Admit it: when you think of New York City you picture Manhattan. That’s to be expected, since the city’s most popular tourist attractions are clustered on the island (the Empire State Building, Freedom Tower and Rockefeller Center come to mind).
However– as locals know– there is much more to the Big Apple than Manhattan. With the recent opening of a Fairfield Inn in Brooklyn, travelers can now stay close to the bistros, art galleries and brownstones that define New York’s trendiest borough.
>> Read on for my impressions and original photos of Brooklyn’s first Fairfield Inn
I spent a night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Brooklyn in early December as a participant in the “Blog Inn,” a sponsored trip for New York travel bloggers. I quickly discovered this is no ordinary Marriott; the Fairfield Inn has the look and feel of a boutique hotel and is custom designed to reflect local sensibilities.
The next time you visit New York City, consider making Brooklyn your base of operations. You’ll see a different side of the city and are guaranteed to get off the tourist path!
Boutique hotel feel
I’ve long considered the Fairfield Inn to be a functional hotel brand. Geared towards budget-conscious travelers, this Marriott chain offers free breakfast and WiFi, solid service and comfortable but not extravagant rooms.
I was surprised to find that Brooklyn’s only Fairfield Inn does not fit this cookie-cutter image, due to its sleek 1960s-inspired decor, locally-sourced woodwork, extremely high ceilings and sculptures by New York artists.
The first thing I spotted at the hotel entrance were swirling light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The material? Styrofoam!
The Fairfield Inn reception area contains a pantry stocked with frozen dinners, pints of ice cream and other snacks you might expect to find at an extended-stay hotel. However, the hotel has added a local touch to the offerings: chocolate bars from Brooklyn-based Tumbador.
According to staff, many of the hotel guests come to visit family members or attend weddings, while others are adventurous travelers seeking a different perspective on the city. The Fairfield Inn also rents some of its rooms to TV production companies, and I expect their employees are the main consumers of these quick meals.
With so many innovative restaurants in the area, it would be a shame for hotel guests to dine on Lean Cuisine!
Once I stopped gazing at the incredibly high ceilings in the breakfast area, I turned my attention to the floors. The hallways are lined with funky grey-and-red carpeting that furthers the “modern” feel. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo as I waited for the elevator.
Since this is a new property, built in 2010 and opened this summer, every fixture is in mint condition. While the rooms have the comfortable bedding I expect from a Marriott property, they include a unique touch– the cement ceilings have not been painted, giving the rooms the feel of a Brooklyn loft.
My room was a standard size for New York City and fit a king bed and desk. During a tour of the property I checked out the only king suite in the Brooklyn Fairfield Inn. With two baths, a living room and a larger bedroom, it would be ideal for a bridal party. There is also a king room with a large private terrace overlooking the Verrazano Bridge. I could easily see this as the setting for a Girl’s Getaway weekend or bachelorette party.
This Fairfield Inn has the potential to become a nightlife hot-spot since it has a rooftop lounge with nearly-360′ views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. According to hotel reps, there are plans to enclose this space and turn it into a bar. Given the popularity of rooftop venues in the city, this could draw in additional guests as well as locals.
The bi-level rooftop features several seating areas and a couple of lounge chairs, all of which were vacant during my December visit. In the summer, I imagine there will be stiff competition for these seats!
Several landmarks are in sight of the rooftop lounge, including the Verrazano Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island.
At night we could see the lights of the Freedom Tower, under construction at the former World Trade Center site. Other landmarks in view included Jay Z and Beyonce’s apartment building. Unfortunately, I forgot my binoculars so I did not catch a glimpse of the power couple.
Location, location, location
The Brooklyn Fairfield Inn is a 5-minute walk from the Atlantic-Pacific subway hub, making for a quick trip to downtown Manhattan. I walked from the subway to the hotel at night and the neighborhood appeared to be undergoing a transition; beautiful brownstones on St Marks Place gave way to a more industrial feel near the hotel.
This Fairfield Inn straddles several neighborhoods– Park Slope, Gowanus and Boerum Hill– and is well situated for street art fans. My eye was drawn from a sculpture on the hotel property to a black-and-white mural across the street.
On the opposite side of the intersection, a large painted mural promoted traffic safety. Just across the street, a building was covered in creative wheat-pasted portraits.
This appears to be an up-and-coming area for hotels, as competing chain Holiday Inn has a branch just a few blocks away. The location allows easy access to some of Brooklyn’s best attractions: Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the restaurants on Smith Street and shops selling goods made in Brooklyn.
As a Manhattanite, I enjoyed visiting the Fairfield Inn because it provided a different vantage point on the city. I’d recommend it for visitors that have already been to the iconic Manhattan destinations and are looking for a more “local” experience. If you are interested in art, culture and Brooklyn nightlife, this hotel will be a great fit.
What do you think?
Would you rather stay in Manhattan or Brooklyn on a visit to New York City? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
My hotel stay was sponsored by the Fairfield Inn & Suites New York Brooklyn as part of the “Brooklyn Blog-Inn” event. For more information on Brooklyn attractions, read my Brooklyn Blog-Inn articles.