Sydell Group has plans for Freehand locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C., but Miami Beach came first. The company paid $12 million for the old Indian Creek Hotel, 2727 Indian Creek Drive, in January 2012. About $8 million is going into renovations, including work that continues on a restaurant in an adjacent house, guest kitchen area and annex with more sleeping space that should be ready in early fall.
For now, the property has 62 rooms with about 250 beds. The cheapest are $35 a night in rooms with eight beds. There are also $40-a-bed quads, private kings that start at $150 and bungalows with kitchens for $250 a night.
Zobler said occupancy has been running close to 90 percent since opening.
Roy Alpert, brand director for Freehand, said part of the success is due to local appeal. He recruited Broken Shaker managing partners Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta to open the bar as a pop-up last January, which generated early interest even before the property was renovated.
“There wasn’t a place in Miami where you could just go, no velvet rope,” Alpert said.
Zvi and Orta will bring their laid-back, artisanal vibe to the hostel’s restaurant eventually; last week, Broken Shaker started serving food in the courtyard at night, and lunch bites will follow soon.
The goal, Alpert said, has been “building a community organically.”
Miami Beach residents Traci and Paul Golownia learned of the Freehand on Reddit.
Last week, on their second visit, they played Jenga in the courtyard and ordered the daily punch special, a concoction that included gin, lavender and lemon bitters.
They also jokingly urged a reporter not to write a story that would steer more locals to the property.
Said Traci Golownia: “We like it because it’s a little off the beaten path.”