Elegant, stylish rooms with kettles, hairdryers, and desks
Four-person rooms with bunk beds available
Indoor pool with swim-up bar and weekend parties
Free 24-hour sauna and gym
Tasty breakfast buffet with made-to-order items
Free property-wide Wi-Fi
Free use of Wi-Fi dongle for internet outside of hotel
Base-level rooms are cramped
Complaints of noise reaching rooms
No full restaurant or room service
Pool overlooks lobby, limiting privacy
Pool and bar sometimes closed for parties and events
The upper-middle-range Room Mate Grace is a stylish, modern boutique with a central setting in Times Square. The 139 rooms have patterned wallpaper, free Wi-Fi, minibars, and flat-screen TVs, but entry-level units are tiny. Given the busy location, noise can be an issue. Although lacking a full restaurant, an excellent healthy breakfast buffet spread is available for a fee, while all guests get free access to a sauna and small 24-hour gym. A small indoor pool with a swim-up bar is a rarity for this area, but it's reserved for pool parties on certain evenings. Overall, this is a great value for the area, but travelers wanting something a bit quieter should consider the nearby Kimpton Muse Hotel.
Stylish boutique property with few amenities aside from its happening pool
The 139-room Room Mate Grace is a boutique property geared toward budget-minded tourists who want affordable, yet stylish rooms near Times Square. While it used to draw a party-focused crowd with its 24-hour pool and swim-up bar, the bar now closes at 11 p.m. and parties are less frequent here. Guests will still have to worry about occasional noise from pool parties and the busy street outside. Nevertheless, there's still a fun and friendly atmosphere, which draws a mix of couples, families, and groups of friends. Of course, the hotel's name needs some explaining. Every Room Mate hotel carries the name of an imaginary person -- in this case, "Grace." Grace, described as the "most creative, eloquent, and cosmopolitan headhunter" on the hotel's website, is supposed to embody a New York friend that welcomes you to stay at her place.
The current design features chic black-and-gold elements in the lobby, bold modern wallpaper in rooms, and a striking lounge with multiple black-and-white patterns. The pool, with its color-changing lights, also stands outs, but it's small and visible to passersby at reception. As with most hotels in New York City, many rooms are on the small side, but options for three and four people are larger. Overall, this is an excellent value for the area, but it's worth considering Hotel Mela for something cheaper in the area. Travelers not dead-set on being in Times Square may prefer the hip and luxurious NoMad Hotel, though rates are much higher.
Half-block from Times Square attractions, near eateries and subway stations
Located on West 45th Street, Room Mate Grace is just a half-block away from the heart of Times Square, but it's not so close that guests can't get a decent night's rest. Though once seedy, Times Square was reborn in the mid-'90s as a commercialized tourist haven, lit by 24-hour flashing billboards and theme restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp. Today, visitors walking the streets are more likely to be accosted by a comedy-club promoter, a pedicab operator, or a caricature artist than a mugger. (It also helps that there's a huge police station smack in the center of Times Square.) It's crowded, but there's something unquestionably exhilarating -- and convenient -- about staying in the neon-lit heart of the city. Numerous restaurants, fast-food outlets, and shops are nearby, as are Broadway theaters and every major subway line.
Though varying with traffic, the hotel is about a 50-minute drive from John F. Kennedy International Airport, 30 minutes from LaGuardia Airport, and 35 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport.
Small, but comfy and stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi and kettles
The 139 rooms are done in a similar style that combines bold patterned wallpaper and carpets with minimal modern furniture and some attractive embellishments such as studded headboards and silver desk chairs. The color palette consists primarily of neutral tones, and pops of gold or silver add some interest. The look is fun and trendy, but perhaps a bit busy for some. Also on the downside, lower-category rooms are tiny, measuring just 161 square feet (15 square meters) and some past guests have complained of noise from the street, adjacent rooms, and the hallway. However, upgraded units and suites are more spacious, and there are rooms for three and four guests.
All units have flat-screen TVs with HBO, free Wi-Fi, minibars, kettles, desks, air-conditioning, and closets with electronic safes and ironing facilities. Beds are reportedly comfy, and some have bunk beds. Some suites add cozy sitting areas. Bathrooms have walk-in showers with white subway tiles, hairdryers, and quality toiletries.
No full restaurant, but buffet breakfast and happening pool
This small boutique's standout feature is the small pool with a swim-up bar -- a rarity for New York. The pool has color-changing lights that give it a fun vibe, but it's quite compact. Occasionally, the pool is closed for parties, and the bar closes somewhat early (11 p.m. during our visit). Also note that the pool is visible from the lobby area, which may be a downside for some. Near here is a free-to-use sauna and a gym with just a few pieces of equipment.
Although there's no full restaurant here, a quality buffet breakfast is served every day until noon for a fee. The spread consists of typical continental items, plus scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. No room service is offered, but guests can have outside food delivered to the hotel.
An internet corner is on-site, and free Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the property. Additionally, a big perk are the Wi-Fi dongles that are available and allow for internet access outside the property. Laundry services can also be provided.