Sleeping Around NYC: The Tillary
By Shari Hartford
I’ve crossed the line…actually a bridge. As a lifelong New Yorker, I admit to being almost completely unfamiliar with the other boroughs. Sure I’ve been to Yankee Stadium (The Bronx), visited cousins in Queens, walked the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights and have driven through the picturesque Moravian Cemetery on Staten Island but for this column, Brooklyn hotels were not on the agenda. Until now.
Brooklyn is the hot borough…Red Hook, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Williamsburg, to name just a few hoods that have become hipster enclaves (in the best sense) with boutiques, restaurants, nightlife and culture to put themselves on the map. And the massive Barclays Center is a hub for sports and concerts alike. So, according to plan, the hotel industry follows the people and the interests.
My first foray was The Tillary, located just under the Manhattan Bridge and steps away from the Barclays Center. Opened in October 2017, the building itself had come through several incarnations, but the current owners have done a remarkable transformation to a chic urban oasis. Upon entering the lobby I immediately harkened back to visiting pink Miami Beach hotels in the 60s. There’s no pink, no ocean, and we’re not in Florida, and I can’t really explain the connection, but the mid-century furniture, the green plants and the short wide staircase descending to the lobby level were all vaguely familiar. There are plenty of places to sit and people watch and the small but adequate café serves up breakfast and light lunches in a cheerful setting.
When weather permits, the rooftop deck and bar, Dis-Tillary, provides exquisite views of Brooklyn, all the bridges and the Manhattan skyline. The bespoke cocktails pack a punch or try the New York craft beers in a cool ambiance complete with an interesting selection of small bites. When the mood is right, there’s an early evening DJ spinning tunes.
The true Tillary fun continues on the lower level where guests, and the public, can find comedy nights, yoga classes, painting classes and other activities to enhance the “resort” vibe. Oh, did I mention that Tillary is also pet friendly?
I just wish the extraordinary creativity that went into the hotel’s public areas carried over to the guest accommodations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the rooms…they are large and comfortable, with big windows that open and very ample bathrooms, but they’re, well, bland. My king room had beautiful hardwood floors and great reading light but no color at all; no rug, no colorful paintings, no decorative pillows or throws, nothing to make the room unique to Brooklyn or New York. While the elevators had fabulous murals of old Brooklyn, this theme didn’t carry through to the guest rooms. Even the addition of a flowering plant would have added a touch of warmth in an otherwise sterile retreat.
Before I knew it, my 24 hours across the river were over and it was time to head back to lower Manhattan. The deed was done and now I was intrigued. I’m looking forward to the warm months for another drink on the deck and a walk around the hood.
For more information, see thetillary.com
Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.