Brooklyn was the second largest city in the United States—just behind Manhattan—before the consolidation of New York's boroughs in the late 19th century. It remains to this day one of the most diverse and densely populated counties in the country, and the scope of what Brooklyn has to offer, culturally and historically, is a match for Manhattan itself. Fortunately, there are a host of great hotels that will afford you a command center for your exploration of New York's largest borough.
From its central location amidst Brooklyn Heights and the downtown area, the Marriott NYC Brooklyn Bridge
is just a short block away—and takes its name—from one of the most recognizable works of masonry in the modern world: the Brooklyn Bridge
. Separated from the historic Brooklyn Bridge promenade and its scenic vistas of the East River and Manhattan by Walt Whitman Park—one of Brooklyn's many public spaces—the Marriott offers easy access to ten different subway lines, views of Manhattan from the higher floors, and a neighborhood that has grown quite bucolic since its part in the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War. While you're walking across the Brooklyn Bridge one night, why not stop at one of the best restaurants in the city, the River Café
, with its riverfront views of lower Manhattan and great seafood dishes? A short walk away is the Brooklyn Academy Of Music
, or BAM to locals, the oldest continuously operating performing arts center in the country, with movie screenings, theater, live music, dance, and almost any kind of performance art one could imagine.
The aptly-named (for now, at least) Nu Hotel
is located on Atlantic Avenue in a veritable cavalcade of high-end shops and antiques stores where Brooklyn Heights meets the equally upscale Cobble Hill. The décor of the Nu Hotel is so modern that it's nearly futuristic—that is, except for the occasional hammock hanging in the odd room or two—and intended to evoke the feeling of an artist's studio. The amenities include the standard WiFi access and hotel bar, along with flat screen televisions, valet parking, and a 24-hour fitness center. In the area, there are plenty of bars—the Brazen Head
, the Waterfront Ale House
, and the newly opened Deity
, to name a few—and restaurants—like the Grocery
and the esteemed Saul Restaurant
—to choose from without fear.
Hotel Le Bleu
straddles Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn on the border of one of the borough's hippest—Williamsburg notwithstanding—neighborhoods: historic Park Slope. Great access to some of Brooklyn's finest resources—like the M, R, and F trains, several libraries, and a wealth of diverse bars, clubs, and restaurants—distinguishes Le Bleu from anything else in the Park Slope area, especially with amenities like Egyptian cotton lines, 42-inch plasma televisions, and scenic balcony views of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the harbor. A rooftop restaurant—with the usual bar—serves delicious food and views side-by-side. Check out the nearby Union Hall
for a drink, live music, and two bocce ball courts, or head over to Prospect Park
for a look at the many beautiful historic monuments—like Grand Army Plaza—or maybe just a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo
. Within reach of so many of Brooklyn's best neighborhoods—Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, and Red Hook—a stay at the Hotel Le Bleu
will never leave you wanting something to do.
For those visiting from our Aspiring Hipster Guide
, Park Slope might be the wrong locale, so we would suggest the swank Hotel Le Jolie
in Williamsburg, our fair city's hipster paradise. As with most Brooklyn lodgings, Le Jolie leans heavily on its easy access to the L train—which shoots straight across Williamsburg and along 14th Street in Manhattan—and the G train—which lays all of Brooklyn and a good bit of Queens at your disposal. While the outside may seem no-frills at first glance, inside the hotel you'll find plenty of amenities: the standard wireless internet access and coffee makers, as well as 42" plasma televisions, docking stations for your iPod, and tubs lined with soothing jets. This seven-story boutique hotel has a view of Manhattan to satiate anyone feeling out-of-sorts staying in Brooklyn, although with the rapidly emerging neighborhood and local attractions like the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center
, the Prospect Park Zoo
, the Brooklyn Museum
, and the Botanical Gardens
, you'll feel at home in no time.