Why book? Life House, South of Fifth is designed to be somewhat discreet, almost like a private beach villa. The 1930s-era manor that houses the 26-room hotel blends in well with the other low-rise buildings that line SoFi's calm streets, where you'll find locals out for a stroll, low-key surfers heading to the ocean, and some of Miami's best restaurants. The laid-back vibe is a far cry from over-touristed Ocean Drive's towering hotels and boisterous bars to the north. Set the scene Stepping into the hotel, travelers will find the lobby is designed to feel like an intimate living room, with a charming seating area, communal dining table, and a cement bar accented wood paneling and stained glass. The atmosphere is warm with an aesthetic that's part artist retreat, part surfer hideaway. There's no front desk, only a credenza with two tablets where travelers can use Life House's signature software to check themselves in and encode their own key cards. It's an easy and simple process that bolsters the overall feeling that you're in a guest house or a friend's home instead of a hotel. There are always plenty of staff on hand to assist with check-in, handle any luggage, or offer complimentary citrus-infused water. Although it's not directly on the beach—that's around the corner, about a three-minute walk away—Life House has plenty of outdoor space where travelers can relax. The backstory This is the fourth hotel from Life House, a tech-savvy brand from Rami Zeidan whose background at top luxury hotel brands around the world helped him envision Life House, which he launched in 2017. Channeling a sense of place, the hotel pulls in influence from the local scene wherever it opens, be it Denver or Nantucket, its two other locations (Life House has a second Miami property in Little Havana). The rooms Upstairs, there's a variety of room layouts for all types of travelers. Two of the rooms feature Life House's custom-made full-size quadruple bunkbeds for group travel. All of the beds are fitted with Revival New York linens and are extremely comfortable. Rooms are also stocked with Le Labo bath products and small vintage fridges full of minibar amenities. Doubles start at $225 per night. Food and drink The property's bar and restaurant, Pretty Swell, is compact but packs a culinary punch. With an emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits, the menu spotlights healthy but satisfying dishes. Make sure to try the shrimp ceviche and the spicy ricotta toast with dates and honey. Wash it all down with a craft cocktail—I recommend the Mahalo, a mix of mezcal, lime, jalapeno agave, and orange Curacao. As an extra beachy touch, any cocktail can be ordered over shaved ice, essentially a sno-cone dome of finely grated ice that the bartenders press by hand using a vintage, hand-cranked wheel. Down the line, Life House does plan to start offering beach baskets with lunch and cocktails packed up picnic-style for guests to grab on their way out to the ocean. The neighborhood/area South of Fifth is the low end of South Beach and the vibe here swings refreshingly less splashy, though of course with all the access to anywhere you want to stroll to on prime South Beach. The hotel does its part to bring the community in, too. Its front patio is essentially an outdoor living room, where visitors can order from the hotel's full menu. There's also a courtyard bar out back, dubbed ‘the laneway’ full of cafe-style two-top tables. The outdoor spaces have been designed for locals to use as well. The laneway area, specifically, was designed as a potential date spot for SoFi residents. Before the property's launch, Life House even had a special preview event for residents of the neighborhood. The service cheery and approachable, with both the concierges and restaurant staff going the extra mile to help you with your bags or recommend the right cocktail. For families Though the vibe skews young adult, families can take over the bunk rooms fairly comfortably. Anything left to mention? At the beach, there's no designated area for Life House guests. But this isn't an issue as SoFi's stretch of beach is rarely thronged with tourists. The hotel provides beach towels, but guests will have to secure any other gear on their own.
All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.