ISSUE 103  |  DIY Holiday Decor

Babylon by the Beach: A DIY Artist’s Hotel

December 20, 2013 8:00 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Last summer a group of Brooklyn impresarios—Robin Scott and Jamie Wiseman, owners of the nightclub Output, along with Diego Galarza and Eduardo Suarez, of Williamsburg restaurants, El Almacen and Rosarito Fish Shack—opened the Playland Motel on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens. A hotel, restaurant, and beach hangout for hipsters—just jump on the A train—the year-round getaway is located in a resuscitated 19th century building a block from the beach and the subway. Polar bear swimmers welcome.

Importing their music and food, the owners also introduced their own decor by giving artists, local and international, the creative license to transform the twelve bedrooms into handmade installations. We say: It was only a matter of time before Brooklynites moved beyond the borders of Brooklyn.

Unless otherwise noted, images via Playland Motel

Above: The Playland Motel is named after the Rockaway Playland Amusement Park that was torn down in the 1980s. Weathered wood siding on the exterior hints at the unexpected interiors.

Above: The mix of natural wood on the floor, weathered wood on the bar, and and painted wood on the walls lends a relaxed beach shack atmosphere to the restaurant and bar.

Above: Yellow painted window frames and orange tabletops add cheer.

Above: The artists Robbie & Apples created a room within a room by paint-blasting a Teepee from Indoek Wavewam. Also see artist Sallie Scott’s Instant Guest Bedroom, which she created out of a canvas tent. 

Above: British fashion designer Simon Spurr used white and green paint to play with the concept of perspective in his room. 

Above: Spurr was inspired by the work of minimalist artists from the 1960s, such as Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold, and Brice Marden.

Above: Melanie Dizon and Marina Burini devised a textured backdrop by hanging knotted macrame strands from metal rods.

Above: Ben Pundole of A Hotel’s Life and Jessica Baker of Baker Creative Productions introduced a marine-blue color block while mixing in nautical motifs. They describe their concept as, “If my yacht dreams collided with a Wes Anderson movie.”

Above: Music and entertainment producer Javier Padraza Polo and artist Adrien Travis upholstered a wall with a grid of fasteners, creating the tufted look of a Chesterfield sofa.

Above: Argentinian-born Brooklyn artist Frederico Saenz-Recio fashioned a low headboard from a white-washed piano. Image via A Hotel Life.


Explore more of the Playland Motel at Artists and Rooms. Off-season rates range from $99 to $125; in season they’re $150 to $250.

Brooklynites pride themselves in their strong identity; our favorite Design Haunts in Brooklyn will explain all. Interested in more DIY hotels? See The Homemade Hotel Baja Hotel, $75 Night Edition.

 Location of the Playland Motel in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York:


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