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Chelsea Lodge 2.5

Chelsea, New York City, New York

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Review Summary

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  • Budget rates
  • Great location on a beautiful tree-lined block, close to the High Line
  • Comfortable, basic rooms and suites
  • Free morning tea and coffee
  • Intimate atmosphere
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • Most rooms in the Lodge share hallway toilets
  • No restaurant or bar on site
  • The lobby is small
  • Single rooms are tiny
  • No elevators and steep stairs to access upper floors
  • Garden-level suites are a bit dark
  • Street-level suites are subject to street noise

Bottom Line

Set on a picturesque tree-lined block in the heart of Chelsea, this budget-oriented, European-style inn holds 22 rooms, most with shared toilets. The discreet entrance looks like most of the beautiful brownstones on the block yet inside the inn evokes the feeling of stepping back in time, into grandma's country house. Rooms feature patterned wallpaper, framed Currier and Ives prints, single or full-size beds decorated with country quilts, and Hersey's Kisses on the pillows. Just a few blocks away are a bevy of trendy restaurants and bars, reminders that the buzz and glamour of city life is within easy reach.

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Comfortable country style with simple rooms and a laid-back vibe

An impressive line of well-kept brownstones and townhouses line the block that harbors the off-the-beaten-track Chelsea Lodge. There's no sign out front, just a simple number plate and a locked double door with a buzzer, meaning only those who are staying at the property are allowed to wander inside.

Stepping into the lobby reveals a unexpected design -- one that doesn't seem to fit in such a chic, art-driven area of Manhattan. The narrow entrance showcases a duo of antique school chairs, giant taxidermy sail fish, antique photographs framed in domed glass, and rows of colorful decoys tacked above the crown molding. In the adjacent small lobby, two worn-in wing chairs and a table invite guests to sit and ponder the collection of books and games from the nearby case or to sift through brochures from local businesses, theaters, and tours.

Guests at Chelsea Lodge, mostly tourists, take advantage of the inn's low rates, using the simple rooms as home base. In the morning, they descend the steep stairs guarded by thick wooden balusters painted lime green, to grab a cup of coffee before heading out to take on the sights of the city. The High Line, art galleries, Chelsea Market, and the designer-forward Meat Packing District are all within walking distance.


On a pretty tree-lined block in the heart of Chelsea, close to the High Line, the Meat packing District, and numerous restaurants, bars, and shops

The mostly residential block of West 20th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues is lined with tall trees, pristine brownstones, a historic Gothic-style church with wrought-iron gates that date back to 1790, and an off-Broadway theater. Around the corner, 8th Avenue is a bustling thoroughfare of necessary services such as banks and pharmacies and a few good local restaurants, but head west and the area's main attractions unfold. The High Line, Manhattan's thoughtful park recreated on top of defunct elevated railroad tracks, is a popular attraction. 

The west side of Chelsea is flush with art galleries, established restaurants such as Cookshop and the Red Cat, and plenty of coffee shops and bakeries, such as Billy's (known for its cupcakes). Walk farther south to access the trendy Meatpacking District with its designer shops, buzzing bars, and nightclubs. The hotel is also walking distance to both the 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue subway lines as well as the PATH, all with stops at 23rd Street.

  • 45-minute drive to JFK International Airport
  • 30-minute driv to LaGuardia International Airport
  • 30-minute drive to Newark Liberty International Airport
  • 5-minute cab ride or 15-minute walk to Penn Station
  • 5-minute walk to the 23rd Street Subway line on 8th Avenue
  • 7-minute walk to the High Line
  • 11-minute walk to the Meat Packing District
  • 14-minute cab ride to Grand Central Terminal


Single and double-bed rooms with shared toilets decorated in simple country style as well as four spacious suites, located in a nearby building

The Chelsea Lodge's 22 rooms are neatly arranged on four floors of the brownstone, accessed via a steep staircase. Single rooms (just two) are tiny, with just enough room to fit a twin bed, while the remainder of the rooms with double beds offer a bit more space to turn around as well as room to work at a desk topped with a small TV. The rooms are decorated with a variety of patterned wallpaper, chair rails, and wainscoting in color palettes of blue, green, and yellow. Beds are finished simply with basic white sheets, patterned quilts, and pillows topped with a pair of tiny Hershey's Kisses. Stall showers lined with old-fashioned white ceramic tiles with floral accents are stocked with little bottles of Breck shampoo and conditioner, as well as sufficient towels. 

Two of the double rooms (dubbed Deluxe) come equipped with full bathrooms, but the rest of guests must access the hallway water closets, finished in dizzying black and white tiles, on their dedicated floors. Guests seeking more room can book one of the four suites located in a separate building down the block. They offer living areas with sleeper futons, full bathrooms, parquet floors, kitchenettes, and queen-size beds, but lack the character and charm of the main lodge.


A charming hotel with kitschy country style and a homey vibe

The Chelsea Lodge is an affordable alternative to pricier nearby hotels. It lacks popular amenities such as gym, business center, and room service, but delivers on location and offers plenty of simple country-in-the-city character.

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318 West 20th Street, New York City, New York 10011, United States

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