With its reception area doubling up as a busy little convenience store, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were checking into an upmarket hostel on arrival at Room Mate Grace. But there’s much more to it than initially meets the eye: an Andre Balazs-designed hotel (before it was bought up by the Spanish Room Mate chain) it’s got style to burn and a nice, laid-back vibe. But its real secret is that it forgoes many of the usual hotel services for which you’re often overcharged, while still providing pretty much everything you might actually need.
Most of the rooms are definitely on the bijou side, but they never feel cramped thanks to the smart use of space. Each room comes with the usual necessities such as flat-screen TVs and fluffy dressing gowns. But you also get a little more bang for your buck, in the form of an iPod dock, free WiFi throughout and clever extras like local takeout menus and an empty minibar which you can stock at will.
Other unexpected perks? The very friendly staff and original interior design, from the ostrich-like low banquette-cum-bedside table to the funky, retro printed wallpaper (that creates the impression that the walls have been gift-wrapped).
A slightly bizarre, but nevertheless very welcome, aspect of Room Mate Grace is that at the very heart of the hotel is an indoor pool. Here you can take a dip, watch movies on a full-size screen, sip cocktails at Happy Hour while the DJ plays and even have your breakfast in the overhanging mezzanine.
- The super-friendly staff
- The free WiFi
- The central location
- The chlorine pool aroma with breakfast
- The easyjet orange branding
Need to Know: Room Mate Grace
Number of rooms: 139
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 12noon
Room service: No. But they do provide neighbouring restaurant menus for deliveries
Swimming pool: Yes
Dogs welcome: No
Eating and drinking: There’s no restaurant as such. But the bar on the ground floor by the pool offers evening cocktails and a DJ. As for breakfast, it’s served on the 2nd floor mezzanine.
Near to? Right by Times Square, the hotel is within a stone’s throw of the Rockefeller Center, the MOMA, and Fifth Avenue shopping.
Getting there: While New York has a few major airports (John F Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International Airport out in Newark, New Jersey), visitors from the UK will more than likely be landing at JFK. Getting from the airport to Room Mate Grace is a straight choice between shuttle bus, subway and taxi. Buses run every 20 minutes or so from 6am to midnight, and can take up to an hour or so to get to Grand Central Station (from where the hotel is a 5-10 minute cab ride away). The 47-50 Sts/Rockefeller Center subway stop – for lines B, D, F and M – is a couple of blocks away from the hotel. A taxi from JFK can take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes (depending on the traffic) but a flat fare was recently introduced.
SPECIAL OFFERS AT ROOM MATE GRACE:
Throughout the summer Room Mate Grace are offering ELLE escapes users 10% off all bookings made more than seven days in advance.