Freehand, Los Angeles

This Roman and Williams-designed hotel/hostel is the perfect place for a little California dreaming

As a combination hotel/hostel concept, the Freehand Los Angeles is democratic by design: anyone with $49 in their pocket can stay at the Sydell Group‘s freshly opened DTLA digs. But, in the capable hands of Roman and Williams, democracy is also in the details.

Whether you stay in a shared “super-eight” room with custom cedar bunk beds or the private 745-square-foot Burroughs Suite with a city view, everyone is privy to the NYC-based studio’s penchant for high-quality interiors—which includes hand-woven linens, specially crafted furniture and original artwork.

Roman and Williams‘ design-is-for-everyone spirit is a foundational element built into all three of the Freehand properties. Driven by their “free to be you and me” ethos, their Art Deco-inspired Chicago spot is just as chill as Miami Beach’s bungalow vibe.

That said, the new Los Angeles location seems more fitting than usual as a “space where travelers can converge to share ideas, stories and dreams.” Drenched in warm woods, macramé art and a harmonious, California sunset color palette, stepping into the lobby is like falling into a Summer of Love reverie.

Even the ground floor layout creates a sense of community. While distinct in area, from the lobby you can scan the entire public setting: a grab-and-go coffee counter by Cafe Integral; lots of low-slung vintage furniture for Rudolph’s Bar & Tea salon by Bar Lab; a gift shop/concept store by Venice-based, Jamaica-born Sean Knibb of Flowerboy Project; and chef Alex Chang’s terrarium-lined Exchange restaurant, which showcases the multi-cultural flavors of urban LA and his own Asian-Mexican heritage (as well as the building’s original 1924 floors). And once finished, the award-winning Broken Shaker rooftop bar and lounge will eschew a swanky Slim Aarons scene for more of a Riot House-era pool party, set among overgrown trees that channel the rustic Californian terrain.

While nostalgic in its decor, the Freehand LA feels extremely modern in its inclusionary atmosphere. If you’re traveling alone, this is definitely a place where you can spark up a conversation and make a few friends; if you’re in a group, it’s an idyllic spot to share plates and linger over dinner; and no matter who you are or why you’re there, it’s a wonderful place to indulge in design and bask in that California glow.

Featuring 167 private accommodations and 59 shared rooms, the Freehand LA is now open with prices starting from $49.

Images by Karen Day