New York City & Brooklyn: Rise of the Boutiques

With budget-friendly properties in New York, Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs, the Ace Hotels Group was called the most creative hotel operation in the country by the New York Times. The vibe in their hotels is residential and artsy, but they’ve never really targeted the corporate group market.

That changed last year when the Ace Group owners opened The NoMad Hotel in Manhattan’s Garment District, offering 4,000 sf of gorgeous group space. The 168-room property earned slavish praise from travel/architecture mags globally for its design evoking the romance of classic grand hotels in Europe. For private events, the 2-level Library features a spiral staircase from the South of France; the Fireplace room has an original fireplace imported from the Loire Valley; the 24-foot Bar is a masterpiece in mahogany; and the Rooftop is a bar/restaurant operated by Chef Daniel Humm, who runs the 3 Michelin-star Eleven Madison Park nearby.

How much we love this hotel is probably unhealthy. While standing inside one of the rooms, we fawned heavily over the French mahogany writing desks, velvet and damask patterned paravents, and clawfoot tubs by the windows. Floors 2 & 3 have 15-foot ceilings; the higher floors have the best views.

We also popped over to the new 72-room Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, regarded as Brooklyn’s first boutique hotel, located 15 minutes from Manhattan. Like the NoMad, Wythe was a 2012 darling of design mags, housed inside a former barrel “cooperage” constructed in 1901 near the waterfront. Guest rooms feature hard plank floors, beds constructed out of reclaimed ceiling timbers, and floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views of Manhattan’s skyline.

For F&B events, the fun Ides roof bar is inside a new glass extension crowning the post-industrial neighborhood. The main event space on the ground floor seats 200 with a private entrance, and there’s a 60-seat screening room with full bar.

Local celeb restaurateur Andrew Tarlow—of Marlow & Sons, Diner and Roman’s—operates Reynard in the Wythe. His menu highlights market-driven American fare prepared over a wood-fired grill, served inside a comfy dining room with original brick walls, cast iron columns, pine beams and tall arched windows. Try the grass-fed sirloin with grilled potato, bacon and bordelaise ($29). After that, walk across the street for drinks and bowling at Brooklyn Bowl.