The Brooklyn Arts Hotel in Fitzroy is a beloved local institution, that owner Maggie Fooke has evocatively described as ‘like staying at your favourite Auntie’s house.’ After co-purchasing the property in 2006 with another family, and subsequently converting the guest house into the Brooklyn Arts Hotel – Maggie shares with us her reflections on this iconic site, before she wraps up operations early next year.
Maggie explains ‘my idea was to make accommodation for people interested in all the arts, including conversation, activism and philosophy.’ The hotel developed after years of soul-searching and Maggie’s realisation that ‘for the rest of my life, I wanted people around me, that I like.’
The Brooklyn Arts Hotel became a hub for creative thinkers from all disciplines, and word of mouth and friend recommendations proved an incredibly successful way to grow a business. Maggie succinctly explains ‘people like me liked it!’
Maggie’s own love of ‘the sound of people coming and going’ and enthusiasm for introducing guests to each other also cemented the Brooklyn Arts Hotel as a location for big ideas, and big rambling conversations. Maggie has previously owned the 1854 Theatre Royal and the 1923 Green Gables in Castlemaine, and describes being drawn to the energy of prominent historic buildings. ‘The only way to get that energy, like wrinkles, is to have a life.’
From initially managing, housekeeping, washing, coordinating bookings and maintenance, to later working full time and part-time – the Brooklyn Arts Hotel era is coming to a close for Maggie. With a background in architecture, landscape architecture, horticulture and film, and a list of interests and expertise as long as the phone book, we are excited to see what Maggie turns her attention to next.
In the mean-time, Maggie is looking forward to lots of farewells as guests come back for a final hurrah before closing the doors for the last time early next year. With a heart side of sass, she adds ‘I’ll miss almost everyone.’
We’re sad to say goodbye to this incredible Fitzroy icon, which is on the market! Perhaps a wealthy benefactor would like to preserve the integrity of The Brooklyn Arts Hotel building? See the full listing here!