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My review of the new (and new style) Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown, New York

This is my review of the new Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown hotel, New York.

What do you do when Manhattan gets too busy and chaotic? Move to Brooklyn.

After having spent 3 nights in Midtown Manhattan at the new INNSIDE New York NoMad (reviewed yesterday) I moved to Brooklyn to check out the new Holiday Inn.

You may remember that we wrote about this hotel before it opened, back in May, when reward nights were being offered for just 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points.  I booked two nights at that time.  Unfortunately the deal now is now over and Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown will cost you 35,000 points per night.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown exterior up


The Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown is just around the corner from two Subway stations with trains to Manhattan and Queens.  (Don’t bother going to the CVS next to Hoyt Schemerhorn station – no one seemed to understand the self checkouts, there was only one cashier and even though there were only two people in front of me, I had to wait 10 minutes until I could pay for my water….)

Instead walk along the High Street towards Brooklyn Heights with its beautiful view of Manhattan.

brooklyn heights

And if you are in the mood for walking, keep walking along the river until you get to Brooklyn Bridge.

brooklyn bridge

Lobby and Check in

Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown advertises itself as being one of the ‘new generation’ Holiday Inn properties.  The entrance was certainly gorgeous with a large Brooklyn Bridge water and light artwork.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown entrance

The reception desk (I had to use a picture from the hotel’s website) was not as hip as the rest of the lobby area. Checking in didn’t take too long, but they failed to tell me that they were taking a $150 security deposit from my credit card.  I expected it to happen but you are normally told and often need to give your PIN … not here.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown reception

The lobby area was open and spacious. The bookcases and armchairs gave the area a sophisticated and modern touch.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown entrance hall

The lobby lounge has a good amount of sitting arrangements and two work computers with a printer.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown

One thing that stands out when loooking at their website is that the Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown is pet friendly and for $150 per stay (plus $150 deposit) you can bring your pets of up to 50 lbs.

More relevant for UK visitors, the other thing that makes this hotel very attractive is their swimming pool, sauna and steam room – but unfortunately those facilities opened on the 31st July which was after my stay and meant I didn’t get to jump in the water.

My room

I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened the door to my room, but definitely not this:

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room bed door

The ‘new generation’ look seemed to have started and finished with the lobby …..!

The Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown is a new hotel in an up coming area and after seeing the entrance hall I was slightly shocked when I came into my room. Don’t get me wrong, the room was fine. However it was just ‘fine’ …. Style wise I was hoping for a bit more colour and some individuality.

The bed was comfortable and had 4 different pillows. In case those are not to your liking, the hotel offers the standard Holiday Inn ‘pillow menu’ so you can get the pillow that is right for you.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room bed

Look at the painting below …. this room seemed so random and I felt 40 years older just staying there.  On a practical level, however, the desk was a good size, the wi-fi fast enough to stream movies and the coffee machine doubled as a tea machine so everyone should be happy.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room desk coffee machine

The Keurig coffee machine came with 3 coffee capsules, one decaf green tea and one English tea. If you happen to ask for more capsules, I recommend to emphasise the ‘sules’ bit of the word ‘capsules’ as I ended up getting more coffee CUPS instead of capsules on two occasions!

The room didn’t have a mini bar but there was a fridge where you can store your own drinks.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room coffee machine fridge

The wardrobe had a decent amount of storage space, but I am not sure how you can get the ironing board out once you’ve hung up your shirts …..

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room desk wardrobe

The shower was awful! In order to turn it on, you had to be standing right underneath the shower head and there was no escaping the cold water. I also find the American system of turning the lever to get the right temperature instead of water pressure slightly confusing.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown bathroom shower

The sink was ok …..!

holiday inn brooklyn downtown bathroom sink towels

I doubt that I had fresh unused toiletries in my bathroom. As you can see in this picture the bottle in the middle is only 4/5 filled. The shampoo made my hair very dry and frizzy and I was glad I had brought some shampoo from England.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown bathroom toiletries

The view was great, especially at night with all the lights on. You can see all the way to the Empire State Building.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown room view


Now, one thing the hotel is pushing is its spa facilities and I believe they will be great – once they open. There is supposed to be a sauna, steam room and a swimming pool. This picture is as close as I could get to this area. The website states that the spa area was due to open on 31st July.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown swimming pool

The gym was ready to use and had a good view over the empty pool and there were enough machines and weights for a good workout. Its size is ok when you’re the only person in the gym. When I went there was already  someone else working out and it felt a bit cramped.

holiday inn brooklyn downtown gym


Well …. the location of the Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown was great as I wanted to explore Brooklyn, the coffee was good and the lobby lounge pretty, but the room was a bit disappointing.  The shower was very annoying and that is one of two things I expect from a city hotel: a comfy bed and good shower!

I didn’t like the interior design, but as this is a matter of taste I won’t emphasise it too much – although the hotel is the one stressing the ‘new generation’ look.  As it turned out, I had the chance to try out another ‘new generation’ Holiday Inn – in Manchester – last week which is more successful.  My review of the Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre stay is here.

I would have loved to go for a swim and try the sauna and steam room.  I believe once the spa area opens this will be a good reason to choose the Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown over other IHG alternatives.

The Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown is a decent hotel in a great location and if you want to stay in Brooklyn it is new, clean and safe good choice.  For 25,000 IHG Rewards Club points it was a very good deal, but at 35,000 points you may find one of the similarly priced Manhattan properties more convenient.

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

Bits: Emirates makes Manchester 'all A380', Priority Pass deal, HFP in the Express
Bits: Virgin East Coast 50% off sale, HFP in the Daily Mail, a good Club Europe meal
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  1. Thanks for the review. I have just spent 4 nights at the intercom Times Square and took the subway as per your previous review. Worked a treat and saved a small fortune. Walked the bridge and did a bit Brooklyn which I would also recommend.
    Beware the intercom Times Square and mini bars. In Tripadvisor the have something of a reputation and I fell foul of this being charged over $40 for stuff j did not take. Took over a week and several email to get resolved.
    Not sure what it is with Americans and their pets. Had to sit opposite a pampered poodle on the JFK LAX transcontinental in business. Fortunately not allergic but no warning given by AA and this was no service animal.

    • Lady London says:

      The poodle was probably boarded as an ’emotional support animal’. Unfortunately just about anything qualifies!

    • You aren’t likely to be allergic to a poodle – they are recommended for people with dog fur allergies because they barely shed. This is why Labradoodles exist – Labradors crossed with poodles for people who have a fur allergy. 🙂

  2. Is it really an American thing to have a temperature dial on the shower? That seems to be the normal style almost anywhere in the world I go to – including the UK. Turn the lever for temperature, pull/push to change pressure.

    Though I cant really see it properly so maybe I’m misunderstanding?

    • Some American showers have no pressure control – the dial both turns it on and off and adjusts temperature. Temperature usually starts very cold and gets hotter so can be tricky to get right if you’re not used to it.

  3. Wobbly wings says:

    All showers in NYC I have come across are like that.

  4. Thanks for the review. How was the breakfast? Did you look at the lunch and dinner menu options to see if they were reasonable? Not sure why you found the shower difficult to use… as Callum said, this design is pretty standard, even in the UK!

  5. Nice review! I’ve been reading HFP for a couple of months now and generally find it very useful however there is one thing that constantly annoys me and that is the gender bias towards male readers. It is very subtle but I see it in most of the reviews that the authors are subconsciously (or consciously!) assuming a male audience. This article refers to “hanging shirts in the wardrobe” as an example. Please get with the times as we are no longer living in a world where mainly men travel for business. Please consider what would be important to ladies too when reviewing your hotels and planes!

    • Bluejosh says:

      You’re right, all this concern for hair care and spas just screams male bias.

    • Genghis says:

      Do women not wear shirts? My wife does and women do where I work.

      • To be honest, I have been pleased that Anika’s pieces have brought some coverage of make-up mirrors, gyms (you won’t catch me in one of those), toiletries and storage which are generally missing from my pieces. They also have a more youthful slant as she is 16 years younger than me.

        And she does seem to have a fair few shirts in her (personal) wardrobe from what I can tell.

        • I think you’re missing the point here. It’s not about make up mirrors, toiletries or whether women can theoretically wear a shirt. The article could have mentioned “hanging clothes”… (and that was just today’s example). There is a continuous subtle undertone that aligns most of the reviews to a male audience. Just because the article was written by Anika, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is automatically not gender biased. My comment has been based on reading your site for many months and It’s a good site that I enjoy reading on my morning commute. I know a lot of hard work and editing goes into the site and it can’t be easy to continuously produce at least 2 articles per day. Love the site; it would be great if you could take the feedback on board for future articles, thats all!! 🙂

        • Fair point Lisa. There is certainly no intention of bias and having a younger female to counterpoint my older male approach is deliberate.

        • The_Real_A says:

          Perhaps we can send Anika to a Hostel next time staying in a mixed dorm room with a few others. This way we can ensure that we don’t miss that demographic… I mean come on!

        • Women do read this site. Even if more business travellers are male than female, there’s a bunch of purely leisure travellers like me who read it every day.

        • There is actually a fair bit of overt sexism in the comments section of this site – not in the content produced by Raffles and Anika – in my opinion anyway. I’m surprised more people, particularly women readers don’t complain about it. I would generally hope for better from a supposedly “educated” demographic. Whilst I do think “shirt” is a pretty gender neutral term these days, fair play to Lisa for bringing up the wider point.

        • ‘Perhaps we can send Anika to a Hostel next time staying in a mixed dorm room with a few others. This way we can ensure that we don’t miss that demographic… I mean come on!’ – I’ve done that many years ago. 32 people in one room in Berlin. I’d rather not do that again 😉

        • “Perhaps we can send Anika to a Hostel next time staying in a mixed dorm room with a few others. This way we can ensure that we don’t miss that demographic… I mean come on!”

          Because you think women are as niche a demographic as hostel-goers?!

        • The_Real_A says:

          Once you have seen Manhattan a couple of times, Brooklyn is a really interesting place to visit, with a slower pace to life outside of the metropolis. Also a short subway ride is Williamsberg the up and coming trendy district.

        • Don’t get so hysterical……now THAT is bias
          Hanging shirts? Not so much

    • You do know we’re no longer living in a time where women must always be wearing feminine attire?

      Though the complaint seems a bit bizarre anyway. Surely almost every woman, regardless of style, has at least some clothes that hang on hangers?

    • Oh my god some people read so much into anything. I have read hfp for years and never thought it’s gender bias either way… ever. I don’t always agree with some things written but it’s just an opinion and that’s why we have a comment section to encourage debate.

      I never knew there were women businesswomen though thanks for that information. I bet the males you work with think your a barrel of laughs….

    • To be fair to Lisa (or even HFP), HFP is transparent about it’s core target
      ‘PR requests should be relevant to an aspirational, ABC1, UK-based, degree-educated, predominantly 25-45 year old male premium traveller. Anika or I are happy to consider press trips and airline and hotel review opportunities if we believe our readers would be interested.’

      • ….. because that is where the advertising money goes :-)

        Talking of airline reviews, we had the offer of a lifetime this week in terms of ‘something different’. If it comes off, the resulting articles in October will be fascinating.

      • Wow. So would you receive less advertising revenue if you target non-middle class, non-university educated, non-male premium business travellers too? Not a trick question; i’m genuinely interested if this is the harsh reality of the current state of the world we live in! , It’s pretty shocking to see the lack of diversity in that target statement, but i’m interested to understand if that’s what you have to do in order to keep the site going?

        • That was a bit of a joke Lisa but that is the demographic I have. I didn’t ask for it, but I got it.

          The fact that I am exactly the same demographic and worked in the City for 16 years probably explains why. I write about what interests me and that appeals to a similar group.

          And, yes, advertisers will pay a premium to reach a group with, I guess, average income of £50k-£75k. Sex and education is immaterial but the better educated tend to earn more. The City / London bias is BA’s fault – if they flew long haul for the regions I would have more regional readers.

          Note that the comments on the site are not representative of, say, the email list. Not many Goldman Sachs employees find the time to spend their day surfing randomly!

        • Haha no, they’re too busy spending their bonuses 😛

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          HfP isn’t random surfing !

        • Genghis says:

          My guess is that there aren’t that many non-middle class, non-university educated premium business travellers. This points collecting does seem to be quite a middle class hobby. However, sex shouldn’t really come into it.

        • “My guess is that there aren’t that many non-middle class, non-university educated premium business travellers.”

          Don’t tell Richard Branson he should’ve gone to university.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          You can’t use “should’ve”. Specsavers own that…

    • I would only ever hang shirts in a hotel wardrobe. These are the one thing that are likely to get creased if I leave them in the case, like I do with most other things.

    • Dave Williams says:

      wow – this is the stupidest complaint Ive ever read.

      • It is a fair point but I think Lisa picked the wrong example, since Anika was writing about her own shirts (she has confirmed this to me!) and does already bring a female perspective to the site that was previously missing.

  6. Genghis says:

    The hotel is round the corner from Juniors that do the best cheesecake ever!

    • Their cheesecake is to die for!! I wish we could get it in the UK!!

      • David P says:

        Rather strangely, you can get it in Seoul! There’s a small outlet in the Lotte food court (underneath the Lotte hotel in Myeong-dong) which sells Junior’s cheesecake. They have them flown out fresh every day from New York. It’s pretty expensive, around US$10 per slice as I recall, but as a one-off treat it was worth it.

    • Someone should have told me BEFORE I went to NYC!!!!! I love cheesecake!

      • The one in Grand Central at the food court was closed when I was there in June. Not sure if that is permanent or just part of remodelling going on. There is a massive one – which is really part cheesecake shop, part diner – DIRECTLY opposite InterContinental Times Square.

        Although, to be honest, it has never really grabbed me. It is a bit like Shake Shack (and there is one of those in the IC Times Square building) – I’ve heard the hype, turned up and not been convinced. I have done Juniors and Shake Shack multiple times now – perfect acceptable but not so great that I would join a queue longer than five minutes to order. I only have the chicken burger in Shake Shack, though, which may be the problem.

        (I tried to try Five Guys last month only to find that they don’t do chicken burgers at all …. red meat all the way there, at least in Charing Cross.)

        • Most of the food chains that my USian friends rave about leave me utterly cold. I’ve had better food in a tiny neighbourhood Mexican restaurant in LA that most of the over hyped and over hyped places. One of my NY chums raves about Juniors and I wasn’t particularly impressed.

        • Erico1875 says:

          Same for me. I don’t get Krispy Kreme either. When the one in Edinburgh opened, there was a tailback on the M8 motorway

      • Andrew* says:

        Carnegie Deli (baked) cheesecake… 😀

      • Went to the Cheesecake Factory in Beverley hills on Saturday night. The waiter said that they were opening a Cheesecake Factory in London and Liverpool soon

  7. Nice review. Recently stayed at the Conrad NY. Raffles had recommends it a few times in posts and replies (with a largely positive review too). One of the better place I’ve been too, very little to complain about and much to love, especially the amount of space. I’d highly recommend.

    • Nate1309 says:

      I also stayed in the Conrad NY for Valentines weekend, Really nice hotel, could see the OneWorld Tower from my room, 10 min walk to subway (very chilly as minus 17 one day).

  8. Gender debate aside….is it just me but in the uk or infact most hotel pools don’t cater for those less able bodied as well as they could. The chair lift whilst okay ruins the zen of a nice hotel pool is a big thumbs up from me to show some thought into accessing facilities. Don’t tend to see many of them these days in 5 star hotel pools. Now back to shirt gate….

  9. Considering staying at brand new William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn at the end of the month. Happy to do a review for HFP if you liked Raffles.

    Also, if anyone has any tips of what to see/do/eat in Brooklyn please send this way!

  10. pointsarb says:

    O/T sorry. Does anyone have the new Creation IHG card and know how the points from the card post across to your IHG account? Is it an automatic scrape much like the SPG Amex card or some other system?

    Just called Creation for the answer and they are unbelievably clueless about their own card! The mind boggles……


    • Genghis says:

      I don’t know the precise mechanics behind it but for me the points posted across to my IHG account the day after I got my Creation IHG statement.

      Creation customer service don’t seem on the ball too much. I saw a couple of weeks ago that I could see two statements – my own and then one for another random guy who lives in Bath. I called up on the Saturday to explain and was told that the IT security office was closed and I was to not access my online account. I was told I would get a call back on the Monday but didn’t (but kept checking my online account and this randommer’s statements were eventually removed). So much for compliance with the DPA, 1998.

      • Yes they are not on the ball at all, my card was declined so phoned up to say the transaction was ok to go through, the person had no clue what to do and started suggesting my address was wrong when it was clear that it was blocked due to a security check but kept getting the same answers from the person and eventually said I should use a different card and blamed the merchant even though I had spent on the card before.

    • They should post a few days after the new statement date

  11. pointsarb says:

    Thanks Genghis. Yes Creation are certainly not inspiring any confidence in me either. My statement was issued 2 weeks ago but the points via cc spend haven’t yet transferred across to my IHG account. I know both accounts are linked as my IHG status now shows Platinum so it can’t be a mismatch. Will wait until my next statement and see what happens I guess!

    • Genghis says:

      Are the points still showing on the IHG Creation dashboard?

    • ankomonkey says:

      I have the Creation Marriott cc. Statement closes 7th/8th each month, points appear in Marriott account around 16th of same month.

      • pointsarb says:

        Thanks Ankomonkey, yes that points transfer time frame sounds about right per SPG Amex etc. Maybe it’s just my IHG account that they have chosen to mess up, good job I don’t have an imminent IHG points redemption coming up!

  12. Peter K says:

    As far as there being a gender bias, very often there is bias in articles but that is because of the target audience as already mentioned. This does not mean discrimination however. I don’t read shopper points but my wife does and fits that target audience.

    Feedback loops of what is written feeding the comments feeding the articles and so on often leads down a certain route. Not bias in a bad way but a natural progression.