Brooklyn's coolest hotels and hottest hangouts

Jamie Beckman and Stacey Lastoe, CNNUpdated 26th November 2019
(CNN) — Never mind the image of the stereotypical hipster with a waxed handlebar mustache riding a vintage fixed-gear bicycle in Brooklyn.
While you'll see them on the streets of neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick, what's popping up alongside this New York borough's cocktail lounges and trendy restaurants is a stylish generation of hotels.
These high-design enclaves put guests right in the middle of the laid-back, artsy Brooklyn vibe and offer New Yorkers an attractive staycation option amid the relentless pandemic.
It's a far cry from the area's manufacturing history, but the past is still front and center via original buildings; reclaimed wood, bricks and other material and subtle design touches that evoke the borough's centuries-old trade and manufacturing industry.
Here are nine of our favorite places to stay right now. Most are offering sweet deals at the moment along with city views that are better than any postcard.

1. Wythe Hotel

Retrofitted into a former cooperage that was built in 1901, the Wythe Hotel has been doing its vintage-meets-modern thing since 2012.
It still retains the building's original pine beams and factory windows but infuses the space with of-the-moment accoutrements, including framed modern art in the lobby and eco-friendly toiletries by Rockaway purveyor Goldie's. The hotel's 70 rooms carry the same industrial but homey vibe, with radiant-heat concrete flooring, beds made from reclaimed ceiling timbers, and picture-perfect views of Manhattan in premium rooms.
Selecting one of the King-sized rooms -- or better yet, a 900-square-foot loft -- is bound to make the local hotel escape all the more worthwhile.
Power through the (work)day with a couple of items from Le Crocodile's aprés-midi menu, such as oysters and chicken liver pate. Order a sparkling water or glass of wine or choose the DIY-route from the well-stocked bar and snack tray.
While you'll have to wait a little longer to check out Brooklyn Bowl, a large, high-tech bowling alley and live music venue across the street, there's plenty to keep masked-up wanderers occupied in the surrounding area.
Do: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn's adjacent neighborhood, is the place to shop for vintage wares. The Dobbin Street Vintage Co-op sells gently used mid-century furniture at reasonable prices and hip clothing in excellent condition. Bike paths near the property provide even more opportunities to admire the inimitable Manhattan skyline.
Eat: A destination in itself, the hotel's restaurant, Le Crocodile, from chefs Jake Leiber and Aidan O'Neal, is classic French, serving lunch and dinner daily with the addition of brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The roast chicken with frites and au jus is large enough for two but best enjoyed by one.
Satisfy a sweet tooth craving with the restaurant's enormous profiteroles or stroll over to popular donut shop, Peter Pan, for a coconut cream. Want a classic Brooklyn pie? You can't go wrong with Paulie Gee's a few blocks north in Greenpoint, which tops pizzas with anything-but-the-usual ingredients like sake reductions and hot honey.
Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, +1 718-460-8000

2. Hotel Indigo Williamsburg

Just off the Metropolitan G train stop rises Hotel Indigo Williamsburg. The hotel, which has entrances on both the North and South sides of Williamsburg neighborhood, is not your typical hotel skyscraper. Its contemporary exterior architecture contrasts nicely with its soft, soothing interior.
Residents of the apartments on floors 8-15 already know they live in a really cool building and now, with the hotel's recent opening -- the hip brand has a location in downtown Brooklyn as well -- visitors have another fun and funky hotel option.
The neighborhood, popularized by sugar refining and coffee roasting, is celebrated by Indigo with décor including classic logos and vintage packaging of sugars and coffees. Hotel guests, however, would do well to skip the in-room Keurig coffee, in spite of the Brooklyn Roasting Company pods, and explore the area's many cafes (Sweatshop has both lattes and T-shirts for sale).
Like many of the spots on this list, Indigo flaunts an outdoor pool with sweet views of the polished-yet-still-gritty neighborhood, including the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). This may not sound sexy, but after dark with Manhattan and Brooklyn lights twinkling in the distance, it's a sight to behold.
This is the heart of Williamsburg proper, and as such, options within walking distance of the property are endless and a big part of a stay at the hotel.
Do: When the weather's agreeable, hang out in Indigo's spacious -- even by NYC standards -- courtyard and catch up on email or scroll through your Instagram. Consider springing for one of five King Loft Suites and take a disco nap. If the midnight-navy colored walls don't put you to sleep, maybe the lulling sounds of BQE traffic will.
Eat: The property's restaurant, Kitsch, allows guests to pre-order breakfasts such as wild mushroom benedict and avocado and smoked ricotta toast, to be delivered at a pre-selected time.
There are a bevy of fabulous dining options a stone's throw from the front doors as well.
Choose to eat outside at Fette Sau, one of the city's top barbecue joints, or line up early at St. Anselm, which has mastered wood-fire grilling of everything from salmon heads to hangar steak to halloumi cheese.
Hotel Indigo Williamsburg, 500 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211: +1 718 577 2525

3. The Hoxton

The London-based brand opened its first outpost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in September 2018. The neighborhood is as essential as any of the countless details that make the "open house hotels" unique. Upon opening, CEO and Founder Sharan Pasricha spoke about what it meant to open a British brand in the United States, in the most competitive hotel city in the world.
Pasricha likened The Hoxton in Williamsburg, a once-industrial neighborhood now known for its vibrant restaurant and bar scene and proximity to Manhattan (north-facing rooms serve up stunning views of the city's skyline), to his first venture in East London's Shoreditch, which he says was primed for gentrification.
The Hoxton in Brooklyn is in good company hotel-wise, but Pasricha wasn't concerned. In the already-gentrified and impossibly hip Williamsburg, Pasricha's goal was to reach locals and tourists alike. "Our approach," he said, "is the uberlocal approach."
Hotel guests are welcome in the generous common spaces of course, but The Hoxton is also a regular spot for locals (social distancing requirements are in place). This hotel is not only to be a part of the lively Brooklyn scene but also a part of the community.
Do: Head to the hotel's rooftop bar for a beverage and a view. Plush chaise lounge chairs occupy one side of the roof, so if you're staying at the hotel and have started reading one of the books lining the shelf in your room, take it here for a change of scenery.
In inclement weather, tuck into one of the chairs in the expansive lobby space or check out the shop off the reception desk. Backyard, the hotel's outdoor bar and hangout space includes ping pong tables and local beers on tap.
Eat: An all-day menu at Klein's, helmed by Matthew Deliso, means you can enjoy a juicy burger at 10 a.m. or avocado toast at 10 p.m. The coffee bar off the main lobby offers up a tempting selection of pastries alongside its caffeinated beverage options. The rooftop bar and restaurant goes by Winterly or Summerly, depending on the season. It's heated when it's known as the former.
The Hoxton, Williamsburg, 97 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249; +1 718 215 7100

4. Pod Brooklyn

Brooklyn, if counted as separate from the other four boroughs, would be the third-largest city in the United States. So with all that jostling for space, it seems logical that a microhotel would join the borough's roster.
The Pod Brooklyn opened in Williamsburg in late 2017, catering to the crowd of in-the-know travelers who wanted to base themselves in the city's coolest neighborhood.
While pod-style hotels are huge in space-starved cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong, the Pod Hotels group is focusing solely on the United States -- its other locations are in Washington, D.C., and across the river in Manhattan.
Besides being ideal for independent travelers who plan to spend more time out and about than watching TV in the room, Pod Brooklyn has devoted 10% of its rooms to accessibility, providing wheelchair-accessible showers and light-up buzzers for deaf and hard-of-hearing guests.
Numerous green courtyards, four seasonal rooftops, and shared work spaces offer staycating guests a fine change of scenery.
Do: The Pod's commitment to green space means there's room for table tennis, board games or a picnic on one of four rooftops.
Eat: Ground-floor restaurant Clinton Hall has breakfast every day beginning at 7 a.m. (good news for early risers), and the rest of the day has burgers paired with some of the borough's best craft beers.
Next door, the newly opened Butcher's Daughter has vegetarian and vegan-friendly bites, plus juices, coffee and absolutely no WiFi -- in case your vibe is decidedly non-workcation and you just want to unplug.
Pod Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC, 247 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11211​, +1 844-POD-ROOM,

5. McCarren Hotel & Pool

The original gangster of the nouveau Brooklyn hotel scene, the relatively petite 5-year-old McCarren Hotel & Pool has changed with the times and begun adulting with the rest of the neighborhood.
The 64-room hotel recently introduced a Babies Who Brunch menu on Sundays, replete with a playroom, foam mats and Disney or Pixar movies for the kids and unlimited drinks for the adults.
The upscale but spare midcentury design in the lobby floats up to the rooms, all outfitted with Eames-style shell rocking chairs, furry throw pillows and Frette linens on the beds. (Coffee-loving travelers dig the Nespresso machines in every suite.) The hotel's scene-y see-and-be-seen outdoor pool, framed by a bold, splashy mural by street artist LovebErto, is practically made for Instagram.
Do: With or without the kids, in season and when it's safe to do so again, hit the pool from 7 to 11 am, before it opens to the public. A midday tour of the Brooklyn Brewery is only a block away. In the summertime, the hotel rents out bicycles to guests, along with maps of biking routes in the area.
Eat: Talk Story is the open air tropical cocktail bar at the McCarren Hotel Rooftop borrows its name from the eponymous Hawaiian phrase.
Specialties include baby octopus from the raw bar and pan con tomate, a classic comfort food. Outside the hotel, walk a few blocks north to Greenpoint and brunch alfresco at neighborhood bistro Five Leaves, which emphasizes local ingredients and sustainable house-cured arctic char and steamed mussels with saffron-coconut sauce.
McCarren Hotel & Pool, 160 N. 12th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York; +1 718-218-7500

6. Hilton Brooklyn

The Hilton Brooklyn, which opened in rapidly gentrifying Boerum Hill, takes its building's 1800s rope factory heritage very seriously: The carpeting in the hallways features a giant rope motif, the rooms' custom-made charcoal-sketch toile wallpaper depicts shipbuilding scenes, and the print of the navy-blue-and-white carpet in the rooms subtly recalls interlocking ropes. Vintage maps of Brooklyn dot the hallways and are incorporated into metalwork in the lobby of the 196-room "boutique-style" hotel.
Corporate travelers who are used to Hilton's usual perks will be happy to see there's an executive lounge and opportunities to earn rewards points, plus nice touches like Peter Thomas Roth toiletries and bowls of free fruit in the lobby.
(Other budget-friendly hotel options close by include the wellness-focused EVEN Hotel, from $199, which has workout equipment in each room and houses the basketball teams that play against the Brooklyn Nets, and the Holiday Inn, also from $199, whose French Korean restaurant, Brasserie Séoul, with its metal café chairs and Edison light bulbs, looks as though it was lifted right out of Williamsburg.)
Eat: Black Walnut, the hotel's gastropub, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Also on the menu: red wine from local winery Brooklyn Oenology. If you venture outside the hotel for dinner, the classic old-school Italian restaurant Queen, in Brooklyn Heights, has been ladling out red sauce for 50-plus years.
Do: When events and concerts return to the city, you can catch a Brooklyn Nets game or catch a concert at Barclays Center, which is blissfully within walking distance (aka no fighting for a cab or Uber afterward). Even closer is the performing arts venue Brooklyn Academy of Music, for progressive theater performances, movie screenings and film series. For now, though, best to kick back with a book on the plush bed and practice some much-needed self care.
Hilton Brooklyn, 140 Schermerhorn Street, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, New York, +1 718-834-8800

7. The Williamsburg Hotel

A towering Jenga-like structure built with reclaimed bricks, guests arriving at the Williamsburg Hotel will immediately take note of the hotel's signature scent (think expensive fresh laundry), designed by Brooklyn-based company Apotheke, which also makes the hotel's toiletries.
The rooms strike a delicate balance between opulent and homey, with gold fixtures in the bathrooms, quilted leather headboards, gilded dark-wood wardrobes, velvet couches and bright knit blankets at the foot of the beds.
Eventually, egg-shaped chairs will hang from the rooms' balconies, ideal for taking in Manhattan views or the perfect selfie. The hotel rolls out the red carpet for pets, providing each fluffball with a cushioned bed, a chew toy shaped like a trophy and stainless-steel food and water dishes.
Do: Browse the afternoon away at nearby Artists & Fleas market, where local vendors sell their wares, including jewelry, vintage clothing and art prints, and Rough Trade indie record store, which has hosted live acts such as Ryan Adams and Karen Elson.
Eat: The hotel offers several options for eating and drinking: Seven Seeds, The Lobby Bar and The Patio. Heaters will keep you warm as you enjoy a pizza or burger at The Patio. Make sure you save room for the tres leches cake.
The Williamsburg Hotel, 96 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York; +1 718-362-8100

8. The William Vale

More resort-inspired hotel rather than homage to Williamsburg's past, the 22-story, 183-room William Vale has eschewed design hallmarks like reclaimed wood and old-timey signage that scream "Brooklyn!"
Instead, guests get art installations in the lobby and in the elevators, ultra-modern furniture and sweeping views of both Manhattan and Brooklyn through towering panes of glass. Every room has a balcony.
Up top, the hotel's sprawling nightclubby cocktail bar, Westlight, hosts both locals and guests looking to take in the views and try original cocktails with names like the College Fund, made with three kinds of rum, tiki bitters, cream and root beer. Fun fact: The hotel is also home to retail space.
Do: Weather permitting, swim in the hotel's 60-foot-long outdoor pool, or if it's too cold out to break a sweat, make a reservation to work out in the hotel gym.
Eat: Leuca, the hotel's Southern Italian restaurant run by chef Andrew Carmellini, with its signature squid ink spaghetti, has been on local restaurant geeks' hot list ever since it opened in November. Sharing the Sophia Loren affogato sundae for two is an event all by itself.
When the weather is warmer, the hotel's Mister Dips airstream food truck parks on the hotel's public green space and sells burgers, fries and ice cream.
The William Vale, 111 N. 12th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, +1 718-631-8400

9. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

A sage blessing ceremony kicked off the opening of the five-star 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in February 2017 as the first guests checked in to the massive warehouse-like space in Dumbo, right by the Brooklyn Bridge.
The 10-story nature-focused hotel has plenty of nods to the location's manufacturing heritage, the sea and the bridge itself everywhere on the property. It includes the slim metal rods of the entrance's grand staircase, intended as an ode to the bridge; an art installation in the lobby featuring 6,000 pounds of rope-bound obsidian rocks; and the elevator, whose rough wooden planks are meant to evoke a shipping container.
In keeping with the 1 Hotels brand's eco-friendly mission, more than half of the materials used in the hotel's design are local or reclaimed, including pine beams from the former Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg. Standing beside the windows inside one of the 194 rooms -- all outfitted in neutral tones, wood, rope, leather, marble and live greenery -- the Brooklyn Bridge looks close enough to touch.
Do: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan is a free and convenient must-do. Or take in views of the Statue of Liberty while biking, walking or jogging through Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Closer to home, the hotel's plunge pool occupies a corner of the rooftop, along with fire pits and seating made from reclaimed railroad wood, an ideal place to admire downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty on nearby Liberty Island. The hotel's holistic Bamford Haybarn Spa will leave many visitors relaxed and refreshed.
Eat: Neighbors, the café next to the lobby, sells locally made grab-and-go (or stay) drinks and bites, such as cookies from Crown Heights baker Butter & Scotch and single-origin Dominican chocolate from Cacao Prieto in Red Hook. The Osprey is the property's farm-to-table full service restaurant offering patio dining, weather permitting, but with rooms this luxe, you might just want to take it to go.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 60 Furman Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York; +1 877-803-1111
Lilit Marcus contributed to an update of this story.