TOURISTS WHO WANT TO SEE THE REAL NEW YORK need look no further than the new Hotel Le Jolie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While a good portion of the hotel’s 54 rooms have spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline to the west, my 7th floor room on the opposite side of the building had an expansive but much more workaday vista: the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, with car tail lights twinkling away toward the southeast.
Which was fine by me. I am not a tourist. I lived in New York City for decades and don’t need to see the skyline at every turn; I was in town for a night to organize repairs and garden clean-up at my Cobble Hill townhouse while the tenants are in Europe. This overage hipster found the Hotel Le Jolie, part of a small boutique operation that also includes the glitzier Hotel Le Bleu in the South Slope, convenient and perfectly adequate.
Rooms start as low as $140 a night. They are small but well-appointed, with an iPod dock, free Wi-Fi, premium cable channels, exceptionally comfortable beds, and luxurious bath products (utilitarian bath, though). With Manhattan one stop away on the L train (Lorimer is the nearest subway stop), the hotel is well-positioned for midtown sightseeing, and certainly for exploring the shops, bars, restaurants, and galleries of Williamsburg, whose center is a few blocks away.
Free parking is a plus. I would skip the ho-hum breakfast (free though it is) and go to a neighborhood cafe instead.
I imagine some foreign visitors might be disappointed to find themselves in such a non-neighborhood. But I heard only American voices in the lobby and breakfast room, and they all seemed satisfied.