Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island, The First Hotel On Roosevelt Island
Is there a new Hyatt coming to NYC? That must be it, right. And Mark is excited about it because it is going to be a category 4 and we can burn our free night certs there! Not quite, Gild Hall will continue to be the only hotel to fill that void. Nope, this hotel will actually cost me money, not points. And I am excited because of where it is in the city and not because of the brand, or the room size etc. The Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island (website) will be the first hotel ever on the island. Roosevelt Island is a tiny sliver of land, only two miles long, plopped in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. Roosevelt Island is one of my favorite places in the NYC and I can’t wait to get the chance to spend the night there.
What Makes Roosevelt Island Special?
I wrote up an overview of the island and shared some pictures of the area. I was only able to explore half the island in the few hours we had to spend there. But it is safe to say I was smitten with it. That isn’t to say it is for everyone. There is not a hip bar scene or a bustling downtown to explore. It has a very unique, suburban feel. There are very few cars driving around, I think we saw more city buses than vehicles, and it is mostly a walkers paradise.
When on the island you get some amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, boats raising up and down the East River and even seaplanes landing in it. It has some of the best views in the city. The amount of park / greenery area compared to the size of the island is impressive as well. Everywhere you go is a park, soccer field, or monument to check out. There is a lot of history for an island so small, it is where they used to send the sick, mentally ill or criminal. It was New York City’s very own Australia. There are still remnants of some of the buildings preserved for you to witness yourself.
I just can’t get over the vibe of the place. It is like a sleepy, small town you would find in the Midwest but only a 3 minute subway ride from one of the busiest areas in the world. That is if you are afraid of heights and don’t want to take the cable car over to Manhattan (this is a must at least once).
Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island Launch
The Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island is set to open this June. I have never stayed at a Graduate Hotel but they have close to 30 locations. They are all located in college towns, shocking with that name I know, and this location is attached to the Cornell Tech campus.
What is cool about the Graduate Hotel brand is they incorporate the school at their location into the design. There are plaids and subtle hints to star athletes etc. plus the room keys look like student ids. A pretty cool idea that is worth checking out on it’s own.
If you want to see some photos of the Roosevelt Island location check out CNN’s write up on it, they have quite a few to look at.
The rooms kind of feel like a very nice dorm room, which is fun and unique. I checked prices and they seem to be in the $200-$300 a night range most of the time. There are some deals for early bird booking that gets you 20% off. It did show up in the Ultimate Rewards portal for me as well, which is a good option for booking the room on points. I would still check the website because Ultimate Rewards did not have the early bird discount etc. so there may be better deals booking directly. The prices a bit steep for Manhattan adjacent, especially right now, but in normal times it wouldn’t be any different than the prices for staying in Jersey City etc.
The biggest drawback may be getting to the hotel. If you are coming from LaGuardia or JFK airport it shouldn’t be difficult since there is a bridge in Queens to the island. Coming from Newark could add some time to the travel since you would need to go through Manhattan first.
If you are hotel hopping to or from Manhattan then you will need to bring your luggage on the cable car or subway. The subway (F train) would probably be easier since the cable car can be tight on space normally. You could also take an Uber or taxi but it would require driving all the way out to Queens first though, which depending on the time of day could take forever.
I am super excited about the Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island launch but could see why others could not care less. Roosevelt Island isn’t for everyone and it wouldn’t be on my list for a first or second trip to NYC. But, if you have been several times and want to have a different, unique experience I think this option will offer that. You are still a 5-10 minute subway ride from the heart of Manhattan so you can have the best of both worlds on your trip too.
I plan on staying here for a weekend once New York City gets back to normal and things open back up. I usually fly into LaGuardia which makes this an easy location to get to and I look forward to seeing what life on Roosevelt Island could be like. The rooftop bar coming to the hotel sounds promising as well 😁.