Formerly Hotel QT, the Grace is the Spanish Room Mate group’s first stateside outing — and it seems the stylish budget chain and the quirky Times Square boutique are a match made in heaven. While the name has changed, the idea remains the same: to offer something cheap but still chic, more inspiring and attractive than the chain motels but stylish enough to attract the right sort of patrons.
Though this is Times Square, you won’t see the usual tourists in souvenir shirts. Instead expect young arts-and-media types, up-and-coming musicians, and anyone else with Mercer style and a Holiday Inn budget. Youth hostels were one inspiration, but we’ve never seen a hostel with free wi-fi, flat-screen televisions, DVD players and Egyptian cotton bedding. Rooms for four are available, with twin bunk beds and an LCD screen in each bunk, perfect for a traveling band or four very close friends.
Other decidedly non-hostel perks include a swimming pool with underwater music and a swim-up window for ordering drinks from the bar. DJs play nightly in the lobby lounge, and there’s a 24-hour coffee bar for anyone exhausted by New York’s round-the-clock schedule. A continental breakfast is complimentary, and there’s even a sauna and a steam room. No restaurant, but given the location, you won’t go hungry for long.
With rates starting at around a hundred dollars for the simplest rooms, this is an excellent value, as cheap as some of the dismal motor inns and miles more stylish. And even if you’re not prepared to rough it, the penthouse at the Grace runs about as much as the most basic room at one of the tonier downtown hotels.