My award for most improved hotel goes to this Times Square stalwart. The St. James spent the pandemic renovating and cleaning, and it shows. The hotel hasn’t become fashionable or plush—furnishings are still all mass-produced and the mattresses are hard—but it hasn’t become pricey or added resort fees, either. Expect spotless and highly functional guest quarters, with a hair more elbow room than usual, closets, private bathrooms, and shades that keep out the light. If you see a very elderly lady sitting in the lobby, that is one of the owners, a Holocaust survivor who was 96 years young in 2023.