HIGH END TO HOSTEL: THE HOTTEST LOS ANGELES OPENINGS THIS SPRING

4 -min. read

We’ve looked at some of the most exciting hotel openings in NYC, beach towns and smaller US cities recently. Now it’s time to go west, to Los Angeles, where, like the exploding art, fashion and food scenes, the hotel landscape is getting a whole lot more interesting in 2017.

Namely, it’s the spring openings of two brands familiar from their east coast and Chicago counterparts that are worthy of the most buzz: The James West Hollywood and The Freehand Los Angeles.


THE JAMES WEST HOLLYWOOD

We’ll start with The James, since it’s in countdown mode until the grand opening on May 1. The James New York and The James Chicago made names for themselves as modern, unpretentious urban retreats, so it makes sense that the brand would open in a part of LA that’s not that unlike Soho, NYC, where the first James New York opened (The James NoMad is scheduled to open this summer). With a perch on Sunset Boulevard and La Cienega (two blocks away from The Sunset Tower and Andaz West Hollywood), The James WeHo is the first new built-from-the-ground-up hotel to hit West Hollywood in around 30 years.

Designed by Skidmore, Owins & Merrill, the hotel will have 286 rooms—251 rooms and 35 suites (one-bedrooms, lofts and bungalows). With commissioned artwork by Janet Echelman (including a Dreamcatcher that will be unveiled at the opening), and serious F&B outlet cred, The James will fit right into LA’s thriving art and food scenes.

The signature restaurant, Fi’lia, will see Miami’s beloved chef Michael Schwartz bring his culinary chops to the west coast, and chef Chris Crary is responsible for the in-room dining, lobby bar and Farmspoke concepts—Farmspoke being described as “a market, eatery and meeting place.” This modern version of a casual eatery/grab-and-go spot will serve organic Groundwork coffee, craft beer, wine and cocktails, alongside made-to-order salads, sandwiches and other light bites. Cocktail fiends may recognize the name Zachary Patterson of Melrose Umbrella Co.—he’s The James WeHo’s mixology partner, working his magic on the bar menus, including for the rooftop bar, Bar Nur Up.

The hotel also has 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a business lounge, kids’ amenities, a pet program, wellness program, complimentary local car services, and a 24-hour fitness center, including 2 Peloton bikes for spin fans.

Rates start at $399 around opening, but are expected to rise to $519 a night beyond June. Sign up to the brand’s newsletter or follow them on social for more opening specials before May 1.
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THE FREEHAND LOS ANGELES

Over in Downtown LA, there is much anticipation for the arrival of The Freehand Los Angeles, now taking reservations for May. The Sydell Group’s latest outpost sticks to the game plan of popping up in up-and-coming neighborhoods, where polished bohemian design by Roman & Williams and Broken Shaker cocktail pedigree are bound to be welcome. If you’ve visited The Freehand properties in Miami and Chicago, you’ll know the drill for LA—and for The Freehand New York, coming to the Gramercy Park neighborhood in late 2017.

If bunks are not your style, there are also private King, Studio and Loft Suites, plus the Burroughs Suite, which pays tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs, who ran a publishing company out of The Freehand’s historic home, the Commercial Exchange Building. The Burroughs Suite is the largest room in the hotel, with views of downtown and separate living and bedroom spaces. (Plus 1 and a half baths.) Of the regular room inventory, we love the King Rooms that feature custom window seats overlooking the downtown streets. (Which is not all of the King rooms, so ask specifically if you’re as keen on them as we are.)

The Broken Shaker concept moves from the backyard (Miami-style) to the rooftop in LA, but is again poolside, with the promise of becoming the hottest new lounge in town thanks to its creative cocktail list, many made with exotic ingredients. There are more cocktails on tap in the lobby at Rudolph’s Bar & Tea, where the menu is built around tea-infused cocktails and spirits. They’ll also offer a full tea service and light bites menu.

Making use of the building’s exterior neon sign is the Freehand LA’s restaurant, The Exchange, which will feature “the multicultural flavors of urban LA through an Israeli lens,” headed by chef Alex Chang and the Bar Lab team responsible for Miami’s always-excellent 27 Restaurant (which does a similar job of using Floridian ingredients to spice up popular Latin dishes).

Preview rates are now being advertised on The Freehand LA’s website, with shared rooms from $39 a night, with a free drink; or a private room from $139 a night, again with free drinks. (And yes, we found availability for these rates, starting on May 1st.) Cheers!

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Rebecca Wallwork
Rebecca Wallwork is a writer based in Miami Beach, although you’ll also find her checking out the newest hotels in New York City. She is a former contributing editor to HotelChatter, and loves dogs and books as much as she does hotels.

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