Late-night noise from hallways, rooftop bar, and pool
Complains of understocked bathrooms, ripped towels, and delayed housekeeping
No in-room electric kettles, or free coffee, tea, or water
No free breakfast
Passes required to use pool sunbeds late at night (fee)
The 64-room McCarren Hotel & Pool is located in Brooklyn's ever-hip Williamsburg. This stylish, four-pearl boutique property has a sceney vibe and packs in partygoers at its pool and rooftop bar. Attractive rooms have clean lines and midcentury decor, with flat-screen TVs, high-end bedding, minibars, and iPod docks. Suites have Nespresso machines, wet bars, and separate seating areas. Perks include an on-site restaurant and bar with a game room, an eye-catching lobby eatery, and a 24-hour fitness center. However, the hotel skimps on freebies, and some guests say there's too much late-night noise and room maintenance issues. Fees are attached to breakfast, on-site parking, and day passes for the pool's sunbeds as well. For a stay that's mellow and sophisticated but still hip, travelers might want to consider the nearby Wythe Hotel.
Stylishly dressed and sceney, with a pool and rooftop bar for twenty- and thirty-somethings
McCarren Hotel & Pool sits in the middle of a quintessential Brooklyn block with cracked sidewalks, graffiti, and rolling gates on storefronts. The property's laid-back, unassuming entrance has a canopy with the hotel's name scrawled in whimsical letters and two lone azure planters flanking the door. From the exterior, there's no tip-off of the scene inside.
Past the entrance, there's a loungy seating area with low, armless velvet sofas in an espresso hue and a glass-top coffee table covered with highbrow magazines and a small selection of literary classics, including a copy of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (naturally). Next to the reception desk, a grab-and-go snack counter is defined by an enamel green-and-black striped awning. On the opposite side, tropical woodland-themed wallpaper runs the length of the lobby right across the elevators.
McCarren's restaurant, Orleanders, is a throwback to a 1970s fern bar. Decor is true to classic design elements: faux Tiffany fixtures hang in a row above the center aisle, tables and chairs are done in dark wood, and there's lots of greenery -- ferns included -- as walls are covered with thick ivy. The restaurant adds playful touches and a game room with a foosball table, a pinball machine, and arcade games.
Unless it's the dead of winter, you'll likely hear the pool scene before seeing it. It's one of the city's warm-weather hot spots. Expect a DJ spinning thumping house music and throngs of people clamoring for space at the beachy bar, including birthdays and bachelorette parties in full effect. There's a wall plastered with colorful prints and tiered, bleacher-style seating. Sunbeds at the poolside are shaded by simple, white umbrellas, and metal tables and chairs in bright popsicle colors are tucked in a corner. Come evening, crowds head to the rooftop bar, Xanadu, where twenty-somethings jockey for seats on black-and-white striped cushioned benches and ottomans.
The hotel attracts a youthful crowd, including couples on weekend getaways, groups celebrating special events, and singles who want to mingle in the atmosphere.
Excellent Williamsburg location near two subway stops; close to buzzy restaurants and bars
The McCarren Hotel & Pool is located in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's situated across the street from McCarren Park, where there's a public pool, blacktop ballfields, and tennis courts, and the hotel is close to the area's many buzzy restaurants and bars, and popular venues. For those looking to tap into the hip Williamsburg scene, the location can't be beat. But keep in mind that all major sightseeing landmarks require a taxi or subway ride from this outer borough location. Two subway stations -- Bedford Avenue (L train) and Nassau Avenue (G train) -- are within an eight-minute walk for access to top sights in Manhattan and other boroughs.
Eight-minute walk to Bedford Avenue (L train) and Nassau Avenue (G train)
22 minutes to Chelsea Market via subway
23 minutes to Washington Square Park via subway
28 minutes to Grand Central Station via subway
31 minutes to Empire State Building via subway
31 minutes to Times Square via subway
34 minutes to Rockefeller Center -- Top of the Rock via subway
37 minutes to National September 11 Memorial & Museum via subway
38 minutes to Central Park Zoo via subway
42 minutes to The Metropolitan Museum of Art via subway
Simple, refreshing decor with designer touches, plus luxe linens, marble bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs
Guest rooms are a bit of a decorative detour from common spaces, with a neutral palette and clean lines. Their simple, Scandinavian look gives as much attention to texture as color. White and honey-hued of wood dominate and a hint of pattern is kept to a couple of throw pillows. Beds are topped with Frette linens and Sferra cable-knit blankets and flanked by molded plastic rocking chairs. Rooms have flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, safes, alarm clocks, minibars with gourmet treats, iPod docking stations, and air-conditioning, but they lack freebies. A little bottle of water on nightstands will set you back $5, and there's no coffee or tea. Bathrooms are attractive, with white marble walls, walk-in rainfall showers, double sinks, and bath products. Rooms feature views of McCarren Park or the pool area and some have balconies with AstroTurf and industrial-inspired metal chairs. Some guests complain that bathrooms are understocked when it comes to basics such as extra toilet paper. Ripped towels and delayed (or absent) housekeeping have also been noted.
Suites come with separate seating areas that have steely gray leather sofas, teak-frame seats done in a heavy charcoal fabric, and accent tables that resemble tree stumps. There are additional flat-screen TVs, Crosley radios with iPod docks, and extra refrigerated minibars. White lacquer wet bars have sinks and counters with Nespresso machines and multiple bottles of liquor. The penthouse has similar furnishings but maxes out on features. There are two terraces with skyline views, a bathroom with a soaking tub, an electric fireplace in the living room, and a second bathroom off the dining area.
Trendy pool, rooftop bar, and restaurant with game room, but extras come at a cost
McCarren Hotel & Pool has solid features but doesn't shell out many freebies. There's a fee for breakfast at the lobby's grab-and-go eatery, which stays open through the afternoon and has everything from baked goods and local Devoción coffee to sandwiches and fresh juices.
The hotel offers room service from its on-site restaurant and bar, Oleanders, which serves New American cuisine in a casual, relaxed setting. The menu features snacks like smoked beef tamale and goat cheese fondue, and starters such as burrata with truffled honey in a warm crumpet. Entrees include ricotta cavatelli with lamb ragu, steamed muscles with red curry, and a bone-marrow cheeseburger. A favorite among desserts is their sticky toffee pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. There's a reasonably priced brunch on Sundays that's popular with locals and has a few mains added to the menu, such as fried chicken and waffles with hot sauce and white chocolate butter. The game room gives a playful detour with a foosball table, pinball machines, and arcades.
Two of Williamsburg's top warm-weather hot spots can be found at the hotel. The rooftop bar, Xanadu, is opened year-round, and has panoramic views, happy hour, a nightly DJ, and serves up handcrafted cocktails and snacks such as soft shell crab sliders and pork belly steam buns.
The hotel's heated outdoor pool is public and can get crowded and rowdy -- especially on weekends. Guests should note to check upon booking if the pool is closed due to private parties. There are plenty of spots to lounge and set down a drink from the beachy bar. But snagging a choice seat on a sunbed to settle in for the afternoon comes at a cost, as day passes (fee) are required to use them after the morning hours.
There's also Wi-Fi throughout, a 24-hour fitness center with up-to-date equipment including Peloton bikes, on-site parking (fee). The hotel is pet friendly, but there's a steep fee attached.
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