So much has been said and written aboutHotel BPM (Beats Per Minute), the new music-themed hotel that opened in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park on August 1st. The first of its kind, Hotel BPM’s unconventional theme sparked lots of talk when owner DJ BIJAL revealed his plans to blend music and hospitality. The notion of a music hotel was hard to swallow at first; a number of misconceptions were spread about Hotel BPM throughout its four-year construction phase. There were those who touted it as a party hotel with music blasting out of speakers unto the street, rooftop parties, and neon light shows. Not surprisingly, the hotel’s neighbors grew concerned at the thought of a 24-hour rave in their midst, but upon learning of DJ BIJAL’s bona fide vision for the music hotel, it was all love.
“The initial reaction was very mixed,” says DJ BIJAL standing in the lobby of the hotel as workers continue putting the final touches to the space for this week’s opening. “Some people were confused and they were calling it everything from a hip-hop hotel to a party hotel. They were completely wrong. I just have a passion for music, and I’m incorporating this aspect into a luxury hotel. The hotelis completely soundproof,” he explains.
Just how does Hotel BPM differ from standard hotels? The distinctions are clear even before you step foot inside the 76-room building. When you call up the hotel to make reservations, guests are asked for their choice of songs for the request hour, which is every day from 10am to 11am. These songs are played randomly and can be heard throughout the hotel’s shared spaces and inside the rooms. Unlike previously rumored, the hotel doesn’t pledge allegiance to hip-hop alone, but all music. When Sensation, dance music’s biggest event, makes its American debut at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in October, Hotel BPM will fine-tune their playlist to cater to the many electro, techno, and dub-step fans staying at the hotel for the big party. “We try to appeal to everyone and the songs requested have really been across the board,” says DJ BIJAL, who made a name for himself spinning mostly hip-hop and dancehall reggae around the world and on his Sirius XMradio show. He has also collaborated with artists like Ne-Yo and Akon.
“The feel of the music changes throughout the day. We increase in BPM as the day goes on, so the music gets higher in energy,” he reveals. “For your morning breakfast, you’ll hear more mellow songs that aren’t instantly recognizable. Come check-in time,we play more radio-friendly hits. So far the first round of guests have requested a little bit of everything. We’re talking a little bit of Selena Gomez, Frank Sinatra, and Fabulous.” As long as the song requested is in the hotel’s catalogue of licensed music, DJ BIJAL will play it. Every time a song is heard during the request hour, the artist gets credit. “We are supporting the music industry along the way, and that’s always great.”
Although when visiting DJs spin in the hotel’s lobby, they are free to play anything they want—as long as it’s clean. “All the DJs under contract have to play at least 90% clean music,” DJ BIJAL explains. “I get that you can’t do it 100% of the time because you just may not have a clean version of every song.” Rooms come equipped with volume control. If you want to hear the DJ’s set in your room, all you have to do is turn it up, and if you’re not feeling the DJ, well, just turn it off.