South Beach budget—those three words may not seem like they go together. Believe it or not, though, it’s possible to experience extravagant South Beach and save. The best way to do this? Skimp on your accommodation costs. Here’s a roundup of affordable places to rest your head in SoBe and still have some pocket change to party.
Leading the charge of trendy, wallet-friendly accommodations is the hipster hideaway, The Freehand Miami. The developers of New York City’s chic NoMad and Ace hotels transformed the Indian Creek Hotel into a high design hostel. Offering both private and shared rooms in four different layouts, rates range from about $33 per person to $159 per night. With the Broken Shaker cocktail bar out back in a lush courtyard adjacent to the swimming pool and 27 Restaurant tucked away in a cottage in the back of the property, it’s a hotspot for savvy locals and budget travelers, alike. 2727 Indian Creek Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-2727; thefreehand.com.
Fresh of a two-year, multi-million dollar renovation, Circa 39 has reopened up the block from its sister property The Palms. The 97-room boutique hotel is decorated in bright, colorful and stylish furnishings including its pooldeck and courtyard garden. Guests can enjoy global-inspired craft cocktails at WunderBar and comfort food at Jules Kitchen. Rates from $149 per ngiht. 3900 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-4900; circa39.com.
Located on the corner of picturesque Espanola Way and Washington Ave., The Clay Hostel & Hotel is in the heart of South Beach. Whether it’s a quaint café, like A La Folie, or the pulsing nightlife that lines Washington Ave., the Clay is a great place to drop off your backpack and explore. Private single and double rooms are available, as well as shared accommodations for four to six people. Rates start at around $87. 1438 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-2988; clayhotel.com.
Boasting an oasis-like tile patio and a refreshing swimming pool large enough for lap swimming, The Tropics Hotel & Hostel in the heart of Collins Ave.’s Art Deco District is a real budget gem. It’s across the street from the beach, steps from Lincoln Road, and central to South Beach’s nightlife hot spots, like Set, Mansion, and Cameo. With private and dormitory-style rooms, and a central kitchen, rates start at around $76. 1550 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-0361; tropicshotel.com.
Tucked away in an ideal location between Collins Ave., the New World Center, and near Lincoln Road, you'll find the Crest Hotel Suites. This 1939 restored boutique hotel maintains its original terrazzo flooring and Art Deco kitsch. With 43 rooms and 23 one-bedroom suites, plus a small pool in an interior courtyard, rates start at $136. 1670 James Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-0321; cresthotelsuitesmiamibeach.com.
Near South Beach’s desirable Collins Park neighborhood, the Lorraine Hotel is a perfect beach bum’s getaway. With oceanfront balconies and complimentary beach towels, the Atlantic Ocean is at your doorstep and so is the elevated beach boardwalk ideal for sunset strolls. It’s also conveniently situated by Indomania, an affordable and popular neighborhood Indonesian restaurant. Rates start around $119 per night. 2601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-7721; lorrainehotel.com.
While there may not be many bells and whistles to the Seagull Hotel, it’s surrounded by high rent neighbors, like The Setai and the W South Beach. It also boasts an oceanfront location next to the beautifully landscaped Collins Park. Located within blocks of popular clubs, like Wall, Mynt, and Set, it’s the perfect destination for party people pinching their pennies. The divey Free Spirits sports bar is also conveniently located right next door. Room rates start around $101. 100 21st St., Miami Beach; 305-538-6631; seagullhotelmiamibeach.com.
With sleek, modern aesthetics—and luxe amenities, like flat screen TVs—Ocean Reef Suites offers money-saving features, like en suite kitchenettes, a business center, and on-site grocery store. Located on Collins Ave. in the heart of South Beach, it’s only one block from the beach, and steps from the shopping, nightlife, and restaurants that the area is famous for. Rates start around $134. 1130 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-1970; theoceanreef.com
Catering to the international backpacker crowd, The South Beach Hostel is actually located in the chic, residential South of Fifth neighborhood. Enjoy complimentary breakfast, daily housekeeping, and free transfers to the airport, and rest your head mere blocks from million dollar condos at only $17 per night. It’s a friendly, social environment with an onsite bar, restaurant, pool table, theater room, shared kitchen, and internet café. Only a few blocks from the beach, it’s also next door to the tasty takeaway counter My Ceviche. 235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-6669; sobe-hostel.com.
Shayne Benowitz is Miami.com's Travel Editor. Sign up for her monthly newsletter at ShayneBenowitz.com.
Photo: Gregory Castillo / Miami Herald