Freehand Los Angeles
What We Love
- Freehand’s hip and easygoing vibe
- Delicious tea-infused cocktails at Rudolph’s Bar & Tea served in vintage glasses
- The lushly landscaped rooftop pool, where you can order bites inspired by L.A.’s street food and seasonal drinks prepared by expert mixologists
What To Know
- Shared rooms, which can accommodate up to eight guests, have private bathrooms
- Valet parking is available for an extra fee per day, but there’s also public parking nearby
- Children are welcome, but the hotel is more suitable for adults, especially the young and young at heart
- Dogs of any size allowed at no additional fee
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Laid-back base in Downtown L.A. that promotes mingling with a series of inviting common areas
Originally built in 1924 by architects Walker & Eisen, L.A.’s Freehand boasts unique architectural details like owl-shaped tile work from the 1930s. (The Owl Drug Company was an occupant of the space, which was formerly known as the Commercial Exchange Building). Design firm Roman and Williams took full advantage of these quirky elements, pushing the theme even further by placing a collection of ceramic owls in the lobby bar Rudolph’s Bar & Tea. Freehand’s properties draw inspiration from the down-to-earth communal atmosphere of hostels, without sacrificing comfort or style. You’ll find this chic, social vibe throughout the property, including reception, which is outfitted with shingled sofas, custom wooden lights, and a hodgepodge of green plants all in reference to both the Arts and Crafts Movement and California’s desert environs. The main restaurant, run by the hospitality whiz kids at Bar Lab, is covered in a palette of intense teal and coral combined with auburn wooden panels. Broken Shaker, the award-winning cocktail bar located on the rooftop pool deck, offers expansive city views in an earthy setting of overgrown plants and flowers reminiscent of the California hills. And of the 226 rooms, decorated with sturdy cedar beds and woven wall art, 59 are shared—an ideal option for friend groups or solo travelers seeking affordable accommodations.
In the Area
Downtown Los Angeles was once an unremarkable area of nearly abandoned Art Deco office towers. But thanks to new city regulations, the neighborhood began to evolve into what it is today: a colorful hub of food and culture. Noteworthy restaurants include Bottega Louie, a glamorous light-filled space that’s famous for its well-executed Italian classics and house-made pastries, and Otium, a nouveau American spot run by former French Laundry chef Timothy Hollingsworth. Then there’s art—plenty of it—seen in small galleries and artists’ studios as well as institutions like The Broad, a contemporary art museum showcasing works by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ed Ruscha inside a stunningly modern building designed by master architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
How to Get There
Wonderful hotel and staff. Jermaine greeted us on our late night/early morning arrival and welcomed us as if it was 3 in the afternoon. Good location for us and it wasnt so bad at night per some other reviews. We will return for sure and try booking private!
Rooms are nice (although no kettle in room) and clean, with lovely fixtures. Coffee in lobby great too. However, do not book this hotel if you want to get to sleep before 11pm/12am. The roof top bar is noisy and can be heard all the way down the building. This made for a terrible work trip to LA. If you are here for fun, book, stay up late and enjoy.
The good: reasonably priced for the comfort level; excellent if pretentious cocktail menu; comfortable rooms in a historically significant commercial building.
The bad: staff are poorly trained and can be unprofessional. E.g. the barista made a snide comment about how quickly I ate my croissant; check out staff so slow that I was late for a meeting (see below).
The ugly: there was an unwarranted cafe charge on my bill of $54 (!!!) When I questioned it the desk clerk said he had to bring his manager but would not interrupt her phone call. He kept me waiting for ten minutes before asking a colleague, who told him to dismiss it. I had to ask twice for a printed copy of my receipt, and then wait as he went to get paper for the printer. He never apologized to me for any of this.
Summary: probably a good hotel for globe-trotting singles with bank for overpriced cocktails and patience for poor service. Would not recommend to business travelers.
PS, forgot to mention that my hallway smelled powerfully of cannabis. See summary.
Stayed in the hotel with a group of 7 other friends.
The first clue this was going to be an awful place to stay was that the first night we were there, my friend found a cigarette lighter in their bed, and I found a cigarette lighter AND an open pack of cigarettes in mine.
When we brought it to the attention of the front desk they told us it was just too bad and they weren’t willing to do anything to compensate for the fact that our room hadn’t been properly cleaned after the last people checked out.
We paid 2300 dollars for the room that they didn’t even bother to clean!
On top of that our room window was incredibly filthy and had a giant crack in it, feels like they’ve probably never bothered to clean or repair anything in this hotel.
Another example for our room is that we had an 8 bed room that came with two bathrooms, but only one of those bathrooms had a lock on it. We were paying about 383 dollars/night for a stay that felt more like we should have been paying 25/night. Once again, the hotel was not willing to do ANYTHING to compensate for these problems.
My claim that this hotel has never fixed anything is also evident by the carpet in the elevators. They are in TERRIBLE conditions. One of the elevator’s has more exposed floor than carpet in it, and it became incredibly easy to trip over all the worn threads. There is absolutely no way these conditions are recent and I can’t even fathom how a place can charge so much without fixing glaring problems like this.
At one point during the trip, one of our roommate’s key stopped working, and when she went to the front desk to get a new one, they refused to give her one. They said only the person who did the booking can authorize a new room key, even though we are listed on the booking information.
Talking with ANY of the night staff was an absolute headache, nobody wanted to help us and everyone had an attitude like we were inconveniencing them. They were really ever only concerned about helping the bar guests. It got to the point where we would try to hold out until the morning staff arrived because that was the only time we could get the staff to help us.
Going back about the bar guests though, having to leave/get to our hotel room at night was an absolute nightmare because of the bar guests. One night while coming back to the hotel from dinner, we were essentially blocked from getting to our room by 10 or so cops because there had been some incident in the bar. It seemed that this happens a lot at the bar because none of the staff or regulars seemed like this was out of the ordinary.
Hopefully some authority steps in soon to clean up this whole hotel, and make it a place that is actually stay-able in. Would have to take almost a complete remodel to get anyone in my group to come back, though.
To end this review, I’d like to mention one last thing. During our stay the staff changed the payment price on us multiple times. When we originally booked we were given a final price of 2040 dollars. Which jumped up at check in because of hidden fees. The staff only told us that the payment was for extra fees but would not elaborate on what specificallt. This was an incredibly shady tactic for the hotel to do and we’re going to be calling about it until they finally give us answers as to these random up-charges that were not mentioned anywhere on our booking reservation.
So all in all, not a great place to stay unless you’re wanting to pay a huge price (that you won’t actually know until you get there) for a room that you wouldn’t even find at the worst motel in the area.
I attended Anime Expo 2019 and i stayed at this hotel for 6 days. This place gave me a very hipster vibe and really enjoyed it. I come from Florida and i have no idea how to get around in LA. The front desk staff helped me out and gave me tips on how to use the public transportation. They told me how much it was and even gave me two free metro cards to use and where to go to load money onto it. They have a friendly staff and they quite young as well. They really did relate to me when i wanted to not use Uber or Lyft and spend my money elsewhere. I got a bedroom with a single king bed in it. My room was very clean and room service did a great job when i was not in my room. I had a lot of anime Merchandise on the desk and they did not harm anything. This will be my go to hotel for Anime Expo and whenever i visit LA.