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
The hotel is like an upscale youth hostel - lots of shared rooms mean long lines for the elevator, people using the lobby as a workspace, and the rooftop bar/pool being crowded and disorganized. That said, our room was nicely decorated and the attached restaurant was quite good.
Amazing value, fun hotel with great design. Met some nice people. The coffee bar & roof top pool were a highlight. The lifts take a while but hey they’re historic. I’d recommend the core power yoga 5 mins walk away too.
I stayed at the Freehand Hotel in Los Angeles for 3 nights in April. The hotel was incredibly noisy throughout and seems to attract a party crowd. Noise also included former employee “protesters “ at 7am in the morning who were shouting in street below our room because of the way they had been tested.
The elevator system is very slow and we often walked up the 7 flights of stairs which was faster than waiting for the elevator.
We tried both a breakfast and lunch in two different hotel restaurants, the food was expensive and my daughter sent a chicken sandwich back with a hair in it, there was no apology or offer to remove the item from our bill.
The final straw was the fact that the hotel double charged me for the room and a holding fee equivalent to the room plus £100. We checked out 3 days ago and I am still waiting for £585 to be refunded. I spoke to the hotel today and they suggested I email my bank a letter?!?!?
In short.....noisy, expensive and very badly organised. I definitely do not recommend!
Really wanted to like this hotel. A great location, hip vibe and boutique lobby/amenities. Staff interactions were disappointing, rooms were showing wear/tear, evenings were loud with lots of hallway noise and bright lights in courtyard/artwall did not turn off until late, late evening.
Freehand is a new brand of hotels that combine the hostel + hotel experience-- think Moxy or CitizenM combined with the vibe of an Ace Hotel. This particular hotel is in an awesome, super gentrified location in downtown LA. I found the staff to be non-existent - they weren't available for check-in (I ended up checking in using the self service kiosks), they never greeted me and were no where to be found at check out.
The rooms were very small. My room in particular faced the courtyard so it had a view of a wall. It was great light during the day, but at night they light it up with very bright lights which glare into the rooms late into the night. The rooms were also showing wear and tear - light fixtures falling apart when touched, outlets not working and light switches not working properly. Because of the hostel type of experience the hotel attracts all types of travelers. This meant loud hallway conversations, doors slamming at all hours of the night and plenty of smoking of marijuana wafting throughout the entire hotel.
I happened to experience the same obnoxious protestors at Freehand. What the reviewer missed is these people are protesting all hotels, not just Freehand. They're abused because they have to stand at a reservation desk and pay 25.00 for their healthcare when LA has an added tax for their healthcare. Poor babies should find another line of work. Further down the road they blocked traffic on Wilshire and the police showed up.
Ok the good stuff
We're new to the Sydell brand and like it alot.
The Freehand is a funky hip boutique hotel. Great rooftop bar pool scene. Cool drinks and try their daily punch drink they come up with.
I'm not find of the halls to the room, a bit dark for my taste . That's the mood in public indoor spaces Thankfully the rooms are a different story; nice and bright. Excellent shower with high water pressure . The linens felt so good it was hard to get out of bed. The room decor has a modern but earthy decor. This is a historic building and elevator's are slow. The hallways & elevator shouldn't be an issue because everything else is very nice .The location is great You're near everything that a business or tourist person would need.
It's a hip & trendy boutique with great pricing and value for DTLA.