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Inn-undated! New Hilton signals saturation point for Downtown’s hotel boom, expert says • Brooklyn Paper

Inn-undated! New Hilton signals saturation point for Downtown’s hotel boom, expert says

New kid on the block: A 196-key Hilton opened on Jay and Schermerhorn streets earlier this month — just the latest in a hotel-building boom Downtown.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

Downtown may be getting a little too suite for travellers’ tastes!

A 196-key Hilton just opened its doors on Smith and Schermerhorn streets — the fifth hotel to open in the area in the past two years, and the neighborhood could soon hit its capacity if the lodge-building frenzy doesn’t slow down, according to an expert.

“I definitely think there’s a saturation of hotels,” said Colby Swartz, the managing director of hotel advisory firm Suzuki Capital. “I don’t know if [Brooklyn’s] the best locations for a new hotel site — yet alone a destination point to actually draw clientele.”

Between them, the new Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Dazzler, and Even hotels have added 934 rooms to the area in the past two years, joining existing chain inns the Marriott, Hotel Indigo, Sheraton, Aloft, and, of course, the Brooklyn House of Detention-adjacent Nu Hotel.

Right now, the hotels’ main selling point is offering lower rates than their counterparts across the river — a room at the Hilton in Manhattan on a recent Thursday night cost at least $399, while a bed at the Brooklyn one was just $209, and guests say it is a great deal.

“I like to stay in Downtown Brooklyn so I can do Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Anne Marie Pellicano, who travels from Florida to Kings County on business regularly, and recently stayed at the new Hilton — which she loved. “It’s half the price of what you pay in Manhattan.”

But Downtown is hardly a tourist destination, Swartz said, and the glut of generic hotel brands are going to start struggling if they can’t differentiate themselves from one another by offering reduced rates or special amenities.

“Particularly when you’re in the Brooklyn area you definitely need to have a little more of a draw than ‘Hey, I have a hotel here,’” he said.

Most of the Downtown hotels offer similar prices between $200 and $300 a night and fairly standard amenities such as business centers and gyms — none of the rooftop pools and award-winning restaurants of Williamsburg’s boutique lodgings, or the bargain-basement prices of inns in industrial Gowanus.

Still, the hotels all seem to be doing good business right now, according to a local real estate guru — and he thinks demand for beds will stay strong thanks to the addition of new entertainment options in the area such as Barclays Center and the massive City Point shopping complex.

“There’s so much new activity across the spectrum, I think the hotels all seem to be doing very well,” said Timothy King, a managing partner at Downtown’s Cpex Real Estate, which helps hotels find land in the area.

One recent Hilton guest said he did want to stay in Manhattan, but came to Kings County when he couldn’t get a room there — and he wasn’t disappointed by Downtown’s offerings.

“It’s pretty cool that the subway stations are close,” said German traveller Benno Waibel, “In the end I’m happy that we went to Brooklyn.”

People have certainly underestimated the neighborhood’s appeal to travellers in the past. When the Marriott opened its doors in 1998 — the first hotel in the area for more than 50 years at the time — the borough was so maligned the hotel chain obscured its true location by naming it the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.

But it has been such a hit that its operators doubled the hotel’s size in 2006, and shelled out $45 million for a renovation last year to keep the space fresh.

Sometimes demand is so high, the Marriott actually directs people to competing hotels nearby, said company spokeswoman Kathleen Duffey.

Inn-coming: Downtown’s hotels

Key: Red means built in the last two years, blue were built more than two years ago

1. Dazzler [85 Flatbush Ave. Ext. at Tillary Street, (718) 329–9537, www.dazzlerhoteles.com]

2. Hampton Inn [125 Flatbush Ave. Ext. at Tillary Street, (718) 875–8800 www.hamptoninn3.hilton.com]

3. Marriott [333 Adams St. between Willoughby Plaza and Tech Place, (718) 246–7000, www.marriott.com/brooklyn]

4. Sheraton [228 Duffield St. between Willoughby and Fulton streets, (718) 855–1900 www.sheratonbrooklyn.com]

5. Hotel Indigo [229 Duffield St, between Willoughby and Fulton streets, (718) 254–7800, www.ihg.com]

6. Aloft [216 Duffield St, between Willoughby and Fulton streets, (718) 256–3833, aloftnewyorkbrooklyn.com]

7. Hilton [140 Schermerhorn St. at Smith Street, (718) 834–8800, www.brooklynnewyork.hilton.com]

8. Nu Hotel [85 Smith St. at Atlantic Avenue, (718) 852–8585, www.nuhotelbrooklyn.com]

9. Even Hotel [46 Nevins St. at Schermerhorn Street, (718) 552–3800, www.evenhotels.com]

10. Holiday Inn [300 Schermerhorn St. at Nevins Street, (718) 624–2211, www.holiday.com/brooklyn]

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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