Royalton Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Midtown West, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

Bottom Line

A Times Square-area luxury boutique with stunning rooms and lobby/lounge, the Royalton is arguably worth the price for its contemporary, high-concept design alone. Service is very solid, but beds are just OK and the 24-hour gym and business center are merely serviceable.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

This hotel is a real looker. Guests, predominantly 30-something professionals, sip specialty cocktails in the spacious, moody, cosmopolitan lobby lounge.

Fancy cars parked at the entrance
Fancy cars parked at the entrance

Designed by powerhouse decorating duo Stephen Alesch and Robin Stadnefer of Roman and Williams, the Royalton achieves the kind of sultry mystique that so many boutique hotels aspire to but don't quite achieve. The expansive, mood-lit lobby, which in the evenings doubles as a cocktail lounge for 30-something professionals, runs long and narrow past the small lobby bar and lounge Bar 44 and the recessed front desk. Beyond the elevators lies the swanky Forty Four restaurant. The paneled or carved walls and abacus-like metal screen create a sultry and sophisticated atmosphere complemented by music selections that range from cool jazz in the daytime to The Smiths and Radiohead at night.

The sizable rooms, similarly sleek and atmospheric, feature recessed, wood-framed beds, futuristic bathrooms, and up-to-date electronics.

The Royalton is run by Morgans Hotel group. Cofounded by Studio 54 creator Ian Schrager -- who has since left -- the chain is still known for high-end, design-driven hotels with solid service, and the Royalton fits that reputation precisely.

 Service

Diligent doormen and lightning-fast service earn the Royalton high marks.

Room service
Room service

Fast, professional, slightly formal service is the rule. Several doormen are posted at the doorway, dashing out to grab a guests' bags and ever-ready to run through the rain to flag a taxi. Check-in was virtually instantaneous. Room service was extraordinarily fast -- 16 minutes for my yogurt parfait. And housekeeping met a request for extra towels in three minutes (and dashed away so quickly I almost didn't have time to extend a tip).

One minor complaint: while a handful of New York hotels, including the W Union Square and the Four Seasons, offer round-the-clock concierge service, here it's limited to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

 Location

A relatively calm block in otherwise busy Midtown West, the Royalton sits near the Times Square theater district and Bryant Park. Nightlife in the area isn't great, but there are plenty of eateries nearby.

Although the neon-lit, 24-hour pedestrian madness of Times Square is just five minutes on foot from the Royalton, the street scene outside the entrance is relatively calm. The block is home to the Harvard, Yale, Penn, and New York Yacht clubs, plus several other luxury hotels, including the Algonquin, Sofitel, City Club, and Iroquois.

With subway stations at Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and Times Square all within walking distance, the hotel is an easy walk to virtually every major subway line.

Nearby are the Museum of Modern Art, the famous Fifth Avenue luxury shopping corridor, and Bryant Park, which in the winter months is home to the city's only free ice-skating rink. Other popular attractions within easy walking distance include Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the Chrysler Building.

 Rooms

High design and great lighting coupled with futuristic bathrooms make the rooms feel very cool.

The Standard Two Queen Room
The Standard Two Queen Room
  • Trendy, spacious, and beautifully appointed, the rooms make a dramatic design statement with recessed beds, teardrop lamps, and a Jetsons-style bathroom.
  • Starting at 250 square feet, the Royalton's rooms are a decent size and are efficiently laid out. The entryway features a space away from the beds for a windowside work desk and a closet. The closet holds a safe, minibar, iron and ironing board, and umbrellas, which guests can borrow for free or take with them for about $35.
  • The beds are outfitted with custom mattresses built exclusively for the hotel, Egyptian cotton linens, and down comforters and pillows.
  • Every room comes with an iPad loaded with a virtual concierge application. Guests can use it to request room service, event tickets, or car service, check their flight details, and research local attractions.
  • The light-blue walls are a smart compromise between beige traditionalism and the forbidding darkness of many modern-design boutique rooms. The heads of the beds lay in alcoves, beside which a metal mesh cubby hole houses a clock, a phone, and the TV remote.
  • The wall-mounted 27-inch LG flat-screen HD TV carries such premium channels as HBO and Bloomberg TV, as well as pay-per-view movies. It also swivels to face the beds. Rooms come with Bose iPod docking stations and a $25 Morgans Hotel Group soundtrack CD featuring cool indie-rock performers like Andrew Bird and Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.
  • The bathroom, outfitted with dark gray tile and a steel, conical sink, looks like something out of the recent Star Trek prequel. Bath products from Malin + Goetz and a rainfall showerhead in a wand-shaped, high-power handheld fixture further contribute to the moody, futuristic vibe.

 Features

The gym has nice equipment but is unpleasantly small and dark. The unimpressive business center charges for Internet.

Small gym, but nice equipment
Small gym, but nice equipment

The fitness center on the fourth floor has well-maintained equipment, but the dark, small space has just one window and it faces a cinderblock wall. The six cardio machines -- two ellipticals, a recumbent bike, and three treadmills -- each has a personal flat-screen TV. A set of free weights, a pulldown machine, water, and apples round out the offerings.

Similarly, the business center next door is functional but uninspiring: two desktop computers, a photocopier-fax machine, and an easy chair sit in the gray, square room. Internet service, either at the business center or through in-room Wi-Fi, is charged at a 24 hour rate.

No spa on the property, but the concierge can arrange in-room treatments.

 Family

Not hostile to children, but not really a kid-friendly place.

The hotel provides cribs for a fee, and the concierge will arrange babysitting services. But there's really nothing on the property to amuse children, and the lobby/lounge is a place for mellow adult chitchat, not energetic ragamuffins.

 Cleanliness

Top-to-bottom clean, with no signs of wear in the bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, or lobby.

A hotel that takes its looks very seriously, the Royalton puts in the requisite beautification work. On my way out, I saw a maintenance worker retouching the paint on one of the lobby's pillars, even though it hadn't been noticeably tarnished.

 Food

A decent daily dinner deal at high-end American Forty Four, and solid and speedy room service.

Dinner at Bistro 44
Dinner at Bistro 44
  • Room service, available from 7 a.m. to midnight, also comes from the Forty Four kitchen
  • The hotel's bar, Forty Four, re-opened in October 2010 with a new cocktail menu designed by a group of all-star bartenders known as "The Cocktail Collective." In addition to inventive cocktails (such as the Stone Place, with aged Jamaican rum, fresh lemon and orange juice, and house-made grenadibe), the bar also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare (such as flatbreads, soft tacos, and sliders).
  • The area has scores of other options, but it's worth noting that celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's D.B. Bistro Moderne is just down the block.

 Bottom Line

A Times Square-area luxury boutique with stunning rooms and lobby/lounge, the Royalton is arguably worth the price for its contemporary, high-concept design alone. Service is very solid, but beds are just OK and the 24-hour gym and business center are merely serviceable.

Things You Should Know About Royalton

Address

  • 44 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As

  • New York City Royalton
  • Royalton Hotel
  • Royalton Hotel New York
  • Royalton Hotel New York City
  • Royalton New York City

Room Types

  • Alcove Suite
  • Deluxe King Room
  • Deluxe Queen Room w/Fireplace
  • Deluxe Queen Room w/soaking tub
  • Deluxe Queen Room w/Soaking Tub and Fireplace
  • Loft
  • Penthouse A
  • Penthouse B
  • Penthouse C
  • Standard Room
  • Superior Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 170
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Midtown West, Manhattan
Address: 44 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
(See Map)
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