Art Deco South Beach, with its ying-yang appeal of glamorous yet gritty nature and its potpourri of swanky and down to earth hotels, prides itself on choices. You can stay at a lush, Indian bungalow-style mansion like The Palms Hotel or choose a more environmentally apropos boutique style resort like The Clifton Hotel, Florida’s first LEED certified, eco-friendly hotel, without compromising on comfort and beach proximity.
I arrived at The Clifton Hotel not expecting very much. The hotel exterior is unassuming and as unimposing as a Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack. The extremely bright yellow lights were a tad jarring. But in the name of eco friendly vacations, I checked in.
The lobby of the hotel is intimate, with truly boutique flair. LED lights hung over the check in counter, but dimly lit and soothing to the eye. These lights use a mere fraction of the energy that standard bulbs use. The floors too, are made from recycled material, as are the wood stairs, floors and steel-boned doors.
Each of its 33 rooms that range from doubles to King size is intimately appointed and furnished with a very careful eye. Owner and manager Brian Scheinblum is passionate about his certification and eco savvy and goes the extra mile to ensure quality without compromising luxury. You’ll find waffle weave robes and 300 count sheets made from organic cotton and efficient Dual Flush toilets. Carpets are made from recycled fabric with a 20 year shelf life. There’s the nod to technological creature comforts, of course, from standard flat screen TVs to iPod Clock Radios with MP3 hookups.
If you’re an organic wine enthusiast, enjoy the fare at the bar (located in the lobby, right before you check in), or cheat a little with inorganic (but equally delicious) options from the mini bar. The room blinds may seem superfluous at first, but you’ll soon see why. South Beach is like Vegas — the street lights never dim. The area is perennially lit, and during the middle of the night I felt as though the Aurora Borealis was peeking through my window.
Why do you want to stay here? Well, the accommodation prices are modest during off peak season (in the range of $100- $150 per night, depending on the room), and they rise during the winter months, of course. If you’re an eco-conscious traveler who doesn’t mind cosy digs and a warm, ashram-like feeling, then this is the hotel for you.
Great rates are available at BookIt.com.