The rooftop of the William Vale Hotel isn’t finished yet—right now the floor is covered in some kind of black canvas—but I hardly noticed that when I was 21 stories up, with the Manhattan skyline to the west and all of North Brooklyn surrounding me. Across the river, this altitude is nothing (the Flatiron building is 22 stories, for reference) but in Williamsburg it’s pretty mindboggling.
When the new hotel officially opens on Wythe Avenue on August 1, it’ll be one of the biggest—and most expensive—hotels in all of Brooklyn. If you’ve been anywhere in Williamsburg or Greenpoint in the last year, you’ve probably noticed the building’s unusual facade rise slowly form the ground between North 12th and 13th Streets. Designed by Albo Liberis, the William Vale has 183 rooms, including 25 luxury suites, and ample retail and event space on the lower levels.
The standard rooms are, let’s say, “compact”—in typical New York hotel fashion—but make great use of the space they have with modern, simple designs. Each room features features work from a local artist, including the lobby, which has a massive installation of an “abstract map of Brooklyn” from Brooklyn-based Mexican artist Marela Zacarías.
If modern art isn’t your thing, each room also offers nearly unobstructed views of Manhattan or Brooklyn—depending on which side of the building you book.
The crown jewel of the whole operation is the “Vale Garden Residence,” which is the ultra-luxury suite on the top floor. When I saw it, its guts were all still hanging out of the walls, but Amy Birnbaum, the hotel rep who showed me around, painted a nice picture for me. When it’s completed, it’ll be a massive loft with a jacuzzi and “living plant wall.” At $5,500 a night, it’s not where you’d stay if you’re in town for the office-supply retailers conference. Instead, Birnbaum said, it’s the type of room that’ll be rented out by celebrities or for some of the bigger events hosted at the hotel.
Standard rooms, on the other hand, start at $415 a night before taxes—or $350 if you book before the opening—and, not counting the Vale Garden Residence, top out at a starting rate of $715 a night for a 571 square foot King One Bedroom suite—more than this writer pays for a month in rent, for the record. Birnbaum explained that the price-point is commensurate with the experience guests get from their stay.
“I think it’s very comparable to what the Wythe offers, she said of the nearby hotel where rates range from $235 to $365 and suites run $750. “They’re pretty much the same price points, the reason being that it’s of the neighborhood, of the caliber of hotel. We are going to be a luxury service hotel so you are getting that personalized service, 24 our room service, everything you could possibly want in a hotel will be there.”
Birnbaum added that the hotel’s target audience isn’t young people looking to visit New York on the cheap—it’s their parents, who are trying to avoid staying in roommate-infested lofts when they come to visit.
“We like to think of the William Vale as a resort away from Manhattan,” Birnbaum said. “We really are trying to show that we’ve got it all here—we have all the amenities you could want in the guest rooms.”
Those amenities include a fitness center, free wifi, what’s billed as the largest hotel pool in New York City (look out McCarren Hotel & Pool) and 24-hour room service from the hotel’s restaurant, which is run by Andrew Carmellini and his NoHo Hospitality Group. Carmellini, whose group is also behind popular Village spots like The Dutch, Bar Primi and Lafayette, will also oversee Westlight, the hotel’s rooftop bar, as well as a food truck that’ll be stationed at the publicly accessible Vale Garden Park on the 4th floor roof.
Of course, visiting parents aren’t the only ones who’ll be taking advantage of all this. A year ago, when the hotel’s general manager, Sebastien Maingourd, gave us a construction tour, he acknowledged the “proliferation of tourists from Europe.” The Frenchman said he understood Europeans’ attraction to Brooklyn. “We feel very comfortable in this kind of neighborhood,” he said. “It’s human-sized and nonstandard.”
The William Vale is sure to stand out in that “human-sized” landscape, and will probably block some neighborhood dwellers’ views while it’s at it. But when it comes to competing with forthcoming establishments like the Williamsburg Hotel and its rooftop water-tower lounge, being the biggest can’t hurt.
[Update, July 1: An earlier version of this story reported that Riverside Developers owned the property adjacent to the William Vale. We were informed today that the publicist misspoke and that this is not correct. The post has been updated to correct this error.]