by Casey Bressan

Freehand Los Angeles

A rooftop pool party rises above the city heat.

Absolute Highlight

Cruising between a day party at the rooftop pool and our large hotel room with warehouse windows overlooking downtown LA, or DTLA as the locals call it.

In a nutshell

No. of rooms
226
The design aesthetic is...
California urban encompassing both DTLA’s warehouse culture and innovative craftsman design.
The typical guest is...
international urbanites excited by the electric energy and cultural revolution in DTLA.
The sustainability features (ie. plastic free, recycling, green wall, garden) are...
recycling, along with locally sourced produce, furniture and decorative elements throughout Freehand LA.
The location is...
In the heart of downtown LA, an area that is just barely turning the corner from a little dangerous to completely gentrified. Both hip and historic, you’ll find trendy restaurants, boutique hotels, cultural attractions, and shops ranging from cheap finds to luxury boutiques.
Interaction is encouraged by....
The rooftop pool and the lobby coffee to cocktail area are both open and friendly for chance or planned encounters.
You should stay here because
You should check out downtown when visiting Los Angeles and a visit to Freehand is a must on any DTLA list. When you arrive to check it out, you won’t want to leave, so I suggest you don’t.
What took you there?

I have an office in downtown Los Angeles, and I wanted to experience the night life without worrying about driving home to Santa Monica afterward.

What was your room like?

Rooms range from shared bunk spaces to luxury suites, so you truly have your pick of price-point at Freehand LA. I had a Skyline King room, which was very large and well priced at US$153 per night (a last minute booking was rewarded in my case). Towering warehouse style windows had generous sills to enjoy the downtown view, which second to a couch that curved with the wall, was my go-to perch for slow minutes watching the city go by. Vibrantly colored textiles and custom wood furniture coupled with soft California sunlight felt unique but familiarly Freehand.

What about the venue

Inside Freehand is as relaxed as California should be with urban energy injected throughout – especially on the rooftop where a pool and the famed Broken Shaker bar serve locals and tourists together in one roof party above the hot city streets. I had been before with coworkers for pre-weekend wind downs and on this occasion with my husband on a date night for a drink and a bit of energy before our dinner. It suits both well. The Commercial Exchange building in which Freehand LA inhabits is a beautiful historic building at the center of downtown LA’s expansion and reimagination over the past century.

Tell us about the destination

I am always drawn to creative neighborhoods that retain a bit of grit while teetering on the edge of mass popularity, and DTLA ticks this box for me. The Los Angeles government has been focusing on revitalizing downtown LA for decades and the fruits of this labor are apparent. DTLA is being transformed by corporations who have come in for low rent and endless public transport options, which then attracts young business people, new residential development in old warehouses, a multitude of cultural offerings including regular art walks and street festivals, as well as innovative businesses that include markets, boutiques, and pop-ups. The neighborhood has been reenergized over the past twenty years and feels exceedingly trendy.

Who did you meet there?

I ran into everyone I know in DTLA, which is quite a few people and an international bunch, because everyone stops by one of the Freehand restaurants, bars, coffee or flower shops at least once a weekend in this area.

Have you stayed here? Let us know your thoughts!
Los Angeles, United States
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Surrounding Activities

Be entertained at LA Live

LA Live is the sports and entertainment area around the Staples Center. The ‘campus’ is home to sports and music events, entertainment, food and more.

LA Live Calendar of Events

Angels Flight Railway

A train station is a destination in DTLA! Go the Grand Central Market for a cultural food fix (my favorite is Tacos Tumbras a Tomas or try a $10 PBJ from PBJ.LA) and Angels Flight, a historical landmark and the OG commute to downtown.

Angels Flight Railway

Downtown LA Walking Tours

For the down low on the cultural, historic and even haunted highlights of DTLA.

Downtown LA Walking Tours

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