Light Up: Life House Opens Its First Hotel in Miami’s Little Havana NeighborhoodAuthor:Abigail Stone
Rami Zeidan, a veteran of the hospitality industry, founded Life House in 2017 with the intention of creating a hotel that reached beyond merely being a place to sleep. He envisioned a hotel that would be the foundation for unique, memorable experiences and connections. Little Havana represents the first of thirteen hotels he has planned. A second Miami location, in the South of Fifth neighborhood, opens next month. Denver, Nantucket, San Diego, and Boise, Idaho will soon follow.
The first and only hotel in Little Havana, the unusual location is at the heart of Life House’s ethos. “At our core, we’re focused on creating locally rooted experiences so it’s close to the airport and to Marlins Stadium,” explains Zeidan, “it’s a small, historic neighborhood that has been gentrified in a healthy way without diluting its spirit so it hasn’t yet been corrupted by commercialization.”
The pink-washed 1920s building, renovated to channel the spirit of a curious expeditionist, eager to welcome guests to his collected, eclectic home in the tropics, incorporates elements of the Art Deco style for which the city is famous. The in-house design team sourced vintage furniture, including pieces by Hans Wegner, Cassina, Jeanneret and Afro-Cuban ceramics, commissioned custom millwork and filled the space with lush, native plants. Le Labo products and Diptyque candles add a touch of luxury. Further underlining Life House’s emphasis on breaking down the barriers between locals and guests, front desks have been banished in favor iPads and an app that allows for self-check in and keyless entry. Friendly community managers replace formal concierges; Parcela, the in-house restaurant and a rooftop bar that will open later this spring, focus on elevated street food and shared plates; and, a communal work table in the lobby encourage interactions amongst guests. These innovations add up to hotel that puts the focus on the traveler’s experience at a reasonable price; rooms hover around $200/night.
“We believe that travel is a social good and a growth-enhancing experience,” says Zeidan, “You can learn so much about yourself traveling and being in new, uncomfortable circumstances and trying new things and meeting new people. There are real benefits to being exposed to new cultures and experiencing them firsthand.”
Life House Little Havana, 528 SW 9th Ave, Miami, FL 33130, 866.466.7534