The Clay Hotel

Book now

Address: 1438 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, 33139, United States

Star rating:

4.4

Budget-friendly historic hotel offers basic comforts and best dormitories in town.

My wife and her brothers stayed at the Clay as backpackers several years ago and visited again more recently, being pleased to find that the same basic standards of comfort and cleanliness were maintained. The Clay is a bright, attractive 1930s hotel with a colourful past, said to be the home of Al Capone’s Miami gambling operation and having been featured in several episodes of the original Miami Vice.

Location
4.4
90%
Eating/drinking
n/a
90%
Leisure facilities
n/a
90%
Service
4.5
90%
Value for money
4.8
90%
Bedrooms
4
90%
Public areas
4.2
90%

Location

The hotel’s position is on Washington and Espanola Way is the entrance to what passes for Miami Beach’s bohemian Spanishtown, a couple of blocks from the ocean but with a different, more European feel than the rest of the Art Deco buildings around. The fully restored Clay is the crown jewel of the neighbourhood.

Bedrooms

You can expect small rooms decorated in cream and white or floral patterned linens, accented with red cushions and walls featuring bright artwork of Miami scenes. Like the hotel in general, they’re basic, but comfortable, and a handful have very small balconies. There are male and female dormitories with shared toilets and four to 12 bunk beds per room. Sure, they’re just dorm rooms, but they’re decorated in bright colours and kept very clean and neat.

Public areas

You usually have to fight your way over a mass of backpacks and other luggage, and occasionally prostrate backpackers too, to reach the front desk of the atmospheric flagstone-tiled lobby, which features framed photographs detailing the hotel’s rich history. There’s a pretty outdoor courtyard and useful utility area with washing machines and dryers.

Eating and drinking

The hotel’s exterior is flanked on two sides by the street tables of the expensive and unpredictable Oh Mexico restaurant, but there is nothing on site.

Leisure facilities

None.

Service

Reception staff are very knowledgeable and keen to share their advice. Valet parking is desperately slow.

Who stays there

Backpackers, students, groups and couples on a budget.

Price advice

Room and dorm rates are among the lowest in town anyway but hotel offers stay three nights, pay for two packages in midweek.

Amenities

  • High-Speed Internet
  • Parking

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Singles
  • History
  • Design and architecture

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, clean dormitories
  • Budget hotel
  • Rich history and beautiful neighbourhood
  • Noise, particularly at weekends
  • No pool, bar or restaurant
Book now