Owner Harry Paul stands on the stoop of Baisley House in Carroll Gardens.
Owner Harry Paul stands on the stoop of Baisley House in Carroll Gardens.
The Washington Post

B&B: Bed-and-Brownstones

Sunday, May 7, 2006

While lodging bargains abound in Brooklyn, remember that the borough is huge. As the locals are fond of noting, if Brooklyn were a separate city it would be the country's fourth largest. So check our locater map before booking; if you want to be minutes from Manhattan, focus on the downtown, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens areas. But if you don't mind a 30-minute subway ride to get to Times Square, you'll find cheaper rates -- as well as peace and quiet -- in outlying neighborhoods like Midwood. Here are our picks for some of the best lodgings in the borough. Note: All B&B rates include breakfast. Unless otherwise noted, rates do not include taxes.

The Jumping the Broom Suite at Akwaaba Mansion in Stuyvesant Heights.
The Jumping the Broom Suite at Akwaaba Mansion in Stuyvesant Heights.
1. Akwaaba Mansion offers a bit of Mother Africa in Brooklyn's multicultural Stuyvesant Heights, with its concentration of stately brownstones along leafy streets. All four guest rooms have been renovated with African or African American themes, with masks, old family photos and artwork from Ghana and other countries. The owners have added such modern features as whirlpools, but thankfully retained the 14-foot ceilings, fireplaces and other period details of this impressive 1860s Italianate home. Pluses include a spacious, secluded yard, front porch, breakfast and a selection of nearby cafes and restaurants. The Utica Avenue station, where the A train stops, is four blocks away.

347 MacDonough St., 866-466-3855, http://www.akwaaba.com. Rates: Monday to Thursday, $150 per night; Friday to Sunday, $165.

2. Travelers who might otherwise stay at the Waldorf Astoria would find the Bed & Breakfast on the Park equally grand -- and slightly cheaper. An impressive collection of European oil paintings and antiques, carved oak woodwork, art nouveau lamps and other fine details grace the parlor, dining room and bedrooms. The stately seven-bedroom Victorian building is just across from Prospect Park and a few minutes' walk from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A full breakfast is served promptly at 9. The formal atmosphere -- or snootiness? -- might be a turnoff for folks who just want to kick back. The Prospect Park subway is three blocks away.

113 Prospect Park W., 718-499-6115, http://www.bbnyc.com. Rates: $155 to $300 per night, including a 10 percent service charge.

3. Lovers of Victoriana will go gaga over Baisley House: The restored 1845 brownstone in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood is tasseled, draped and decorated to a fare-thee-well, with statuary, clocks, screens, stained glass, portraits (Queen Elizabeth, Pope John XXIII) and myriad other fripperies, gewgaws and doodads. The three guest rooms upstairs (one single, two doubles) are similarly ornate and share a bathroom. There's a lovely rear garden where breakfast is served when weather permits. Added attraction: Actress Susan Hayward lived here as a child (she was born in Flatbush). Amenities include cable TV, VCR, phone and air conditioning. The Carroll Street subway station is two blocks away.

294 Hoyt St., 718-935-1959, http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/ny/n/nyn1901.htm . Rates: $134 to $192 per night, including taxes.

4. For a chain property, the Best Western Gregory Hotel in the residential Bay Ridge neighborhood has an unusually personable staff, quick to offer directions and dining tips. Although 30 minutes from Times Square, it's only a couple of blocks from a concentration of decent eateries and bars. The 70-room hotel is housed in a well-kept brick building on a tree-lined block. The rooms are small and basic but adequate for an overnight or two. A complimentary self-serve breakfast of bagels, coffee and juices is provided. The 86th Street subway station is two blocks away.

8315 Fourth Ave., 800-780-7234, http://www.bestwestern.com. Rates: Generally from $186 double.

5. With a dog running about and the owner dishing out tea and advice, Bibi's Garden Bed & Breakfast feels like a family home. The six bedrooms, a bit plain, are nonetheless comfortably furnished. A couple of the rooms have private baths, but most are shared. Laundry facilities and a computer with Internet access are available. The room configurations make Bibi's convenient for two or three couples traveling together. The Avenue H subway station, two blocks away, gets you to Times Square in 30 minutes.

762 Westminster Rd., 718-434-3119, http://www.bibisgarden.net. Rates: $115 to $172 a night, with 10 percent off for weekly stays.

6. Dekoven Suites, on a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac in the West Midwood neighborhood, is a little slice of suburbia in New York, complete with plenty of on-street parking. If you're looking for a homey spot to remind you of Silver Spring or Arlington, this is it. The three-story Victorian house has a bright, roomy kitchen and features a downstairs apartment with separate entrance, private bath and laundry facilities, a bedroom with walk-in closet, a sitting area and full refrigerator. Amenities include TV, telephone, hair dryer and Ping-Pong. Thirty minutes by subway to downtown Manhattan (the Newkirk Avenue station is a couple of blocks away).

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