To walk around Miami Beach is to be transported to another time, a time of pastel stuccoed edifices with sexy nautical curves and glowing neon signs. If there was an Art Deco capital of America, this surely would be a contender. But from the outside, the latest iteration of the millennial and Gen Z-popular Life House hotel group, Life House South of Fifth, is less Jazz Age on the beach and more fairy tale with palm trees—it’s housed in a unique historical building designed in 1930s Tudor Revival.e
Life House SoFi (as the group calls it) just opened this week and is the latest selection for Room Key, Beast Travel’s series on exciting new hotels. Located in the southernmost neighborhood of Miami Beach, it’s just removed enough to avoid the tourist craziness north of it but near enough to all the main activities.
The hotel opened this week and for those who haven’t spent much time in the neighborhood, you might find yourself doing a double take at the people walking barefoot in their bathing suits on the streets around it–according to the hotel this part of the barrier island is the only decent spot for surfers. It’s a culture the design team of the group (which also has properties in Denver, Little Havana, and Nantucket) leaned into, pulling inspiration from surf destinations like Bali, Baja, and Hawaii.
The front patio, with the beautiful balinese-umbrella, tropical plants and cozy low chairs is the ideal spot to enjoy a drink in the sun, breakfast, or late dinner from the menu influenced by Australian cafe culture. It's one continuous space with the hotel’s restaurant called Pretty Swell (get it?) which depending on the time of day offers avo toast, waffles with shrimp and watermelon, or tacos to share. If you’re looking to up your socially conscious points while dining the restaurant also has lionfish, a fish notorious for not only its beauty but because it is invasive in the Caribbean and very destructive. Environmentalists hope that making lionfish more popular to eat will reduce its presence in the region.
That you’re supposed to feel casual here is driven home by the lobby with its mixing and matching of furniture that feels as if you’ve entered the home of an acquisitive traveler who loves seeing how a variety of objects play off one another. White-washed walls play off the glossy teal blue ceiling, rattan shade pendant lights, and copious amounts of plants. For the scent-obsessed, Life House’s signature candles are burning all over the lobby.
There are just 26 rooms in this boutique hotel, a stark contrast to the towering glass properties as you head north up the island or inland to downtown Miami. Cream-colored painted vertical shiplap covers the hallways and room walls, taking us even further from Art Deco to a more beach shack Arts & Crafts vibe. The rooms on offer range from suites to efficiently designed King and Queen rooms to Quad Chambers, which are rooms with four built in bunk beds. In a previous life the hotel was a jazz hostel, so the bunk beds not only are fitting for a girls trip to the beach but also for the place’s heritage. And don’t worry, they are only available to book as a whole so no strangers will be joining you.