BY HALLY WOLHANDLER
Hotels are neighborhood barometers, whether marking the moment that an area’s gentrification is inexorable or reflecting the most current demographic through its clientele. Take Long Island City in Queens, where the new Boro Hotel—across the street from a Sheraton, in close proximity to a Ramada Inn and Best Western, and a few blocks from the 7 train to Times Square—suggest that the borough has started attracting a new crop of travelers who wont be spending their vacation in the vicinity of the Naked Cowboy.
The first foray into hospitality for a group of five siblings, Boro takes advantage of the area’s industrial roots and Manhattan views, and infuses it with Scandinavian cool while adding enough color to keep it from being too serious. As principal designer Matthew Grzywinski of local firm Grzywinski+Pons says, the goal was to achieve a sweet spot of “happy and minimal.” Where playful accent lighting from brands like Plumen and Muuto and floral tile patterns soften concrete flooring, not to mention views of surrounding warehouses, it does. The Boro notably eschews overt hotel markers: there’s no formal reception desk, just a table where friendly employees sit inconspicuously at laptops, reading to check you in (once you figure that out, they’re quite helpful).
Absent are in-room minibars, although the staff is happy to bring one up à la carte. A bar is planned for the rooftop deck, and the restaurant, a French-American bistro opens in early 2016. Spend a morning scoping out the lively scene at the complimentary breakfast bar—proof that Long Island City really can draw a cool international crowd. borohotel.com