Rooftop retreats, first-rate dining, daytime pool parties, local creative vibes—the hotel scene here in the northern part of Brookyln is having such a moment. It’s easy to forget that just a few years ago, these same zip codes were all but devoid of decent lodging options, let alone anything that tapped into the pulse of NYC’s beloved borough.
Today, much of the buzz swirls around the imminent opening of The William Vale Hotel, which is expected to impress with its modern design, a Southern Italian restaurant by Andrew Carmellini, rooftop bar, and the city’s longest hotel pool. Additionally, the hotel will have an elevated 15,000 square foot park called The Vale Park, open and accesible to the public (the addition of green space is always welcome).
In many ways, the William Vale is the pièce de résistance of a revolution that began with the debut of the Wythe Hotel in 2012. If Williamsburg is Brooklyn’s anointed arbiter of cool, the Wythe Hotel remains its poster child: Loft-like rooms in a converted 1901 factory building with requisite exposed brick, impeccable finishes, and floor-to-ceiling windows—revealing views of Williamsburg, the East River and Manhattan skyline. Pioneering Brooklyn restaurateur Andrew Tarlow counts the Wythe’s restaurant, Reynard, and sixth floor terrace bar, The Ides, among his mini-empire, which also includes Marlow & Sons, Diner and Roman’s.
Since the Wythe, a number of boutique properties have sprung up in Williamsburg and adjacent neighborhoods. Just a few blocks away, the McCarren Hotel & Pool is ramping up for yet another epic summer season: Securing a day pass to the hotel’s pool, which reopens to the public on May 20, is one of Williamsburg’s hottest tickets when the temps rise. The rooftop bar and lounge launches summer hours, including a daily happy hour, the same day. Guests of the hotel have early access to the pool and priority access to the rooftop as well.
Urban Cowboy B&B, a proper bed and breakfast with a decidedly Western chic (by way of Brooklyn) vibe, opened a couple of years ago in a laid-back, residential area of Williamsburg, one subway stop east of the action surrounding Bedford Avenue. Guests at the five-bedroom property enjoy some exceptional amenities, including a private backyard with a hot tub and grill, communal parlor room, sauna, and extensive record collection.
The Henry Norman Hotel and The Box Hotel, two charming sister properties with a vintage feel, have opened in recent years in the Greenpoint neighborhood, while BKLYN House, a modern, minimalist ode to Brooklyn’s iconic street art culture, opened late last year in Bushwick (Williamsburg’s more industrial neighbor to the south and east). In advance of its debut, the BKLYN House commissioned local artists to create original street-style murals capturing vignettes of Brooklyn life throughout its eight guestroom floors, as well as in the lobby and outside. The hotel also has a dedicated gallery space to showcase Brooklyn-based artists on its ground floor.
And Brooklyn’s building boom shows no sign of slowing down. Later this year, eco-luxe hotel brand 1 Hotels is opening a second property in New York City on the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights, a historic neighborhood just south of the Brooklyn Bridge that overlooks New York Harbor and lower Manhattan.
In recent years, the hotel scene on this side of the East River has definitely come into its own, but no doubt this is only the beginning.