Tucked in a residential street in Fitzroy is an unassuming terrace house signed ‘Brooklyn Arts Hotel’. Push the door open and the two laidback labradors welcome you with a sniff and a tail wag, before Maggie the friendly owner greets you.
Brooklyn Arts Hotel is a small bed and breakfast with a welcoming sense of quirky homeliness. It is the antithesis of the sleek international five-star chains – everything is just a little rickety (in a charming way) and there are lots of interesting items collected in the seven rooms, the restful leafy courtyard garden and the main sitting area. Maggie was a landscape architect and is now involved in the arts, so it makes sense that the décor is filled with eye-catching paintings, period photographs, lino prints and objects d’art.
I immediately felt soothed by the hotel’s calm surroundings, with the gentle swaying of trees outside and the soft lamplight of my high-ceilinged double room with shared bathroom ($135 a night). One of the rooms apparently contains a piano!
The tariff includes a continental breakfast which is set out all along the sideboard – an amazing piece of discarded furniture that Maggie picked up off the pavement in Brunswick. The spread includes a wide range of teas and coffees, cereal, organic sourdough from nearby bakery Fatto a Mano and fresh fruit. You can choose to take your breakfast sitting at the grand dining table, flipping through the day’s newspaper or the myriad of Melbourne-related reading material, or sip your coffee relaxing under the trees in the courtyard watching the clouds above you. It’s a beautiful way to start the day.
Brooklyn Arts Hotel is full of personality and reminded me of the lovely small B&Bs I stayed at all through Europe. I highly recommend it for the traveller who likes to get off the beaten track a little, yet still enjoys their creature comforts.