Craft House Client, Generator, Featured In GQ

Miami Generator Hostel

Miami Generator Hostel

Is America Ready for the Luxury Hostel?

Miami Beach’s Generator thinks so.


Miami Beach is well set up for misbehavior. That might be because in Miami Beach, unlike in most vacation party towns in this country, you can find a clean bed for under $20 right across the street from the fanciest hotels on the strip. Wedged in among the Faena and the Edition is Generator: a hybrid luxury hostel and hotel, opened in September, that’s finely tuned to the needs, both logistical and aesthetic, of the youth. It’s got a beautiful restaurant with Brooklyn prices and a neon sign. It’s got a pool, a sunroom, another neon sign, and an outdoor lounge area that seems precision-engineered to let you stage a coy Instagram pic.

But most importantly, it’s got cheap rooms. Private rooms start at $95. Beds in bigger communal rooms start at $20—which is ideal if you're bringing a lot of girls on your bachelorette. (I saw at least one color-coordinated bachelorette party each time I stepped outside.) The design of the rooms is spare. Tastefully so: They each have a tiny Smeg fridge. But you won’t be spending any time in the room anyway: You’ll be at the bar or maybe a nightclub. All that matters is that it’s clean and doesn’t have that Miami mildew smell. Generator, the thinking goes, is perfect for ULTRA. Perfect for going to Art Basel, not seeing any art, and taking MDMA at one afterparty after another. Perfect, basically, for all the reasons people come to Florida, aside from tax evasion.

I visited Generator last week. Downstairs at the restaurant/bar (one rule of Generator-style hotels: always both, never just one) the Jim and Neesie, I began a long flight of cocktails. Gui Jaroschy is the bar director. He helped open the Broken Shaker franchise, which is the new gold standard for getting young people to pay for $18 cocktails. The menu at the Jim and Neesie includes tableside bar service in which they pour premixed cocktails into a glass full of ice and garnishes. I tried the margarita, which Jaroschy had spun in a centrifuge until all the microscopic pulp bits from the lime juice had been separated out. The margarita was clear. I had three more, asked them to leave me the bottle of the premix, was denied, and settled for the old-fashioned one-at-a-time method.

American party people, unlike most youngsters in the world, have limited interest in hostels. This is a generally agreed-upon point in the hospitality community. (This has at least something to do with the horror movies Hostel and Hostel II.) The word hostel, in American English, brings to mind the sounds of people humping in communal dorms and the smells of travelers with liberal personal-hygiene regimens. In America, on spring break, we rent hotel and motel rooms, pack them full of eight people each, and hope for the best. In Europe, where Generator already has 13 locations, everyone gets a bed.

And now it’s come Stateside. Without explicitly branding itself as a luxury hostel, Generator is positioning for the relatively unoccupied “hybrid” space. That means that you have an equal share of the influencer jet-set and sweaty-looking white guys with dreadlocks. It’s got company, too: The hotel/hostel category is growing quickly. There’s the Freehand, down the street in Miami Beach but also in L.A. and Chicago. (New York state law doesn’t allow communal bunks in hotels, so the Freehand here is private rooms only. Generator will grapple with the same red tape when they inevitably make a New York play.)

The model seems to be: cheap, not gross rooms with bars and restaurants downstairs that are so good guests spend all their money there, instead of Ubering away to cooler spots. When your bed costs about as much as a SoulCycle class, it’s easy to spend three or five times that amount on clarified margaritas. They’re planning on opening a bunch more Generators in the States over the next year. The scale is ambitious—but it’s worth noting that Generator's ambitions can be large precisely because ours have grown so cramped. The next generation of would-be homeowners can’t really afford to settle down. We still go on vacation, but it turns out we can't really afford that, either. So we stay in Airbnbs. Or, if Generator has its way, in hostels.