Jessy and I would kick off our trip to the Maldives with a one-night stay in New York before catching our Cathay Pacific First Class flight out of JFK.
Since we’ve stayed in Manhattan quite a few times now on similar short visits to the Big Apple prior to boarding an international flight, we decided that a stay in Brooklyn this time around would be both more interesting and more convenient (given that we’d be flying into LaGuardia and out of JFK).
In choosing a Brooklyn hotel, none of the hotels under the Marriott portfolio (my usual preferred chain) really stood out to me. The Marriott and the Sheraton looked as cookie-cutter as can be, and Jessy and I both felt like a smaller boutique hotel would be a lot more appropriate in the borough known for its street art and hidden attractions.
After looking at a few options, we decided to book one night at The William Vale, a modern and stylish boutique hotel located at the northern edge of Williamsburg. The reason I chose this hotel is because it was bookable through Virtuoso, a service that I had written about before but would be trying for myself for the first time.
By booking through the Virtuoso rate (which I was able to do online through ClassicTravel.com), our stay would be elevated with a host of Virtuoso benefits, such as an early check-in, room upgrade, and late checkout subject to availability, a welcome amenity, a US$100 food and beverage credit, and a US$25 credit per person to be used towards breakfast.
The Virtuoso rate itself ended up being US$305 plus taxes, so US$353 in total. This was about US$50 higher than the lowest publicly available rate, so it’d be worthwhile as long as we took advantage of the Virtuoso benefits. The rate is also more than I’d usually like to spend for a one-night stay, but hey, this is New York City, and plus this was going to be a very special trip after all. 😉
The William Vale, Brooklyn – Location & Arrival
We flew into LaGuardia in the morning of our stay and arrived at the William Vale at around 11am via Uber. The hotel is located on N 12th St between Wythe and Berry, and it’s part of a recently-built shopping and entertainment complex that spans the entire city block.
The entrance is housed in a swanky glass enclosure, with an additional vestibule outside the main entrance to protect from the winter winds. The hotel’s trendy exterior continued into the foyer and lobby, and I could instantly tell that the decor was completed with a younger millennial crowd in mind.
The William Vale Brooklyn – Check-in
I had let the front desk know beforehand our estimated arrival time, so they were expecting us and had already arranged for an upgraded room to be ready for our arrival.
The friendly check-in associate confirmed our Virtuoso rate and benefits, including the food and beverage credit and the breakfast credit the next morning, before handing us our room keys for Room 1822.
The lobby also consisted of a spacious and beautifully decorated lounge area, where I briefly got some work done the following evening prior to heading out to JFK.
From there, you’ll catch the elevators up to the guest rooms. Up on the 18th floor, the elevator opened up to some spectacular views of the surrounding Brooklyn area.
The William Vale is one of the few buildings of its height outside of Manhattan, and these views upon stepping out of the elevator left us anticipating the balcony views from our room as we headed down the narrow but well-lit hallway.
The William Vale, Brooklyn – Gotham King Room
Room 1822 was at the end of the hallway, but there was no “end of the hallway feeling” this time, as we had only been assigned a Gotham King Room as part of our one-category Virtuoso upgrade.
As far as I could tell, the only difference between the Gotham King Room and the regular King Room was the addition of a small seating area, although the square footage remains exactly the same between the two room types. This means that the Gotham King is actually a little more cramped, and that makes a pretty big difference in an already space-constrained New York City hotel.
Indeed, the sleeping and sitting areas were definitely on the small side, even if their decor was very easy on the eye.
In addition to the king-sized bed and the chaise longue in the corner, there was also a cabinet with the pantry and minibar, as well as a television and a few small shelves along the wall. There wasn’t much in the way of a desk or dining table, so we could only work and eat while sitting on the bed.
The pantry consisted of a Lavazza coffee machine, along with snacks and drinks that were subject to payment.
For our welcome amenity, we’d later receive a box of artisanal donuts from the Du’s Donuts shop across the street from the hotel as well.
Similar to the rest of the Gotham King Room, the bathroom was also limited in space, but quite aesthetically pleasing, consisting of a sink, toilet, and glass-enclosed shower. The matte-black accents gave the bathroom a striking look – it wasn’t quite the gold-plated taps and handles over at the St. Regis New York’s Madison Suite, but it still felt luxurious in a more easy-going way.
Lastly, housed behind the geometric doors of the closet was a set of plush bathrobes.
The best part of the room was probably the balcony, which was comparatively more spacious than everything on the inside. One advantage of staying in Brooklyn is that you get to admire the Manhattan skyline from afar (instead of only getting close-up views of another building when staying in the big city), and the William Vale did an excellent job of serving up those views.
Waking up in the morning, swinging open the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, and stepping out to these views with an espresso in hand – that was certainly one of those small but satisfying moments that make a hotel stay linger long in the memory.
The William Vale, Brooklyn – Breakfast
Breakfast is served in the William Vale’s signature Italian restaurant, Leuca. As we had booked under the Virtuoso rate, we were entitled to a US$25 credit per person towards breakfast, which would exactly cover the cost of the breakfast buffet.
The breakfast order includes a cup of coffee and juice, and then you’re free to choose from the buffet. The items on offer were more artisanal than the average breakfast buffet you’d get at a chain hotel, which is in keeping with the William Vale’s boutique identity.
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We got ourselves a tasty breakfast to fuel a long day of walking around Brooklyn, all the way from the northern edge of Williamsburg down to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Service at breakfast fell a little flat, though. When we mentioned our Virtuoso breakfast credit to the waitress, she just shrugged and handed us the bill, saying that it would be applied at checkout. Go figure that it wasn’t applied at checkout, and I had to spend extra time going over the bill with the front desk before our departure (more on that later).
The William Vale, Brooklyn – Other Facilities
One of the hotel’s main attractions is Westlight, a rooftop cocktail bar on the 22nd floor of the building. Jessy and I spent a few hours up there in the evening, sampling their cocktail and appetizer menu and making use of our US$100 food and beverage credit (and then some).
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get photos of the space itself. I planned to head up there on the second day shortly before we left to take some photos, but Westlight ended up being closed for a private function.
It’s your standard trendy rooftop bar, though, with killer views of Manhattan to boot, so I would recommend paying it a visit if you find yourself in Brooklyn even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
There’s even an ice-skating rink on the very top floor of the hotel in the winter, which we also meant to check out on the second night, but couldn’t due to the private function at Westlight.
The only other noteworthy amenities at the hotel are the pool and gym. The fitness centre, like everything else here, is small in square footage but visually pleasing.
Meanwhile, the outdoor pool area was obviously closed during our visit in late February, but based on the hotel’s pictures it looks like a gorgeous spot to go for a dip in the summertime.
Even though we were entitled to a space-available late checkout, we decided to check out in the morning so that we could walk around Brooklyn without feeling rushed.
Upon returning to the hotel, though, I realized that there were several issues with our bill: the US$50 breakfast credits hadn’t been applied, and there was also an erroneous minibar charge on the bill. And while most hotels are happy to remove the mistaken charges as soon as they’re brought up, this front desk manager didn’t seem to believe me, and said he’d have to check with the minibar “staff” and would credit the difference back to my card in a few days’ time if it was truly a mistake.
That wasn’t the most savoury note on which to end our stay, but thankfully the refund did show up on my card a few days later.
The William Vale was ideally suited to our needs for this trip: a quick one-night stay in stylish and comfortable surroundings, getting what would be a very luxurious trip off to a suitable start. I was pleased to have gotten to try out the Virtuoso hotel booking service, even if the execution on the hotel’s end wasn’t perfect, and the US$50 breakfast credits and US$100 food and beverage credits ended up being very well spent.
However, I’m not sure that the hotel is worth its price point on the whole, considering both the US$350 rate that we paid and the US$400–500+ rates that they charge throughout the summer. You could argue that NYC hotels are never cheap anyway, but I’d say that it’s a market where I’d primarily be looking redeem my hotel points for free stays for that reason.
If you’re looking specifically for a trendy boutique hotel in Brooklyn, though, I don’t think you can go wrong with the William Vale. We did, however, pass by a few other boutique spots on our walk through Brooklyn, like The Hoxton and The Williamsburg Hotel, and I might be inclined to try them out so I can compare notes.