“The idea is that if you’re a bird flying overhead, you wouldn’t even notice the building.”
Going unnoticed might not be the goal for most new hotels looking to stand out in the market of New York hospitality options — but then again, most hotels aren’t located within one of the city’s parks.
Luxury nature-drive boutique hotel line 1 Hotels has opened their third location in Brooklyn Bridge Park, following Central Park and South Beach — and perhaps no location is more well-suited to the eco-chic movement than Brooklyn.
“To be honest, we’re just so happy to be in a park — it’s a really unique opportunity,” says Stephanie Dolce, the senior marketing manager of the project. “What was here before was nothing, and the community here fought to turn this into a park. Brooklyn Bridge park stretches from J street down to Atlantic, and when the park was conceived, part of the plan was to have developments that would help sustain the park. They put out a request for people to put in bids, and as a nature inspired brand there was no better location for us to be. And luckily the park agreed.”
Plans for the building were forced to adapt in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as the area was rezoned. The aftermath of the hurricane was incorporated into plans for design. “The aftermath of Sandy has changed our take on nature,” Dolce says. “We’ve always said that we celebrate and honor the beauty of nature; here, we have a little deeper understanding of the power of nature.”
Inspiration for the hotel, 50% of which is made from recycled and reused materials, comes directly from the park. The rooms, designed by INC Architecture & Design PLLC, are named for plants and flowers in the park, such as blue wood aster, and the building runs on reclaimed storm and rain water “that would normally just run off into the street,” Dolce says. “We have a tank in the basement that collects that and then feeds it out to the park when they need it — so we’re actually built to sustain the park.”
In the coming months, the rooftop pool, spa and restaurant will open, and the building will then apply for LEED certification. “We will eventually have a real-time monitor that will show our air quality, how much energy we’ve used, etc.,” Dolce says. The location’s café, Neighbors, is open to the public, and is meant to function as a watering hole for passing joggers and dog walkers — as much as hotel guests. “Our restaurant and café [extend] back up to the running path — so we’ve seen people walking their dogs and popping in for a juice,” she adds.
In keeping with the 1 Hotels mission — and a very Brooklyn aesthetic, at that — the furniture and materials are sourced from throughout the borough. “This table was made a couple miles away in the Navy Yard, that coffee table was from Red Hook,” Dolce says, from the hotel’s lobby. “The pine in that table is reclaimed from the Domino Sugar Factory that was down in Williamsburg years ago — we have wood from the Coney Island boardwalk, wood from trees that fell during Hurricane Sandy, trees from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden — over the years we’ve been grabbing up all these great materials as they become available.”
Each room is outfitted with a living plant, no plastic goods, and a water tap that pours triple-filtered water filtered on site.
Downstairs, the lobby boasts a living green wall like the other two 1 Hotels locations, which is meant to feel “like nature taking over,” Dolce says. “We’re really just letting nature be nature. All these ferns were hand applied, and they’re all kind of growing in whatever funky way feels best for them.”
And what’s more Brooklyn than that?