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23 Lexington Ave
New York, ny


 Reviewed by Cem Gulden

It's a given that young visitors to New York are going to be out and about most of the time. So they won't want to blow the budget on a smart hotel Better to book something that's at least clean, comfortable and strategically located, and spend the extra cash on that restaurant everyone has been posting about. The Freehand takes this compromise and somehow manages to make it feel stylish and sexy. Rooms, which include queens, kings and bunk rooms for four, are basic verging on dorm-like but brightened up with custom artworks that sometimes snake across the walls and ceilings. Like the model lan Schrager engineered with his Morgan brand in the 1980s, here it's all about the public spaces, which the entirely chic design studio Roman and Williams filled with glossy tiles, dark woods and walls painted in deep turquoise, with quirky, homely touches such as sheepskin rugs and plants in mismatched ceramic pots. Most importantly, there's a feast of food and drink

options: an outpost of award-grabbing cocktail joint The Broken Shaker on the roof, a to-go counter off the lobby run by downtown's favorite health-food stop The Smile, and two restaurants and another bar from Gabriel Stulman, the man behind the West Village's Bar Sardine and Jeffrey's Grocery. The Freehand captures everything travelers come to New York for now, under one well-designed, well-priced roof.
FLASH POINTSkip the often crazy queue for the Broken Shaker by talking to the front-desk staff.

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