A long-time summer hotspot for New Yorkers, Queens enclave of Rockaway Beach is less than an hour subway ride away for most city residents. But, while visitors could enjoy long days in the sun and sand, they were still faced with a sweaty, gritty train ride home come sunset. Not anymore.
This week, Rockaway Beach gets its first upscale, lifestyle hotel, just a block away from the bustling boardwalk. The Rockaway Hotel is set in a new building spanning 84,000 square feet, with 53 guest rooms and eight long-stay residences.
"The hotel will serve as an anchor for the Rockaway Beach community—a gathering place for locals and an opportunity to bring Rockaway Beach's surf, art, and music scene to guests through cultural experiences," explained Michi Jigarjian, a partner in the hotel and the property's chief social impact officer. "Community engagement is one of our key pillars, and we're delighted to showcase local artists, designers, and filmmakers through rotating exhibits, events, and programming."
Famed architect Morris Adjmi, also known for designing Williamsburg, Brooklyn's popular Wythe Hotel, designed the new property, drawing on inspiration from nearby beachfront bungalows. The exterior features clapboard and cedar elements, while the interior, created by Curious Yellow Design, relies on natural materials like teak, linen, and leather in a dusky pink and blue color palette. The space also showcases works by artists like surf icon Herbie Fletcher, whose dramatic sculptures seem right at home in Rockaway.
"Our design mission is to transport visitors to their most idyllic escape, to generate an aesthetic that captures their coolest friend's beachside bungalow mixed with the tranquility and warmth of their dream getaway," said Chloe Pollack-Robbins, Curious Yellow's head designer. All rooms have stellar views, too—some face Jamaica Bay and offer Manhattan skyline views, while Atlantic Ocean-facing rooms have outdoor terraces.
The hotel also offers a heated pool, a spa, and a surf school on-site. Guests will also be able to rent bicycles and partake in other Rockaway-specific programming, like birdwatching and watersports.
Rockaway Beach has no shortage of good grub, with vendors like Caracas Arepa Bar, burger shack Rippers, and Low Tide Bar setting up shop in the summer, but with the opening of The Rockaway Hotel, beachgoers and guests will have four new dining options: Margie's, an American restaurant with a seaside flair; The Pool, an outdoor poolside dining area serving shared plates; The Rooftop, a 6,000-square-foot space with panoramic views of Manhattan's skyline, Jamaica Bay, and the ocean; and Greenhouse Cafe, a streetside coffee shop with grab-and-go options.
The hotel will be open year-round, starting this weekend. Rates start at $300 per night for a standard king room with a bay view.