Inside LA’s new Freehand hotel, where shared rooms start at $55 nightly2

Posted by admin | August 4, 2017 | Press

Downtowners who might remember walking by the boarded-up ground floor of the Commercial Exchange building will now see expansive glass panes topped by rows of transom windows, allowing passersby to peek into a new lobby, bar, and first floor restaurant.

The transformation of 1920s-era building at Eighth and Olive from a mostly empty but beautiful space into a hip Freehand hotel is complete.

Sydell Group—the company behind Koreatown’s stylish Line hotel and Palm Springs’s colorful Saguaro hotel—enlisted Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects to revitalize the building. The project was announced in 2014, and starting this week, it’s taking reservations and its restaurant and bar are open to the public.

The Freehand began as a hostel-type hotel in Miami, but Sydell Group CEO Andrew Zobler says the idea of Freehand is more about capturing the culture of a hostel—meeting people and socializing, having unexpected interactions—than it is about being one.

Maybe that’s why the Downtown Freehand’s 59 shared rooms are nothing like the ultra-basic hostels familiar to backpackers.

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