Where (the hotels in) Brooklyn at?
July 12, 2010 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a hotel in Brooklyn? And other Brooklynosity?

I'm traveling to Brooklyn for work this fall; and after the work, my wife'll be joining me for a few days of city-exploration. I'd love to get a recommendation for a hotel near the Brooklyn Museum of Art that balances low rates with non-nastiness. Bonus points for food recs in the area, and any other travel info that a pair of Midwestern rubes could use.
posted by COBRA! to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Applewood is the best restaurant around there, and anybody who says otherwise is lying and not to be trusted.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:04 PM on July 12, 2010

The Farm On Adderley is around the other end of Prospect Park from the Museum.
posted by mkb at 12:11 PM on July 12, 2010

Brooklyn doesn't have a whole lot in the way of hotel options. This is starting to change, but still definitely true.

The two "best" places to stay in Brooklyn, as far as I'm aware, are:

Bed And Breakfast On The Park, which is located in the Park Slope neighborhood, and

The Mariott in downtown Brooklyn.

Both are in very nice and safe areas of Brooklyn. Brooklyn isn't like Manhattan where you can assume anything below a certain numbered street is a safe bet - it depends on a lot of variables and can even go block by block. Both have good access to public transit from which one can explore Brooklyn and the rest of the city. The Marriott is probably a better bet on transit. Though B&B On The Park is right on Prospect Park and probably walkable to the Brooklyn Museum (depending on where you are from and what you consider walkable).

When I searched yelp to find the specifics on those two properties, I also found a listing for this place, which I otherwise know nothing about. It's also in a nice and safe neighborhood, close to public transit, and appears to be a new boutique hotel.

There is also apparently a Holiday Inn Express on Union Street and 4th Avenue (which isn't a horrible area, but not as well located as the others). There's also the Jolie, in Williamsburg, though in my opinion the location is not a place where those unfamiliar with Brooklyn should be staying. It also abuts the BQE, which makes me wonder whether it would be worth staying there even if you knew the area well and transportation issues were no object. Frankly I pass by that place all the time, and my first thought is, "why on earth would anyone put a respectable hotel there?"

If you know Brooklyn pretty intimately and feel up to staying in a less Beaten Track neighborhood, there is apparently a nice B&B in Bed Stuy called Akwaaba Mansion. Bed Stuy is still a very marginal area, though -- I just moved apartments and was dicey as to whether I was even willing to look there. And I've lived in Brooklyn and Queens for the past 8 years.

As for food recs --

If you go with the Marriott, both DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods are nearby, with lots of good restaurants in a range of cuisines and price ranges. Grimaldi's pizza, specifically, is a must. Probably any upscale table service sort of restaurant in that neck of the woods is going to be good. The yelp link above can connect you to tons of local recs (don't know DUMBO or B. H. well enough to recommend anything more specific, sorry).

For the B & B On The Slope, you'll be in Park Slope, which is a foodie's dream. Al Di La is especially well regarded for upscale dining, as well as Applewood and either of the two "Blue Ribbons" - both the brasserie and the sushi. There are also lots of great casual places in a variety of cuisines. The only thing I'd avoid there is Indian - it's always seemed really "meh" to me (though I am an Indian food snob - you wouldn't get food poisoning or anything, it's just not that authentic.)

Yelp is an invaluable resource for finding interesting local restaurants, in any neighborhood in any borough of New York City. I'm a local, and while I follow some food blogs and read local publications, I still go to Yelp for interesting new finds or to refresh my memory of what's where and how good it is.
posted by Sara C. at 12:25 PM on July 12, 2010

You would honestly be so much better off just getting a weekend hotel in Manhattan, and then taking the subway out if you want to see the sights of BK. Midwestern rubes such as yourself always want to stay in Brooklyn or Queens, thinking it will be better/cheaper, and it's just not worth it. Is there any reason you are opposed to staying in Manhattan? I mean, I love Brooklyn, but I would never put up a family member anywhere in the borough.

I see the chain hotels springing up in Brooklyn and I don't know who is staying there, except maybe relatives of people nearby. I get asked this question all the time and I always tell people to just stay in Manhattan. I do not think you will save money by staying in Brooklyn, and the situation just strikes me as dodgy.

If you wanted to save cash, cross the river and stay in Jersey City. There are actually some lovely hotels there, you take the PATH, you don't need a car, and the views are outstanding. If you know how to work Priceline then you can get some super deals sometimes, especially if it's not in the summertime. quikbook.com also quite often has great specials on NYC hotels.
posted by micawber at 12:31 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I stayed at the Akwaaba mansion last summer, it was fantastic.

The overall experience is so welcoming. On arriving there was food and drinks ready to eat in the dining room, every morning we would eat with all the guests and chat. On a Wednesday night films are projected on the side of the mansion and a few locals stop by to watch. I would go back to Brooklyn just to stay at this hotel.

The local area has a couple of restaurants most notable are Peaches and a small italian on the opposite block. Cant remember the name though....
posted by moochoo at 12:38 PM on July 12, 2010

Zuzu Ramen is awesome. Great ramen, char siu, dumplings, steamed buns. Everything I've had there was excellent. The second time, I had the special: a cold ramen with seafood a smoked tomato broth. Also excellent.
posted by stuart_s at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Midwestern rubes such as yourself always want to stay in Brooklyn or Queens, thinking it will be better/cheaper, and it's just not worth it. Is there any reason you are opposed to staying in Manhattan? I mean, I love Brooklyn, but I would never put up a family member anywhere in the borough.

My employer's springing for the hotel, at least for a few nights, and a hotel in Brooklyn's an easier sell; if it's truly the case that staying in Brooklyn doesn't necessarily save money, I can probably make that argument.... but Jersey City sounds like a pain in the ass.

Thanks a ton for the recs so far.
posted by COBRA! at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2010

The two I plugged are in extremely upscale and safe neighborhoods, extremely tourist friendly. Both are places I wouldn't hesitate to suggest to my parents. In fact, I'm gunning for my mom to stay in B & B On The Park when she visits this fall.

Micawber is right, however, that you won't save any money, and the city is compact enough that you probably don't need to stay in Brooklyn just because your business is in Brooklyn.

If neither of the above two (or three?) options work for you, you could easily book something in the financial district which would be a short subway or cab ride from Downtown Brooklyn (where I'm assuming your business trip is based). It would also be equally well situated for transit to either Brooklyn stuff (specifically the Brooklyn Museum) or other tourist attractions in the city. The only downside there is the dearth of good restaurant options and lack of a "neighborhood" feel.
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on July 12, 2010

You might be able to do better by subletting an apartment for the duration of your stay.
posted by cazoo at 1:09 PM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I stayed at the Hotel La Jolie last week - it was close to a few subway stops, near some nice things to do in Williamsburg, and easy access for taxis. It's a short subway ride to the museum.
posted by Pants! at 2:20 PM on July 12, 2010

I have to ask, because I know the area and it doesn't make much sense to me - what "short" subway ride took you from that hotel to the Brooklyn Museum? The shortest trip I can come up with, as someone who lives a few blocks from the museum and hangs out a lot in Williamsburg would be to schlep over to the Graham Ave L, take it all the way out to to Broadway Junction, switch to the C, take the C to Franklin Ave, and then change again for the Franklin Ave Shuttle. Which would take about an hour. That is not a short subway ride here in New York.

Also, another question about La Jolie: did you get a lot of highway noise from the fact that it's built right on top of the BQE?
posted by Sara C. at 2:41 PM on July 12, 2010

I highly recommend looking at the Craigslist vacation rentals - my family and friends always go through craigslist when visiting me in the city.

Brooklyn is definitely preferable to Jersey City, but any decent hotel remotely close to Manhattan (as opposed to say, JFK) will likely be the same cost as a hotel in Manhattan.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:59 PM on July 12, 2010

I would suggest the Marriott, because the prices are likely to be reasonable and it's close to a whole bunch of subway lines. There's nothing really close to the Museum itself - the closest I know of is the Hotel le Bleu, which is reportedly very nice, but on a far less pleasant stretch.

Delicious food recs in within a quick walk of the museum - Chavella's, Gen Sushi, and of course The Islands, a classic New York hidden-treasure that's literally across the street from the BMA. Try Tom's for the place where old-school and new-school Brooklyn mix - order off the breakfast menu even at lunch.

Travel tips: get an unlimited Metrocard, it's more likely to make you go out and explore the city.

Enjoy your trip!
posted by mishaps at 3:04 PM on July 12, 2010

You absolutely must go have cheese-cake at Juniors. It is a NY institution.
posted by Flood at 3:05 PM on July 12, 2010

I have to ask...
I took the G at Metropolitan, not the L. In terms of traffic noise, I didn't get any, but my room wasn't facing the highway.
posted by Pants! at 3:32 PM on July 12, 2010

Where did you take the G to? As far as I'm aware, the G doesn't go anywhere near the Brooklyn Museum.

Seconding the mentions of both Chavella's and Tom's for good places to eat near the Brooklyn Museum, by the way!
posted by Sara C. at 3:35 PM on July 12, 2010

If I remember correctly, to the 3? I can look it up later if that doesn't make sense.
posted by Pants! at 4:36 PM on July 12, 2010

If you are willing to be a subway ride from the museum, but in a cool neighborhood and near a ton of subway options, you could try the Nu Hotel in Boerum Hill. Sort of designy, and right on Smith Street so you are near all the delicious dining options. If you end up staying there, I recommend Hanco's for a yummy, interesting lunch (there is also a location in park slope) and the Grocery for dinner. Have fun!
posted by Shebear at 5:00 PM on July 12, 2010

The G doesn't connect at all with any train that goes directly to the Brooklyn Museum. Trust me - I take these trains every day to actually navigate the city in which I live. But, y'know, I get that you're not from around here and probably had such a super awesome time staying in Williamsburg and checking out my lovely corner of the city that the logistics don't really matter.

And the original asker and his wife will, too! Hooray Brooklyn!

P.S. When you come to the Brooklyn Museum, could you bring along a real supermarket? Am tired of the sad ghetto ones that sell two kinds of bread but Whole Aisles Of Sugary Garbage. Kthx!
posted by Sara C. at 6:18 PM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: ...and thanks for the continued suggestions. I'm going to spend some time tomorrow trying to match them up with a map to see what's what. FWIW, I/we should be ok with using transit, but I guess I'd rather not be several transfers away from my main destination.

Oh, and I'm working on packing a real supermarket; since I'll probably have to fly Delta (goddamned airport monopolies), the baggage fees will be onerous, even if I leave out the meat department.
posted by COBRA! at 6:43 PM on July 12, 2010

Hm. I just realized that it's not that you want to be close to the museum to give your wife something fun to do while you're busy working -- it's because that's where your business is! Duh!

If that's the case, the Marriott or that Nu place might be your best bets after all. The B&B on the Park will be a 20 minute walk through Prospect Park (which will be a lovely stroll, but not if you're trying to make an 8am meeting). You should be a short walk from the 2/3 and 4/5 trains from either of those hotels. All of which will take you directly to the museum in 15 minutes or less without a long leisurely stroll through a park.

If you pick the Nu, please check out one of my favorite bistros in the city, Robin des Bois, which is just a few blocks down Smith St. from the hotel. It's a fantastic place to while away a weekend afternoon.
posted by Sara C. at 7:36 PM on July 12, 2010

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