Iconic Vagabond Motel is finally open for business

The Vagabond Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard
The Vagabond Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard

After years of delays, Biscayne Boulevard’s iconic Vagabond Motel is again accepting guests.

The Miami Modern-style hotel, designed by Robert Swartburg, originally opened in 1953 offering affordable drive-in lodging to vacationing families. Now, following a multimillion-dollar restoration, the hotel gives off a hip and “decidedly grown-up vibe,” according to the Miami Herald.

“We’ve had so much community support, it’s been great,” said developer Avra Jain, who purchased the then-vacant property a year and a half ago for $1.9 million. “It’s a good place to be because of the neighborhoods.”

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To say the Vagabond’s reopening defines a sharp turnaround from the boulevard’s dodgy recent past as a haunt for prostitutes and drug dealers might be an understatement. To make it abundantly clear that it’s a new day for the Vagabond and the boulevard, Jain has instituted a strict no-cash, no walk-ins policy. “And no hourly rates,’’ she joked.

Over the years, the Vagabond had served as the site of a clothing shop and a farmer’s market, with owners gutting the building in hopes of a restoration that never panned out. [Miami Herald] Christopher Cameron