Often times when one refers to gay-targeted accommodations, one thinks of those clothing optional types of establishment. You know the type. The ones that seem like outdoor bathhouses instead of a nice comfortable places to stay. No disrespect to those places, but it’s nice to see a gay-owned hotel try to appeal to the discerning gay traveler. When we were invited to attend a hotel opening in Fort Lauderdale, I decided to extend my trip and hit Miami before hitting Los Angeles. One of the reasons being, I read about a brand new gay boutique hotel which just opened in the heart of South Beach. I definitely wanted to check it out after reading the awesome reviews for both their successful grand opening party in addition to their accommodations.
Having never been to South Beach or Miami prior, I had no idea what to expect. The only references I had in my head were “The Birdcage“, Gianni Versace and The Golden Girls. Here’s the funny thing. A combination of those three things is exactly what I would use to describe the Lords South Beach. It’s great campy fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Not to say the staff and service isn’t super fantastic, because it is. They were always there to help whenever I had an inquiry.
I arrived on a hot Sunday afternoon and what’s the first thing I see in the lobby? A huge polar bear holding a beach ball. Now I knew where the polar bear from “Lost” was… chilling over in South Beach. Immediately, I knew I was in for a playful, unique and colorful stay. I was greeted by cute friendly staff who were wearing uniforms outfitted by Levis. The cool casual beachy vibe was perfectly appropriate for the neighborhood. As it turns out, there was a weekly pool party taking place at the hotel. Had I more time than just 48 hours in South Beach, I definitely would’ve stayed and partied there, but I wanted to soak up as much of the city as I could. It looked like loads of fun from what I saw.
When I arrived in my room, I was impressed. It looked exactly like the online pictures which made me happy. Nice and compact but with enough room to maneuver comfortably. The decor was kitschy fun. Loved the attention to detail from the big blue mod-looking closet to the Elizabeth Taylor circa Cleopatra picture hanging above my bed. The 54-room hotel has a few types of rooms– Pad, Pied-a-terre, Cabana and the Penthouse. I stayed in the Pad. The cool thing is I saw several pads during a tour I was fortunate enough to go on and they all varied a little bit. If I had to pick one thing I would change in my room, it would have to be the bathroom. I’m all about a white bright modern bathroom. The tiling was a bit dark for my liking, but it suited the overall look the Lords was going for.
I thought I’d include a picture of the penthouse. You can’t see it here, but it also has a wrap around deck with a beautiful of the area. If I lived in South Beach, I’d definitely book it for the weekend with a bunch of friends and enjoy the high life.
Right off the pool, were a couple of cabanas you can rent. If you do stay in these, you should consider the proximity to the pool. Sure it’s convenient, but the hotel has weekend parties that take place. For me, it wouldn’t matter, but though I’d make a note of it if you wanted more of a quiet stay.
Food & Drinks
The Cha Cha Roster Restaurant is the hotel’s main dining area. I love the touch of the oversized pictures of random older ladies hanging in the restaurant. It plays off the Miami stereotype as a retirement destination but in a fun way. When I first arrived, I was extremely hungry so I ordered room service. I wanted time to relax in my room before facing the hot sun again. I’m not even exaggerating here, but the turkey burger I ordered was delicious. I definitely recommend you choose the Miami chips as the side. Only $11 for room service. INSANE. Despite the reasonable price, the quality was extremely high. It was filling without making you feel bloated, because feeling and looking bloated in Miami Beach, where the hot quotient is high isn’t a good idea.
Loved this room. I couldn’t get enough of the gold mirrored tiles. I totally want that for my next house. It was so over-the-top… it was perfect. Absolut Vodka partnered with the hotel for both the Cha Cha Rooster Restaurant and the Cha Cha Rooster Bar (above). You can probably figure that out if you spotted the Absolut-shaped cutout shelving in the back.
One of the nights, I had the privilege of eating dinner with Brian Gorman, a founder of the hotel, and his boyfriend. Dining al fresco is the best. Especially when you complement that with world class food, great company and eye candy walking by on the streets. My senses were seriously overloaded. For dinner, I had the Braised Boneless Short ribs and Antichuchos (skewers) to start. Definitely recommend the short ribs. For the cocktails, let me suggest The Lords and The Edison. Good to the last drop. SLURP.
If you haven’t figured the decor out yet, you probably never will. As you can see, Gorman loved putting headshots of women throughout the hotel. For him, they epitomized the South Beach area and the associations that come along with it. I would kill to spend an afternoon filming a music video with the Homorazzi boys all over the hotel. So many great opportunities to have unique and vibrant backdrops. Can’t you just picture us now strutting down these stairs?
Lords has three plunge pools- one of them being a hot tub. As mentioned before, when I arrived, a pool party was taking place. There were plenty of people (not just gay men) enjoying the sun, lounging around and drinking/snacking poolside. Definitely a chill party vibe.
Here’s what the hotel looks like from the street. Totally cute, right? If you take a closer look, you might notice the bike. I’m not certain if its his or not, but that might be Brian Gorman’s bike. I saw him one day riding it to the hotel. Such an eco-gay. Love it.
It’s easy to see why the hotel has such an easy-going cheerful vibe, it’s because of Brian Gorman. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Very hospitable and most importantly… passionate. And it wasn’t just a show put on for my sake. There were several times, I saw him talking to hotel guests and vice versa. Every single time, he was approachable and attentively listened to everyone he was talking to. He’s a recent transplant for New York and adjusted quite well to the South Beach lifestyle. Gorman has plans to extend the Lords chain into various other cities. We talked about possible locations, but nothing was solidified as of that time. I can only imagine how great those future additions to the Lords brand will be. He’s very motivated and knowledgeable. During one of our chats, I asked him what one word he’d used to describe the Lords. He simply answered “Bohemian Beach“. When I heard it, I knew it had to be the title of my review. Be sure to say “hi” if you see him kicking around the hotel and have any concerns. I know he’d appreciate it.
Hotel Decor: The Lords South Beach’s tag line is “An Appropriately Oriented Hotel“. That pretty much sums up the decor. Anywhere else, it wouldn’t make sense but in South Beach, it’s what you would expect and would want. 4.5 out of 5
Room: Loved the toiletries. Bed was comfortable. Internet was included. What more could I ask for. If I had to change one thing, it would be the bathroom decor, but that’s my personal taste. 4 out of 5.
Food: Just writing about the Turkey burger has me craving for it. Definitely one of my food highlights from my month long trip across the US. No joking. 5 for the burger alone. The menu had a good selection and everything was priced reasonably. I got a chance to meet the chef and she had me taste a new recipe she was trying out. From that brief moment, I could tell she took her job seriously to make the best possible food. Can’t go wrong here.
Service: When it comes to a new hotel, there are kinks obviously to work out. For me it’s the little things that matter. Everyone at the front desk was personable and helpful. That said, there were a couple times on the weekend I walked through the front door and wasn’t greeted nor door opened by the doorman. Normally that wouldn’t bother me, but the two standing outside seemed like they were more into their conversation than the customer. I mentioned that it was only the weekend, because the weekday staff was on point with greeting everyone. I sat down in the front dining area and watched for a bit while I enjoyed my refreshing drink. They didn’t miss one person. 4 out of 5.
Location: Easy. 5 out of 5 stars. It’s two blocks from the beach and Versace’s old house. A short walk to Lincoln Road, the main dining and shopping area, plus a hop and skip away from the main nightlife venues. Definitely don’t need a car here.
All in all, the Lords South Beach Hotel met all my expectations and them some. Never having been to South Beach before, it made popping my Miami cherry a pleasant experience that I’ll never forget.
For more information about the Lords South Beach Hotel or to book your reservation, head over to http://www.lordssouthbeach.com/. You won’t regret it. I love supporting a gay business, especially one that deserves it.
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