We were determined to discover Miami on a budget. Looking for a reasonable hotel in South Beach for a girlfriend getaway within proximity to the beach, restaurants, and shopping wasn’t an easy feat. It required a lot of discussion, complaining, wishful thinking, squabbling, and scouring the Internet for deals.Turns out there were little to none.
One of us (I’d like to think it was me), stumbled across the Miami Beach International Travellers Hostel. We weren’t convinced a hostel was the right pick for anyone over 21, but we quickly realized this boutique hostel was only one block from the beach and just $23 a piece for a 6-room ensuite dorm room. And there were six of us, so we essentially had our own private room.
The rooms were nothing spectacular and housed utilitarian bunk beds with a private bathroom and TV. We had partial ocean views and the walk to the beach took around 2 minutes. The hostel was always a little on the noisy side with plenty of activity in the main lounge. But we quickly grew fond of the atmosphere and got to know our neighbors from Italy and Argentina.
Spending most of the day at the beach was on the top of our priorities. For anyone who’s modest, South Beach is topless optional and plenty of locals and tourists enforce the policy. It’s easy to forget about the lack of swimwear after a dip in the ocean and relaxing with a cold drink.
The hostel was always busy and the staff gave us plenty ideas on where to go at night. We hit Club Deuce for drinks and Moshi Moshi for sushi. My favorite spot, Pucci’s, was always opened no matter how late we stayed out and we devoured cheap slices before heading in for the night. South Beach can get kind of rowdy at night, so sticking in groups and going home together is always a smart idea.
After we got tired of laying around on the beach, we explored the pedestrian mall around Lincoln Road. It’s a convient stop for walking, shopping and visiting art galleries. Carl Fisher, a wealthy developer, hoped to see the area rival Fifth Avenue in New York or Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. You can find anything from rollerblades to couture to Starbucks without ever leaving the strip.
I took morning walks after a strong cuban espresso at David’s Cafe and perused the bright houses littering the residential areas around the beach. Flourescent yellow, purple, and pink were not uncommon and I wondered how they would look standing up against the brownstones in my Brooklyn neighborhood.
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