Now Open: Brooklyn's The William Vale

The William Vale
New York City’s new The William Vale opened its doors yesterday and is banking on the rebirth of Brooklyn to draw business to its Williamsburg surrounds. Mark Speranza, director of sales and marketing for the 183-room boutique hotel, shares his acumen on architecture and the area. NY Curbed called The William Vale “bonkers-looking.” What’s your take? We were a little taken aback by Curbed. The response from 99 percent of people has been positive. While it’s interesting and progressive-looking, it was really form following function. It wasn’t a conscious decision to make something outlandish in design; the important part of the project was to incorporate a lot of aspects. The first five floors are commercial, where you see the tresses, and 11 through 22 are guest room floors. What kinds of groups would feel most at home at The William Vale? Technology [groups are] a good fit for us. There’s a hub of tech development in this area, and the hotel itself will be high-tech in terms of bandwidth and connectivity. Board meetings, conferences and high-end groups have shown interest, and financial meetings as well. I opened the first hotel on Wall Street years ago. But now those groups are getting away from Midtown Manhattan and branching out to Brooklyn. What makes your meeting spaces special? We have a 4,100-sq.-ft. ballroom with 23-ft. ceilings, which is unusual for a smaller hotel. Sometimes hotels make large event spaces narrow, so we purposely made this more of a square shape with great lighting. Everything is new, fresh and clean—that’s what people want. They can have a coffee break out on the patio space, with views of Manhattan. What is the draw of Brooklyn now, particularly Williamsburg? It’s the hip, trendy area of Brooklyn. It’s near the water, so it has incredible views of Manhattan, and it’s easily accessible, with four subway stops from 14th Street in Manhattan. You add those factors together—plus artists, great restaurants and a comfortable vibe—and it says a lot about the authenticity of this area. The community’s welcoming outreach to my team has been incredible. I’m a conservative guy—I don’t have any tattoos, and I would say 60 to 70 percent of people in Williamsburg have tattoos. But it’s a comfortable environment, almost like the new Greenwich Village.