The adage “wherever you go, there you are” (often ascribed to Confucius) is typically dredged up when wanting to sound reasonably existentially profound; there’s no escaping ourselves, we get it. There is, however, plenty of fun to be had in trying to; and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is a short stay in an unfamiliar bed, in your own city, without having to swipe right on Tinder.
And so we skipped the planes and trains, recently checking in for a BKNY ‘staycation’ just a scant 2 km from our apartment, at the newly opened Pod Brooklyn – which has turned the mini hotel collection into a quintet (three in Manhattan, one in D.C.).
And while the streets of North Williamsburg were as familiar to us as $5 turmeric lattes, packing a toothbrush and arranging for someone to feed the fish still gave us that endorphin rush of weekending away.
If you’re not familiar with The Pod group of hotels, the name does kinda say it: stylishly contemporary public spaces, buzzy bars and restaurants, and small but expertly laid out mod-minimalist rooms – and at this location, for half the price of you average Manhattan hotel. Once we got accustomed to the in-shower loo, we found ourselves quite smitten with the cool design sensibility.
The charming staff had a bit of a wide eyed still-figuring-things-out look about them; but the Pod was impressively abuzz with foreign tourists, hip kids, and at least one doghoused spouse. the rooftop bar and resto should be a scene all summer – but we were there just shy of its unveiling, alas.
So instead we settled into the Pod BK’s lobby restaurant Clinton Hall. And perhaps owing to its position down behind hipster lines, it specializes in scientifically engineered craft beer delivery – they have a Flux Capacitor! – and insanely over the top burgers such as the spicy duck chorizo (which we decided would be a great drag moniker).
One of the more imaginative hotel perks we’ve encountered are the hotel’s Pod Walks, complimentary walking tours of local hoods, including DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, which happen every Thursday. Should you prefer more focused exercise, while there’s no gym onsite, the hotel has partnerships with local sweat lodges CorePower Yoga and Retro Fitness.
Venturing out to explore the area and mingle with the locals, we did a quick stop for a veggie taco and margarita at outdoor hotspot The Woods. We then made our way to the waterfront – the East River that is – and strolled among the community planting beds at North Brooklyn Farms…finally stopping to admire the teenage dexterity on display at the adjacent skate park.
That night we made our way to the other side of WBurg, to one of the more trendy new-ish eateries, Andrew Carmellini’s Leuca, which won our hearts and taste buds with its Southern Italian house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas. Being veggie-disposed as we were, we indulged in a sampling of apps, including the crispy baby artichokes with Meyer lemon aioli…with plenty of limoncello for a chaser.
And a mellow stroll back to the Pod on a lovely spring evening actually felt romantic – especially since we knew we could look forward to a long, lazy morning in a comfy hotel bed.
It’s certainly fun to be tourists in your own town.