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The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, New York [In-depth Review]

Daniel Ross's image
Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt

Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 4U.S. States Visited: 23

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
& Kellie Jez

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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My most recent trip to New York was my first long-haul international jaunt post-COVID restrictions.

To make the most of the city, I decided on a twin-center visit, splitting my time between Manhattan and Brooklyn — something I’d recommend everyone do when visiting the Big Apple.

After spending my first 3 nights at the Moxy NYC East Village in Manhattan, I headed a few stops on the L from Union Square to Bedford Avenue and checked myself into The Williamsburg Hotel — a hotel I’ve wanted to stay at for years since I visited the rooftop pool back in 2015.

As a non-chain, boutique-style hotel, it was set to be a very different experience than my first stay.

Here’s what I thought of my 2-night stay at The Williamsburg Hotel.

Hotel Location

I don’t know Brooklyn and Williamsburg all that well, but from what research I did beforehand, I figured The Williamsburg Hotel would be a good base to get to know the other side of the East River, and I can confirm that it was.

New York, a Wonderworld indeed.

With a suitcase in tow, I walked the icy, snow-lined few blocks from Bedford Avenue station to the hotel. I wasn’t walking fast by any means, so the journey took around 15 to 20 minutes — others could probably do it quicker.

It completely goes against the photo flow, but I felt this picture was necessary to show off the building’s super tall and skinny design.

This photo was definitely necessary.

And here’s another shot of the outside of the hotel by night.

Twinkly lights by night.


As I do in 99% of cases, I booked my stay directly with the hotel.

My reason for this is that booking directly makes sure that my hotel elite status will be honored during my stay.

As The Williamsburg Hotel doesn’t belong to any of the chain hotels, I could have easily looked for a deal through one of the big online booking portals that may have earned me points through its own reward program.

However, I prefer that the money I spend on a hotel stay goes directly to the hotel, especially when they’re a standalone, boutique-style hotel such as The Williamsburg Hotel.

Several booking options were available to me, including the cheapest “Book Early & Save” rate for $175.20 — an absolute bargain, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As my stay was for a review, I went for the “Breakfast Included” rate so that I’d be able to evaluate whether it’s worth paying for breakfast or whether you’d be best with a room-only rate.

Image Credit: The Williamsburg Hotel

You’ll have to read on to see if the extra $43.80 per night was worth it.

The U.K. doesn’t have a credit card that rewards specifically for general travel bookings. With that, I booked using The Platinum Card® from American Express U.K. to benefit from the comprehensive travel insurance that comes with the card. I also earned the standard 1 point per £1 spent that comes with the card.

As a U.S. citizen, there are a ton of credit cards you could use to earn to book a stay at this hotel and earn points — here are some of our favorites.

Checking In

This is the view that I was greeted with from the top of the spiral staircase leading down to the reception desk. It was pretty good as far as first impressions go.

The view from the top of the spiral staircase down to the hotel’s reception.

The reception area itself was a small cave-like space tucked away in a corner. With zero natural light, it can’t be the nicest place to work, but I guess the priority was to reserve the natural light for guests who’d be using the adjacent super high-ceilinged bar and lobby.

The reception desk.

Not pictured are the 3 smiley-faced staff members who greeted me on arrival at the desk.

Armando took care of my check-in and said they’d let housekeeping know that I had arrived, as my room wasn’t guaranteed until 4 p.m. I knew that, of course, but arrived ahead of check-in time after checking out from my previous stay in Manhattan.

His manager then proceeded to hand me a voucher for 2 free cocktails by way of a cute welcome gift.

Complimentary cocktail voucher.

I was also politely asked to sign a Smoking Policy Acknowledgement Form, which I’d never been asked to do in any other hotel I’ve stayed in previously. I thought it was odd, but I respect it. There’s nothing worse than checking into a room that smells of stale cigarette smoke, and this should hopefully deter any would-be rule flouters.

The Williamsburg Hotel’s Smoking Policy Acknowledgement Form.

By the end of checking in, I had no less than 3 different coupons, as well as my room key: 1 for complimentary cocktails, 1 for the complimentary breakfast that was included with my rate, and the third, and most definitely my favorite of the 3, gave me access to Grind House Gym in Brooklyn. This was because at the time of my stay, the hotel had no gym or fitness facilities.

All of the coupons.



I’ll start by saying that this is, without a doubt, the best gym that I’ve had access to when staying at a hotel.

The pass I was given at check-in could be used at Grind House gym in Brooklyn, which is around 8 blocks from the hotel.

A gym fanatic’s dream.

It’s a huge space with all of the gym equipment you could wish for to do any kind of workout.

Gym equipment as far as the eye can see.

I was very impressed, to say the least.

Guests currently still have access to Grind House, even though the hotel has since introduced complimentary gym classes on the hotel’s roof.

Rooftop Pool & Bar

As it was winter, the rooftop pool and bar area was closed during my stay. I did ask if I could be escorted up by a member of staff to get a picture for the review, but it wasn’t allowed.

Fortunately, I took some snaps back in 2018 when I visited the hotel’s rooftop pool for the day. The very same day I added The Williamsburg Hotel to my list of must-stay hotels.

An August summer’s day on the roof of The Williamsburg Hotel.

During pool season, guests can reserve private poolside cabanas and daybeds, though pool access is not available on the day of departure.

The Room — A Queen Terrace

I was assigned room 519 on the fifth floor.

The fifth-floor corridor.

My room was about mid-way down the corridor.

Welcome to room 519 at The Williamsburg Hotel.


My immediate thought was how bright and airy the room was thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows.

It felt far more like a bedroom in a residential property rather than a hotel room. This is something I personally love.

A home away from home.

Half of the room was taken up by the bathroom facilities and a small minibar station. There was also a small wardrobe tucked away by the door.

Half of the room.

And the rest of the space was occupied by the queen bed, 2 nightstands, and a small table and stool.

Yes, it was as comfy as it looks.

On one side of the bed were a luggage rack, lamp, box of tissues, and a spaceship-shaped gadget.

Love a hotel room gadget.

On closer inspection, I realized the gadget was a Snooz white noise machine. This was a very nice and thoughtful touch that would be especially appreciated by the many people who seem to be suffering from sleep issues these days.

A great hotel room amenity: a white noise machine.

Here’s a close-up of the stunning brown leather headboard. Just gorgeous.

Not sure I’ve ever been this excited about a headboard before.

And to the right side of the bed was a cordless phone, notepad and pen, and the TV remote.

The righthand side of the bed.

The huge flat-screen TV was hung at the end of the bed. Note that they called me Ross rather than Daniel — it’s an easy mistake to make, to be honest.

The TV.

The minibar was stocked with a selection of soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and snacks that you’d expect from a decent minibar.

The safe was also located in the same cupboard as the minibar fridge.

The minibar and safe area.

Drinks varied from sparkling water to sodas and beer.

The minibar fridge.

On closer inspection, I noticed some fun additional items such as a hangover kit, couples kit, and a charger kit — great for people like me who are prone to losing things!

Alcohol, snacks, and fun additional extras.

I took a picture of the minibar menu should you be interested in the prices. I find it kind of crazy that they would charge you $35 if you wanted to take the umbrella as a souvenir.

Minibar price list.

The quality of guest sleep is clearly a high priority for The Williamsburg Hotel. In addition to the white noise machine, I found this sleep package in the nightstand that comprised of an eye mask and ear plugs. As far as I can remember, this is the first time I’ve received an eye mask that wasn’t on a plane.

A sleep package courtesy of The Williamsburg Hotel.

Other thoughtful in-room amenities included an umbrella and a tote bag, which were hanging on the wall by the door.

There were more in-room amenities than you could shake an umbrella at.

You’ve already seen the breathtaking view from the rooftop, so I bet you’re wondering whether the view from the rooms was just as good.

I had a north-facing room, so this was the view from inside the room. However, out on the balcony …

The view out onto the balcony.

… it’s a totally different story.

The view from the room by day.

The area immediately around the hotel isn’t all-too-pretty and there are a lot of industrial-looking buildings and construction. But all things considered, the view across the East River of the Manhattan skyline is really quite something.

It was even more spectacular at night.

The view from the room by night.

Hot Tip: When planning a stay at The Williamsburg Hotel, make sure to email the hotel in advance and ask for a room on the right side (north-facing side) of the hotel so you, too, can enjoy these views during your stay. 


The shower and sink area of the bathroom could be seen from pretty much anywhere in the bedroom. This is not the room for people who are just friends or when going away with a parent — that’s for sure.

The only private part of the bathroom was the toilet closet, which was separated by 2 sliding barn doors.

The see-through walls of the bathroom and shower unit.

Personally, I love the design, especially how they managed to make an industrial-looking gold showerhead and grey faux brick walls feel cozy and inviting.

Inside the bathroom and shower.

Just look at that showerhead.


Bathroom amenities included Apotheke lotion and C.O. Bigelow hand soap.

Sink amenities.

Apotheke shower amenities, as well as more C.O. Bigelow soap, could also be found in the shower.

Shower amenities.

Food and Beverage

The main dining establishments of the hotel were on the lower ground floor.

The spiral staircase and lobby bar.

Lobby Bar

The lobby bar took center stage of the space.

The lobby bar and bar stools.

I liked the addition of the piano. I never heard anyone playing it — probably as it was hidden away under the spiral staircase.

The piano.

Around the bar were a variety of seating areas, including cozy booths for dining.

Booth seating.

There was also a sofa and a couple of armchairs more suited to having a drink.

Sofa and armchairs.

On a Thursday afternoon after checking in, I pitched up in one of the booths near the bar and ordered myself some lunch while I was waiting for my room to be readied.

I went for the vegan burger, which came with a side salad rather than fries, which I liked.

It set me back $18 dollars.

The vegan burger.

It was nice to see that my Coke Zero was served with a straw made from plants rather than plastic — nice work, The Williamsburg Hotel.

A straw made from plants.

I did notice various shades of mysterious stains on the sofa next to where I was eating and working, which were a little off-putting.

Surely the cleaning and maintenance of guest areas in a hotel of this standard would be of high enough priority to get stains like this professionally cleaned.


Before heading out for drinks late on Friday, I tucked into a chicken penne pasta from the evening menu while I was finishing up some writing at the bar.

I’d been fancying pasta for a couple of days, but most dishes I’d come across were made with a cream-based sauce, which I don’t digest well.

So when I saw this non-cream-based chicken pasta dish, I ordered it straight away.

Chicken penne pasta.

I’m happy to report that it was delicious. It was like Italy-meets-the-Far-East — the perfect carb-loaded hit of flavor that I needed after a long week.

Not only was it tasty, but I don’t find $25 for a pasta dish in a New York hotel to be a bad price at all.

It was also time for a drink.

The drinks menu stated that the cocktail “Love Kiss” had Champagne in it. After my last experience at a Champagne happy hour which tried to palm me off with Prosecco, I thought I’d double-check.

It was as I’d feared. Apparently, the bar doesn’t serve Champagne by the glass, not even for cocktails. However, given that I used 1 of my 2 free drinks, I didn’t feel so robbed.

A Champagne-less “Love Kiss.”

For the second time in just a few days in New York, I’d been swindled by false advertisements of Champagne.

Take note restaurateurs of New York: Champagne is the name only for sparkling wine that was made in the Champagne region of France. If the sparkling wine you’re serving isn’t from there, then it’s not Champagne.

The Williamsburg Restaurant

Opening Hours

  • Daily: 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Breakfast Daily: 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Breakfast each morning is served in The Williamsburg Restaurant — a delightfully-designed space with super high ceilings and exposed brick walls.

And yes, breakfast is until 12 p.m.!

The Williamsburg Restaurant.

Each morning, I was presented with a menu and asked if I’d like a coffee.

Breakfast menu with a side of coffee.

When I asked for an espresso and was told there was only drip, my entire caffeinated world fell down around me.

No day in my life can start correctly (if at all) without coffee. To be honest, when I saw this vat of self-service drip coffee at the bar I should have known from that point that I’d have a day of brain fog ahead.

Drip coffee just doesn’t cut it.

Despite it all, I powered on through knowing that I’d be able to find a decent espresso somewhere close by.

Name a worse way to start the day than with bad coffee: I’ll wait.

One morning I had The Williamsburg Breakfast. Not sure in which world 2 poached eggs, 2 tiny pieces of thick-cut smoked pork belly (which really weren’t nice), 2 tiny pieces of sourdough bread, and salad (!!) is worth $23.

The Williamsburg Breakfast.

On my second morning, I decided to go for the Eggs Norwegian — The Williamsburg Restaurant’s take on the classic eggs royale dish.

This would usually be less substantial than a full breakfast, but thanks to the addition of home fries, it was really rather filling, and at $19, this was certainly the value for money option over the Williamsburg Breakfast.

The Williamsburg Restaurant’s Eggs Norwegian breakfast.

And as I had breakfast for 2 each morning, I brought Chelsea, my travel partner-in-crime, with me on the second morning. She went for the blueberry pancakes, which were outstanding.

Blueberry pancakes.

As we’re talking about breakfast, one morning while I was waiting for my food to arrive, I saw that a noticeable layer of dust had built up on the top of the padded bench seating. This, in addition to the stained booth seating I mentioned earlier, would suggest there are some cleaning issues here.

Visible dust.

The Watertower Bar

Opening Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Thursday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The Watertower Bar had the most incredible views of the Manhattan skyline.

On a clear night with the twinkly lights, it was like an adult’s Disney World.

Just, wow.

As a guest of the hotel, it’s best to wait for an elevator attendant who’ll whisk you up in the first elevator.

Waiting patiently for an elevator attendant.

You then step out of the first lift and into a second.

Yeah, I, too, wondered if it might be about to get into an elevator with Biden.

Next stop, Watertower.

All the way up to the Watertower, please.

Once you get to the top, you’re treated to this beautiful view over the city. The space is really small, so get there early or make a reservation if you can.

A drinks spot with a view.

The Patio

The Patio is outside of the front of the hotel and would make for a nice spot to eat, drink, or just hang out and watch the world go by.

The menu is pretty much identical to what you can order inside.

The Patio is out at the front of the hotel.

Bottom Line: When all’s said and done, I thought the food and beverage offering at The Williamsburg Restaurant was average. The food was expensive and nothing special. Not only that, there was no chance of getting a decent coffee, which is a real shame. This meant I had to leave the hotel to get my caffeine fix. It usually wouldn’t be so much of a problem as so many hotels have in-room coffee machines. The Williamsburg Hotel doesn’t have those either.


Service seemed a little disjointed on a morning around breakfast and in the lobby area. The staff felt thin on the ground and there was a slight sense of disorder.

You can’t order drinks (even soft drinks) in the lobby at the bar until 11 a.m., which means you have to bother the busy staff members in the restaurant area who are in the middle of breakfast service.

That said, every staff member I encountered was courteous and polite — something I’ve come to expect as standard in the U.S.

Final Thoughts

I’m lucky to have been to New York several times now that I know Manhattan well-enough to start exploring the Brooklyn side of the river more.

With that, I would definitely consider staying at The Williamsburg Hotel again — preferably in summer. I’ll just be sure to book a room-only rate and eat in the neighborhood instead. I didn’t find a lot of value in paying $43 to have breakfast included.

The hotel is ideally located for exploring Williamsburg and super close to the East River for Sunday morning strolls and Manhattan skyline views.

It has to be said, though, that I wouldn’t rush back for the food. Thankfully, the city that never sleeps is one of the best places in the world for dining out, so a hotel with great food and beverage options isn’t a must-have when I visit New York.

The information regarding The Platinum Card® from American Express U.K. was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does The Williamsburg Hotel have valet parking?

No, The Williamsburg Hotel does not have valet parking. The hotel has a partnership with iPark on 7th and Kent Avenue where nightly rates start from $18.

When did The Williamsburg Hotel open?

The Williamsburg Hotel opened in January 2017.

How many rooms does The Williamsburg Hotel have?

The Williamsburg Hotel has 150 rooms.

Does The Williamsburg Hotel have a pool?

Yes, The Williamsburg Hotel has an amazing rooftop pool with views looking across the East River and the Manhattan skyline.

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.


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