Doing DTLA…

I experienced a mini staycation last weekend.

Up and away by 9:30am in order to make a 10am showing of BlacKkKlansman.

The movie is mandatory viewing for people of all ages.

At times, the politically passionate film and Spike Lee’s best effort, was so painful I wanted to take a breather, but it was incredibly effective and emotionally impactful.

The film is based on a true story, surrounding events that unfolded in 1972.

The back story involves Colorado Springs’s first black cop and his Jewish partner who succeeded in infiltrating the local Ku Klux Klan chapter.

The movie is bolstered by strong performances by John David Washington who by the way is Denzel Washington’s son, Adam Driver and an excellent, relatively unknown supporting cast.

Leaving speechless and saddened by how the events of almost 50 years ago echo America today, I felt we were in need of a distraction.

We headed to DTLA (like totally rad abbreviation for downtown LA) where all the groovy millennials hang.

Residential construction in downtown LA has exploded…changes are enormous despite third world homeless enclaves still lurking every few blocks.

Freehand Hotel

First stop was the Freehand Hotel which we love in NYC…not so much the LA version.

The vibe is vintage Topanga Canyon. The lobby is warm and welcoming.

Exchange Restaurant

Exchange, the hotel’s Mediterranean influenced restaurant, is mediocre at best, although the staff was quite pleasant.

I ordered a chicken schnitzel sandwich on what was touted to be an amazing pita which was comparable to what you get off a Halal truck in NYC ($14).

Tunisian Sandwich

David’s Tunisian fresh tuna sandwich on a crunchy baguette was more appealing, but quite spicy ($14).

Freehand Rooftop

We took on the rooftop bar and pool area which was minuscule, the pool bathtub size and the vibe uncompelling.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Having lucked out with a prime street parking spot a block from both the Freehand and Nomad Hotel, we decided to stroll over and survey another trending hotel.

Nomad Hotel

Now this was a destination.

Nomad Lobby Bar

The lobby is very cool and appealing in stature. We were disappointed that we did not lunch there.

Nomad Rooftop Bar

The rooftop bar is beautiful.

Nomad Pool

The pool area is very attractive with little nooks and crannies providing privacy.

We had cocktails at the bar and the vibe was sophisticated and unschticky.

The Nomad is the best of the lot of hip and happening downtown Los Angeles hotels which have opened in the past few years, including the Ace Hotel.

Nomad most assuredly tops the list.

We explored the ‘hood a bit after departing the Nomad, but the surrounding area became funky.


With time to spare, we headed to Barneys and Saks in Beverly Hills.

We searched for retail inspiration and tried on some Gucci’s to take a break from the heat.

The shoe departments were packed. The rest of the store, not so much.

Fresh Water Eel Sushi

On the ride home we stopped at our all time favorite sushi bar to try and beat the madness.

We arrived just in time as soon after being seated there was at an hour wait.

Satiated, we headed back home after a 10 hour romp in unchartered territory.

We felt as if we had been away, leaving us renewed, simulated and yet happy to be home.

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