Is there anywhere in the world having more of a moment right now than Miami? Finance and tech money is flooding in as people decide they’d rather live in this laid-back city on the sea. And since the vaccine rollout began, you almost surely know someone who’s been there already, and maybe you’ve even been there yourself by now.
So it’s perfect timing, then, that the travel booking giant KAYAK has just opened its first-ever hotel and it’s in Miami Beach.
The 52-room property is located in a landmark 1934 Art Deco building tucked behind the Bass Art Museum and up against the Collins Canal. It’s just a couple of blocks to the beach, but it’s also just far enough from the madness that it really is a quiet little spot. With a tasteful design (it’s almost like an algorithm designed what bougie millennials would want in a South Beach boutique hotel from the ferns filling public spaces to subway tile in the bathrooms) and interesting backstory, the Kayak Miami Beach is also the first selection in our series The New Room with a View (where we feature new and exciting hotels) since we put it on ice because of the pandemic.
We jumped at the chance to check out the property because well, yes, Miami this time of year sounded great—but we were also curious what the heck KAYAK was trying to do here.
The most tangible effect is also a godsend for somebody like me—limited interaction. After a day that is often very social, hotels are spaces for unwinding from the world. I’ve never enjoyed overstaffed hotels where everybody is up in your business. The goal with Kayak Miami Beach—from check-in to concierge recommendations to getting new key cards—is to let technology get you what you need. And unlike a lot of tech-forward operations, if the tech went belly up, access to staff was super quick and easy. A confirmation text when I went to get a new key card printed (I’m the king of losing them) never came through, but when I pushed the button to get a live person to help, they arrived in seconds.
The hotel is operated by Life House—the boutique hotel company best known for combining tech and cute touches (think Le Labo products, a DripKit Pour-Over Coffee, and Instagram-friendly aesthetics).
The rooms are similar in size to those you find at many of the converted Art Deco boutique hotels throughout Miami Beach—not humongous but not tiny—and they come outfitted with very handy blackout wood shutters. But unlike many of the smaller hotels in Miami Beach, the Kayak doesn’t have that wet smell or sensation in the halls and rooms. The hotel also has a rooftop cocktail balcony and a wading pool for guests.
The final attraction is the new restaurant just beyond the bar that stretches out to a back patio overlooking the canal. Layla, which is part of a partnership with OpenTable (more tech synergy!) is a Levant-inspired restaurant (don’t miss the lamb), and if the crowd on a Wednesday night was any sign, it’s already popular.