As per my annual Family Day long weekend tradition (which I started last year), I took off somewhere warmer than my current Toronto residence. You know, change of latitude for a change of attitude or what not. I dipped to LA to spend 60 amazing hours covering as much ground as possible.
On the second day, I made my way to the third of the four hotels/hostels belonging to the Freehand collection, and once again, Freehand did not disappoint. Aside from it’s obvious highlight being a rooftop pool, Freehand LA is the perfect combination of New York’s elegant style, evident in the high ceilings and modern design of the bar and reception areas which greet you upon arrival, and Miami’s tropical vibes which hit you at full speed when you step out of the elevator onto the roof. As with all Freehand hotels, Freehand LA has an incredibly central location right in the heart of DTLA, just steps from THE BLOC, OUE Skyspace LA, the trendy and incredibly delicious Grand Central Market and the forever instagrammable Broad museum. I arrived a couple of hours before check in so I could take some time to get to know the area.
Returning to my accommodations in the late afternoon, I felt right at home as I entered the room and was greeted by the familiar wood frame bunk beds of my four bed female dorm. I dropped my duffle bag on the ground and pulled back the thick curtain covering the window. From the tenth floor I could see the perfect downtown panorama as the sun began slipping behind the buildings. It was obviously time to visit the Broken Shaker. I couldn’t make my way to the roof quickly enough. The elevator seemed to take ages as it climbed up floor by floor. When the doors finally opened I raced out, only to be stopped in my tracks as golden hour of downtown Los Angeles unfolded around me and the city engulfed me in its vastness, just feeding my skyline addiction. Every building glowed, dressed in a temporary golden facade. Succulents decorated every flat surface in sight and long stemmed plants created a natural barrier on the surrounding perimeter, adding an element of privacy. I ordered a cocktail and sat down by the pool. Planes taking off from LAX roared in the distance and reflected the sun’s final rays as they slowly disappeared into the sky. And lying there I sipped my drink, listening to the rooftop’s indie playlist and watching the spectacular watercolor show light up the fading sky. It may have been a different city but I was home. I stayed there until the temperature dropped and the jet-lag got the best of me. Friends and couples had come and gone, ready to start the evening out. I hadn’t even noticed the twinkly lights come on. It could have been the second cocktail or some magic in the air that had made the night so perfect but I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be.
The next morning I collected my meal from the lobby and headed straight for the roof. While breakfast isn’t included, each bed comes with a discounted breakfast voucher which I redeemed for a warm breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee. The air was crisp like a late spring morning in Toronto but the sun was so brilliant and warm I couldn’t help but sprawl on a poolside lounger. It was 8:30AM on a long weekend Monday so I wasn’t expecting much company around me for a few more hours. (Guess it sometimes pays off to stay jet-lagged.) And I just sat there, basking in the sunshine, sipping my coffee and inhaling the wild air, already planning my return to this urban paradise.