One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: Thematically Inspired, Technically Flawed

Growing-up in New Jersey, and getting my B.S. in New York, pizza is near and dear to my heart. Having lived the last 15 years in New England, I've found my concept of pizza and that of the local purveyors' often do not align. Having successfully tried a local trip to the Berkshires with the family, we planned a follow-up, slightly longer and a little farther away. The conceit would be a pizza party in New York City, providing for some of the most famous locations in the city to compete for a group of family and friends to determine the Best Pizza in New York (and logically following: in the world). After some internal back-and-forth, reading lots of "Best of" pizza lists and location reviews, I decided to choose Brooklyn over Manhattan. With Totonno's in Coney Island and L&B Spumoni Gardens not too far in Gravesend; Patsy's in Park Slope, Lucali's in Carroll Gardens, Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint, or Joe (Pozzuoli)'s in Williamsburg and Roberta's in Bushwick: this didn't exactly narrow things down. Ordering across neighbourhoods in Brooklyn was limited, various food delivery services might help, but the reality was with New York traffic, the best you could hope for was near the hotel and maybe a neighbourhood over.

We choose DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). This put us literally around the corner from the most famous pizza rivalry in Brooklyn: Grimaldi's and Juliana's. I was excited to see that, as I booked, Di Fara's was also appearing in the Slice pizza app (a must for NYC) and Uber Eats. It appears he'd previously dipped his toe into the water with GrubHub as well.

The Drive from Massachusetts was fairly uneventful, but would be the first time my Model X, Pensive, would leave the state of Massachusetts since it arrived after having left the factory in California](model-x-has-left-the-factory). The plan was to leave shortly after my daughter's swim lessons, and hopefully get to the hotel around 4pm; that'd let our babies nap get a good nap in the car, waking-up in time for their usual dinner and final wake period, set-up the room, and have a mostly normal bedtime routine with the babies going down at 6:30 and our three-year old an hour later.

Clara and Felix in the car

This would be our longest trip yet.

Supercharging

We'd need to stop for the boys, and did so at the Greenwich Supercharger on CT-15.

I hadn't realized it when planning the the trip, but we hadn't scheduled swim lessons for this weekend; which was good, because one of our infants hadn't been feeling well, and this freed us up to take him to the paediatrician's office hours. He returned with my wife and antibiotics for an ear infection; meanwhile his brother hadn't been acting his normal cheerful self, so a few hours later, my wife went back with him, returning with antibiotics as well. As we got ready to leave at our regularly scheduled time, we realized my wife also wasn't feeling very well–more than just the fatigue that happens with twin seven-month sons and a three-year-old—and scheduled time at the walk-in clinic. All told, we were now looking at a 6:20 arrival time in Brooklyn.

Hammock and Manhattan skyline

We arrived after sun down, but what a view!

The Pizza Party

We'd already settled on Brooklyn, specifically right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Practically, this restricted our options based on the practicality of retrieving the pizzas, since many places won't deliver outside their immediate area–if they deliver at all. If you're used to ordering delivery from the place 10 miles away, you likely don't have NYC traffic between you and the pizza shop. Since we were right next to one of the biggest ongoing pizza rivalries in the five boroughs, that was going to be the foundation of the party. We just needed one more location to round-out the pool.

Candidates

Grimaldi's and Juliana's

The Rays' might be the the most famous historic pizza feud in NY, but in Brooklyn, the battle between Grimaldi's and Juliana's is just as big. The eponymous founder, Patsy Grimaldi, founded the Grimaldi's Pizzeria in 1990. It grew, and a few franchises opened, and Patsy decided to retire a few years later, selling most of the business to Frank Ciolli. While Mr. Ciolli and his family have continued to franchise restaurants, introducing online ordering, and an expanded menu; he's kept the Brooklyn location the same: the classic full-pie, first-come first-served menu. In 2011, Grimaldi's pizza was kicked-out of its location, so Mr. Ciolli moved one building over.

line of people outside Juliana's

People waiting in-line outside Juliana's, the original home of Grimaldi's

In 2012, Patsy Grimaldi decided to come out of retirement, and opened-up in his old location, right next to the new home of his old pizzeria which still bared his name. Since his uncle, with whom he shared a first name, already had a pizzeria in Manhattan called Patsy's, Mr. Grimaldi decided to name the new pizzeria after his mother, Juliana.

While both have there adherents, the literature makes them appear fairly equivalent, which isn't unexpected.

The Other Finalists

We settled on three other finalists, which unfortunately we had to rule^out for one reason or another. These three finalists are often listed among the top pizzerias, but would need to wait for another trip.

Totonno's

Back in the early 20th century, Antonio "Totonno" Pero worked at Lombardi's Pizzeria in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. In 1924, he left to open his own pizeria in Brooklyn. Totonno's is located in Coney Island, which unfortunately put it too far to be reachable. It is however one of the classic greats (and the recommendation we got over brunch), having made their coal-fire pizza the same way for nearly a century.

Lucali's

Lucali's is an interesting story. Unlike most of the famous pizza joints, it's neither particularly old, nor was it founded by a life-long pizza-slinger. Mark Iacono opened Lucali's in 2006, located in his old neighbourhood of Carroll Gardens.

Unfortunately, Lucali's doesn't open until 17:45, which would be too late to start the party. It's also possible they don't do take-away, even if they are a favourite of Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Di Fara's

Domenico DeMarco moved to New York in 1959 from Italy. Three months after he arrived in Long Island, he leased a corner store in Brooklyn with a partner (named Farina) and their new pizza shop became an amalgam of their names. Mr. DeMarco bought out his partner, and these days, still makes all of the 100-150 pies produced in the Avenue J shop. Di Fara's is often regarded as the best pizza in NYC, including by the late Anthony Bourdain. I was super excited to see that the store had been flirting with various delivery services, although, as it came close to our trip, it was no longer active with any of them. While it would have been difficult to manage with the subway, waiting in the 15-seat store, and taking the pie back; our late start to the party would completely void this plan.

The Pizza Party

Di Fara's was the third source up until about a week before the party, when I noticed it was no longer located on any of the food delivery services, and it was looking very much like we weren't going to be able to get down and back ourselves. Ignazio's was nearby as well, and was located on Grub Hub, Uber Eats, and most importantly Slice.

Of course, as things go, all of our plans were out the window come the day of the party. We didn't make it back to the hotel in time to get the pies from Julianna's and Grimaldi's was actually closed. By the time we got to Julianna's, in addition to the line being at least a 45 minute wait, we would have run into their mid-day closing (from 3:15 until 4pm) for stoking their oven's fire.

"Closed"

Grimaldi's was closed for renovations

Ignazio's

Ignaizio's has a fleet of delivery SUVs, unlike its neighbours

Delivery Apps

We placed two orders, both from Ignazio's. We placed an order with Uber Eats to use-up some expiring credit as well as an order from Slice, a dedicated pizza app which has options to connect with either deliver or take-out pizza.

App notifications

Slice

Slice provides a platform for independent pizza shops to take orders. Those pizzerias which also offer delivery use their standard delivery people as if you'd called-in. I took advantage of a free-delivery offer, and the pizzas were delivered within the expected window, and tipping happens through the service (avoiding the need to touch hard currency). In our case, the pizzas were dropped-off at the front desk, and they called-up to our room. How painless is that!

Relaxing at the party

Uber Eats

We used Uber Eats to utilize some credits we'd accumulated. Costs for individual items were generally the same. Unlike with Slice, Uber Eats utilizes Uber drivers rather than employees of the pizzeria. Our Uber Eats order was late, and the driver even drove by the hotel, stopping at the commercial building next door. I had to chase him down the street to get the pizzas and then carry them back.

This was a clear win for Slice if you're ordering pizza.

Clara at the party

Clara had a good time at the party: success!

Clara and Alexander

Ignazio's Pizza

Unfortunately, we didn't get our pizza competition. Ignazio's, despite not being on most must eat lists for NYC pizza, was still quite good, and given the situation, convenient. Their regular cheese pie wasn't bad, but where they really shined was their Sicilian-style pie. We had enough left-over that my daughter and I had it for breakfast the next day. And lunch. I may have had some for a snack before dinner as well.

Margherita slice

Ignazio's Sicilian Margherita

Pizza for breakfast

Eating a slice of cheese for breakfast

The Hotel

One Hotel is a group with four properties. The Brooklyn Bridge location in which we stayed was its first new construction, but its third property following the acquisition and renovation that became One Hotel Central Park and an earlier location in South Beach, Florida. The hotels are owned by Starwood Capital, which is not related to the former Starwood Hotels and Resorts (now Marriott) other than through a shared relationship with founder/co-founder Barry Sternlicht. While CEO of Starwood Hotels, Mr Sterlicht created the W brand, which Marriott now describes as "[a]n iconic lifestyle brand that boldly colors outside the lines of luxury"1; essentially the W is geared towards the younger affluent audience, modern-day yuppies; millennials with money.

X for Millennials seems to be a recurring theme in brand descriptions. It is what created such ill-fated ideas as Air France's Joon, and other awkward hotel concepts including Hilton's Tru2 and Marriott's Moxy3. Usually the focus on targetting millennials is about shrinking private space, highlighting shared spaces, and an unfortunate amount of kitsch4. While Hilton is targetting Tru explicitly at a more cost-conscious market, Marriott has priced the Moxy Times Square towards the higher end of their catalogue: cash prices in the next few months are on par with the Marriott Marquis and W Times Square5.

filtered water

Filtered tap, and glass: green

One Hotel is a hotel for millennials. It doesn't do this by embedding kitsch and innuendo in a force "playfulness" like Moxy, and it certainly doesn't do this by competing on price and concepts like open-space working. One's "eco-luxury" shtick will resonate with most millennials-with-money6, offering filtered water taps in-room, access to a Tesla house car (and Tesla charging!), furniture from reclaimed wood, lots of greenery, and great vistas. Supposedly the rooftop pool and bar are happening locations as well, but given that March is not usually pool weather in NYC, we didn't get to experience that. Millennial appeal isn't hurt by the fact that the property is in Brooklyn, along bike and walking paths, either.

1 Hotel Brooklyn roof

While the bar and pool were closed, there was still the view on the roof

Nor was the fact that certain rooms, like the Skyline Suite, contained a hammock. As far as I'm concerned, all hotel rooms should have a hammock7. Being able to watch the sunset on the other side of Manhattan; with Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and a skyline containing the Freedom Tower and other iconic buildings was an exceptional experience; watching my daughter experience New York for the first time like this made the trip worth-it for me.

Jamie in the hammock

Relaxing in a hammock

Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, and Wall St

View from the hammock

Emotion aside, though, what was the experience like? Am I planning on going back? The short answer is no, not soon, anyway. There's a lot of things I liked, and the view was exceptional, but the rough edges were off-putting.

Booking

One Hotels has a very competent Web site for booking, and when we were looking there were some reasonable discounts available through the site (we used one with free parking). As far as I could tell, since One Hotels doesn't participate in any loyalty consortia, there isn't as strong a reason to book direct as they major chains are pushing. However, I had some slightly complicated plans, so I actually called their direct reservations line. The call was taken quickly, and felt rather painless. We were arriving on St. Patrick's day–while the parade in Manhattan was celebrated the day before, Brooklyn kept the festivities on Sunday–and that meant the first night of our trip had what I'd consider ridiculously inflated prices. We booked a connecting room for subsequent nights, but left it off the first night, as the second room, if it were connecting, would have been about $1,500 (non-connecting, the room was going for about $780, while it regularly was about $400). Unfortunately, she wasn't able to book one reservation all of the way through, but booked the first night on its own reservation. She concluded the call by asking if there were any special requests I'd like annotated, such as a high floor. Sure, that'd be nice; but my priority would be not moving rooms between reservations. She said she'd make a note of that.

Presumably, because we made our reservation over the phone, we were never able to look-up details on the Web site (under the My Reservations menu item). I got an eMail (actually two, since the first night was a separate reservation from the subsequent two nights) with a confirmation number, but plugging that into the Web site with the eMail was unable to find my reservation each time I checked.

Check-in

We drove-up to the hotel and were quickly met by a valet who helped us unload. I've always preferred self-parking, and the nature of NYC parking effectively necessitating using the hotel valet was something I begrudgingly accepted with a certain sense of apprehension8, but given the amount of luggage we had, the time we were arriving, and the over-tired and hungry kids we wanted to get to the room as quickly as possible; I was thankful for the assistance. It didn't hurt that the gentleman that came over had a joyful easiness which was calming (even with a good natured comment about the amount of luggage we had), and promised to make sure he got all of the bags inside for us. I went inside as he loaded a cart with the luggage we'd left on the street, now being assisted by a co-worker.

Walking in, it wasn't immediately clear where reception was; there was a long lounging area along the windows, and off to the left was the hotel's café. It was fairly dark (even in the daytime, the inside of the hotel would be quite dark) and the desk that seemed the logical location was unmanned. After taking a few steps into the main lobby, a man who later introduced himself as Diego asked if he could help; I indicated that I was checking-in, and he began to motion as if to direct me to the desks in front of us before realizing there was nobody there. He disappeared momentarily, and a young woman appeared and began the check-in process.

Check-in was straight-forward, although I was surprised by the detached, but professional, manner in which it proceeded (both the valet and bell-hop had been extremely warm and welcoming). She didn't immediately mention the subsequent reservation, just the one-night stay; when asked about it she said that the second reservation was for a room on a different floor, and that there was nothing they could do to keep us in the same room. Admittedly, there was nothing at any point where they promised to keep the suite in the same room, but considering it was the same class of room and would have saved house cleaning, it seemed like a reasonable expectation that they'd try to make it work. I asked if we could either get a late check-out or an early check-in for the new room in order to not need to store everything while waiting for the new room, and was told that I'd have to ask in the morning.

Checking with the front desk the next morning, the new desk agent indicated that someone had been able to move rooms around such that we didn't need to pack-up, and that they could send us an SMS when the connecting room was ready.

Service

As I mentioned above, the valet team and the bell-hop, Diego, were affable, efficient, and generally excellent. They held the stay together on the service side; even the small things like when my daughter and I found ourselves in the elevator with him, he'd check-in on us and try to keep the three-year old engaged and happy. The house car was equally efficient and pleasant, although I'm surprised there wasn't a more modern way of requesting it other than talking with whoever was manning the desks downstairs (such as the in-Room iPads used for pretty-much everything else). When my daughter really wanted pears, one of the counter workers at the café spent 15 minutes checking various places around the hotel just-in-case before absolutely saying she couldn't find one. The staff at Neighbors' Café in general was excellent, in addition to the pizza-party guests gathering there before the party, we had breakfast there every morning. From the second day, they greeted our kids as they brought over food for the three non-seven-month-olds (the twins mostly ate out of pouches, but did make a mess munching on eggs, muffins, and the like).

Clara

Muffins for three year olds

Alexander

Space for the infants' spread

Clara and Alexander

Clara kept the infants entertained at breakfast

The most disappointing aspect continued to be the front-desk. In many hotels, these would be the first people you might see (especially if you didn't drive), and they would be setting the first impression for the property; fortunately they weren't here. I interacted with several people behind the desk, which was consistently under-staffed (at one point I saw two people working the counter, but usually it was unmanned, with the apparent lone staffer required to handle tasks away from the desk). Not one of them instilled a sense of, frankly, confidence and ease. Some quirks from the staff:

  • They asked for a number to send an SMS to notify us when our room was ready. I provided one, saying it was for the phone I had with us that day, but shouldn't replace the number on file for other uses. Nevertheless, they must have updated our contact preferences for the stay as that number continued to receive messages from the hotel on later days.

  • They also didn't send the text until after we had returned, checked-in on the state of the room, and gotten the key already.

  • I asked for opinions on where to get a good pizza pie; I got just the usual suspects who were literally around the corner (Grimaldi's, Juliana's, and Ignazio's). No colour that only Ignazio's would deliver, or even that Grimaldi's was closed for maintenance.

  • We called to add a milk to a room-service order, got confirmation, but the order arrived without the milk (the request appears to have just been dropped).

  • Food from room service was inconsistent. My three-year-old was in a chicken-finger phase, sometimes we got juicy and tender chicken; other times it was dry and burnt. Inconsistency aside, the menu wasn't inspiring.

  • At check-out, we called to have someone help bring down our bags, and told 10 minutes. We called again 30 minutes later, and that time we were able to get someone to help.

  • Getting a dinner knife involved waiting for room service to deliver two flatware sets on a tray. I appreciate the gesture on this one, but I was really looking for something along the lines of someone just grabbing a knife from the café or restaurant.

room service tray

Chicken fingers were a hit the night of arrival, but overdone–too crispy and dry–the second night. Three-year olds don't give second chances…

The Room

Our Skyline suite ran a consistent $1,300 each night (with a connecting Liberty King after the first night). The suite itself was 560 square feet, and 862 square feet with the connected skyline king. Both of these are quite large, even though the hotel is outside Manhattan9. The suite had physical doors only for the bathroom and the shower, with the living area and bedroom forming an arch around the enclosable area. Only the pocket doors for for the toilet (and its own sink) were opaque. The connected Liberty king shared various design aesthetics, but some elements were modified to presumably cut costs. The two rooms were connected through a pair of very heavy doors, each of which could only be opened from its own side, and lacked an in-built means of staying open. In the suite, when open, it also protruded into the entryway. Since we had the connected room for seven-month twins, we used the infant carries to prop the door open on the Skyline king side.

Skyline Suite

The door opens into a short hallway, with the toilet (connecting through to the bathroom, and then the bedroom) to the right, and a door to the connecting Liberty king on the left. The TV, mounted on the wall on a swing-arm, was straight ahead above a low table and the mini-bar. Turning at the TV to face the main living room, the Manhattan skyline was lit-up behind a hammock, and there were plenty of live plants around the room; it really was quite a site. There was a long table at the end of the couch to which we could attach our baby's clip-on high-chairs, and lots of space for anywhere in New York City. Did I mention the view? Diego brought our bags in, gave us a quick tour, and mentioned that the windows opened if we wanted some fresh air. The view was spectacular, with one wall looked-out towards Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, while the other looked out at Manhattan and continuing around to the bedroom was the Brooklyn Bridge.

Towards Ellis Island

View towards Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the morning

Brooklyn bridge

Watching Henry Hugglemonster before bed

After the first impression, the polish began to tarnish. The second night, we noticed that their was a surprising amount of sound in the bedroom. This became more obvious watching (and listening) to Blade copters flying to Manhattan; it turns out one of the clips that is supposed to keep the door/window closed was broken, meaning the window could not be flush, letting-in the cold and sound. Looking behind curtains, or underneath the desk, there were powerstrips or cables just sort of bunched together; it looked like a college dorm rather than a recently constructed hotel. There were USB ports in the wall next to the bed, but they weren't successful in charging my phone; fortunately, the standard NEMA 5-15 outlets delivered enough juice. Both the floors and the walls had visible wear, and while there was a hair dryer provided in the room, it too contained chipped plastic.

broken window latch

non-functioning latch on the bedroom window

window latch

properly aligned and stable latch

provided hair dryer

The hair dryer was cracked.

cracks in the wall

Three were chips in the wall, marks on the floor

bathroom

Even the wall below the the buttons to flush the toilet had a gash

wires hidden behind the curtain

Wires were hidden behind curtains, which was surprising for a new construction.

wires under table

Under the desk was another collection of untidy wires; I discovered these first, trying to figure-out why outlets in the desk did not work.

The room had a modern-looking leather chair. I literally flipped trying to sit in it. The secret is making sure you sit-down well planted in the back of the chair; if you're used to sitting towards the front of chairs when talking to someone, you're best-off avoiding these chairs.

leather chair

A few people tipped the chair over trying to sit-down.

The room has a yoga mat you can use, and the suite included a single pair of slipper-socks which are yours to keep; or one of your room-mates in a suite which is listed for four people.10

1 Hotel Socks

There is a note–if you cannot decide on an owner of the socks, they will be destroyed.

My daughter loved the hammock.

Clara and Jamie in hammock Clara in hammock

There was a bathtub, but the shower just was there. The design was actually fairly effective, but it did mean paying attention to when certain parts of the floor were wet.

Skyline suite bathroom

The bathroom in the suite was a convenient place for diaper changes; the changing pad is in the shower half of the room.

If you're interested in neighbouring rather than connected rooms, it looks as if there's a doorway that could be closed in front of the doors to each of the neighbouring rooms; but I'm not sure if their set-up to be accessible that way.

Alexander

Plenty of space for the infants to play

Kids

…or all of the kids, for that matter

Liberty King

cardboard drawers

"Green" drawers provided in the non-suite rooms may not be to everyone's taste.

The Liberty King is clearly the second fiddle to the suite. Compared to the suite, the 300 square feet felt more cramped than it really was. It still had a nice view of the Statue of Liberty, and a padded bench built into the wall, and plenty of drawers. While there wasn't an opaque door or full-height wall in the room, the location of the sink, and structures separating the wash-area from the rest of the room, provided some modesty. There was also some obvious cost-cutting: non-suites had a glossy-white plastic toilet seat, while the suite had a wood seat which felt more at-home with the design of the rooms. There was no bathtub, so the shower stall, even though it was effectively the same as that of the suite with the tub removed (and space reduced) looked more ordinary; it proved very effective though at emergency cleaning and hosing-down of baby emergencies. There was a moveable table in front of the in-built bench seat made of reclaimed wood. It had some obvious cracks in the surface already, and it was clear it wouldn't support our seven-month infants in their clip-on high-chairs either as it bent, necessitating quick removal of the babies, and then chairs.

high-chairs attached to table

This didn't work-out as well as it looks here.

It turns-out that opening the sliding window in the suite nearest the TV causes vibrations and noise which carries through to the adjoining room. While the suite was very quiet on our cold March day (aside from some noise from the non-latching window in the bedroom), other rooms might be noisier if you end-up next to someone who wants to get fresh air.

Technology

This is the biggest failing, and since the hotel isn't even two years old and there's likely a large sunk-cost, it's unlikely to change anytime soon.

The rooms contain what they refer-to as a guide device in the amenities list. This is precisely an iPad mini connected to the hotel's WiFi, loaded with the hotel's hospitality app. In concept, it isn't bad, and is probably better done than similar systems, but there were a couple of very obvious issues–especially the first one: it didn't clear between guests. Just before a message welcoming me, I saw messages for the previous guest (by name). He was an avid consumer of room service, often getting simply tea delivered. How this hasn't been fixed is beyond comprehension.

The other problem I'm less surprised by, but is immediately obvious to any parent of young children: there's no child-lock feature. My daughter loved playing with the tablet, fortunately usually ending-up on the "other" room service options meaning nothing automatically got billed (we just had a lot of blank or nonsensical requests). We first tried to keep her to the digital papers–but she didn't find the interface as fulfilling. We then hid them under the guise that "they needed to be charged downstairs"; in reality, of course, the stand they lived-on kept them at full charge.

Clara with guide device

In hindsight, letting a three-year-old tap randomly around the device used to order room service was not thought-through.

It was disappointing that the outlets near the desk and couches weren't actually connected, and the USB ports near the bed didn't support higher power draws. This is not to say that everything was a failure; there were some nice touches. There was a Bluetooth speaker in the suite's bedroom (which we didn't use, favouring our own JBL network). There were outlets, some of which had power to them, in convenient locations like near the bed and recessed in the floor in the living area (safely behind a door).

Outlet and controls

Lighting and Privacy controls near the bed, along with outlets

Lighting

If the biggest failing of the hotel was in its vaunted modernism and technology, the most visible expression of that failing was in the lighting. We principally tried to manage the lights through the physical buttons in the room, although I believe there was some basic control available from the Guide device as well (ours was generally stored in a drawer, as I mentioned). In the Skyline suite, there are control units on either side of the bed, as well as next to the door to the hall. The buttons were labelled: on/off; and then full, low, and night lighting (the privacy button I'll get to next). The unit next to the door also had buttons to increase or decrease the illumination in a more gradual manner, as with a traditional dimmer.

You might reasonably think that pressing any one of the lighting buttons: full, low, and night would set the lights to a predictable setting regardless of what state they had previously been in. This turned-out not to be the case. Normally, night would turn on only very specific lights, such as one in the bathroom which oddly was not on when you went directly to low lighting. I needed low lighting in the "living" area, as that was the path I generally took to get to the connecting room for mid-night infant retrieval. I think what ended-up working was night, then low, then manually decreasing the illumination.

desk light

All lights off, the desk lamp worked fine as a night light once the cribs moved to the connecting room.

Sometimes the hotel felt like it was lifted from an id Software first-person shooter. The inside of the hotel was dark, the elevators were reminiscent of the minimalist crate-like elevators in some levels of Quake, and the lighting for the filtered water flashed like in any number of Doom areas. The flashing light had appeared in an earlier TripAdvisor review, so either this hasn't been fixed and we happened to get the same room, or it's a more pervasive issue with how the rooms were designed.

elevator car

elevator

Do Not Disturb

We stayed three nights, so we had two full-days at the hotel. Neither day we had someone service our room without our explicitly requesting it. I don't fault housekeeping for this at all.

We returned to our room the first day from brunch at Westville Dumbo to prepare for the pizza party, only to find that our room hadn't been serviced (especially the trash full of diapers removed). Fortunately, we were able to schedule the cleaning over the phone, and housekeeping arrived earlier than the app had allowed us to schedule. We noticed we'd had the privacy light on near the door, so we'd double check that the next morning. It was unclear whether we set it by mistake while we were fixing the lights or if my daughter had pressed it without us noticing.

The next day, we checked the lights on the privacy setting before taking a walk along the river to the parks at pier 6. As we entered the park, we saw a big slide opening into a big sandy play area, across the walk way were more slides. If you wanted to slide, this was the place to be; unfortunately my daughter wanted to go on swings. So we walked past the slides, made a right, cross the a service road and entered an area full of swings. I'm certain that 2pm on a weekend this area was full with waits several kids deep, but on a cool March Monday, there was only one other family with older children in the area, and they appeared to be practising parkour rather than utilizing the swings. Once we pried our preschooler from the swings, we stopped for coffee (disappointingly, the hotels' was better; but we were able to get questionable bananas for the kids' which made them happy), and returned to the hotel. We were surprised to find that, once again, that housekeeping had skipped-over us.

Slides

Slides at Pier 6

Swings

Swings just past the slides

Along the river

Or just walking along the river

In the Skyline suite, there are three privacy buttons. Two are in the bedroom (on either side of the bed), and one next to the door. Pressing any one of these buttons enables all three. Pressing just one of the buttons doesn't necessarily turn the others off. While the light next to the door was off, the privacy lights next to the bed were still illuminated. Pressing the privacy buttons next to the bed at this point successfully turned them off, but one would expect them to be synchronized with the light near the door.

We apologized for again needing housekeeping sent especially, and explained what we'd noticed with the lights. While the front-desk operator handled the call with the detached automation to which I'd become accustomed, she apparently passed along the note, because we got a call back a couple hours later apologizing for the technical issue, and indicating that they have a set of stones to use if the privacy button doesn't work (as we were leaving the next day, this wasn't necessarily useful; but acknowledging the issue and taking the time to speak with us was an appreciated, if inconsistent, gesture).

stones

Low-tech solution, if you knew of them, for what shouldn't have been a problem.

Final Impressions

Check-out, like so much else, was mixed. Our seven-month twins had just gone down for their naps, so we asked for a late check-out to let them finish, which was painlessly granted. When they woke-up, we called for our call, and we asked for someone to help us with our bags. Our car showed-up–fully charged–but we had to call back down a second time to get help with our bags. Checking-out, instigated by my having the twins with me in a stroller, was the most personable conversation I had with the front desk staff.

Brooklyn Bridge

Clara really wanted to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge

There were a lot of things to like about the hotel, starting with the view. The house car was a convenient 10 minute ride to Trader Joe's with an easy 20 minute walk back (checking out may take longer than walking back to the hotel). If we'd wanted access to our car, they permitted in and out privileges; if we didn't need it, they left it plugged-in the entire time11. The location, if it works for you, was very nice to walk around; it wasn't as convenient as a Manhattan location for getting to most tourist attractions.

I don't think we'll be returning in the next year or even two: I think we'll be focusing our NYC time in Manhattan. I can definitely see us coming back here at some point in the future, though, and we'll likely be booking another Skyline suite: I absolutely loved the view from the hammock.

Clara's Critique

Too many windows and drawers, not enough pillows.

Clara in hammock


  1. "outside the lines of luxury" means Marriott has placed it in its distinctive luxury band of properties

  2. "…a brand-new hotel experience from Hilton that's vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart. It's energetic, yet relaxing and comfortable. It's familiar, and it's also unexpected. It's completely unprecedented, it's uniquely Tru."

  3. "Moxy’s brand essence is best captured in Now & Wow. Moxy is spirited – always buzzing with high energy, interesting people and an energetic crew."

  4. e.g. Moxy Vienna, or Moxy "Times Square"

  5. both of which are actually in Times Square

  6. can I coin MwM?

  7. and my three-year-old daughter concurs, so take note if you're currently an undergraduate marketing major

  8. I tend to think about our stay at the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea

  9. For comparison, the Marriott Fairfield in Brooklyn has rooms at 175 square feet and suites at 375 square feet. For an arbitrary date, the Fairfield looks to be $1.26/square foot and our room was $1.50/square foot just after St. Patrick's day

  10. I guess you could split them two-ways.

  11. although this probably relies on not not having too many Teslas in the garage