On our annual trip to NYC, we stayed at the new Grayson Hotel and had a good experience.
This is our VERY comprehensive Grayson Hotel review so use the Table of Content links to jump ahead if you want.
Grayson Hotel Review tl;dr
The Grayson Hotel in NYC is a new, underrated, affordable choice with a great location in Midtown Manhattan.
While the hotel had only been open a short time when we visited, we had a wonderful experience. Although there were some minor issues, the Grayson is a hidden gem with a fantastic location in Midtown, spectacular skyline views, and (mostly) great service. And the food was out of this world!
You’ll find 296 comfortable & quiet (yes, quiet) rooms in this totally renovated building. Like most Manhattan hotel rooms, the Grayson’s rooms are small, and there are only 3 suites.
For Sandra (aka Zuzu) & me, The Grayson is the best Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan, especially for Hyatt Globalists. Even with a smaller room, it was a better experience than we had at the nearby Andaz 5th Avenue.
The Grayson is in the heart of New York City, with easy access to sought-after locations like Bryant Park, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. Overall, we had a fantastic experience here despite a few small issues.
Other Grayson Hotel Reviews
Since it’s one of the newest hotels in NYC, there aren’t many Grayson Hotel reviews to be found on the internet. Here are a few others to get a different perspective from our stay. And don’t miss the great podcast review of the Grayson by Richard & Ed of Miles to Go Podcast.
Don’t want to read this entire comprehensive review of the Grayson Hotel? Use the Table of Content links to jump to what you need:
Booking & Reservations
For a room in a central area of Manhattan, The Grayson offers fantastic off-peak value. And it seemed like a solid rate at other times as well. Around our travel dates, prices varied from $400-$500, a pretty typical rate for Midtown Manhattan.
Best Rates on the Grayson Hotel
While we booked for free using Hyatt points, you’ll usually find the best deals on the Grayson Hotel by checking one of these websites:
As top tier Globalists in the World of Hyatt loyalty program, Zuzu and I love using Hyatt points to stay for free in gorgeous luxury hotel stays- and you can too. With strategic and sensible use of a few credit cards, most people can leverage your normal household expenses to earn free luxury hotel nights.
What’s not to love about that?
We redeemed our Hyatt points at the Grayson Hotel NYC for a totally free stay. Our only charges were $113 for drinks at the 2 bars.
Award Category 5 Hotel
The Grayson Hotel NYC is a Hyatt Category 5 hotel with standard rooms going for 20,000 points on standard nights. With Hyatt, the points price can rise to 23k on peak nights and fall to 17k on off peak nights. Our holiday trip to NYC caught the peak rates so we paid 23,000 points per night.
How Much Were Our Hyatt Points Worth
The cash price for our stay at the Grayson would have been $1492 but we used 69k Hyatt points for a free 3 night stay. That’s 2.2 cents per point.
However, I include any free perks (like free breakfast, waived resort fee, free parking…) when I calculate what Hyatt points are worth to me.
With a phenomenal breakfast in the Grayson’s lobby, our free total was actually $1838. That makes our Hyatt points worth 2.7 cents each.
That’s actually one of our lower points value redemptions but definitely a good use of our Hyatt points.
Part of the reason we stayed at the Grayson is because it’s just a block from where we stayed last Christmas at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. We loved that location for exploring Midtown Manhattan and the Grayson Hotel’s location was equally great.
Read our full review of the Andaz 5th Avenue.
The Grayson Hotel NYC is between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, and just one block from Bryant Park and the main NYC library. It’s also about 1 ½ blocks from the Bryant Street Subway Station on 42nd.
Smack dab in the middle of the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, and Times Square, The Grayson Hotel has a great location for business or pleasure.
As far as Midtown Manhattan goes, you’re unlikely to find better. You can access pretty much anything you’d like in a great area of New York City. With easy access to the subways, traveling all around the city is easy.
While you really don’t need a car to explore Manhattan, if you need to set your GPS, the mailing and GPS address for the hotel is:
Grayson Hotel, 30 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018 (212) 229-4729
If you’re flying into the area, it’s pretty convenient for all 3 of the major NYC airports:
- LaGuardia (LGA)
- John F Kennedy (JFK)
- Newark (EWR)
We found the best deal for this trip on Delta and flew into LaGuardia Airport, just 7.5 miles from the Grayson Hotel. After a short bus ride, we took the subway and were at the Grayson Hotel about 35 minutes after landing.
Nearest Subway Station
Since it was just a block and a half away, we mostly used the 42nd Street Bryant Park Station on the NW corner of Bryant park (6th Ave & W 42nd St).
The majority of our subway trips were on the Orange Line (#GoBigOrange) which goes mostly Uptown (North) & Downtown (South). We also used the 5th Ave Station (W 42nd St between 5th Ave & 6th Av) for the Purple line.
The NYC subway can be confusing if you’ve never used it before. Since this was our 2nd trip to the city, we took it as a challenge and tried to use the subway exclusively.
After just 3 days, we were a lot more comfortable and made only a couple of (minor) transit mistakes.
Other Hyatts in Manhattan
Compared to the other full service Hyatt properties in New York City, The Grayson Hotel NYC is one of the least expensive for both cash bookings as well as Hyatt points redemptions for free stays.
Along with the number of Hyatt points required for a free night, here are some of the places we’ve stayed or considered for Hyatt hotels in Midtown Manhattan:
- Park Hyatt NYC – 40k points
- Thompson Central Park – 25k points
- Hyatt Andaz 5th Avenue – 30k points
- The Grayson NYC – 20k points
- Hyatt Centric Times Square – 25k points
- Hyatt Centric Midtown Fifth Ave – 25k points
- Hyatt Grand Central – 20k points
- The Chatwal – 40k points
- Hyatt Herald Square – 20k points
Whether you’re paying with cash or with points, The Grayson Hotel is a much more practical entry point than the Park Hyatt New York, especially for quick trips or stays where over the top luxury isn’t your aim.
Want to jump ahead & scan this detailed Grayson Hotel review? Use the Table of Content links to jump to what you need:
Lobby Check In
The Grayson makes a strong first impression as you approach the front on 39th Street.
Instead of the usual road loop for car drop offs, they have a little area set up to have tables and chairs outside during nice weather. The hotel itself has an industrial-chic look that fits the area well.
Overall, think elegant but modern vibes with some very nice art for added flair. The Grayson lobby uses wood and brass with earth tones for a sophisticated check-in area. The one possible confusion is that there are three front doors for The Grayson.
The two doors on the left are for the great lobby restaurant and bar (more on those later).
The registration desk itself lies just inside the entrance, a little past the restaurant. It was small, but they managed a quick and efficient check-in process. As WoH Globalists, we asked about early check-in prior to our arrival. As you might expect, they said it depends on availability.
Fortunately, the hotel was not full the night before our arrival and we were able to check in at 10am.
Grayson King Room (Empire View)
With only three suites, we didn’t expect an upgrade to a suite but the front desk did bump us up to a preferred room. We were assigned room 1205 on the 12th floor and were told the views would be impressive.
We received a small corner room (250 ft.²). Small is the name of the game in Manhattan, so this was reasonable enough for a non-suite room.
It was a decent looking room, with a sliding barn door to the bathroom and a large mirror with handy hooks in the entryway.
They had a hotel-branded umbrella in-room and ready to use, which was a nice touch. The ‘living’ area has a big screen TV with built-in Chromecast.
Overall the room was comfortable and well appointed and (except for the bathroom) packed with natural light. But there were a few little details in need of fixing. That’s not unexpected, given how new The Grayson Hotel is.
We had a TV issue on the Tuesday of our stay, when the remote failed. Engineering came up quickly, but while he wasn’t quite rude… let’s just say that he was more concerned about himself than us.
After some remote swap-outs and fiddling, it did get resolved.
I don’t know if it’s related, but we used the Chromecast option overnight for some white noise. At 3 AM, the TV changed channels and woke us up abruptly.
Before then, I had actually been impressed at how well the Hyatt app on my phone and the Chromecast on the TV worked together.
We’ve stayed at a lot of Hyatt properties, and I can usually only get the Chromecast to work about 50% of the time. The first time we tried to use it here, it was simple to set up and worked exactly like you would want it to.
They had a hotel-wide false fire alarm while we were there, too. At least it means there’s fire control installed, I guess!
Sadly, the bed was a bit of a letdown. The mattress was a touch too soft for our tastes- but the sheets and pillows were really disappointing.
The sheets just felt cheap.
I never checked for a label but the sheets and comforter felt like high polyester counts. Our bed frame was too large for the mattress which led to a couple of busted shins.
While the pillows were huge (just the way I like them), they were VERY stiff. Not comfortable at all.
First, we asked housekeeping for smaller pillows. They didn’t have any.
As we were heading out for sightseeing, we called down to request extra pillows. They were not there when we got back six hours later.
It took another stop by the front desk and another call down to get some extra pillows delivered, but they did arrive.
The woes didn’t end there, either.
The ceiling was odd- and (I hope accidentally) unfinished. Think untreated concrete with random stains, chalk, lines, and construction paint. I’ve never seen anything like this in a hotel before.
If it was an intentional design choice, it’s just weird. It looks dirty.
We joked that we kind of expected to see some gum on it that needed to be scraped off.
It’s worth noting that Will Run For Miles also commented about ‘distressed’ ceilings. I’d say distressing!
Desk and Chair
There was a desk at the window, which had great natural light to offer. Thank goodness there was a well lit place to sit as Zuzu had to do most of her makeup here (see the bathroom light problems below).
The desk chair wasn’t the best, but it’s a rarity to find a NYC room with a desk at all, so it was definitely an appreciated touch. Not all rooms at the Grayson have a desk. Some opt for 2 chairs and a seating alcove (it seems to be the double rooms). So this might be worth asking about when you book.
We requested a mini fridge since there wasn’t one in room. Unlike our other requests, the refrigerator was delivered quickly by a very pleasant young man who knew it would fit well under the desk.
The bathrooms carry on the ‘industrial-chic’ style of the hotel. A little too much in our case, although it would have been fine without the light issue.
The bathroom was a little dark, with only one light in the center of the ceiling. And this darkness was compounded by the fact that the single overhead light mostly didn’t work… Until the middle of the night, when it randomly turned on and we got a blast of extra bright light we really didn’t appreciate!
If you’re keeping score, that’s “Unwanted Blast in the Middle of the Night” #2, ugh.
For Zuzu, the lack of light made doing makeup in the bathroom impossible. Luckily, the natural light at the bedroom desk was great, and she was able to do her makeup there instead. Ladies may want to consider throwing a travel mirror in their makeup bag in case.
The bathroom has no tub, only a shower. There’s a connecting window to the bedroom, but you can close it with blinds if needed.
Part of the issue with the bathroom being too dark was a motion sensor problem. Set to turn off after 30 seconds, it doesn’t register movement in the shower. Every shower we took was in the dark. They did send an engineer to look at it when requested.
Some of the staff at the Grayson Hotel were great. Unfortunately, this maintenance guy was not one of them.
While he responded promptly, he needs to work on his people skills- and it showed regarding the malfunctioning overhead light and the motion sensor in the bathroom. ‘That’s just how it is’ and ‘I hear this every day’ aren’t the best responses to a very stupid feature.
If they want to keep the motion activated light, they need to fix this issue, or just have a fixed shower light.
There is a shelf for your own toiletries in the bathroom. It’s a little oddly placed and covers part of the sink area. If you want to wash your face in the sink, it’s easy to bang your head on the shelf.
The hotel uses Lather toiletries. We got the lemongrass option. Very nice, and there’s a cozy robe included in the room closet too.
View from our Room
The Grayson Hotel NYC is a smaller high rise (about 25 floors) in an attractive part of NYC, so we expected good views… and found them.
Gotta say, it’s pretty cool to have a direct view of the Empire State Building from our room!
Our room was much more quiet than other hotels we’ve stayed at in Manhattan. This is an old building but totally renovated inside.
I expect the old bones of the Grayson Hotel led to the lack of street noise in rooms. That’s a much appreciated feature in Manhattan.
Restaurants & Bars
One thing we can say for certain about our stay here: The food was great!
The Grayson has four bars and restaurants:
- Harta Restaurant & Lobby Bar, 1st Floor
- Bar Harta Rooftop Bar, 2nd Floor
- Bar Cima Rooftop Bar, 25th Floor
- Tacelle Taco Garden, Ground Floor behind the Lobby
Harta Restaurant & Lobby Bar
Adjoining the lobby on the ground floor, Harta Restaurant & Lobby Bar offers an all-day Mediterranean-inspired menu.
Our breakfast was served here between 7am to 11am daily, and it was fantastic. Breakfast leans a little less Mediterranean than other offerings.
Breakfast at Harta
One of our favorite perks of being top-tier in the Hyatt loyalty program is free breakfast. Along with another Globalist perk of early check-in, it equaled a very pleasant surprise.
On our 1st day arrival at 10:45am, the front desk suggested that we take advantage of breakfast at Harta. So we ended up getting FOUR free breakfasts on our 3 night stay!
Breakfast at Harta in the Grayson Hotel was fantastic!
With stays at over 30 Hyatt properties for comparison, it’s a close 2nd favorite to the best Globalist breakfast we’ve ever had which was at the Andaz Maui in Hawaii.
On our first day when we arrived (but had not been to our room yet), our server brought a $56 bill for breakfast to us. I just added a tip and signed the bill.
Not only were we (correctly) not charged for this breakfast, but they didn’t even bring a check on the other days of our stay. And no limit to what we could order was discussed.
Globalist Breakfast Change
Unfortunately, restrictions were placed on the free Globalist breakfast at the Grayson after our visit. I’m sure the food is still fantastic but Globalists are limited in what they can order. More on that in our section below dedicated to how Globalists are treated at the Grayson NYC.
One of our breakfasts was Steak & Eggs. The sirloin steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, exactly as requested. Great job, Hyatt!!
All pastries served at the Grayson Hotel NYC are made in house, but would a pistachio berry croissant really be worth trying?
OMG!! Literally the best thing we ate while in NYC! The pistachio berry croissant was over the top wonderful… and totally unexpected.
We’re not the only ones who were impressed by the breakfasts at the Grayson Hotel: the Miles to Go podcast team loved it too. Their rating system is simply whether they like the eggs or not. The Grayson’s breakfast got a 5/5 from them.
In short, eat here!
Bar Cima, Rooftop Bar
With a Mexican inspiration, Bar Cima is the Grayson Hotel’s rooftop bar on the 25th floor. It’s a refined tequila lounge with breathtaking city views below you. We could see from the Empire State building to the Hudson. It’s a really, really nice rooftop bar in midtown Manhattan!
This would be a great spot to meet friends (who won’t fit in your small room) or to simply enjoy the breathtaking views. It’s well worth ordering a cocktail or two at Bar Cima.
Just relax and enjoy the ambiance.
There’s some interesting cocktails on the menu, some with unusual mixes, so you’re sure to have fun. We were offered plastic straws where needed, if that’s of interest to you.
We really enjoyed Bar Cima, the rooftop bar. The outdoor area for Bar Cima was closed for the weather, but the indoor area was open and pumping
Bar Harta, 2nd Floor
On the 2nd floor, Bar Harta is modeled after an Italian Osteria, offering flavorful plates of pasta and tapas to enjoy in an outdoor setting. It wasn’t open during our visit but it looks fantastic!
Tacelle Taco Garden
Behind the Grayson Hotel’s lobby on the ground floor, you’ll find Tacelle Taco Garden. The Grayson makes some wonderful use of indoor/outdoor space, which is a nice perk and adds to the appeal of the hotel.
What comes standard at the Grayson Hotel NYC? Let’s take a look.
As you’d expect in Manhattan, there’s complimentary wi-fi to keep you connected. While my Verizon 5G connection was kinda slow at 1.9MB/s, the Grayson Hotel wifi speed was a strong 28MB/s in our room.
There’s no pool at the Grayson Hotel. In Midtown Manhattan, we would have been surprised if there was one! According to reports, the Grayson is exploring a partnership with the nearby Oasis Day Spa.
Fitness Center: GRIT
Can you feel the adrenaline in that name? GRIT is a 24-hour fitness center on-premises at the Grayson NYC. They use the Soulcycle Remote for their bikes, not Peloton, if you were hoping for the brand.
The gym is modest, but well appointed with a mirror wall, cross trainers, treadmills, and a stair master as well as some HITT equipment.
The Grayson Hotel offers the Helix, which would work as a space for a small function with fantastic rooftop views, or could host a corporate meeting if needed.
I bet it would make a great rental if you’re hoping to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop without getting caught up in crowds. There’s also a smaller meeting room in the Grayson’s basement area.
The Grayson Hotel NYC is pet-friendly, with a $150 cleaning fee. They don’t mention a size limit, but this isn’t a hotel for your Great Dane with the room size.
Most pet-friendly Hyatt properties have a 50 pound limit on pets.
There is literally no parking at the Grayson Hotel. We were told that they’re working on a relationship with a nearby parking garage for valet parking. Until then, it’s time to see New York like a native, and skip the car.
Things to Do Near Grayson Hotel
The Grayson Hotel is in the center of Midtown Manhattan- so really, what isn’t there to do? This is a hub for the entire NYC area, so there’s plenty to do no matter what you like. Shop ‘til you drop, head to Broadway, or just soak in the Big Apple Vibes.
The hotel is well positioned for access to Times Square, and the Empire State Building is easy to get to, as well. Sports fans will want to head to Madison Square Gardens.
Radio City Music Hall is easily accessible for theater shows, and there’s Grand Central Terminal to enjoy, too.
While it was a subway ride away, we made our 1st visit to The Museum of Modern Art. Loved some of the exhibits (like Monet’s Water Lilies) but we didn’t really care for most of the contemporary art.
The NYC Public Library runs right off of Bryant Park, too, so bookworms will be in 7th heaven. You can find out more about this here.
It’s a bit of a hike (or subway ride) to Central Park but you might run into somebody famous as you pass by Trump Tower.
In short, if it’s in Midtown Manhattan or really anywhere the subway goes, this hotel is great for it.
I think the World of Hyatt is the best hotel loyalty program out there, offering tons of value to top level elite Globalists. Here’s how the Grayson Hotel NYC fulfilled those promised extras.
Unlike most Hyatt properties, there was no World of Hyatt sign at the registration desk. However, I rarely saw more than 1 party at the front desk so there didn’t seem to be much need for a WoH elite registration line.
At the point of registration, I was thanked for being a Globalist and told about the free breakfast benefit until 11am. In fact, the front desk told us that if we left our bags with them, we could immediately have breakfast.
Breakfast upon arrival was an unexpected and appreciated bonus. I had a very good order of avocado toast. Zuzu was delighted with her delicious bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.
Since there are only 3 suites, Globalists should expect no more than an upgrade to a high floor with a view of the Empire State Building. Don’t bother trying to use your Suite Upgrade Award at the Grayson.
Early Check-in & Late Checkout
Yes & yes! When we arrived at 10:45am, we were told our room was ready. Also, we asked for and received a 4pm late checkout with no hassles at all.
You wouldn’t expect to pay a resort fee at…well, not a resort, right? However, the Grayson has a $30 ‘Destination Fee’ that fills the same role. As Globalists, it was waived for us.
Globalists get room service offered, with the food and drinks coming from the restaurant. The Miles to Go team were able to pre-order and had everything delivered on time.
The Grayson’s front desk staff was happy to provide free water bottles for Globalists whenever we asked for them.
Earning Hyatt Points
While we did spend $112.99 on drinks & evening appetizers, we didn’t have any eligible spend during our stay. Our room was 100% free.
If we had any eligible spend, we would have gotten a 30% bonus as a Globalist.
Since we have the World of Hyatt credit card, we get 10.5 points per dollar on eligible spend. Since we get a value of Hyatt points of nearly 4 cents per point, it’s like we get ~40% of spend back in free travel.
Wifi access required your last name & room number, so (in theory) the upgrade was applied. As I said earlier, we had a fast 28 MB/s download speed on the Grayson’s wifi network.
There is no Regency Club at the Grayson Hotel.
Our free breakfast was fantastic! Unfortunately, the Grayson Hotel Globalist breakfast is now limited to a a specific menu and has a cap of $35. Here’s the Globalist breakfast menu:
For Zuzu & me, the the Grayson Hotel was the 2nd best Globalist breakfast we’ve had. If you’re curious, the best Globalist breakfast we’ve had was at the Andaz Maui’s Ka’ana Kitchen.
There is literally no parking at the Grayson Hotel. Call it an authentic New York experience, lol.
We were told that they’re working on a relationship with a nearby parking garage for valet parking so this could/should be addressed in the future.
Grayson Hotel Review: 4 of 5
While The Grayson Hotel isn’t the most luxurious offering in Manhattan (try the Park Hyatt NYC for that), it’s a really comfortable hotel with solid offerings, and should be on any traveler’s list.
The industrial-chic decor may not be to some tastes (we REALLY disliked the weird room ceiling) but it fits the area and is mostly subtle.
The Grayson NYC offers a fantastic location and has a very nice vibe overall. Rooms are clean and modern, although small (as is to be expected in Midtown Manhattan). We were a little disappointed at the lack of suites but it wasn’t a show stopper for us.
With a choice of 4 dining options at a hotel of this size, the food was much better than expected.
The Bottom Line: Would We Visit Again?
Boutique and sophisticated without hassle and fuss would be my summary description of the Grayson Hotel NYC. It has flair and character, and despite a few rough corners, it was a great experience overall. And the food was fantastic!
While we want to try some of the other Hyatts in NYC, we’d be happy to stay again at the Grayson Hotel! If you’ve been to the Grayson, or are considering it, please drop us a note in the comments!
Other NYC Hotel Reviews
While we love our beach vacations, Zuzu & I have had some great trips to the Big Apple. Here are some highlights:
- Park Hyatt New York Review
- Andaz 5th Avenue Review
- NYC Holiday Trip & Dinner Cruise!
- Learn How You Can Travel for (Almost) Free!
And if you want to travel more for less like we do, make sure to download our free 14 page eBook: Guide to Free Luxury Travel!
Thanks Ross for such a great and thorough review.! I wish other travel blogs were as good.
Due to your review, I definitely will consider the Gravson Hotel next time I’m in Midtown Manhattan. I too enjoy the perks of being Globalist with Hyatt and appreciate that your review included the Globalist benefits offered at this location.
l am also Ambassador with Marriott and Diamond with Hilton. I have been traveling up to 250 nights per year, since the late 1970’s. I feel all three brands treat their top elites vey well overall.
However, my own humble “slice of pie” experience has been that how well you are treated at a particular hotel, depends much more on the individual property and its management than which chain the hotel belongs. From your review, the Grayson definitely seems to treat their elite guests well.
Once again, thanks for your great review!
Thanks for your perspective, Jim! We don’t travel enough to hold status with any programs besides Hyatt. But they usually treat us very well!