Freehand to Swing Into Chicago's River North Nabe
The Freehand Miami
Good news for folks who love Chicago but don't want another canned or expensive hotel experience--the funky fresh Freehand premium hostel brand from the Sydell Group is coming to River North.
The Freehand Chicago will open in the old Tokyo Hotel at 19 East Ohio Street and according to Chicago Real Estate Daily will have 250 beds. Key word: Beds, not rooms. The beds will be split between private rooms and dormitory-style suites with four to eight beds in a room. There will also be an onsite bar, called Broken Shaker, and a café that hopes to bring in both international travelers staying at the Freehand and locals. (The existing sushi restaurant, Ginza, will close later this month after 26 years in business.)
The interiors will be done NY-based Roman & Williams Buildings & Interiors who did the original Freehand in Miami and who is also redesigning the Chicago Athletic Association which will turn into a hotel next year. You can read HotelChatter's article on the design duo here. Better yet, you can tour every inch of the Freehand Miami here.
As for price, HotelChatter nabbed a dorm room for just $21 in Miami. So we'll expect the same or slightly higher in Chicago, especially during the summer. Private rooms will be north of $100 for sure.
Alas, The Freehand will take some time to create. The 16-story building will be completely gutted so the projected opening date is early 2015. That's ok, we'll wait.
HOTELCHATTER'S EXPERT OPINION (from JetSetCD)
the lower Freehand pricepoints combined with higher style is going to attract all those travelers who can't necessarily afford the Kimptons and don't want to stay as far away from tourist attractions as a spot like Longman & Eagle, and definitely do not want to chance the mega hostel in the Loop (which is hardly fit for anyone other than the downtrodden). Chicago's had its fingers crossed for an Ace Hotel for years; The Freehand may actually be a better option.