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
- 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
If I were 25 this hotel would be amazing, but I'm not. The lobby and bar are great, and the rooms are functional. If your room faces the street, good luck sleeping late, my room (200) was loud and the red light from the restaurant streamed into the room between the wood blinds. New curtains and some soundproof windows would result in a much higher rating.
The Freehand is a very cool spot. It's very trendy and has a cool atmosphere. Those are the highlights. On the downside, although it is a hotel, I would not recommend staying here if you are trying to rest. It's very loud because they have a roof top bar and a huge lobby bar and restaurant. Now, if you are looking to have a good night out and don't mind not sleeping, this is the place for you. I enjoyed my stay there and would go again. Just not for sleep.
Hotel is very well located and the grounds are nicely decorated and kept. A mix of hispter and ethnic vibes through and through. The room was well decorated and clean.
Staff is cool though it feels like they're more used to cater for yound crowds in for the trendy hostel experience than other type of clients. The bar and the restaurant are however of another calibre. Drinks and food are tasty and the staff very professional.
The rooftop is as pictured and offers a nice relaxing area to have a drink, a smoke or a swim while enjoying the sun.
Now for the stay itself. I booked a single King Room with City view, which was more a City Road View. Just saying im case you'd expect one of those amazing Skyline View. The hotel doesn't offer those. The problem though is that double glazing windows didn't make it to the director to do list and the sound of the street (people, car, sirens, etc) made it impossible for me to get one night of good sleep. And I was on the 7th floor! Remember this is downtown LA: it's busy, there will be noise at all time. When asked to change rooms, I was told no room was quiet but offered ear plugs. Really...? Needless to say I'll never stay there again and wouldn't recommend it to anyone hoping to actually sleep.
You can sense that it's all about making money, with full basket of snacks, stocked mini bar but nothing to prepare a free tea or coffee. They even charged me $15 I still to figure out what for. There was a nice branded tote bag and sleeper on display. I suspect it's for one of those, which proves, if needed be, that they're really after any little bucks they can make. Here I thought is was a gesture considering the price and the little you get for it really ($950+ for 4 nights).
I'd say, go have a drink at the bar to enjoy a free live concert or a meal at the restautant (Exchange Restaurant) but stay away from the hotel. There are plenty of others nice ones in the area for the same price or cheaper that offer elegant and quiet rooms + all the other services and amenities you'd expect for a nice stay whether on business or holiday.
When I checked into the hotel I found sand in my bed, I complained to the woman on reception to get my bedding changed, she said she'd inform housekeeping. When I returned from the day out the bedding still wasn't changed. I went down to complain again and a different guy said that housekeeping had gone home so I would have to change it myself.. Poor service, cleanliness and staff.
Booked a room for two and they gave us only one king with no alternatives to switch to. Everything is cramped and extremely noisy. The whole place is annoyingly dim like they are trying to save on power. The staff were not terribly amicable or compromising when it came to switching rooms. The price and 4 star rating make zero sense.