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In Brooklyn, The William Vale delights visitors with its stunning Albo Liberis–designed structure and interiors by Studio Munge. The multi-use space includes 183 guest rooms, three dining destinations, Westlight bar on the twenty-second floor, the Vale Pool, a fitness center, the elevated 15,000-square-foot Vale Park, wellness amenities, diverse cultural programming, and more. Recently, Whitewall stopped by the property to explore its winter pop-ups, Winter Spa and Vale Rink, featuring saunas and hot tubs on one terrace and ice skating and dining chalets on another.
To elaborate on the space's cultural, culinary, and wellness amenities, as well as what he recommends guests check out while in town, we spoke with the hotel's General Manager, David Lemmond.
WHITEWALL: You've worked in the hospitality industry for almost 30 years. Where did your career begin?
David Lemmond: My career began at an Independent Five Star Hotel in Philadelphia and progressed through a wide array of independent luxury and wildly popular lifestyle hotels! I have worn many hats throughout my career on my way to being a General Manager. The William Vale has been an amazing property to manage. I work with a terrific team from top to bottom that brings the property to life every day. My primary goal is to hone our very unique modern luxury hospitality experience in Brooklyn. As long as the work remains engaging and fun, I find it hard to imagine doing anything else.
WW: The hotel recently hosted activations for the winter season, featuring skyline skating, dining chalets, saunas, and hot tubs. What emphasis do you feel wellness has at the property?
DL: Wellness in general has a huge role in the overall experience one can enjoy at The William Vale. Our new look for Winter Spa and Winter Village activations was a huge success this season. The Winter Spa brings to life our outdoor terrace with saunas and hot tubs, the positive effects on one's system go well beyond just relaxation. They can help with detoxification, increase metabolism, and are a great way to manage stress.
We also recently overhauled our fitness center in partnership with iFIT and Freemotion, the equipment and technology have truly elevated our fitness offering to a new level of wellness. Our guests can now enjoy iFIT's Coach Bikes, treadmills, incline trainers, and ellipticals with a full catalog of premium classes led by more than 180 top professional athletes, gold-medal Olympians, celebrity coaches, and more. Alternatively, our guests could choose to head up to the rooftop and enjoy a skating session on our synthetic skating rink during the winter season. It’s fun to experience the Winter season with so many different wellness options all within one property. This focus on a wide array of wellness experiences is really a part of our Hotel DNA. It is who we are.
WW: How have guest offerings at The William Vale changed or expanded in the past two years to meet the needs of visitors? What do you think guests are looking for in a luxury hotel stay?
DL: The William Vale, like everyone, had to pivot to find ways to allow guests to feel safe during a very uncertain time. Capitalizing on outdoor spaces and experiences helped a great deal to allow our guests and the community to feel safe coming to the Hotel. During the peak of the pandemic, we allowed for all forms of social distancing including booking dedicated reservations for the Fitness Center so guests were able to use it exclusively for blocks of time. It was all received very well by our guests and visitors alike.
WW: What kind of cultural programming does the hotel typically offer and why?
DL: Our cultural programming ranges from art and wellness to entertainment, and so much more with many of our partners being from the neighborhood themselves. The William Vale has always aspired to be inclusive in our programs for guests, and the community alike. From hosting joy-filled dance celebrations with Daybreaker on top of the building to outdoor cinema experiences with Rooftop Films, Autumn pumpkin patches for the family, and our winter activations like Winter Spa and Vale Rink, we cover a lot of ground and it is different from month to month.
WW: What food or beverage items do you recommend to newcombers?
DL: If you are dining at Leuca you must have a pizza. Brooklyn pizza is amazing and ours is absolutely amazing, you really have to try the sheep’s milk ricotta to start off any meal, it is addictive. When heading upstairs to Westlight, there is an abundance of small plates that will tempt you. A few of my favorites include the Tuna Tartare Puffs—delicious. And the Shrimp Dumplings—amazing!
WW: For those new to the property, how would you recommend they plan their day? What must they take advantage of?
DL: I love to start the day with breakfast in bed—in-room dining in bed, or if you wish, on your private balcony because every room has one. It's wonderful. Depending on the season, you might head down to Vale Pool for a dip and some sun. Vale Pool does happen to be the longest outdoor hotel pool in the city! Take a spin on one of the Hotel bicycles and check out the neighborhood, a midday snack at Mister Dips in Vale Park and then head on up to the Turf Club to enjoy a cocktail on our rooftop bar commands the very best views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset. You can wrap up your day of indulgence with a delicious dinner at Westlight! You will be ready for the comfort of your guest room right downstairs after a day of total indulgence.
WW: Are there any places in the neighborhood you recommend out-of-town guests check out when visiting? Where do you like to eat, drink, sip, relax or see art in town?
DL: The beauty of Williamsburg is that you are at the doorstep of everything a world-class city has to offer. That being said, step outside the Hotel and stroll in any direction and you are in a rich neighborhood where real people live and work. It is a creative hub that you feel just by walking around. We are fortunate to have an amazing park, McCarren Park in our backyard, the East River is a block away and standing at the edge of the river and looking at Manhattan is a really wonderful moment (and worth the selfie for social media, too). There are too many amazing restaurants and cultural options too to mention. I say just go out there and explore, or you can ask our Concierge team to make a full plan on your behalf. Your choice.
WW: What do you think makes the hotel different from others?
DL: When you first catch a glimpse of The William Vale, it stands out strongly with a dynamic architectural silhouette. It is both modern and grand. Our focus on adding modern luxury service to Brooklyn, as a Forbes-recommended property, has been a terrific success and a great surprise to many of our guests. Our many different experiences for guests and neighbors alike help to keep the Hotel grounded in a very real way too, we are very accessible to all. We revel in the fact that we have one thing that is often hard to come by in New York City and that is an abundance of outdoor space. We make use of that space throughout all seasons, making this a wonderful destination throughout the year.