Freehand New York
What We Love
- The solarium-style bar, a rooftop version of Miami’s Broken Shaker that also doubles as a yoga studio
- Framed New Yorker magazine covers in the mezzanine bathrooms
- Jewish-Moroccan plates at The Studio, a window-wrapped dining room
- The Shoppe, the hotel’s stylized take on an NYC bodega
What To Know
- The hotel’s “Three’s Company” rooms, which combine twin-sized bunks and a queen bed, are ideal for a group stay
- The building, which dates back to 1928, was the site of the former George Washington Hotel
- The drinks menu at the hotel’s cocktail den was inspired by figures from the American Revolution
- Students and alumni from Bard College created all the original artwork in the guest rooms
- Pet Friendly
Plush hostel-hotel hybrid in a legendary Art Deco building, with a destination restaurant and one of the city's hottest rooftop bars
When the Sydell Group, whose swanky NYC roster includes Paris-inspired beaut, the NoMad, set its sights on the former George Washington Hotel, determined to infuse a Long Island summer home vibe into a Flatiron landmark, it marked a welcome evolution for the storied creative retreat once a haven for 1930s-era writers, artists, and musicians. While millennial-friendly garnishes—Peloton bikes in the 24-hour gym, Roman & Williams-styled interiors (detailed millwork, miniature ceramic pots on the windowsills, terrazzo floors) and a public game room—now lure the young and the restless, the relatively generous rooms and onsen-inspired en-suites attract anyone seeking budget-friendly (but still upmarket) Manhattan. Yet, it’s the eating and drinking options that truly hit it out of the park at this restored city gem. From the North African offerings at The Studio, a light-soaked all-day café, eclectic seafood at Simon and the Whale, or aperitifs and caviar at the hotel’s former library room, the restaurants and bars here straddle the fine line between sceney and sophisticated—much like the artsy metropolitan haunt itself.
In the Area
The hotel is just a five-minute walk from one of the city’s rare and precious stretches of green, Madison Square Park (and a heavily trafficked outpost of burger mecca, The Shake Shack), though a Flatiron District address means plenty of attractions for the urban wanderer. Named for one very famous triangular building, this central neighborhood, a unique blend of Beaux Arts manses and edgy public art installations, is within easy reach of the Empire State Building, Union Square, and The Gramercy Theater. Also within walking distance: the Dover Street Market, a seven-story fashion emporium curated by the prolific Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo.
How to Get There
I wanted to love this hotel. When it came up in my NYC hotel search I knew I had to stay there. Upon arrival I wasn’t disappointed - the vibe was great - until I had to interact with the staff. I had pre checked in online - where it asks what time you’ll arrive, etc. I arrived a little before 3, so wasn’t surprised when our room wasn’t ready. Went to eat, etc and arrived back to the hotel at 4, to be told our room - STILL wasn’t ready. Even though they knew we were waiting and assured me it wouldn’t be long. The young lady at the desk assured me she would call
Me as soon as it was ready and confirmed my phone number. She said she would keep an eye on it and as soon as it was ready she would call since she knew it was me and my 3 kids who were eager to get to the room after a long day of traveling. We go out again and after about an hour I still haven’t heard from anyone so we go back to check. The young lady says “oh hi! Your room will be ready for sure. So I said yes, I was waiting for a phone call. And she said “oh I went on break”. Wouldn’t you think to tell someone else? So now it’s after 5 and I’m now
Getting my room even after the check in time is 3 pm. We got to the room
And though the carpet looked like it needed to be vacuumed- we loved the room. The beds were comfortable / felt very clean - love the apples and little touches. They left a note saying sorry for the room not being ready and four cookies. Which while I appreciate the gesture the fact that had I not come back to check in I would have still been waiting for a phone call. She acted extremely nonchalant about it like it was normal activity to have to wait two hours past the check in time to get a room. My intention was for my kids to rest for a while before our dinner and evening plans were to start. Since we never got that opportunity our whole evening had to change. Then to make matters worse - after we get back to our room after our abbreviated evening plans - the kids fell asleep almost immediately but kept waking up complaining that it was cold. The thermostat wasn’t working. I called the desk they sent someone who came and did something and said it should be fine but I said I had already done that. He tried something else and said if that doesn’t do it we will have to figure it out (ie move us) but I’m not about to wake up my three exhausted children to move them. So in the mean time we have extra blankets to try and keep warm. As I said I want to love this place, and I do. But I don’t feel like it loves me back. Fast forward to the following morning, I ask for a manager because I want to see if they will let us check out a bit later. I get a call back from a young lady named Laura. I had seen her helping another person at the desk when we were checking in and recognized her voice. Anyways, she was super friendly and I told her this whole story and exactly what I’ve written here. I want to love this place but ... anyways she apologized and sounded empathetic and was able to accommodate my late check out. While I was still annoyed by all of the mishaps thus far, I chalked it up to a few bad seeds they have working there. I was satisfied by the way she handled the situation and didn’t make excuses. While in a cab on the way back to our room, we got stuck in mad traffic - so I called the hotel to inform them that we were going to be a few minutes late and I still need to go to the room. The person that answered the phone kept telling me there are no female managers at the hotel. I told her I called earlier and asked for a manager and a young lady called me back and handled it. Anyways after debating for about 5 minutes trying to get a hold of whom I had spoken to (laura) she finally asks what I need and I told her - she said it wasn’t a problem and to stop by the desk so she could reactivate my key. Which she could have said in the beginning instead of debating with me about whether or not they had a female staff and making me feel like I was making it up. I go to the desk, she reactivated my key and we went up. We gathered our stuff and left the hotel for the train station. Laura came and introduced herself and was super friendly and pleasant and had a great vibe. I left feeling confused because I still love the hotel but was one understanding staff member enough to justify all of the other less than stellar interactions and incidents? We are at the train station waiting to board our train quite some time later, I get a phone call from someone named Parker, informing me that they were able to accommodate my late check out but now they have to charge me for an extra night because it’s 5pm. I informed him I had left a long time ago and I had literally had a send off by his colleague should he need to verify. Wouldn’t you have the room checked first before calling someone and making those sort of statements. Maybe ask first before making assumptions.
Great hotel but could definitely use some help in getting their staffing up to par. Laura was the one person that stood out and was pleasant to deal with etc but being amongst so many other bad seeds I don’t know that she’s enough to save the day.
Even when the person brought extra blankets he literally shoved them in my face and grunted “here”. They could use some customer service workshops or something here. Maybe this is the standard for the “cool” hotels? Also, I booked direct, not through a third party site, just to clarify.
I have been staying at Freehand for 6 days and I have had an amazing time. The team was super helpful and nice, and the restaurants inside the Hotel are amazing, as well as the rooftop bar where you can drink and have snacks in a super nice atmosphere with music and super cool people.
Great hotel for touring Manhattan. Rooms small but nice and clean. Food also nice at 1st floor level. Bonus was the rooftop tiki bar at night with great atmosphere. Stayed in a 4 bed room (bunk beds) which were surprisingly comfortable. Would definitely say here again
Just home from a 4 night stay in NYC. Can't recommend this hotel enough, awesome location and friendly team. Very quirky fun boutique buzzy feel without a hefty price tag! Has an awesome rooftop bar, restaurant and lounge and a gym which is a great bonus. Rooms were clean, well equipped and not too noisy for central new york. Would definitely stay again!
Since it's opening in 2018, The Freehand NY has become the hotel of choice for my frequent work trips to the city. The staff is friendly with not a lot of turnover, which is always a good sign!
The rooms and bathrooms although small, are always very clean with lots of nice touches and a fun and creative use of space. The beds and linens are excellent and very comfortable. Having a mini-fridge in every room, glass bottle of fresh water and 2 or 3 apples left daily in the room is a unique and unexpected touch. I really appreciate the comfortable bathrobe and slippers, an added bonus in this room price range these days.
The hotel is unpretentious and welcoming, with a great mezzanine to sit in, have a coffee and get some work done if needed. There are a number of restaurants/bars on the property but they book up quickly so as a hotel guest that gets annoying. Fortunately there are plenty of other dining options in the neighborhood to choose from.