clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami is the Heart of the Funky 'Lifestyle Motel' Craze

New, 1 comment

Two of Miami's restored midcentury mod motels on Biscayne Boulevard, The Vagabond Motel and The New Yorker Boutique Hotel, are prime examples of the "emerging lifestyle motel segment…for consumers seeking vintage style, indie personality, low rates and close connection to the community" reports website Skift, a hotel-industry news site which sort of looks like the Curbed of travel. Although Skift features two other similar models of this latest sensation—The Oasis at the Golden Spike in Las Vegas and the Burrard in Portland—one of the big centers of this trend, and the article, is Miami.

Clearly reaching international acclaim, the Vagabond will be included as one of the six featured hotels in the Lond-based design magazine Wallpaper's Miami city guide—impressive considering other hot shots on the scene, not to mention what Biscayne Boulevard looked like 20 years ago. Receiving national accreditation as a historic landmark, the Vagabond prides itself on the aspects that set it apart, preserving its 1950s feel (yet owner, Avra Jain, purposefully decided to operate it as the "Vagabond Hotel" without changing the spelling on the historic signage so as to be a better contender in Google searches). Jain also mentions the adjacent Knoxon Motel, which she is now restoring as an annex of the Vagabond, as well as converting the nearby South Pacific Motel into offices, where each office would act as a storefront. Jain notably claims that every office will have a shower, a might asset for those brave enough to bike to work, especially during Miami's summers (it's April and you're complaining? Just wait).

The Vagabond is rightfully considered a leader of its neighborhood, pioneering positive changes in its locale, and just down the street, it appears that the New Yorker is following suit. This hotel/motel, owned by Shirley Diaz, offers affordable rooms in a central location. More than half of their customers are international, says Skift. According to their recently launched website, rooms range from a mere $56 to $126.

The New Yorker has been in business since 1953 and was originally designed by architect Normal Giller, the same architect who designed the then-Monterey motel, or what we all now know and love as the Standard, in Miami Beach. The New Yorker, which for most of its history was simply a "motel," changed its name to "hotel" under the guidance of none other than Anthony Melchiorri from the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible, which remade the property in one of its episodes.

Collaborating and promoting the local community, Diaz just partnered with their neighbor, Flavorish Market, to set up a "pop-up gourmet store" in their lobby, and plans to continue these "pop-ups" with local boutiques like The Weekender, Fly Boutique, artists, and other local "creatives."—Alexandra J Miller

· Behind the Inexplicable Return of the Lifestyle Motel [Skift]
· The Vagabond Hotel [thevagabondhotel.com]
· The New Yorker Boutique Hotel [hotelnewyorkermiami.com]
· Vagabond Motel coverage [Curbed Miami]
· The New Yorker in Hotel Impossible [Hotel Impossible]
· Avra Jain Takes MiMo [Ocean Drive Magazine]

Vagabond Motel

7301 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL