Thinking of staying at…? Hotel Williamsburg, Brooklyn

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beyond the Big Apple, Brooklyn is where it’s at and the retro-vibe Hotel Williamsburg is at the very epicentre of cool, writes Lisa Thomas.

WHERE 160 North 12 Street, Brooklyn, New York. Overlooking McCarren Park, it’s right around the corner from the L-line subway and less than a minute to the restaurants, bars, galleries, cafes and shops of Bedford Avenue. With an average population age of 25 and an overrepresentation of aspiring artists sporting skinny jeans, tattoos and moustaches, Williamsburg’s residents are not just hip; they are cardboard cut-out clichés of cool. Yet, beautiful to look at. A stroll down the bustling streets full of oyster bars, indie galleries and organic diners provides a glimpse of Williamsburg village life at its most picturesque.

TALKING POINT Touting itself as Brooklyn’s “first full-service urban resort boutique hotel”, there’s simply nothing like it in the ‘hood. Vogue Living stayed before the official opening, and noted the many passers-by who called past to find out when Williamsburg’s first boutique hotel would open its doors (including one curious gentleman who asked to use the bathroom and never came back).

PEDIGREE Father and son developers Jim and Ben Graves are famous in their native Minnesota for opening up the city’s luxury hotel market. They promised to bring a liberal lashing of “midwestern hospitality” to the Hotel Williamsburg design by Gene Kaufman Architects – credited with revolutionising the Manhattan skyline – and New York interior designers Studio Gaia; the hotel has since been bought by boutique hotel label King & Grove, who’ve also snapped the famous Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan.

WHO STAYS HERE The young and the passionately hip.

PHILOSOPHY Good old-fashioned service. The staff – from the fresh-faced bell boy to the softly spoken front of house – are friendly and full of helpful suggestions for your stay. Although the rooftop bar will draw crowds and queues, “we’re not going to be picking and choosing,” Ben Graves told American Vogue. “It’s a much more casual feel.” An adjoining art gallery will encourage guests to make the most of Williamsburg’s reputation for art, food and music. The Hotel Williamsburg also has its own musical director, John Norris.

DÉCOR For those who’ve come to expect distressed antiques, exposed brick and the air of an abandoned warehouse, the Williamsburg is a departure with a modern exterior in organic stone, steel, glass and wood. Panels of bold orange are carried through to the indoors, in carrot-hued corridors and lift wells. Before you shriek, “70s!”, know that it’s done with utmost sensitivity and class, with a blend of warm timbers and contemporary white furnishings. In the lobby, a stream flows underfoot as you stand on the glass pane floor next to a roaring fire.

SUITE REPOSE The 64 rooms are simple retreats with a dash of groovy: botanic motifs, 42-inch screen televisions and vintage-look Crosley record players. Beds feature Frette and Matouk linens.

HONEYMOONERS should book The Treehouse, the hotel’s penthouse suite, with views of New York City, a turf patio with outdoor lounge, dining and living room, two balconies, two bathrooms featuring luxurious slipper baths and its own bar.

DIP INTO The Swim Club, a luxurious 12-metre pool, where you can lounge on sunloungers or in a private cabana. A taco truck is on hand for post-swim snacking.

COCKTAIL HOUR The hotel website suggests a timeline of activities within its walls: a morning coffee at the artisan roasters in the lobby, followed by a midday swim, an evening meal at Pillar & Plough, a 9 o’clock cocktail at Alchemy Bar, a midnight magnum (of the signature Brooklyn Brew) at the rooftop bar, and retiring to your room at 2am – the earliest any self-respecting Brooklynite would get to bed.

HIGHLIGHT The extraordinary Watering Tower rooftop bar on Level Eight offers a full panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline over the East River. There’s also a movie projector for summer outdoor cinema nights or private screenings.

DOWNER Vogue Living had a twin room with two beds and an uncovered window into the bathroom, which friends or family travelling together might find a tad too cosy.

WI-FI Yes, throughout the hotel.

Available 24 hours. The hotel also rents out pre-packed picnic baskets and blankets for outings to the nearby parks.

DINING Sadly, it’s closed until the sale of the hotel is finalised, but Pillar & Plough Restaurant, led by chef Andres Julian Grundy, serves locally sourced “New York neighbourhood food”, from steak to salads, reasonably priced and drawing on the meltiing-pot history of the city’s different boroughs.

BOOK IT Rooms from US$289 (up to $3500), subject to seasonal change; call +1 718 218 7500, email or visit

Text: Lisa Thomas
Photographs: Andy Ryan

One Response to “Thinking of staying at…? Hotel Williamsburg, Brooklyn”
  1. roomcritic says:

    Reblogged this on roomcritic and commented:
    Vogue Living Australia checked in to the hip new Hotel Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NYC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: