A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
I am the type of traveller who likes their glamour mixed with a hint of laid-back savoir-faire. Something intimate and private that offers a haven of calm and the Soho Beach House has it all. Hard therefore to believe that it lies on one of Miami’s busiest streets in one of its busiest districts. Yet it does indeed, which ironically makes it the perfect place to relax: a home away from home when travelling to the city for business or pleasure. Of all the hotels in Miami, it’s the most personal and unique.
Its beauty lies in its lack of pretentiousness. Soho Beach House is a private club, with members from all the creative industries such as film, music and the arts, nevertheless its doors open to anyone from the public. The house warms and invites guests, and the staff ever smiling and friendly; a paradigm in the ever competitive hotel industry.
“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” – Eugene Fodor
Soho House acts, in a certain sense, as a paradigm for others in the competitive boutique hotel industry. The first was opened in 1995 in Soho as an enclave for like-minded individuals. Yet, for its founders, quality it seems was never something to be equated necessarily with quantity.
That approach is reflected in the pricing, relationship with their guests and the gentile, but friendly ambiance at each of Soho Beach Houses. Although deluxe for example, its prices are not prohibitive. Whilst an exclusive private club, the ambiance is not pretentious, as houses are accessible and it simply works.
From the farmhouse in Oxfordshire to glimmering lights Istanbul, London, Berlin, New York, Chicago, West Hollywood and Toronto, they now have seventeen locations worldwide. That is quite a feat, when considering today’s over-saturated market. Each Soho House nevertheless has its own flavour making it special. At Soho Beach House, it is the idle groove and funky retro chic.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin
Soho Beach House set out to fill an empty niche in the hotel industry, an equally casual and exceptional luxury service. The best example of this would be the fine cuisine offered in its three restaurants.
For one Cecconi’s the Italian restaurant and the only public place in the hotel- everything else being exclusively reserved for the hotel guests and member. Then there is the club bar, where the hotel hosts most of their events. A casual, family place during the day, the club bar becomes a meeting point for an older sophisticated crowd at night. For cuisine, the restaurant offers everything from sandwiches and salads to delicious vegan dishes.
The second restaurant is Mandolin Beach, which has a more tropical feel. The service is impeccable and the setting stunning, especially beneath its hanging lights at night. Besides the traditional Greek and Turkish Mediterranean style cuisine based on very simple ingredients, what they serve is thus a truly unique experience.
The third is the Ocho tapas bar on the 8th floor which, like the Club Ba, is 21 and up after 9 p.m. Here, the fare is Mexican style tapas accompanied by a variety of select Tequilas. On the weekends, some of the most well known DJs from the area play there as well. The space is also available to be rented out for more private or personal events.
“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle
In addition to its fifty genteel rooms, three individualised restaurants and bars, two pools, quaint snug room, art gallery, library with an adjoining dining room, daily music and fashion events, customised fitness classes and private beach club, there is also the famous Cowshed Spa, which is as idiosyncratic and eclectic as the rest of the House and Hotel.
The Cowshed Spa originated in a farmhouse in England in 1990s, which lends the Soho Beach House its current decor. The wood for instance, flown from a farm I Pennsylvania, is used throughout the cowshed to give a rustic look, something that is definitely an anomaly from the average spa that tend to be white and sterile.
All of the Cowsheds Spas carry the Cowshed line, based on natural ingredients such as lavender, grown in the original spa. The product line is sold only through Soho House and used throughout. The Soho Beach House in Miami has a boutique as well, which their buyer stocks with objects not find anywhere else.
As far as treatments are concerned, the Cowshed offers massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and body treatments, all using the Cowshed products. And, as in the House’s various suites, permit the guests to choose which aromatherapy scent or oil they prefer, as they all have different benefits.
Keeping things simple is thus the basis of the Spa. Their products are natural, non-abrasive and as close to organic as possible. The Spa also provides a gym and two locker rooms with steam rooms and showers for the use of its guests.
There is furthermore an art gallery, started after the Art Basel fair in December, which is run by their own curator and regularly features new artists.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery
Soho Beach House Miami is the type of place one can lay back, relax and watch the sunset, cocktail in hand; a sanctum for creative free spirits, like myself, who desire five-star service that seems effortless.
What is best, however, is the fact that one can arrive almost empty-handed. In every room there is a tote for city shipping as well as one for the beach, a collection of finely bound books, exquisitely well-stocked wet-bar, exceptionally comfortable lounge seating, expansive walk-in shower, lavish free standing bath, wide range of Cowshed skin-care products and travel kit containing everything their guests may need; in other words, a bare-foot travellers heaven.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost
To book a vacation at Soho Beach House, you can do so on their direct website: https://www.sohobeachhouse.com/hotel
To arrange a stay at one of the Soho’s other Houses or apply for club membership, you will find the information at: https://www.sohohouse.com