1 Hotel South Beach
How did it strike you on arrival?
We’ve got a serious soft spot for any hotel that wears its eco-consciousness on its sleeve, and understands that it takes more than asking guests to reuse a bath towel to truly effect change. 1 Hotel South Beach’s entire brand is built around a fierce commitment to sustainability, which is apparent as soon as you pull up to the front door (the giant “1” that marks the spot was constructed out of 7,500 pounds of local Florida coral). Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows offer picturesque beach views, but also reduce the building’s energy footprint. You’ll spot lots of reclaimed wood on the walls and gorgeous pieces of driftwood furniture, not to mention a farmstand in the lobby. Even the room keys are made of various kinds of recycled wood. Environmentalism never looked so sexy.
Nice. What’s the crowd like?
Though the hotel’s beachfront location—and 600 square feet of private sand out front—certainly isn’t discouraging any guests from booking a room, it’s clear that the visitors to 1 Hotel are looking for something that goes beyond that. Sure, they expect all the amenities that any five-star hotel would offer, but they also want to feel like they’re giving back a bit, too. The hotel’s reliance on local vendors and artisans is one way guests know they’re helping the community, but they also love the hotel’s dedication to wellness. A regular schedule of events, including sunset meditation and terrarium-building workshops, are just the kind of thing that sell them on booking.
The good stuff: Tell us about your room.
Mother Nature’s inspiration isn’t just for show in the lobby; her presence can be felt in all 425 of the hotel’s rooms and suites, which feature driftwood walls, recycled pine headboards, hemp blend-filled mattresses, 100 percent organic cotton sheets, clothing hangers made from recycled paper, and even your very own glass terrarium to bring the outdoors in. We opted for an Ocean View King With Balcony, as the chance to catch up on some reading or drink coffee with our very own sea breezes seemed too good to pass up. The room was stunning, and—at 650 square feet—unexpectedly large. Layout is notable, too; there are no walls that separate the sleeping area from the living area, and only a glass wall separates the shower from the bedroom, yet each area’s purpose is clear and distinct. The wraparound couch looked right out the balcony door (so in many ways, having that extra bit of outdoor space could be redundant for those who just want the views). Waking up to the sounds, and smells, of the ocean is not a feeling we’ll soon forget.
We’re craving some deep, restorative sleep. They got us?
Like the rest of the furniture, the bed offered an ideal mix of comfort and eco-consciousness; the mattress, by Keetsa, is made of custom organic cotton, and the sheets are 100 percent organic cotton, too.
How about the little things, like mini bar, or shower goodies. Any of that find its way into your suitcase?
You know that bottled water you’re always complaining about having to pay for in a hotel room, but guzzling down anyway? There will be none of that here. All of the hotel’s taps, sinks, and showers are equipped with Triple Clear Water filters, so you can drink right from them—and even the glasses in your room are made from recycled glass.
Please tell us the bathroom won’t let us down.
While the shower’s water filter may have been installed with conservation in mind, the hotel didn't skimp on the size of that shower. Most of the walk-in marble showers have an all-glass wall on one side, so you can lather up with an oceanfront view if you so choose (there are curtains if you’d rather leave something to the imagination). Products are custom designed for the hotel itself, and made with a range of natural ingredients, while the towels and robes are both made from natural cotton knits—as are the socks they leave in your room to forgo the waste pairs of slippers can bring.
Maybe the most important topic of all: Wi-Fi. What’s the word?
Wi-Fi worked perfectly in every corner of the hotel, and it didn’t cost a penny.
Room service: Worth it?
There’s nothing like spoiling yourself with a bit of breakfast in bed (or, in this case, breakfast on the balcony). The Energy Bowl, a healthy mixture of Greek yogurt, berry compote, coconut chia, and housemade oats, was a delicious way to start the day.
Staff: If you could award one a trophy, who gets it, and why?
Not every hotel owns a slice of the beach, and 1 Hotel makes the most of that with a dedicated team of sandy-footed helpers who can fetch you everything from a lounge chair to a cocktail. This is what you’re here for; give them all a raise.
Anything stand out about other services and features? Whether it’s childcare, gyms, spas, even parking—whatever stuck with you.
While the hotel’s private beachfront is a surprisingly rare amenity in South Beach, Watr 1 at the Rooftop—a pool deck and bar located 18 stories up above the water—is yet another amenity you’ll want to take some serious advantage of. If you plan to keep active, there’s a SoulCycle onsite (just be sure to sign up for your class ASAP, as it’s open to the public, too).
What was most memorable—or heartbreaking—about your stay?
1 Hotel’s eco-friendly stance was admittedly a big selling point on booking a room here, and it did not disappoint.
Bottom line: worth it, and why?
If leaving behind a tiny carbon footprint is important to you, it’s worth visiting 1 Hotel’s website to see the ways (many of them unexpectedly simple) they’re helping to give back to the community and environment they call home.