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Hyatt has opened a new Unbound Collection hotel in NYC…and I’ll be avoiding it

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Hyatt has confirmed that Grayson Hotel has become the first Unbound Collection property to open its doors in New York City.

The property is located in a newly constructed building in Midtown which puts it just moments away from Bryant Park, the Andaz 5th Avenue, and the Hyatt Centric Midtown.

a map of a city
Click or tap to enlarge
a map of a city
Click or tap to enlarge

Grayson Hotel offers 296 guestrooms and suites designed, we’re told, with NYC in mind and so feature “the juxtaposition of grace and grit—interiors with exposed concrete ceilings, bathrooms with subway tiles, and bespoke artwork designed to evoke an authentic sense of Manhattan style“.

If you look closely at this image that Hyatt has supplied, you’ll see an example of an exposed concrete ceiling in one of the guestrooms.

a room with a bed and a desk

That’s not the kind of decor that I can imagine myself enjoying as I stare up at the ceiling from the bed. The rest of the room looks ok but the ceiling makes it looks like someone forgot to finish their job or that the owners ran out of money part-way through the development.

Besides, do New Yorkers really want visitors to think that a key element that epitomizes what their city is all about is a view of exposed concrete?

In-room amenities include something called a “butler-style mini bar service” (said to offer craft cocktails and locally sourced snacks and beverages) as well as toiletries from Lather and custom-designed “hoodie bathrobes”.

Apparently, the rooms all also have a bronze statue of the hotel’s French Bulldog mascot, Grayson, but as most rooms are just 250 sq ft in area, we have to hope that this isn’t a statue of any significant size.

Elsewhere within the property is a 24-hour fitness center, GRIT, which features all the usual tools needed for a workout as well as SoulCycle commercial bikes, TRX treadmills, a StairMaster HIIT machine, and cross-trainers.

On the dining front, Grayson Hotel will offer a Mediterranean brasserie and al fresco wine and tapas Bar, a rooftop Tequila and Mezcal Lounge (28th floor) with views from the Empire State Building to the East and Hudson Rivers, and a taqueria and margarita bar in the alley behind the hotel.

World of Hyatt information

Grayson Hotel has entered the World of Hyatt program as a Category 5 property which means that award nights will cost 17,000 points (off-peak season), 20,000 points (standard season), or 23,000 points (peak season).

A look a the property’s points chart quickly reveals that while all nights in January and February are priced at just 17,000 points per night and while half of the nights in March are also priced at off-peak rates, the rest of the year is almost entirely made up of nights costing either 20,000 or 23,000 points.

In fact, between 15 March and 9 December 2023, there are just 4 nights on which awards are priced at the property’s off-peak rate so, on the whole, it’s probably best to just assume that you’ll have to pay at least 20,000 points per night at this property unless you’re visiting in the first two months of the year.

The annoyance

Like a lot of NYC hotels, Grayson Hotel charges a “Destination Fee” which after taxes are factored in, will cost guests almost $35 per night.

a screenshot of a hotel room

At this point, I’d love to be able to tell you what this rip-off fee is supposed to cover but because (at the time of writing) there’s absolutely no mention of this fee anywhere on the Hyatt booking page,…

a screenshot of a hotel website

…the hotel’s Hyatt page (link), the Hyatt page discussing the hotel’s rooms (link), or on the hotel’s own home page (link), I can’t. And that’s nothing short of disgraceful.

It’s bad enough that Grayson Hotel is choosing to join the dark side by charging nonsense rip-off fees, but to have no details about these fees on view anywhere is disgusting.

As things stand, the first opportunity a potential guest has to see the “Destination Fee” is on the final page of their booking but if they’re not paying attention, this will be an incredibly easy fee to miss. As far as I’m concerned, this is reason enough to give this property a wide berth.

Bottom line

I was genuinely excited when the Grayson Hotel press release dropped into my inbox because as a huge fan of Hyatt, news of a new Hyatt property is always something that I’m on the lookout for.

Sadly, however, it didn’t take long for my excitement to disappear and to have it replaced with disappointment.

The rooms look small, the decor sounds ridiculous (admittedly, I should only pass final judgment once I’ve seen it) and the whole vibe that I’m getting from the description of the property is that it’s more interested in being perceived as cool than it is in being a great place to stay. It sounds like a low-end W Hotel.

More importantly, the lack of clarity around the destination fee is verging on the criminal so, with that and everything else in mind, this won’t be a property that I’ll be visiting.

If I want to stay in Midtown (one of my favorite places to stay when visiting Manhattan) I’ll probably choose the Hyatt Centric that’s just a 3-minute walk from Grayson Hotel.

It offers larger standard rooms, it doesn’t charge a destination fee, and based on the limited number of searches that I’ve performed, it offers better cash rates, so why would I choose Grayson?

Featured image courtesy of Hyatt

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  1. Hyatt Centric 5th Av remains a great choice when rates are the same with some great views of the Empire State Building and ubiquitous water towers on neiborhood roofs.

  2. Wow this is a very harsh review for someone that hasn’t even stayed here. Many high end hotels such as the Public Hotel have exposed concrete ceilings. It actually looks great. As far as the fees go I mean pretty much every hotel in NYC has that. As an Explorist member I’m excited to give this hotel a try.

    • This wasn’t a review. It was a critique based on on a PR release. And I stick by every comment I made…except for the comments re. the undisclosed ripoff fee where, on reflection, I wasn’t harsh enough.

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