The Freehand, NYC.

I arrived into New York on a gorgeous late June day.  I was only in the city for a night, so decided to take a friend’s recommendation and stay at an independent hotel, the Freehand.

They’re part of a small but growing group of hotels, called the Sydell Group, who have a variety of boutique and upscale hotels in the US.  The Freehand had only opened a few months before my stay.

Having previously flown into Newark, I took the NJ Transit into Penn Station, where the hotel was only a short walk.

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I got to the hotel about 16.45 and unfortunately my room wasn’t quite ready yet.  However the staff were lovely, and offered me anything I wanted from their shop on the ground floor while I waited.  I actually had booked a hair cut (as I was looking a bit bedraggled) so left my luggage with them whilst I got tidied up.

I returned about 17.30 and the reception staff greeted me with my keys, and explained that they’d already taken my bags up to the room.

I wandered up to what was a lovely, if not fairly compact room.  However this was New York City, so actually was very pleased with it.

The bathroom had a standup shower with fantastic water pressure, although again, was pretty compact.

I didn’t have long to dally in the room as a friend of mine had made some reservations at the rooftop bar, Broken Shaker.

This was clearly where all the cool kids hangout, as there was a queue round the block.  It was a wonderfully warm June evening and the place was packed.

After quite a number of cocktails and some great nibbles, we decided to retire, especially as the jet-lag and early start was catching up with me.  I retired to the room and passed out on the very comfy bed.


I’m generally a slave to points and status when it comes to hotels, however recently I’ve definitely come to appreciate the smaller groups and independent properties more.

I really enjoyed my brief stay at the Freehand – there was the minor grumble of my room not being ready when I tried to check-in, but the way the staff handled it was impeccable.  Yes, it was a small room, but this is New York, and I was there for the one night so didn’t need anything bigger.  The rooftop bar was fabulous and very much the place to be and be seen.

Definitely one of my hotel highlights for 2018.

Full disclosure – I received a ‘Friends and Family’ rate at the hotel as I know an employee.


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