South beach is a good 7 minute cab ride away. However, we enjoyed the privacy and proximity of the north beach. There is a cafe with great inexpensive food, coffee, empanadas etc, across the street, along with a Subway chain, bodega/corner store and a small souvenir shop.
There are many Europeans staying here as it is a quite popular and inexpensive way to stay somewhere and travel. They smoke weed a lot. The lobby often smelled like marijuana. The pool area has plenty of smokers milling about, during the day and after hours when being served at night by the broken shaker. I don't smoke (anything), but if you do, you should have no trouble getting high.
Overall I felt ok with the hostel, it only cost about $150 for the 3 nights for each of us in the bungalow, but it is not my style and I wouldn't do it again. I can check it off the bucket list and never look back.
Go with a small group and get a private quad or bungalow.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.