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New York Metropolis motels are a dime a dozen. I’m lower than two hours from town, so I pop in usually to go to with buddies, take a look at an occasion, see a brand new exhibit, you identify it. Once I keep in a single day, I’ve my favourite properties, in fact. However after I stick with buddies, they usually decide a spot and I succumb to no matter deal they might have discovered on-line.

Such was the case with a keep to the Freehand Resort.

We have been going to take a look at a live performance at Gramercy Theatre, so we needed a spot inside strolling distance. Seems Freehand not too long ago opened within the Flatiron District, promising an “creative group.” A fast search confirmed Conde Nast Traveler added it to their Scorching Listing. Effectively, then. Who was I to evaluate? I used to be prepared to provide it a shot.


Housed within the former George Washington Resort on Lexington Avenue, the Freehand was beforehand an artist’s haven. Freehand has a comparatively new assortment of motels present in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago that’s catering to the world-traveling crowd. These properties are supposed to be cheap but stylish, present group but privateness and be a lodge whereas breaking the obstacles of what a lodge ought to be.

Freehand used its Bard Faculty neighbors to assist create the lodge’s creative vibe. Fifteen college students and alumni labored on authentic visitor room paintings, hand portray the 394 visitor rooms and restaurant areas. The property formally opened to the general public in 2018.


As a brand new lodge group, Freehand doesn’t but provide a rewards program. There can be no factors reserving for this keep. In August, Freehand’s dad or mum firm, Sydell — which additionally manages the uber-trendy NoMad properties — was acquired by MGM Resorts Worldwide.

We will speculate that Freehand will likely be integrated into the M life Rewards program, which additionally crosses over into the World of Hyatt, however till discuss turns into actuality, the one strategy to earn factors is utilizing a rewards bank card. The Chase Sapphire Most popular® Card offers you 2 factors per $1 spent for reserving a room, spending on the bar and a bunch of on-site facilities.

» Study extra: Chase Sapphire Most popular overview: A must have for vacationers

Reserving immediately by means of the Freehand web site will get you a decrease price than utilizing Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz. The Freehand web site even reveals the worth distinction between these websites.

There have been two of us trying to share a King room. The usual King, at 250 sq. toes, was $326 per night time and the bigger 325-square-foot Huge King was $355. A Nook King was 50 sq. toes larger for $383 per night time.

Since we simply wanted one night time, we went low-cost. Charging $326 per night time on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earned three factors per $1 spent — yielding practically 1,000 factors earlier than any extra expenditures.

Transportation and check-in

We have been arriving by automobile. Though the lodge doesn’t provide parking (or valet), there was a parking storage across the nook that supplied in a single day parking for lower than $50.

Examine-in was quite simple after I arrived. I used to be the one one, so I acquired fast service. The foyer is fairly small with a store/cafe and a restaurant that didn’t open till 5 p.m. It’s a bit European in that the restaurant, Simon + The Whale, closed following its lunch service that ended at 2:30 p.m.

No drinks till 5? That is Manhattan, in spite of everything. I requested the place I might get a drink whereas I waited for my buddies. Oddly, the mezzanine-level bar and the rooftop bar each wouldn’t open till 5:30 and 5, respectively. Right here I used to be at three p.m. check-in with nothing to do however head to my room and wait. (Be aware: The rooftop bar, Damaged Shaker, now opens sooner than throughout my keep; maybe sufficient individuals complained?)

The room

Entering into my King room, I instantly wished I had splurged on the bigger model. The room was very tight. Sparse in decor, however becoming all of the wants with a big flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi. The room jogged my memory of a European type area. A basket of apples hanging from the ceiling in a nook of the room was a pleasant contact, and the mattress was tremendous cozy.

As ought to be the case at any worthy New York lodge, the home windows are soundproof to maintain out the fixed barrage of automobile horns and sirens and guarantee night time’s sleep.

Freehand affords greater than the usual queen and king rooms. It’s a hostel-style lodge meant to attract youthful travels. A 3-person room is offered with a queen mattress topped with an overhead twin. The bunk room has two units of bunk beds to sleep 4 individuals. Each room sorts look very very like the dorm I lived in at Emerson Faculty — all that’s lacking is a desk.

Nonetheless, there’s something for the, dare I say, extra subtle traveler within the Suite possibility. These are designed to appear like metropolis flats with shag rugs, IKEA-looking furnishings and dwelling area.


When the aforementioned Simon + The Whale opened, my buddies and I have been capable of take pleasure in Freehand’s anchor restaurant, situated on the road stage with views of town and home windows that open to the road throughout hotter climate. The restaurant could be very a lot anti-hostel, with a gourmand menu that includes dishes similar to Fava Bean Ravioli with pickled onion and mint oil, in addition to a late-night snack menu with smoked mussels and rooster liver pate with banana bread.

On the other facet of the lodge, with the foyer separating the 2, is Smile To Go, a espresso store and lite bites possibility, excellent for grabbing a croissant within the morning earlier than heading out for the day.

The second flooring Studio is a mixture of a bar and communal area. You’ll discover individuals on their laptops working alongside buddies throughout the day. The bar and eating possibility don’t start till four p.m., except for brunch on weekends.

For a extra refined drink possibility, seize a cocktail at George Washington Bar, named for the unique lodge and situated within the former lodge’s library. Another choice is the rooftop bar, Damaged Shaker. In fact, the rooftop is greater than a lodge bar. This can be a hip area for metropolis dwellers as effectively, as a result of who doesn’t love taking within the views of Manhattan, cocktail in hand, from a rooftop?

Room service is offered, in addition to fundamentals like Wi-Fi and a 24-hour health heart.

Tip: Use your journey rewards bank card, similar to Capital One® Enterprise® Rewards Credit score Card, when consuming and imbibing, as you’ll earn 2 miles per $1!

» Study extra: Capital One Enterprise overview: Straightforward earnings, easy redemptions

The downsides

It was in all probability simply rising pains, however service was laborious to come back by on the Freehand. Following my solo check-in and disappointment that there was nowhere to seize a drink, I headed out, passing by means of the foyer that had a line of individuals trying to test in. There have been solely two staffers behind the desk to assist. I used to be grateful I had missed the road however was sadly caught up in it the subsequent morning when trying to take a look at.

Wrapping all of it up

The lodge is minimalistic, and each second of my keep felt like I used to be again in my dorm, sharing a communal area with strangers. But that is the attract of Freehand motels, and I’ve to say it was fairly good. No sprawling lobbies, forever-waits for elevators, rooms that appear like 500 different rooms throughout town — Freehand could be very welcome within the sea of decisions throughout town.

Methods to maximize your rewards

You need a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s vital to you. Listed here are our picks for the very best journey bank cards of 2019, together with these finest for:

Planning a visit? Try these articles for extra inspiration and recommendation:
Discover the very best lodge bank card for you
Why it’s best to think about switching loyalty to
7 assured methods to seek out low-cost lodge rooms


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