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Painting the town: Pols show up for groundbreaking of $60M Fulton Mall hotel

The Brooklyn Paper

The luxe life — at least for tourists — has come to the gritty Fulton Mall.

The InterContinental Hotel Group — an extremely high-end chain with lodges from Andorra to Zimbabwe — has joined forces with a 25-year-old developer on a $60-million hotel on Duffield Street.

The Indigo Hotel, which will replace the VIM jeans store between Willoughby Street and the Fulton Mall, will boast 164 “amenity-rich” rooms with “signature murals” and “fluffy duvets,” a swank restaurant, two bar lounges (one of them on the rooftop), and common areas decorated with “changing aromas,” music, and artwork.

Local politicians are so convinced that tourists will soon be painting our town red that they gathered on Tuesday to paint a wall indigo as a way of welcoming the Indigo Hotel and its Canadian architect Karl Fischer, who designed the undulating glass facade.

One executive got so worked up, he even recited a haiku (see below).

InterContinental partnered with V3 Hotels, a hospitality group founded by the 25-year-old Crown Heights native, Ben Nash.

Hotel haikus abound

It’s not very often that the president of a company reads a haiku at a press conference. But haiku — an ancient Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines of verse containing five, seven and five syllables — is apparently a big thing for the InterContinental Hotels Group.

So at Tuesday’s press conference in Downtown Brooklyn to show off the company’s new Hotel Indigo, Senior Vice President Jim Anhut approached the mic and offered this bit of verse:

“Brooklyn heritage
Hotel Indigo connects
Cool borough. Cool brand.”

The crowd ooh’d and aah’d, but not everyone was impressed with Anhut’s ode to his hotel vision.

Aaron Naparstek, whose traffic-related “honkus” a few years back put him on the poetry map, said he wished Anhut would have been more subtle and “painted the picture a bit more.”

“What does a ‘cool brand’ feel like?” Naparstek asked. “You’ve got to try to use your 17 syllables to deliver the Hotel Indigo future directly to the reader.”

Naparstek offered his own take:

“Willkommen tourists!
The Euro goes a long way
On Fulton Street mall.”

Regardless of the reviews, Anhut’s poetic leap was hardly new for the company. The Hotel Indigo link off the InterContental Hotels Web site leads directly to a “haiku by you” feature that allows you to pick your season (winter), your mood (reflective) and your element (earth). When a Brooklyn Paper reporter tried his hand at this interactive feature, this the haiku was spit out:

“Oh, happy tastebuds!
Tonight, no mini-bar fare
Panini beckons.”

That leaves only one question: How did they know?

— Gersh Kuntzman

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