From $249 a night.
The George, in the New York City suburb of Montclair, N.J., is a collaboration between Bobbi Brown, the founder of the beauty line Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and her husband, Steven Plofker, a real estate developer. The 32-room property, open since April 1, was originally built in 1902 as the private home of Charles Van Vleck, a wealthy local businessman. In the 1940s, the building was converted into The Georgian Inn, a residential- style hotel that hosted many long-term guests (the property’s original name inspired its current one). Mr. Plofker and Ms. Brown bought the property in a run-down condition in 2015 and spent two years modernizing the building, along with restoring many of its original elements such as the stained-glass window in the lobby. The hotel’s interior now has contemporary furniture and décor and a slightly industrial feel, with touches like exposed brick walls and guest rooms with metal closets.
Mr. Plofker and Ms. Brown are longtime Montclair residents, and The George is their first hospitality venture. “We’re avid travelers and love small hotels with personal touches,” Ms. Brown said. “We wanted to create one in our hometown.”
Montclair, 12 miles from New York City, is an affluent suburb that is home to producers, artists and other creative types. The George is about a 15-minute walk from downtown Montclair, a vibrant area with restaurants and locally owned boutiques, and near the Montclair Art Museum, which has a notable collection of American and Native American art. New Jersey Transit has several trains a day between Montclair and New York Penn Station; the ride takes from 50 minutes to an hour.
There are five room categories, ranging from a deluxe queen to the George suite, each with its own proper name and unique décor featuring eponymous pictures. My husband and I stayed in a deluxe king, the second room category, in a room called Jack. Jack is a light-flooded space with a clean but homey aesthetic, an exposed brick wall, a bed with an impossibly comfortable Casper mattress and plaid headboard, gold-studded night stands, a navy leather sitting chair and a 48-inch flat-screen television. Images of celebrity Jacks — Jack Nicholson, Jack Black and Jackie Robinson among them — hung from the gray walls. I was a fan of the Nexus tablet on my night stand that listed the hotel’s amenities and had recommendations of local restaurants and attractions.
Small but bright, the white-tiled bathroom had a white sink with limited counter space and a walk-in shower. The toiletries were from EO Products, an organic beauty brand that Ms. Brown said she personally loves and uses. The peppermint hand soap had a refreshing, gender-neutral scent.
Rates include Wi-Fi and a continental buffet breakfast. The George has no restaurant or liquor license; breakfast is served in a dining room on the lower level. The property has an arrangement with a nearby liquor store, Amanti Vino, where guests can order their favorite wine, beer or spirit and have it delivered to them at the hotel within 15 minutes; the cost is added to their room tab. There’s a small gift shop in the lobby selling pencils, candles and other knickknacks, many emblazoned with The George logo, and an inviting library with a gas fireplace and blue leather couch offers free wine, beer and snacks daily from 7 to 9 p.m. The chic room is the ideal place to settle in with a good book or relax with a glass of wine.
The breakfast spread was simple and tasty: the selections included various kinds of toast; hard-boiled eggs; smoked salmon; assorted cheeses, nuts, juices and cereals; yogurt parfaits, diced grapefruit and whole bananas and nectarines. There was a self-service station for coffee, tea and espresso.
The Bottom Line
The George is an appealing choice for both New Yorkers seeking a nearby suburban escape and tourists to the New York area who want to be close to the city but prefer accommodations in a quieter setting. The hotel’s friendly staff and fun design sensibility won us over and will likely do the same for other guests, too.
The George, 37 North Mountain Avenue, Montclair, N.J. thegeorgemontclair.com.