There is something so glamorous about 1950s America. Post-war, the world was becoming a glossier place – Marilyn Monroe was in her heyday and everybody loved Lucy. Much as we appreciate all the glories of 2015, the nostalgic appeal of 1950s style has an unmistakable romance, all of which has been epitomized in The Vagabond Hotel in Miami.
Originally built in 1953 as a motel, The Vagabond was the rumored hangout of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Fast-forward 60 years and following a complete renovation it’s all sparkling new, which means that frankly, nothing has changed. That’s because here it is all about that original magic, or retro-luxe if you will. If you didn’t know any better you could have stepped back into that founding year… but now it has WiFi.
Such is the landmark appeal of The Vagabond Hotel that some features really haven’t changed at all. The sign outside heralding your arrival at the ‘Vagabond Motel’ is a monument in its own right and as such had to be kept in situ as part of the conditions of the renovation. It’s part of the charm and personality of the place that it’s not just a replica of a bygone era but a thriving part of the ‘50s. It’s living, breathing and playing your favourite song on the Jukebox. If a Corvette pulled up outside it would not be out of place, it would be perfect.
A throwback to its motel past, there are just 45 rooms while the focus is on fresh colours, a sense of space, and art everywhere – not least of all because some dude has doodled all over the walls with intricately stenciled geometric patterns. It’s kitsch but seriously cool – a phrase that comes to mind when you head to the restaurant, which is still referred to as a ‘diner’. It’s just that these days it serves a Miami-modern blend of Latin-Asian-American food rather than your bog standard burger and fries.
You will be pleased to hear that even if dear old Frank isn’t gracing the bar with his presence, it remains one of THE places to go in Miami proving that it hasn’t lost any of its magnetism. In fact today it’s attracting more than clientele, the area as a whole is the go-to hotspot for boutiques and independent restaurants that are popping up at a rate of knots.
The cherry on top of the ice cream milkshake however is the Vagabond Hotel’s pool and bar. This is where you want to throw on your high-waisted bikini and lay back with a Vagabond Collins (their signature cocktail). This is what glamour really feels like. This my friends, is where it doesn’t matter what your story is, it’s worthy of the silver screen and Sammy Davis, Jr. is providing the soundtrack.