The Freehand Los Angeles opened last week at the corner of 8th and Olive — across the street from legendary dive bar the Golden Gopher. The 226-room hotel resides in the landmark, 12-story Commercial Exchange building, which has been gutted and completely redesigned with an urban-hipster twist on California Craftsman.
The seven-story, turn-of-the-century building known today as Villa Florence has quite a history. It was conceived and constructed in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake, part of San Francisco’s swift reconstruction campaign. It debuted as apartments but shortly thereafter became the Hotel Manx, whose basement would become a speakeasy during Prohibition.