South Beach might seem an odd choice of venue for a Silicon Valley hospitality startup, but it turns out that this is a hotel market that’s ripe for “disruption.” This town has plenty of awesome hotels, but they tend to come with similarly fearsome price tags. Not the case with Life House, South of Fifth — the Life House proposition is a luxury boutique hotel at a price starting just a shade over a hundred dollars.
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How they do it is apparently a matter of some clever behind-the-scenes economizing, but what matters to guests is that no corners are visibly cut. Life House, South of Fifth occupies not some gleaming modernist tower, nor an Art Deco edifice, but a Thirties Tudor-style cottage in the affluent South of Fifth neighborhood. The vibe is more artist’s retreat than design hotel, and with a mere 26 rooms it’s got an intimacy that feels almost residential.
Rooms are stylish and more than comfortable, from the queen rooms on up to the top-end Painter’s Loft, and there’s the option of a Quad, with four semi-private bunks, if you’re traveling with (or looking for) a large party. The lobby café shades effortlessly from morning coffee to co-working space to cocktail bar, and the soon-to-open Backyard Kitchen takes advantage of the hotel’s small size, serving meals in a quiet garden setting. It’s a gamble from Life House’s perspective, taking on the established players in the hotel game, but from a guest’s point of view it’s as close as you get to a sure thing.