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Freehand Hotels / Freehand Hostels / Downtown LA Hotels / Sydell Group / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / → All Tags
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.
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Los Angeles can be a tough city...when it comes to choosing a hotel. Most everyone who visits wants to "see Hollywood and go to the beach" without understanding that, with traffic, the beach and Hollywood can be an hour and a half apart.
The city has also suffered from a rather unoriginal hotel scene with fancy, schmancy luxury hotels populating Beverly Hills and big brand hotel names dominating everywhere else. But in recent years, that's begun to change.
Five years ago we got excited by the opening of the SLS which offered slightly bizarre room decor from Philippe Starck with the phenomenal Bazaar restaurant from Chef Jose Andres. Then came along Andaz West Hollywood which gave us stylish accommodations on the Sunset Strip without the pretense and without ghastly WiFi charges.
In February, we saw the opening of the Ace Hotel Downtown LA which gave us several reasons to visit downtown; the top two reasons being the rooftop bar and the incredible historic theater.
Now, The Line Hotel has opened in LA's Koreatown, giving visitors a chance to stay in a part of the city that's long been vibrant but often overlooked. We toured The Line Hotel a few weeks ago and fell instantly in love, er, in line with what we saw. Here are 11 things to check-out when you check-in:
According to The Line's developer, The Sydell Group, another Line Hotel is being developed in Washington, DC in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. It will be called The Line DC. Here's the hotel description:
Sydell Group Ltd will be developing a new, full service hotel located at 1780 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC in the Adams Morgan neighborhood - an area long respected for its diversity, rich culture, and personality. The project consists of a newly constructed building, the restoration of a historic church, the creation of dynamic public spaces, and a high quality restaurant experience designed to serve both neighborhood residents and hotel guests alike.
Sounds good to us! And it's about time DC started to get some cool hotels. Serious design and architect nerds can peep some renderings for the property which was previously called the Adams Morgan Historic Hotel project. Another fun fact: This site was once considered by Edition Hotels who seemed to have scrapped a DC location for now.
If you're looking to experience the first Line, the LA Line Hotel is still offering special opening rates. We found a room for next week for just $182 a night.
[Photo: The Line Hotel]
The 388-room hotel was supposed to open this past summer but instead, it looks like the hotel will open on December 11th with a special opening rate of $195 a night.
Done as a collaboration between the Sydell Group, chef Roy Choi, nightlife brother-duo Mark and Jonnie Houston, and interior designer Sean Knibb, the hotel sports not just a nifty logo and a killer location in K-town but also a rooftop pool deck, a lounge hosted by the Houston Brothers, a POT restaurant and lobby bar from Choi featuring late night street eats, the Commissary greenhouse serving fruits and vegetables in salads and juice formats, as well as delivery service from the hotel with "the ease that mirrors a pizza shop or NYC Chinese take-out."
There are several room categories and clearly the ones to book are the ones with the view of the Hollywood Hills. Amenities include floor to ceiling windows, a large desk and seating area with Negril Chairs by Knibb, Baxter of California toiletries, bathrobes, curated minibar with American & Korean drinks and snacks, original artwork and best of all, free WiFi. Looks like our holiday hotel wish list is coming true a little early this year.
[Photo: The Line]
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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!).
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Inside an 8-bed room
No one ever got anywhere by calling something a "revolutionary concept." That phrase is played out right along with "funky fresh." Instead let us say this: if Freehand Miami plays its cards right and doesn't get too big for its britches (double idiom sentence!), it has the real potential to be crazy awesome and quickly multiply to conquer cities beyond Miami. Oh wait, that's exactly their plan (for 10 properties!), so what you're about to read is the future, baby.
The Freehand is a hostel with some private rooms and it's not trying to hide that fact. It is, however, a fancy hostel with an interior by Roman & Williams, staff uniforms designed by Timo Weiland, artwork by local Miami artists, and cocktails by Bar Lab.
Shared bunk rooms start at $21 a night (per person), while private rooms begin at $109 (per room). Beyond the rooms (8-bunk, 4-bunk, private king) the Freehand benefits from an inviting lobby, a bar (The Broken Shaker), back garden courtyard, a lovely pool, a side garden of table tennis and other yard games and, eventually, there'll even be a restaurant.
We stayed for three nights at the beginning of Art Basel, the week of their debut, paying a total of $122 for two people in the coed 8-bed room. We were however "upgraded" to a 4-bed room as the 8-beds weren't totally ready.
Hey LA peeps, new hotel alert: the Sydell Group, who is responsible for two of NYC's big-time, hip and happenin' hotels (Ace New York and The NoMad) is hard at work converting a 388-room hotel at 3515 Wilshire Blvd, in the Koreatown neighborhood of LA.
The hotel will be called The Line, and to better fit in with its surroundings, Sydell is planning to make it "the first lifestyle hotel of its kind in the US to draw upon Korean and Korean-American culture, food and design." Well! We didn't see that coming.
Koreatown has been likened to Bushwick in Brooklyn as LA's newest destination for young, artsy 20-somethings on the hunt for cheap rent. Which fits right in with Sydell's style—do you remember what the neighborhood surrounding the Ace New York was like before the Ace showed up? Yeah, nobody else does either. That's because Sydell managed to turn a formerly-dead midtown block into a trendy hangout spot by making the hotel the destination.
We're guessing they hope to re-create that success in LA with The Line when it opens next summer.
UPDATE 3.19.12: This property will definitely NOT be an Ace Hotel.
A recent blog post on design site, PSFK had our hearts aflutter with this headline, "Ace Hotel Miami Tests Whether Or Not Room Color Effects Your Mood" but when we clicked to read the story, it was actually about a color project at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Not sure why PSFK messed up the headline but we started to wonder if an Ace Hotel really was coming to Miami.
That curiosity lead us to this post from Miami Rankings which had some good scoop:
We aren’t getting an Ace Hotel here in Miami but the Indian Creek Hotel on South Beach is going to be renovated and reopening as an upscale hostel (note the errant ‘s’ in that word) that is owned by the same folks who own the Ace Hotel in NYC and Palm Springs. But here’s the fun part–the Sydell Group’s properties include the following restaurants: The Breslin Bar and Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar, No. 7 Sub, and others. Anticipated opening date: Fall 2012.
The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale hasn't even been open for more than a month but it's already doing well enough to expand to Palm Springs. The LA Times reports that the Saguaro will take over the old Holiday Inn at Sunrise Way and East Palm Canyon Drive.
We've got word that the Saguaro Palm Springs will be very similar to the Scottsdale property featuring a complete redesign done by Stamberg Aferiat using vibrant colors inspired by the indigenous flowers of the region. And we presume there will also be a great F&B scene and a mucho affordable price point.
All this fun stuff means that the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, the reigning fun boutique spot in town, will have some fierce competition. (Not that it really matters though because the Sydell Group which owns the Ace is also opening the Saguaro PS.)
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The hotel that rocked the construction zone party is back for more—this time with a construction zone restaurant tour! Midtown's NoMad Hotel invited an editor from NBC's The Feast to take a look at the unfinished hotel's unfinished "urban playground" restaurant. And nothing get us in the mood to play more than drywall and exposed water pipes.
The restaurant, described as "fun" and "spontaneous" by chef Daniel Humm and GM Will Guidara, will center around a glass-pyramid-ceiling room known as "the atrium" (pictured). Interesting to have such a unique design be located only one block from the even-weirder protruding facade of the Gershwin Hotel. Perhaps there's more to south midtown than meets the eye...