Stay & Play in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s recently opened The Hoxton, Williamsburg is the first in the brand to land on North American soil (now joined by a fresh property in Portland and anticipated openings in Chicago and Downtown LA).

The 175-room dog-friendly Williamsburg hotel is super hip, has a rooftop bar and offers breathtaking skyline views of the city. That’s not all. The Hoxton’s coffee shop and vast lobby scream “Euro-cool.”

For a limited time, you can lounge in domes in the outdoor courtyard with blankets and cozy faux fur throws during lunch, cocktail and dinner service. Through the holidays, these domes will be surrounded by Christmas trees, which are all for sale and add that holiday cheer—not to mention that intoxicating pine scent.

Everything at the Hoxton including the room keys, hallway decor and view feels like art. The books, wall hangings and brass furnishings, as well as the bedding in each room, are locally curated. It’s hard to stay in a hotel for hours when you’re in such a vibrant city, but here it’s doable.

Breakfast boxes are delivered to your room daily with juice, oatmeal and fruit, while coffee and tea are both available to make in-room. Add a little snow for a magical morning, and you may just want to extend checkout in order to stretch out in the bed for a couple extra hours.

Alas, you must explore, and we’ll argue there’s nowhere better to do it than in Williamsburg. When you stay at the Hoxton, you never really feel the need to hop aboard the train. Anything your heart fancies is within walking or Uber/Lyft distance.

The lattes and scones at Cafe Colette never disappoint. I’ve been stopping here for more than seven years, and the best part is, if you’re in a hurry, there’s a little outdoor window for coffee and pastries to go.

If breakfast on-the-fly really isn’t your thing, that’s alright. Brunch here consists of buttermilk pancakes, eggs your way and a cheeseburger and fries (yes, you read that right).

It’s never too early for a fancy beverage in Brooklyn. When beautiful cocktails are in order, there are plenty of places to imbibe.

Bar Beau’s, an all-day coffee parlor with an understated light pink Palm Springs-style bar in the back, has drinks and snacks just as attractive as its decor. I urge you to try the Paisley Island, a creamy cocktail with a kick that includes Japanese whiskey, amaro, coconut, cucumber, egg white and chili.

Then there’s Ramona in neighboring Greenpoint. This is a dimly-lit two-story bar with perfectly-placed foliage and offerings as interesting as Beau’s. Try the Mai Thai here—light and dark rum, coconut orgeat, dry curacao and lime.

You can’t go home without a classic New York slice, and I have two favorites in this neighborhood. Vinnie’s Pizzeria is right down the street from the hotel. It closes at midnight most nights and 3am on the weekends and has a mac-n-cheese slice that might be gimmicky, but is totally worth it.

Long lines always and collective sighs of “mmm” after the first bite reinforce this statement. If you’ve ventured out of Williamsburg, Vinnie’s has a second location in Greenpoint, too.

There’s also Best Pizza, another counter-service spot that makes subs and brick-oven pies just right every time. The paper plate wall here is fun to look at. Whether the art’s been drawn by patrons or employees, it’s all pretty clever. You may end up spending time with a slice in one hand and a phone for snapping pics in the other.

Brooklyn is always a great borough for the cool kids to hang at, and it feels that much more charming during the holidays, with string lights and wreaths hanging in almost every window and across many bars. Staying in one neighborhood really allows you to appreciate everything it has to offer.

Even if there’s now a Whole Foods on Bedford Ave. along with an Equinox close by, there are still eateries, watering holes and shops (hello, Catbird!) that are quintessentially BK. Choose to explore more or stay in and order room service. The best itinerary is the one that feels right to you.

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