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Colonial House Inn 2.5

Chelsea, New York City, New York

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Authentic bed and breakfast in the heart of Chelsea
  • Those looking for a local feel will love this residential street
  • Smaller Economy Rooms available for those on a budget
  • Continental breakfast included in the price (bagels are fresh from the Bronx!)
  • Cool rooftop deck for drinks and sunbathing during warmer months
  • Original moldings and colorful artwork throughout
  • Rooms have flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and free XM satellite radio
  • Two suites and some Superior Rooms have working fireplaces (wood is not provided)
  • Free copies of the New York Times and Daily News in the lobby
  • Close to the High Line Park, and several galleries, restaurants, and bars

Cons

  • Economy Rooms are tight on space and share bathrooms
  • No elevators, and some may climb five flights with their luggage
  • Wi-Fi and bicycles cost extra
  • Inconsistent service from those expecting typical B&B warmth and hospitality
  • Wood is not provided for the rooms with working fireplaces

Bottom Line

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 B&Bs. There's a fee for bike rentals, a CitiBIke station across the street, and the A/C/E subway lines two blocks away.

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Scene

A cozy place for all ages and nationalities -- as long as they can carry their own luggage

This elegant brick townhouse has a photogenic front stoop and entryway framed by two topiary trees. It's in a section of Chelsea that will appeal to those who want a local NYC experience; beware, though, there is no assistance with luggage and guests might be climbing several sets of stairs to get to their room once they are buzzed in. This setting, then, is ideal for smart and relaxed travelers who do not overpack, as rooms themselves do not have a lot of extra space.

Everything about the place has an authentic, homey feel with original moldings and beautiful artwork and rugs. On the first floor is the front desk area with a 24-hour staff (levels of friendliness depend on who is working) with red reading chairs, newspapers, and a TV playing sporting events or the news. There is a partial barrier to block off the breakfast seating area that holds European-style bistro tables. Breakfast is served from every morning, and coffee and tea is free all day long.

Gays, straights, singles, couples, and families from all over the world love this hidden gem, and there are many repeat visitors -- it has been open since 1985. Since the two suites are on the lower floors, these are best for couples who want more space or families with children who do want to climb many flights of stairs. Partiers, on the other hand, may prefer to be closer to the roof deck to take advantage of the fun, garden-like atmosphere with neat neighborhood views, lounge chairs, and a jokey "clothing optional" policy.

Location

A pretty tree-lined street in the heart of Chelsea, close to art galleries and lively bars

Map of Colonial House Inn

Colonial House Inn is tucked away among other elegant townhouses on 22nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. There is a small sign to let guests know they've arrived, so guests who wish to blend in with other New Yorkers will adore the location and setting. The B&B has been in operation since the 1980s and has seen a great deal of change in the area; today, it is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city. Home to over 200 art galleries (all free to enter), creative types will have plenty to keep them occupied. On 8th and 9th Avenues there are plenty of restaurants and bars, and the eateries and shops at Chelsea Market are also nearby. A popular park along an old railroad called the High Line is easy to access, and those looking to stay active can head to Chelsea Piers and Hudson River Parkway with miles of jogging and bike paths in either direction.

Taxis are easy to get as they saturate either avenue, and for public transportation, the 23rd Street A/C/E trains are two blocks away.

Rooms

Small but bright rooms have an even mix of private and shared bathrooms

There are 20 rooms and two suites in this five-story townhouse, and each unit comes with a window that lets in natural light. Half of the rooms have shared bathrooms (three rooms to one bathroom), while the others have private bathrooms. All rooms are cozy and clean with pale wood furnishings with built-in bed frames without a box spring. There are flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, free XM Satellite radios, and Judith Jackson toiletries. Daily housekeeping is provided.

The Economy Guestrooms have either one queen bed or two twin beds. The only other piece of furniture that can fit in this tight space is a folding chair, so guests will want to pack light. These rooms share a full bathroom with two other rooms, but each room is equipped with a private sink and mirror.

Superior Guestrooms are slightly larger in size and have either one queen bed or two twin beds, as well as mini-fridges and working desks. These rooms have private bathrooms with walk-in showers.

Superior Triple Guestrooms have one queen bed and a sofa bed that can fit one person. These rooms have private bathrooms, as well.

The two suites on the lower levels have modern artsy decor and can each sleep up to five people (with king bed, queen pull-out sofa and twin rollaway). They each have fully equipped kitchens and living/dining areas with wood-burning fireplaces. Wood is not provided and can be bought at nearby grocery store. (A few of the Superior Rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, as well.)

The Paradise Garden Suite has the distinction of access to a beautiful terrace with seating areas and steps that are surrounded by greenery (in the summer months only). The bathroom in this unit is larger with a separate rain shower and jetted tub.

Features

Free breakfast, and a cool rooftop deck with neighborhood views

Guests can make themselves at home any time of day in the small lobby area on the first floor next to the front desk with 24-hour staff. This area is split into two sections: one that is a seating area for reading the newspaper (New York Times and Daily News are provided daily), and the other for breakfast, which consists of coffee/tea, muffins, bagels (fresh from the Bronx!), hard-boiled eggs, jellies (five types), yogurt, cereals and fresh fruit. This area has bistro tables and a television playing news/sporting events. Coffee and tea are available throughout the day.

The rooftop deck –- accessed by stairs -- is one of the property highlights. Open in warmer months, this hidden gem has areas for reading during the day, or enjoying a drink before or after dinner. On the other side is another area with lounge chairs for sunbathing or searching for stars at night. The staff members take pride in their green thumbs, and the lush green plants add to the ambiance. There are great city views from here, especially of the cathedral steeple across the street.

Wi-Fi is not included in the price (there's a small fee per day) nor is it free to use the desktop computer and printer on the lower level. Bike rentals are for a fee, as well, but guests can also choose to walk across the street to use the CitiBike station.

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Address

318 W 22nd St, New York City, New York 10011-2602, United States

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