REVIEW: Freehand Los Angeles Hotel​

Located in Downtown Los Angeles, The Freehand Los Angeles hotel (part of the Sydell Group) was, as described on the Sydell Group website, created for a new generation of urban travellers. The hotel has combined the culture of a hostel with innovative design, comfort and quality food and beverages at an affordable price.

Established in 2017, the hotel offers a variety of rooms including suites, premium hotel rooms and shared accommodation with the interior designed by Roman and Williams. With its Downtown location, restaurants, bars, markets and pharmacies are all within walking distance. The hotel also has four restaurants/bars where you can purchase anything from coffee to a cocktail and breakfast to dinner. With a variety of services and amenities available including 24-hour front desk and security, convenient and affordable parking, complimentary Wi-Fi and a rooftop pool, I am sure this hotel has everything you need.

I had the pleasure of staying at the Freehand Los Angeles from Monday 27th November 2017 to Friday 1st December 2017 and here is my review of the experience.

Arrival and Check-In

I was able to check-in to my room at 3pm but after a flight from JFK and a Lyft ride from LAX, I arrived at the hotel at approximately 6pm. I was greeted at my taxi by a lady who worked at the hotel and she assisted me by taking one of my bags through to reception. At the reception desk, I was welcomed to the hotel and asked for my ID to confirm who I was and what room I had been assigned. The receptionist also informed me that a deposit would be taken to cover any damage to the room or if I was to purchase any snacks during my stay.

After receiving my room keys and being informed about things I may need to know, the receptionist wished me a pleasant stay and I headed to my hotel room. The lady who previously assisted me with my bags offered to help again but I declined the offer and thanked her for asking.

The Room

I booked the King Room with a city view for my stay and I was given room 917 which was located on the 9th floor. There was not much of a city view as all I could see was the car park below and two tall buildings which blocked any view of the city. There was no additional cost for a view of the city but if you did want a real view of the city, I would recommend emailing the hotel to ask for a room with a view.

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The room had one king sized bed which was very large. I used the bed as a place to sit when watching the TV and when I sat with my back against the wall and spread my legs across the bed, there was still room at the side of the bed. When fully laid across the bed, there was a tiny amount of room left. I am six feet tall, so this gives you an idea of how big this bed was.

The bed itself was very comfortable but I found the pillows too soft and had to use both pillows to provide a bit more firmness. I normally only use one pillow to sleep as two pillows cause my neck to hurt the next day. On the left-hand side of the bed was a bedside table with a lamp. The bed was situated against the wall so there was no bedside table on the right-hand side.

Situated in the corner of the room were a workstation and chair and on top of the workstation was a selection of snacks available. The desk was roomy and had plenty of space for my Macbook and my external hard drive. In the cabinet below the workstation was a fridge full of light refreshments. The prices of the snacks and light refreshments were stated on the menu that was situated on the workstation. If you were to take one of the snacks, the price for the snacks would be taken out of the deposit you paid at check-in. I did not purchase any snacks during my stay as I mostly ate out and did not feel hungry whilst in my room.

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Above the workstation was a 43inch LED HDTV with access to a variety of channels. During my stay, I used the TV in the evenings and watched the live American Football games and also college basketball. The quality of the picture was great and there was a lot of channels to choose from. As mentioned earlier, I used my bed as a place to sit and watch the TV.

The bathroom was very large and had more than enough room. The bathroom had a toilet, wash basin, a mirror and a shower. The shower area was separated from the toilet area by a small step and a shower curtain. The shower was hot and powerful and came with toiletries but I had purchased my own to use during my stay. Two medium sized towels, two small sized towels and two facewash towels were provided with each day as well as a towel to place on the floor outside of the shower.

A robe and slippers were also provided in the room. They were both situated in the wardrobe and whilst I did not use the robe, the slippers were very comfortable and useful for when I had just woken up or gotten out of the shower.

Inside the wardrobe, there was a clothing rail with clothing hangars, an iron and ironing board, a safe for your personal belongings and space to put your shoes at the bottom. The safe was easy and simple to use, you just shut the door, type the code you want to use and press lock.

Services and Amenities

I tend not to use services provided by hotels during my stay, not for any bad reason but I have never felt the need to. The Freehand Los Angeles offers a few services and also some extra amenities that can be viewed here. < insert link

One of the amenities that caught my eye when booking this hotel was the fact the hotel has a rooftop pool and bar. At the time of booking, I did not really pay attention to this as I thought it would be freezing cold in LA but it turns out I was quite wrong. On my first day in LA, it was 25 degrees and the days that followed it was between 18 and 23 degrees. There are plenty of sun loungers surrounding the pool and there was a very peaceful atmosphere.

The hotel also offered complimentary Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping and in-room dining but I believe this is the standard offering from all hotels. The Wi-Fi was strong and I never had an issue with browsing the internet and uploading to YouTube. The housekeepers were polite and did an excellent job maintaining the room during my stay.

On-Site Dining

The Exchange Restaurant, Café Integral and Rudolph’s Bar & Tea are all situated within the hotel premises and offer a varied choice of food and drink. As I mentioned earlier in the review, the hotel even has a rooftop pool and bar called Broken Shaker.

 

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Café Integral

Café Integral offers small breakfast and lunch selections made with fresh, seasonal ingredients which can be accompanied by a choice of hot drinks and juices.

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Rudolph’s Bar & Tea

Rudolph’s Bar & Tea is located in the hotel’s lobby. The bar offers a menu full of tea-infused cocktails alongside light bites and a full tea service. I tried one of the cocktails when I arrived at the hotel, from what I can remember I paid $17 for it and it was really good! I asked the barman to surprise me with a strong cocktail and he did not let me down.

The lobby was full of seating for both the café and the bar. The whole lobby provided this very chilled and relaxed feeling. The windows provided great lighting and the furniture was very simplistic. The lobby kind of reminded me of garden furniture but the whole area looked amazing.

The Exchange Restaurant, which menu explores the multi-cultural flavours of urban LA through an Israeli lens is led by the team behind Bar Lab and is situated on the ground floor of the building. I did not eat here during my stay but from just looking at the menu, I am sure the food would have tasted great.

Check Out

Checking out was quick and easy. The latest I could vacate my room was at 12pm but I left the hotel at 11am to head to the airport. There was no queue at the reception desk and I was seen to immediately. I handed over my room key and informed them that I would like to check out. The receptionist asked me how my stay was and then wished me a safe flight back to the UK and also informed me that the deposit I paid on arrival was placed back onto my card.

Staff

During my stay at the hotel, I came into contact with a lot of different staff members. The staff were polite and helpful at all times and ensured I was happy during my stay. I did not feel like I was bothering any of the staff members and they always made sure my query or request was dealt with quickly and with a smile. The receptionists were welcoming and seemed to genuinely care, the housekeeping staff always had smiles on their faces and the staff members at the bar and rooftop bar always engaged in good conversation.


Positives

  • Very large and comfortable bed
  • The lobby is beautifully designed and is a great place to relax
  • Rooftop bar and pool
  • Good selection of TV channels

Negatives

  • Pillows were too soft
  • I booked a city view but got a view of the tall buildings and a car park

Final Say

I was not sure what to expect when I originally booked this hotel. I think this was because the images online portray the hostel culture very strongly and I thought the hotel would be full of groups on holiday, but I was so wrong. The mood around the hotel was very relaxed and it was often very silent during the day. The hotel is very well designed with the open plan lobby and the rooms are all good sizes. The rooftop bar and pool are great additions and together with a great bedroom, a choice of places to eat and drink, they make this hotel a great place to stay.

Disclaimer: The room at the Freehand Los Angeles was purchased using my own money and I am not in partnership with Freehand Los Angeles. All opinions stated in this review are my own.