Brooklyn: The Wall Street alternative
With all this activity clustered downtown, it is wise to choose one of the hotels on or around Atlantic Avenue. Just three blocks north from there is Brooklyn's first Sheraton (228 Duffield St; www.sheraton.com/Brooklyn), built last March, a traditional 321-room, 25-floor hotel that features all the business amenities many Manhattan-dwellers would expect: a business centre with ethernet and printing services, three meeting spaces for the company to rent and a handful of comfortable, restaurants and lounges for eating and drinking on-site once a long work day ends.
For a more Brooklyn-oriented experience, stick to a boutique. On a spare stretch of Fourth Avenue, Park Slope's Hotel Le Bleu (370 Fourth Ave; www.hotellebleu.com) was the borough's first when it opened in 2007. In the beginning, it attracted European tourists who followed the neighbourhood's buzz and enjoyed the 20-minute subway ride to Manhattan. Now, one quarter of the hotel's rooms are occupied by business travellers - thanks in part to free parking, complimentary breakfast, wireless internet and the hotel's 24-hour business centre. "Many of the guests are small business entrepreneurs or tech-y types who leave early in the morning in suits and return to explore Brooklyn in the late afternoon," said Dev Dugal, Vice President at Globiwest, the hotel's management company.
Meanwhile, the hotel's sister property, Le Jolie, has drawn a different kind of corporate guest. Next to a highway in Williamsburg - a North Brooklyn neighbourhood associated with oft-mocked hipster culture - the hotel has housed bands including the Neville Brothers and travellers in town to do business with the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th St; www.brooklynbrewery.com). While the neighbourhood is farther from Wall Street, traders are still clamouring for reservations at Peter Luger (178 Broadway; peterluger.com), a 124-year-old steakhouse just blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge. There, the lesser-known aged hamburger with bacon (available only at lunch) merits a trip with the boss, even if the shabby dining room has not quite withstood the test of time.
To compete with these properties, nearly half of the new hotels under construction are expected to be boutique in nature, many being built by major hotel chains. When Starwood's 176-room Aloft Hotel opens in downtown Brooklyn this March (216 Duffield St; 718-256-3833), for instance, it aims to attract young entrepreneurs with free snacks, open communal spaces and a meeting centre equipped with top-line technology. Like the independents before them, each hopes that infusing Brooklyn with never-before-seen amenities will be enough to persuade businesses right over the bridge. But if that does not work, perhaps something else will: the beautiful, unobstructed, skyline view.