If you’d rather look out onto Manhattan than stay there, Brooklyn is an ideal base. With some of the funkiest neighbourhoods – not only in the US but the world – found in this relatively recently gentrified area, it’s well worth exploring its wonderful nooks and crannies. And when it comes to cutting edge, contemporary style and space, Brooklyn’s best hotels are hard to beat.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
This sustainable design hotel was created from upcycled materials – its furniture is made from recycled factory wood from the Coney Island boardwalk, wood from Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Bronx-grown trees felled by Hurricane Sandy. Its 194 rooms are bright and airy, with Nespresso machines, minibars, yoga mats and artwork depicting the borough’s history. Head up to the tenth floor where you’ll find a plunge pool with views of the Manhattan skyline, or down to the basement where you can catch a movie in the hotel’s cinema. The onsite Bamford Haybarn Spa has holistic, all-natural treatments and there are two eateries: The Osprey offering hearty American dishes and Neighbors Cafe for lighter bites.
The William Vale
Found in the hipster district of Williamsburg, this hotel has the largest pool of any in New York. 208 rooms have been designed by Studio Munge in futuristic style with geometrics, soft greys, light woods, picture windows, huge balconies and glowing space-aged lighting. After dark, take a seat on one of the city’s hottest rooftop bars – Westlight – with its gorgeous panoramic views, great cocktails and delicious small plates. Or feast on Michelin starred cuisine from Andrew Carmellini in the main dining room. And when you crave a decadent sweet treat, Wylie Susfresene’s Hi Du’s Donut creations are lip-smackingly good. There’s a cutting edge gym overlooking the pool area, a shopping concourse just beneath the hotel and a delightful green area just in front of the entrance too.
The Hoxton Williamsburg
This British boutique brand (taking its name from the trendy London district) has expanded across the pond to an equally trendy area. Once the site of a water tower factory, this nine-storey new build takes design inspiration from its industrial heritage, with interiors by Ennismore. The restaurant is built around an old carriage house, with a square brass bar and huge glass wall opening out onto an alfresco courtyard dining area. Packed with quirky features, the hotel has 175 urban chic rooms divided into categories of ‘cosy’ or ‘roomy’. The rooftop restaurant and bar has a New England feel, while a lower terrace provides lighter meals (don’t miss their lobster rolls) to a backdrop of fairy lights, comfy loungers and ping pong tables. There’s no gym, but there is access to one nearby and The Hoxton has a fleet of vintage style bikes for guests’ use.
Facing the East River and downtown Manhattan, this spacious hotel commands some iconic views. Another ex-factory, the eight-story building dates back to 1901, with warehouse-style exposed brick, cast-iron columns and wooden beams. Bedrooms and public spaces serve as galleries for the exciting work of New York artists, with an in-house curator personally selecting all the pieces. The 70 rooms have high ceilings, oversized windows and there are four loft suites. You’ll find local artisan products in the bathroom and minibar – and check the top of your wardrobe for a bespoke denim robe. Dine at Reynard and you’ll find this theme is continued, with menus containing ethically sourced local ingredients and meat from the on-site butchery. Then make your way to the sixth floor for drinks overlooking the bright lights of the Big Apple.
Williamsburg Hotel Brooklyn
Popular with honeymooners and those seeking a romantic getaway, this sexy hotel was designed by Michaelis Boyd, the London-based architects known for Babington House, the Groucho Club and Soho House Berlin. Art installations and additional furnishings come from the Bill Amberg Studio, providing a gritty industrial edge with accents of colour to its 147 rooms. There’s a pretty terrace area decorated by local artists, with outdoor pool, cafe-bar and black and white striped daybeds. Formal dining takes place at Seven Seeds, the dramatically decorated restaurant with an open theatre kitchen. Here you’ll find exotic dishes from the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt. And be sure to take a sightseeing trip or two in one of Williamsburg Hotel’s best features, its tuk-tuk, available at no extra charge. It’s one of the best ways to sample the delights of Brooklyn.