22
Mar
07

Hotel Chelsea- A Home In Bohemia

Rosie Lounging

I refuse to stay at hotel chains in NY when there are an infinite number of more interesting places to be that are really no more expensive.  On my last trip I decided I needed creative inspiration so I booked a room at Hotel Chelsea, historic host to folks like Jasper Johns, Joan Didion, Dee Dee Ramone, and Janis Joplin (the list is infinite).    

Online reviews and stories from friends who have suspiciously vague recollections of parties there had me a little worried—no coffee makers in the room because they can be used to cook meth (who knew?).  But the hotel website won me over.  I especially like the resident blog, which is like eavesdropping on conversations in the hall.   

You’re never denied the reality of living in an old building at the Chelsea, but considering the borg-like ethics of Manhattan developers, I was grateful for the lived in smell and the still kicking creaks.  Besides, only the halls smell like everybody’s homes rolled into one (people do still live there after all).  The hotel rooms smelled like hotel rooms.   

Rosie got several good looks at the halls.  She won’t ride an elevator in NY that she can’t see out of, so she walked up to my room on the 9th floor several times (I would make fun of her, but all of her neuroses keep her looking 25 even though she‘s 40).  Good news is that there is art lining the filigreed stairwell all the way up and in the lobby, too.   She never got bored.

  Room

Isn’t this a fun room?  Believe me, for an old NY hotel, it’s huge.  I had a dressing room, walk-in closet, a kitchenette and a really nice bathroom.  I fell in love with these black patton woven dining chairs.Kris

Fireplace

Oh, and a nice bouquet of impossibly colored and dead (real, but dead) flowers.   In fact, one flower was actually just a stem.  I would say it was a sign of neglect, but my room was always impeccably cleaned.  And the flowers kind of worked with my minimalist/traditional fireplace. 

 Kris and Robyn

My friends Kris and Robin who were attending the same conference came down for breakfast one morning.  We popped over to Big Booty Bakery across the street at the recommendation of one of the hotel’s residents.  Big Booty doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m., but they warm the milk for your coffee, which I think more than makes up for that shortcoming.  Plus their baked goods are baked greats—try the Nutella Booty Bun.   

HC doesn’t need concierge services.  The gentle residents, who all seem to own smallish dogs, are constantly draped around the desk with the most useful advice (Good bagels?  Melvyn’s, around the corner. Where did you get that breakfast sandwich?  Venus on 9th.) I maintain that Manhattanites are the Southerners of the north.  New Yorkers would surely hate the comparison, but they are so friendly and helpful.  There are some differences.  If you annoy a New Yorker they are more likely to stab you in the front than in the back. That and they are less likely to pay retail.  

When I arrived on Thursday morning, staff happily offered to let me check in early.  They didn’t have a key for me (“Our engineer is making your key. You’ll go have lunch.   It’ll be waiting when you get back.”).  I may be a rube, but I’ve learned to do what New Yorkers tell me. They know the lay of the land and that they and you don’t have a lot of time to waste, so their recommendations are usually the most pragmatic and logical in the end.  Oh, and they use metal keys, handcrafted evidently and impossible to lose, a winning combination.  

 I’m sure the Chelsea has been tidied up some for timid Southern/Midwestern boys like me, but I can gladly say it hasn’t lost all of its happy hospitable edge.  Hopefully I can call it my Bohemian home away from home again someday.      

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3 Responses to “Hotel Chelsea- A Home In Bohemia”


  1. March 22, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Troy,
    Love this post and esp. the pics. Makes me want to go to NY real soon and stay there. I also liked the way the desk clerk told you that you were going to have lunch instead of asking you if you’d like to go have lunch. Why do you suppose they keep the dead flowers?

  2. March 22, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    We’re glad you enjoy our blog.

  3. March 22, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    AHCB,
    Enjoy it? I’m adding it to my blog roll.


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