Freehand – New York / by Roman + Williams

Following the massive success of Sydell Group’s Freehand LA, Chicago & Miami, the hoteliers have once again teamed up with their old favourites Roman & Williams to transform an entire city block into Freehand New York.

Originally built in 1928 it began its life as the George Washington Hotel, then becoming apartments, then evolving to become a Dorm (one of the designers of The Ned, actually lived in the building while at school) and now finally going full circle back to a hotel.

RW are headed up by husband and wife team Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, who bring their artful use of Americancraftsmanship and materiality to the Freehand, as well as their renowned skill for sensitively re imagining period properties.

The hotel brand is certainly on the more affordable scale compared to the likes of The Line or NoMad but don’t let this fool you into thinking the hotels design and interiors will be any less considered.

The 395 guest rooms offer a range of room types, from hostel type dorms, family rooms right up to penthouse size. It’s this variety which helps attract a full spectrum of guests to the hotel, from design conscience travellers to tech CEOs, the public spaces are full of diverse & interesting people.

Roman + Williams have instilled their artisan craft style to the guest rooms with bespoke crafted timber beds & wardrobes, which really come into their own in the bunk and three’s company rooms.

Glazed Ceramic light shades, woven rugs & cushions, bold glazed tiles and timber panelled bathrooms all give weight to the ethos of American craftsmanship.

Each guest room hosts it’s own unique mural which has been created by selected local students from the Bard College’s MFA programme, which the Freehand has collaborated with, hosting 10 paid live in students each year who will Work from the artist studio on the top floor.

RW’s famous use of colour is apparent in the public areas and work to give some of the historic spaces a new lease of life while still holding onto the quality and workmanship that makes the ogrinal building so special.

Freehand New York has a range of exceptional food and beverage options all run by Gabriel Stulman’sHappy Cooking Hospitality. The charismatic restauranteur has already some highly successful restaurants in West Village including Jeffrey’s Grocery (which I highly recommend) & Joseph Leonard and its the ethos from the founding locations that underpins each of the Freehand’s spaces.

The jewel of crown being Simon & the Whale, an American sea food restaurant seating around 60. The space also designed by Roman + Williams really resonates around an oceanic palette, with green marble flooring, bold teal glazed wall tiles which are broken up by the rich Bohart reds & browns of Japanese Iroko wood bar and display cabinets, accented with brass lighting & trims.

Moving through the reception area (again from the same palette as Simon & the Whale with bright teal walls a green glazed tiles with a timber crafted reception desk) and up an original travertine staircase you find yourself in a lush gallery space filled to the brim with plants and vintage furniture decorated with mix & match artwork. The original walls have been re painted with stunning fades to existing alcoves to express display objects.

This long transition gallery has been designed to make you want to stay in it, and boy does it, even though at either end are two more fantastic food & beverage offerings; The timber panelled George Washington Bar that serves exquisite cocktails and at the other end a more relaxed studio restaurant and bar.

The mezzanine level is extremely popular especially in the evening time when live music is played either electronic or acoustic resonating around tropical planting and beautiful people that fill the space.

In early spring the Freehand’s roof top bar Broken Shaker will open and give hotel guests some iconic views of Midtown. Until then there is plenty to keep you occupied in this very cool and well presented hotel.

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