Running from 14th to 34th streets on Manhattan’s west side, Chelsea is a hub for the city’s gay community and, with hundreds of galleries, its contemporary art scene. Take a look at the neighborhood’s best boutique hotels.
The 125-room Martime Hotel announces its nautical theme with a narrow 12-story white-tile and cement facade lined evenly in porthole windows. The building was designed as the headquarters of the National Maritime Union in the 1960s, and in 2003 it opened, to much acclaim, as the charming luxury-liner-themed hotel it is today. In early 2016, the hotel underwent major renovations, which included a new restaurant and lobby overhaul, among other updates. Large stateroom-inspired rooms are spacious for Manhattan and feature teakwood walls and penny-tile bathrooms with rainfall showers. They're packed with amenities, too -- HDTVs, minibars, digital music players, robes, and nice C.O. Bigelow toiletries. In the lobby, rich wood walls are topped with long ocean-themed murals, while bookshelves and red velvet armchairs gathered near a fireplace lend a cozy feel. As much as the hotel delivers on decor, it also delivers on service and amenities, which include an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant and a chic basement-level nightclub, making this hotel a haven for business travelers and couples alike.
This chic 60-room boutique hotel -- attached to a working theological seminary and private chapel -- features historically significant architecture and beautiful gardens. In the warmer months, guests can enjoy champagne and oysters on the outdoor terrace restaurant, and Intelligentsia Coffee serves serious caffeine fixes and local pastries in the lobby. (Note that High Line's restaurant is only open seasonally; the one at Maritime -- an Italian trattoria with a tapas bar and a Michelin-star dinner menu -- is open year round.) The 60 rooms used to be the dorms of the seminary, and all have original moldings, pine floors, and decorative fireplaces. Each room is decorated with unique vintage furnishings, and the result is elegant, stylish, and even romantic.
The 56-room Hotel Americano caters to an art and design crowd. Thoughtful room amenities include hidden storage, personal iPads, hanging fireplaces, and luxurious (if small) bathrooms with Aesop products and rainfall showerheads. The 14th-floor rooftop grill, lounge, and seasonal pool is a standout feature, and is especially popping during the hotel’s summer pool parties. It’s an ideal spot for younger couples and business folk not on a budget -- and while the proximity to the Hudson River is nice, it also means the hotel is a bit farther from public transport. Rates tend to be more affordable here than those for the High Line Hotel.
Couples (straight, gay, and of all ages), diplomats, Google employees, artists, and Europeans, and flock to this urban bed-and-breakfast for its reasonable rates, authentic homey touches, and prime location. In its kitchen area, guests will find a free self-serve spread of refreshments and treats during the day, as well as breakfast each morning (which can be had in the charming garden). The 23 rooms are situated on five narrow floors. Like the rest of the property, the rooms are colorful, spotless, and well-maintained. All have flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges, and free W-Fi. Note that Chelsea Pines doesn't have an elevator, so guests with mobility issues may prefer Hotel Americano.
A one-suite guesthouse in a 19th-century brownstone on one of the most picturesque blocks in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, A Garden in Chelsea feels like a private pied-à-terre in New York City. In addition to a kitchenette, leafy private garden, and simple but cozy decor, the hotel has two knowledgeable and helpful innkeepers who live upstairs. Popular sights like the High Line, Chelsea Market, Madison Square Park, and the Flatiron are all within walking distance, the subway is less than three blocks away, and the price reasonable for the neighborhood. But with only one room, A Garden in Chelsea books up far in advance; if the private apartment is unavailable, consider Chelsea Pines or Colonial House Inn as alternatives.
This charming walk-up townhouse (no elevator) in Chelsea first opened its doors in 1985 and was considered one of the first gay-friendly hotels in the neighborhood. Today, its 20 Superior and Economy rooms (the latter share bathrooms) attract a mix of European backpackers and couples who can handle the limited in-room space. Families of up to five people can stay in one of the two suites with wood-burning fireplaces, one of which includes a beautiful private terrace. The atmosphere is homey with original moldings and artwork, and free breakfast is served in the cozy lobby every morning. A 24-hour staff takes extra care of cleanliness and garden maintenance, but may show less hospitality than is found at some other bed-and-breakfasts (like Chelsea Pines). Note that Wi-Fi -- free at A Garden in Chelsea -- costs a fee here.