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Grace PoolThe Grace is already popular with New Yorkers looking to make a splash at one of the city’s only indoor pool lounges. The rare commodity is sandwiched between the lobby and bar on the ground floor, with a sauna and steam room, and hosts pool parties several times a week. Déjà vu anyone?  If the scene and setup sound or look (pool pictured left) familiar, it’s because the Grace is the former Hotel QT, and aside from some superficial spiffying up, the vibe remains the same and the bikini revelry continues. The new Grace is Room Mate Hotels first establishment outside of Spain, and the value-oriented Spanish brand has made some welcomed improvements to the cheap-but-chic property. The pool parties rock (we hear Lee Chappell’s Monday night pool party, Drip, is Speedo mayhem with music by DJs like Jonjon Battles and the occasional impromptu drag performance; there’s also a Brazilian night once a month) but what we really dig about the Times Square boutique are the prices, from $169–$295/night, and all the smart extras included.  
  • Designers have traded the bland grey palate in rooms and hallways for a fun colorful scheme featuring oranges and golds, blues and pinks. The redecorating has been a work in progress but all the floors are expected to be finished by May.
  • Room categories range from Petite to Deluxe to King Bunk; all are small but make great use of the space with storage underneath platform beds and lofted ‘bunk’ beds in some.
  • Nightly rates include a big Spanish breakfast.
  • All 139 rooms feature free WiFi; free local calls; pillow-top mattresses; flat-screen TVs; CD/DVD players and iPod docking stations.
  • Although there’s no in-house restaurant (which helps keep rates down, by the way), guests can order ‘room service’ from nearby restaurants through the front desk. They’ll add the cost to your bill so you won’t need to front the cash. 
  • Shelves behind the front desk are stocked with snacks, drinks, and booze so you can purchase only what you crave and store those items in the mini-fridge in your room, which is empty upon check in. You can also purchase flimsy, disposable bathing suits from the front desk if you forget your own or are empowered by happy-hour drinks to take a dip.

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