Located in the heart of Times Square at 125 W 45th is the trendy hotel, Roommate Grace. To celebrate our first anniversary, my husband and I took a road trip to New York City last week and spent two nights here. Would we return? No.
The tiny halls and even tinier rooms were like stepping into an LSD-induced trip down the rabbit hole of Alice’s Wonderland. Dim red lights glowed from the ceilings, and the black and white psychedelic swirling wallpaper had a dizzying affect. I guess if you’re into that, it was pretty cool.
Hotel Room Cleanliness
The room was clean enough, aside from the lingering odour of the person who’d so obviously taken a nap recently on what should have been our fresh linens. But the bathroom was clean, albeit old and rundown. The pocket door didn’t close all the way, and the toilet didn’t flush properly (we had to route around the back of the tank to get it to refill and stop running). The bathroom had a very European feel in that the shower was one with the rest of the bathroom, separated only by an old, heavy plastic curtain.
The Internet connection was up and down, which made it very difficult for us to map out our day and check email. A small issue, but frustrating nonetheless.
We didn’t see bugs … until the last day, that is, when a large carpenter ant made its appearance at the foot of the bed. What is it they say? Where there’s one ant you can see, there are 10,000 more you can’t see. It’s New York, though, so at least it wasn’t a roach, or worse, a rat. I pick my battles.
The lobby featured a small swim-up bar and lounge area, which was interesting. After a full day of sightseeing in the sweltering sun, the cool water was a welcome relief.
Hotel Customer Service … or lack thereof
Second only to cleanliness, service is the most important factor for me when choosing a hotel. Unfortunately, Roommate Grace fell flat. When I made our reservations, I told the hotel we were coming to visit in celebration of our 1st wedding anniversary. We received an email in return stating that a note was made on our file. That lead me to believe that perhaps we’d be greeted with a little special something — perhaps a room upgrade, free breakfast, or a complimentary drink voucher. Just something to say, “hey congrats and thanks for choosing the Roommate Grace!” Otherwise, why would they bother to tell us a note be made on our file?
We first stopped in front of the hotel to ask where to park the car — they told us around the corner on 44th. No name of the garage, no address. It took us 3 loops around the find the right one (it’s called Meyers, btw). Circling Times Square at 10pm in search of parking after a nine-hour drive… slightly nerve wracking.
When we checked in, the guy at reception gave us a quick “oh, congratulations,” and that was the end of that. No help with our bags, no pointing us to the elevators, no nothing. At the front desk were pictures of beautiful rooms boasting large bathtubs and beautiful views of the city – but no upgrade for us. Ok, no biggie. Once we were in the room, I looked for some basic information — a menu, bar and pool hours, which floor to find an ice machine, you know, the basics. There was nothing.
The “continental breakfast” (such as it was) cost $14. In the morning we called down to ask if we could get a simple cup of coffee and were very abruptly told “No, it doesn’t matter if you eat breakfast or just wanted coffee, the price is $14.” Breakfast, by the way, consisted of little more than muffins and bagels.
If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in NYC to celebrate a special occasion, the Roommate Grace hotel is not the place to go. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking for a free ride by any means, but seriously, it was our 1st anniversary and we couldn’t even get a cup of coffee for less than 14 bucks.
When we checked out of the hotel, we went to the front desk to settle our bill from the bar the night before ($12 for a 5oz glass of Malbec – they didn’t even have a merlot! Again, no “happy anniversary, have a glass on us.”) We asked the woman at reception, “which way is shorter to get to the parking garage to pick up our car – left or right?” Her response, “Uhh, I don’t know.”
So we walked our own route to the garage, will all our bags in tow, only to learn that our parking ticket should have been validated by the hotel — if we wanted the $50 price, that is, instead of $90. Fortunately, the folks at the garage were very helpful and nice — they took us up to the 4th floor so we could load our bags into the car before hiking back over to the hotel. It just goes to show that you can find helpful people in the heart of the city — but not at the Roommate Grace.
When we got back to the front desk of the hotel, I was hot, tired and less than impressed as I told the same woman, “we just checked out, asked you the quickest way to get to the parking garage, and you didn’t validate my parking.” The woman had the audacity to giggle with a “hehe oops!”
Ya, oops is right, thanks for nothing!
I’ve stayed in many hotels over the years, in many cities and countries. This wasn’t the worst by any means, but the service was absolutely terrible. Fortunately, we found a deal and only paid about $150/night, which begs the question, does the Roommate Grace customize its level of service based on how much you pay per night?
In any event, I would not return to this hotel – at any price – simply because the staff was so abrasive and unhelpful.
If anyone else has stayed here, I’d love to hear your feedback! Please share with us below.