Falling in Love with Hostels, Thanks to Freehand Miami!

After one terrible hostel experience in Banff during the Banff Television Festival, I made a judgement call on hostels … thinking they were all thin walled, with less than comfortable beds, intended for immature party obsessed late teen and early 20-somethings (I think I was a late 20-something at the time).  Now don’t shoot me for this judgement … in my first night at the hostel in question, my roommate and I did not sleep a wink, as we had people start partying outside our room at 2 am, got to listen to teen relationship drama outside our door half the night, followed by the police showing up due to breakins and stolen goods. All this, while the front desk staff at the hostel did nothing about the complaints. If you have ever been to the Banff Television Festival, you’ll know that whatever sleep you are able to get is vital to surviving and to your success, so we moved out at 8 am the next morning.

Thanks to Filmgate Miami, that was not my last hostel experience after all. Instead they made me fall in love with hostels, by booking me in to stay at the Freehand Hostel in Miami, over the course of their Festival.


Tikki Bar in Freehand Miami Courtyard

Fountains & Tikki Bars, Oh My!


What I was greeted with, upon arriving in Miami and at the Freehand Miami, was with a warm and friendly style of place, with a bohemian feel, and a mixture of travellers of all ages.  Yep!  This was definitely my style of space.


Hanging out in the Freehand Miami Lobby

“I don’t want to work! I want to beat on my drum all day!”


The sun filled lobby hosted an eclectic array of furniture and instruments, designed to make people feel at home and want to linger and chat.


Playing the piano in the Freehand Miami lobby.

Loved following the sound of music to find someone playing the piano in the lobby.


Painted map on the wall at Freehand Miami.

Gotta love a place thats not too afraid to paint their own map.


I studied the homemade map of the area, trying to get my bearings, and figure out where everything was, and where I’d be spending the next few days, over the course of the festival. While I waited my turn to checkin, I eyed up the activities board, mulling the Festival schedule in my head. Would I able to make the Sunday Beach Yoga or Backyard Barbecue?  I had heard from my Filmgate Miami hosts that the weekly Sunday night Barbecues were always a good time.



The Week, Freehand Miami style.

Hmm … what do I have the time to do???


So far so good! And then they showed me my room …


Freehand Miami Standard King

Home Sweet Home!


Wow!  This was a room in a hostel!?!  With the interior design by Roman & Williams, this was nicer than many 5 star hotels I’d stay in.

The room included a walk-in closet … my own bathroom with some rather divine toiletries


Dr. Broanner's Magic at Freehand Miami

My first experience with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and hopefully not my last, as they were rather divine!


… artwork by local Miami artists … a safe that fit both my laptops and camera gear …


Freehand Miami Laptop Size Safe

Brilliant! Surprised 5-star hotels are not in the habit of equipping rooms with laptop size safes.


… everything I needed to work (including complimentary wifi) and more (iPod docking station) …


Retro Freehand Miami ipod dock

Rather fancied this touch!


… and then there was the bed …


Roamancing Red Boots right at home at Freehand Miami

Yes, our Roamancing Red Boots were right at home!


… I still dream about that king size bed … so comfy!  The red boots were right at home here!

And to give you the full picture, here is what the shared rooms look like with their beds with their 10-inch mattresses!


Super 8 Room at Freehand Miami

The Super 8 Room


Sleep, however, would have to wait!  There was after all a backyard pool to check out!


Freehand Miami Backyard beckoning!

With an entrance like this, how could the backyard not beckon!


I certainly was not disappointed by the pool …


Freehand Miami Pool LOVE

‘LOVE’ is about right!


… the courtyard, where conversation with interesting travellers would spark up …


Cascading flowers over Freehand Miami Courtyard!

Love that flowers cascaded over this courtyard bordered with herbs!


… the backyard games area …


Backyard Games at Freehand Miami

Ping Pong, anyone?


A bit of bocci at Freehand Miami

Care for a game of bocci?


… the tiki bar …


Coconut Man at the Freehand Miami Tikki Bar

Not a bad fellow to make acquaintances with!


… and even bicycles …


Freehand Miami Bicycles

Ideal Miami transportation!


Forget the room, this would be my office for the next few days … as well it should be … under the Miami sun!


Our office at Freehand Miami

Must say, the office is looking rather delightful today!


And as soon as the sun went to sleep, that tiki bar – The Broken Shaker, came alive, giving this courtyard a rocking nightlife of it’s own, perfect for a nightcap … or in Emme‘s case, to experiment with filming her first ‘Art Film’!


Broken Shaker Cocktail at Freehand Miami

My first time trying a cocktail containing egg white. Was rather delicious!


But even with the buzzing backyard nightlife (and dare I say, cocktails – tasty things, that packed quite a punch), the design of the space, meant that by the time I’d found my way to bed, there was no noise to stop me from peacefully drifting off to sleep.

After all there was a beach beckoning before the Festival begun again the next day … both in wind …


Paragliders in Miami

Could easily have watched these paragliders sail all afternoon!


… and shine!


Miami sun and colour!

Got to love a blast of sand, sun, and colour in the dead of winter!


Can’t wait to return!


Freehand Miami Stone Alligator

I wonder if this fellow will be awaiting my return?


  1. says

    Been ages since I’ve stayed at a hostel due in large part to what you described early on in your article. But this one in my home state of Florida looks great! Next time I head south I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    I think hostels are really great. They’re cheap and quite cozy. But travelers have to do some research before they decide to stay in one. There are plenty of rotten eggs out there too!

  3. Matt says

    We’ve stayed at many hostels over the years and they really are hit and miss. Some of them are terrible, some of them are fantastic. Sounds like you have a winner here. Looks as good as any hotel!

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