I spent a night in one of New York’s coolest hotels, The William Vale — here’s why the Williamsburg hotel is worth the big splurge

The William Vale 4x3

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  • The William Vale in Williamsburg is one of the coolest hotels in New York, known for super chic rooms, a thriving pool scene, and the rooftop bar Westlight and Italian restaurant Leuca – which warrant a visit on their own.
  • The hotel is not cheap: many standard rooms will run around $400 and are tight on space. More expansive suites offer ultra-luxurious accommodations but can cost well over $800 per night.
  • I spent a night in an upgraded King One-Bedroom Suite with Balcony and think it’s worth every penny for the spacious, art-infused room, glam bathroom and amenities, and a stunning balcony.
  • Read all Insider Picks hotel reviews here.

I’m a fan of the staycation. You can rest and recharge without stepping foot in an airport. And by removing actual travel costs, you might have extra cash to spend.

But as a resident of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, the idea of one at The William Vale felt a bit funny. My own bed would be just a 20-minute walk away. It would have to be a pretty special hotel to feel worth it.

It was.

The William Vale is, quite simply, one of the coolest hotels in New York. It’s effortlessly sophisticated and super modern, best evidenced by the fact that locals actually hang out here. I would know; I’m one of them.

Since the hotel opened in 2016, I’ve been a regular visitor to Westlight rooftop bar, as well as the on-site Italian restaurant, Leuca. They are both top choices for celebrating special occasions and anniversaries or to impress out-of-town friends and family.

It was only after booking a room however that I realized I was missing out on half the experience. Staying overnight won’t come cheap, but it’s worth it.

Standard rooms typically cost around $400 per night, though if you’re able to stay on a weeknight or book a special package, you might snag a deal as low as $228. Entry-level offerings are quite small for a rather expensive price; if you’re able to afford an upgrade (or have credit card points to use), I think the price will feel more worth it.

While spacious suites start at around $800 per night, they offer the chance to spread out in one of New York’s hippest hoods with unrivaled views. I spent the night in a King One-Bedroom Suite with Balcony, comped for review purposes, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for anyone looking for a super stylish splurge. It’s also why we named William Vale one of the best hotels in New York City for 2020.

Indeed that’s who stays here: a well-heeled set in search of sophisticated accommodations, with the budget to pay for it. They want VIP access to the hotel’s on-site hotspots, but without the typical snobbery that sometimes accompanies high-end hotels.

And, as any Brooklynite will tell you, staying over the river in Williamsburg is so much better than cramming into Times Square.

Need more hotel recommendations in New York? Read our list of the 20 best hotels in New York City.

Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by The William Vale in Williamsburg.


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The towering facade has become a hallmark of Williamsburg.
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Everything about The William Vale, from the courtyard to the understated lobby, and the towering building itself, is super sleek. The entrance is part of a larger, hip compound comprised of on-site venues including Leuca Restaurant, Du’s Donuts, Suit Supply, and an elevated green space dubbed Vale Park. There, you’ll find a trendy Airstream Mr. Dips, serving juicy cheeseburgers and ice cream cones.


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The main lobby is just a desk, but it leads to this chic lounge area, where you’ll find the concierge.
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The lobby itself is surprisingly small for such a strong first impression. There’s a simple long desk under a dangling light installation, where check-in was fast, friendly, and easy. I was quickly off to the elevator, key in hand. Adjacent to the elevators I found lobby lounge seating set against striking artwork. There was a small desk for the concierge, too.


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Floor-to-ceiling views greet you on every floor.
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But the strongest first impression came moments later, as I stepped out of the elevator to the 20th floor. I was immediately greeted by floor-to-ceiling views of Brooklyn and Queens, which were quite impressive, and a hint of more to come in my room.


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Light soaked my suite during the day and followed with jaw-dropping views at sunset.
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I was upgraded to a King One Bedroom Suite with Balcony and while this can be quite costly, typically starting at $800 a night, if you have the budget, you won’t be disappointed. The price could also be easily split between a group sharing the suite.

At 550 square feet, it’s larger than many New York City apartments. In fact, it felt like the kind of apartment I’d envision myself in if I didn’t live here. Heck, I do live here and left wishing I could make it my permanent abode.

There’s a spacious living area, separate bedroom, spa-like bathroom, a generously-sized terrace, as well as a mini-fridge, which was really the minibar. Lavazza coffee was complimentary, and the minibar was stocked with snacks so intriguing, I actually found myself contemplating the high price tag for items such as individual craft cocktails.

One thing glaringly missing was a desk. With many business types on-site, I was surprised to see such an omission. There are co-working areas within the hotel, but it felt disappointing to leave my lovely room to do work at a proper desk elsewhere.


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One half of the terrace, looking towards Brooklyn.
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The overall design was super stylish, with bright pops of blue and yellow peppered against geometric, Art-Deco inspired furniture and art. The look was contemporary, with an L-shaped chaise sofa, TVs in both rooms, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows that opened onto an incredible terrace. The balcony was outfitted with a day bed and two sitting chairs for unobstructed, stunning views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.


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My balcony was a prime perch for the Manhattan skyline at sunset (and all day), and I particularly enjoyed lounging on the daybed.
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I actually felt that the balcony rivaled the views upstairs at Westlight. So much so, that had I stayed longer, I would have foregone a trip to the bar to enjoy cocktails on my own private terrace instead. This was, without question, the highlight of the room.


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The bedroom also opened onto the balcony.
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The bedroom could be fully closed off from the living room, making it a great option for families and multiple guests. Similarly, there were two entrances to the bathroom. One, from the bedroom, and the other from the living room to the toilet, which connected to the bath and shower.


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The bed was crisp and cozy.
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I slept well in the very comfortable King-sized bed, however, I did hear loud noise from neighbors when they returned to their room late at night. It wasn’t terrible, but I did stay on a Monday.

Knowing the hotel has much higher occupancy on weekends, with a late-night crowd packing Westlight, I’d imagine noise could be a bigger concern at those times. This could feel like an annoyance when paying such a high premium to stay, especially in smaller rooms.

If noise is a concern, I’d suggest flagging it to the very helpful front desk. A high floor should help too; I heard zero traffic noise – a true rarity in New York!


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The biggest regret of my stay? Forgetting to throw the Le Labo toiletries into my bag.
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The bathroom was posh, stocked with my favorite hotel toiletries from Le Labo. The mosaic-like tiled floors, huge step-in rainfall shower, deep soaking tub, and Frette robes cemented what already felt like a trip to the spa.


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The pool was closed in October, but I could see the expansive deck from my room.
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Overall, my room was impressive, extremely comfortable, and felt like a real respite. Just staying there made the night feel special and memorable. If you can manage it, I’d recommend spending extra and upgrading to a suite, as smaller rooms that are also quite expensive might not feel as worth the high price tag. But if price is a concern, or you don’t need so much space, there are several cheaper, yet equally lovely options.

Standard rooms include King, Queen, or two Double beds. They’re about half the size, at approximately 250 square feet, with no living room or soaking tub. However, all rooms boast balconies, so there’s no sacrifice when it comes to what is arguably one of the hotel’s best features. Though you will have to pay more for views of Manhattan as opposed to Brooklyn or Queens.

Compare room types at The William Vale on Booking.com


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The views from Westlight are unparalleled, and matched in quality by the tasty craft cocktails.
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If you’re staying at The William Vale, it would be a shame to skip the incredible on-site offerings. As a guest, I received priority access to the Westlight rooftop, which offers expensive, but very worthy craft cocktails framed by some of the best views of New York City. The VIP treatment is a huge plus, especially on weekends when the public queue to enter can wrap around the block. Stop in for drinks as the sun dips below the New York City skyline, and nosh on elevated bar fare. The drinks are inventive and unique; this is not the place to stick to your tried-and-true staples. Instead, your best strategy is to simply open the cocktail menu and point anywhere.

Follow with dinner at Leuca, a Southern Italian-inspired restaurant from famed chef Andrew Carmellini serving delicious house-made pastas, as well as wood-fired pizza, seafood, and meat.

The William Vale also houses the aforementioned donut shop and outdoor venue for burgers and ice cream, plus a gym, and work stations. There’s also a seasonal pool, which attracts major crowds. Expect inflated room rates in summer, when demand surges.


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Williamsburg has exploded in popularity in recent years, and rightfully so. It’s filled with chic stores, incredible food, and artisan finds. It’s a mecca for design and vintage furniture with gems such as Dobbin Street Co-op, Porter James, and Copper & Plaid.

If you’re visiting on a Saturday, the seasonal Smorgasburg is an incredible outdoor food market. The lines are long and crowds plentiful, but your belly will depart oh-so-happy.

For something sit down, these are some of my neighborhood favorites: Maison Premiere for oysters and absinthe, Samurai Mama for sushi and udon, Extra Fancy for seafood, Sweet Chick for chicken and waffles, Sunday in Brooklyn for brunch, Lilia or Misi for out-of-this-world pasta, Marlow & Sons or Diner for upscale American fare, Shalom Japan for Asian-meets-Jewish comfort food, and Emmy Squared for Detroit-style pizza. Need more? Email me.

Manhattan is only one stop away on the L train, or take the ferry for a fun commute on a nice day.


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The William Vale has four-and-a-half out of five stars on Trip Advisor, and is ranked six out of 83 hotels in Brooklyn. It holds an equally revered 8.7 score on Booking.com.

Reviews highly praise the staff, as well as comfortable rooms, fantastic views, and both Westlight and Leuca. Negative feedback cites high prices and the smaller rooms, which can feel cramped.

Read reviews, compare rooms, and book on Trip Advisor


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Who stays here: Tourists visiting New York for the second or third time and want to be Brooklyn-based; wedding guests, bachelor parties and those in town for events; business types; and the staycationer, especially in the summer for the pool.

We like: Westlight and Leuca. The priority access feels pretty special when you breeze past a line wrapping around the block.

We love (don’t miss this feature!): The one-bedroom suite. I’ll be saving up to stay here again.

We think you should know: The crowd here on weekends can be rowdy, and even more so in the summer when the pool becomes a massive draw. As such, expect prices to be higher in warmer months.

We’d do this differently next time: I’d love to visit in summer to access the pool and feel like a real Williamsburg VIP.


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The William Vale is a beautiful hotel with such a fun scene and so many great on-site venues, you could easily spend your whole stay within the hotel, especially when the pool is open.

Of course, that would do your visit a disservice, as the hotel offers a prime position to explore one of New York’s coolest neighborhoods.

Rooms aren’t cheap, but you can expect them to be incredibly posh, with incredible balcony views, and in a great location.

Book The William Vale starting at $228 here