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North Beach is perhaps not the first area that springs to mind for LGBT travelers to Miami. But it’s got a lot to offer, thanks partly to the hip and homo-friendly New Hotel.Each of the hotel’s 10 guestrooms has an easy-on-the-eyes minimalist design that encourages lounging and late sleeping. But you won’t want to stay in your room. There’s low-key fun to be had out by the poolside at Lou’s Beer Garden, on the hotel premises, where guests and neighborhood residents alike mingle. Lou’s offers dozens of wines and beers, and a nice selection of tasty foods—cheese plates, wings, pulled pork, salads, crab cakes to die for, and more.
Weekend brunches, regular art shows, and full-moon parties with live music and fire-dancers make for a festive atmosphere. Even with the activity at Lou’s, the guest rooms are quiet, and the feel of the place is intimate and relaxed. For the environmentalist in all of us, it’s good to know that the hotel sports a green roof, low-flow water, and energy-saving lighting systems. Guests also get free use of hotel bicycles, making it that much easier to venture out into the neighborhood (known both as “Little Buenos Aires,” and as the “MiMo District” for its Miami Modern architecture).
Within just a few blocks, you’ll find Latin American cuisine—including a Mexican restaurant, a Cuban café, an Argentine steakhouse, the pleasingly spacious café Manolo’s, and more. The hotel is just two blocks from the ocean, and only a few miles down the road from the clothing-optional Haulover Beach, where both straight and gay visitors disrobe. South Beach is about a 30-minute bus ride. The queer traveler looking for a place off the beaten path would do well to stay at the New Hotel.
THE NEW HOTEL: http://www.thenewhotelmiami.com/
LOU’S BEER GARDEN: http://www.lousbeergarden.com/
MONK IN THE TRUNK: http://www.inletbrewing.com/About.html
PHOTO: The New Hotel patio, and Lou's Beer Garden -- a lazy morning before things have picked up. By Paul VanDeCarr.
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