By Lucy Chabot Reed
Fort Lauderdale-based Smart Move Accommodations is set to open today a new style of crew housing equipped and intended for more professionally minded crew, including students.
Each unit in the four-unit Island Breeze complex has three bedrooms with room for two people per room. One of the rooms is a private room with a “proper” king-size bed and private bathroom.
“There will never be bunk beds in here,” said Shelley Isakowitz, Smart Move’s operations manager, during a recent tour. “And it’s not two twins pushed together, it’s a proper king. And they have good quality mattresses, pillows and linens.”
Weekly prices will be higher than traditional budget crew housing to reflect the better amenities: the new Ikea furniture, the “fastest wi-fi we could get”, the free washers and dryers in each unit. Outside, there are picnic tables under a shade cloth, barbecue grills and twinkle lights in the tree and gazebo.
As of last week, there were still a few final touches to be completed, including installation of private lockers in each bedroom, adding power strips for charging stations, and a bike rack inside the property-wide six-foot fence.
Smart Move worked on the complex all summer, refitting and outfitting an old quad-plex. Being within walking distance to Maritime Professional Training and 17th Street puts it close to the railroad tracks, but impact-resistant windows keep out much of the noise. And the complex has achieved the city of Fort Lauderdale’s short-term vacation rental license, which requires a variety of safety features including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and a hard-wired telephone to call 911.
Island Breeze’s sleeping space for 24 people just about doubles what Smart Move offers for crew, Isakowitz said. It is available for rent in its entirety, each unit it its entirety, or simply a bed. Accented in washed woods and bright blue paint, each unit has been named for a piece of the Bahamas: Paradise Island, Exuma, Bimini and Rum Cay.
“We want to see how the market responds, what kind of feedback we get,” Isakowitz said. “I’m not sure there’s anything like it on the market, shared crew housing at this [upscale] level. We really hope crew like it and are comfortable here. We want it to feel like a home.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.