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The Virgin Chicago won't be the new, hip hotel in Chicago for very long after it opens in January. A little over a year ago, we were stoked to find out that a second outpost of the Freehand Hotel/Hostel concept would be opening in Chicago's trendy River North neighborhood. Today, we've got a sneak peek at the rooms inside the Freehand Chicago as well as a functioning website.
The Freehand Chicago will open in the old Tokyo Hotel at 19 East Ohio Street. Once NY-based Roman & Williams Buildings & Interiors finish up transforming the building, which was originally built in 1927, the hostel will have 250 beds split between private rooms and shared rooms. Above is what the private rooms will look like, below is what a shared room will look like.
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We're loving Downtown LA these days and so are hotels. On the heels of an Ace Hotel opening with its excellent historic theater and a new hybrid Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott Hotel comes news that Freehand Hotels/Hostels will open in DTLA in 2016.
The LA Times reports that the site of the Freehand Hotel will be the 13-story Commercial Exchange Building at 8th and Olive streets. The former office building, built in 1924 and once home to Edgar Rice Burrough's publishing company, was recently purchasedby the Sydell Group Ltd, the same company who did
the awesome Ace Hotel in New York and (see clarification below) the excellent Line Hotel in LA's Koreatown. The LA Freehand, like the original in Miami and the upcoming one in Chicago, will be developed in partnership with Yucaipa Cos., Ron Burkle's investment company.
The Freehand Miami won over HotelChatter contributor JetSetCD last year with their "funky fresh" hostel rooms and amenities, all at a very reasonable rate ($21 a night for a shared bunk room when JetSetCD was there) And it looks like other folks have been equally impressed because the Freehand just expanded its property.
The hostel acquired the building next door and has opened it up as the "Guest House" with nine Private King Rooms, five King Suites (a new room type) and one private Bungalow which can sleep four.
The Guest House is accessible through the existing Freehand courtyard so the lobby, the Broken Shaker bar and the pool aren't very far away at all. It's also across from the building that will house the Freehand's restaurant, which still hasn't opened but we're hearing it should debut later this year.
Rooms in the Guest House start this weekend at $60 for a dorm room and $224 for a private king room.
[Top Photo: Freehand Miami; Gallery Photos: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]
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The Freehand Miami
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.
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As usual, we were leafing through the NY Times Travel section this weekend, making mental notes about how we should plan on visiting East Frisia to try the tea, and, how we need to check out that newly reopened "Shalom" hotel in Tel Aviv, when something caught our eye.
It was in an article talking about the new trend of "stylish hostels" popping up in places like Mexico City, Singapore, Reykjavik and São Paulo. Of course, one of the more interesting "hotels" we recently reviewed was Freehand Miami, a hip $21/night hostel that's run by the Sydell Group (the same company responsible for The NoMad, Ace New York and Saguaro Palm Springs.)
Now, for the exciting part: the article casually mentions that the Sydell Group is planning to take the Freehand concept nationwide (yay!), and the next location will be New York (double yay!).