The Whitelaw: Affordable Miami Hotel
By Rease Kirchner
Note: The Whitelaw Hotel invited me to stay at their location, but all the opinions in this article are my own.
While I enjoy being pampered on occasion, my style of travel is much more about what I do and not where I sleep. That being said, I really appreciate a hotel that can find the delicate balance between being a crappy place to crash and a hotel I never want to leave because I am paying far too much to be anywhere else. I think The Whitelaw does exactly that.
The Whitelaw knows its audience
The great thing about The Whitelaw is that it does not pretend to be anything it is not. It is marketed toward young travelers who want to have a good time and save their money for all those crazy Miami nights. Their slogan is “clean sheets, hot water, stiff drinks,” and though I would argue it is a little classier than that, the slogan certainly goes with the attitude. The Whitelaw has a fun Art-Deco décor with what I like to call Alice in Wonderland-style headboards, funky colors and a well-stocked bar.
The Whitelaw keeps it simple with just two room options – two double beds or one king size bed. I stayed in a room with a king-size bed that included a desk, iPod dock, well-stocked mini fridge (and a bonus snack shelf next to the fridge), spacious closet with an iron and ironing board, and a chic bathroom.
The rooms are comfortable and have cool decorations, but they are not spacious. I found it very odd that the closet seemed to be as big as the bathroom. We were able to fit our luggage and two people inside and still feel like we could invite a few more friends and their luggage as well. I would have preferred more bathroom space as I cannot imagine anyone lugging around enough stuff to fill that massive closet. I actually preferred the smaller room, though, as I knew it helped keep the cost down. I don’t need to have a party in my hotel room; Miami has plenty of places for me to party it up.
I did feel like the bathroom was better to look at than to use. The shallow sink threatened to spray you like a loose fire hydrant if you turned it on too high. The shower that looked so chic and sexy with the completely see-through glass was missing the proper door coverage to stop water from seeping out onto the floor. Also, the bathroom and room had absolutely no trashcan, which I found very troubling. However, the shower was hot with excellent pressure and the bathroom was very well stocked with fluffy towels and toiletries that didn’t suck. Usually I avoid hotel toiletries because they seem to suck all the moisture out of my hair and skin, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the ones left in my bathroom.
I was mostly in love with the giant, luxurious bed. If anything in my hotel room is over the top, I want it to be the bed, and this one did not disappoint. The mattress was perfect, the sheets smelled wonderful, and the pillows, oh the pillows! There were tons of pillows of two different types, which I very much appreciated. The pillows lining the headboard were firmer, while the down pillows were fluffed up to look like giant marshmallows. Pure excellence.
The extras that make it worth it
Although this place advertises itself as a fancy looking but still bare minimum hotel, they offered some pretty sweet bonuses.
- Free Daily Happy Hour – That´s right – free! Every day from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. all guests are welcome to drink it up, free of charge. Yes, the cups are tiny, but the excellent bartenders are not stingy on the pours and do not (openly) judge you for how many times you return to the bar. Sophia was a speed racer with those drink refills and Moses kept the alcohol flowing while he and I traded tattoo stories.
- VIP Club Passes – The guys at the concierge desk can hook you up with recommendations and VIP passes for clubs in South Beach. Seriously, John, Andrew and Frankie know where it’s happening.
- Salsa Lessons – Every Monday night a sexy Puerto Rican man named Javier shows up for Happy Hour and gives free Salsa lessons. He caught my boyfriend and I practicing a little move and insisted we join in. He is fun and, more importantly, super patient with not-so-talented salsa dancers like myself. Plus, if you are really bad you’ll get to be Javier’s partner for a song or two.
Reserving your room
If you are young, hip, and looking to have a good time in Miami, then come to a great place to sleep off a hangover: The Whitelaw. Everything from the decor to the concierge guys rocking hot pink shirts (and looking damn good doing so) is fun and adds to the experience without robbing you of precious party money. With rooms starting right around $100 bucks a night, you are not likely to find anything better in such a great location just a few blocks from the beach.
Rease is a US citizen who fled the Midwest in favor of ex-pat life in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is bilingual and is very capable of cussing you out in Spanish. She loves gaining and sharing knowledge of local cultures, customs and adventure, and she especially loves getting sassy with anyone who gets in her way. Her favorite place in the world is any artisan ice cream shop in Argentina.