Attention solo travelers: this is your hotel pick. Because of an unusually high number of small, single rooms (each with private bath), the Freehand goes out of its way to make life nice for those traveling alone. That starts with special discounts: Simply go to their website and enter the code “SOLO” in the booking form; this will pull up prices that are on average $100 less than what other sources are charging for these single rooms. And many times of the year, solo room prices start at between $99 and $129.
Beyond the rate, what makes this offer extraordinary is how sweet the digs are—not only these rooms, but also the hotel’s other larger rooms. (Quad rooms with two bunkbeds also are often on sale). They have a '70s hippie vibe—earth tones, groovy wall murals (different in each room), ceramic lamps in some, a Native American–style throw in others.
Public areas are equally fun, crammed with artworks specially created by students and alumni of NY’s Bard College. This artistic leitmotif has its roots in the history of this 90-year-old building, formerly the George Washington Hotel: Poet W. H. Auden crashed here, as did novelist Christopher Isherwood, punk rocker Dee Dee Ramone, and painter Keith Haring. Even if you don’t sleep here, drop in for a meal at one of their excellent restaurants; to chill in the game room (supplied with pinball machine, vintage video games, and board games); or to visit one of their scenester bars—the rooftop Tiki or the beaut George Washington Bar, which retains the fine mahogany millwork and fireplace of the original hotel.