Hipsters’ parents get rooms of their own

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If you want your parents to visit you in Williamsburg this holiday season, but you don’t want their stay to interfere with your band’s rehearsal in the living room, then your life will become simpler in the a few weeks when Hotel Le Jolie becomes the first hotel in North Brooklyn in decades.

Le Jolie, on Meeker Avenue hard by the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, is filling a void in a neighborhood with hundreds of bars, restaurants, galleries and music venues, but nowhere to shelter visitors besides the nearby Greenpoint YMCA.

“There was a wait-and-see attitude with Williamsburg, but now there’s a great need for a hotel, because of how hot it is,” said Robert Gaeta, general manager of Le Jolie and its more upscale sister hotel, the still-hasn’t-opened-yet Hotel Le Bleu on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope.

Like Le Bleu, Le Jolie is a “boutique” hotel with 56 rooms renting for $200–$350 per night, despite being on an obscure block. Still, Gaeta thinks the borough needs more hotels like it.

“Brooklyn lacks a luxury brand as an alternative to the [Brooklyn] Marriott,” Gaeta said at a Chamber of Commerce forum last week about the hotel industry.

Le Jolie and Le Bleu won’t be the only new places to hang your hipster fedora. More than 500 hotel rooms will be added to the borough by the end of the year, and other projects might add as many as 3,000 in the coming years.

But are too many being built? For Brooklyn’s hotel developers, it’s hard to say.

Sam Chang, who brought the low-end Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn to two gritty blocks near the Gowanus Canal, thinks there are now enough beds for all of Brooklyn’s weary travelers.

“I definitely stopped buying in Brooklyn,” said Chang. “Three thousand rooms is enough.”

But Chang has erred on the side of caution before. He said it has been easy to rent rooms in the Holiday Inn for about $200, although he budgeted them for $120.

Others in the hospitality business are optimistic.

“I think if you look at the numbers, there is room for more,” said Gene Kaufman, the architect behind the Sheraton and A-loft hotels that are proposed for Duffield Street.

Those numbers are based on the concerted effort to lure more business travelers and tourists away from Manhattan and into Brooklyn’s new meeting and event spaces.

“Atlantic Yards will lend itself to a need for more hotels,” said Gaeta.

Updated 4:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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