The Best Hotels in Chelsea

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  • New York City

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  • Hotel Guide

The Best Hotels in Chelsea
Fora’s Take

The best hotels in Chelsea are so much more than temporary housing for vacationers. They each have their very own character and specific circle of friends. These hotels don’t just host holiday-makers, we (locals) hang out with them all the time — for after dinner drinks, for parties, and for oft-needed staycations. We welcome you to mingle with us at the best hotels in Chelsea — contrary to what you may have heard, New Yorkers are a very congenial bunch.

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The Chelsea Hotel

222 West 23rd St between 7th and 8th

The Chelsea Hotel is a neighborhood resident who is kind enough to allow you to stay for a while or longer. You know, the unassuming one with the incredible stories of back in the day? That’s the Chelsea Hotel. Of course, curious people stay here. Smart people stay here. The hotel is full of secrets and history and is the scene of the crime — Arthur Miller wrote a play here, Jimi Hendrix stayed here when he was in town, and Patti Smith lived here with Robert Mapplethorpe, when they were Just Kids. If you’re staying here, be sure to ask William to give you a tour. It’s the only way to find out in which rooms exactly what happened! (Just think of how entertaining you’ll be at dinner parties for years to come telling the story of how you stayed in the room where Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen began their legendary affair — just another reason that this is one of the best hotels in Chelsea!)

Much like when it was fully residential, there are rooms here for every budget. You can stay in a small Queen room, up to a penthouse with a full kitchen and washer/dryer. They have 25 room categories! And everything is new — they had their grand re-opening in 2022.

bedroom photo

No trip to Chelsea is complete without at least a visit to this landmark building, so if you’re not staying here, have a drink at the quiet, but everyone is lingering until closing, Lobby Bar or sit at Andy Warhol’s table at the Spanish restaurant on the ground floor, El Quijote. The hotel also has a new French restaurant, Cafe Chelsea, where you must order the panisse.

The hotel has a small gym and spa on the top floor. There, you can spend some time out on the balcony deck, but assume that you’ll end up in a photograph. The Chelsea Hotel with its iconic sign is behind only the Flatiron for the most photographed building in the neighborhood.

Dream Downtown

355 West 16th St between 8th and 9th

Dream Downtown is THE place to be if you are young, fun, creative and entertaining — or, rather, an entertainer.

By day, you’ll find bachelorette revelers sitting around the pool, which is positioned directly over the lobby. Look up and you’ll see someone swimming by, through the glass windows overhead. By night, this place is hopping with a mix of locals and their in-the-know guests at PhD, the fantastic rooftop bar, or in the Electric room, the smaller, only-open-to-the-public-on-weekends party room through the back and to the right. (Of course, this is after having had dinner under the Quan Yin in Tao, or devouring the duck at Philippe by Phillipe Chow.)

The staff calls this hotel an urban oasis, its 314 rooms providing chic respite for the C-suites of the tech and car industries (Tesla is nearby and Google has its headquarters across the street), as well as comfort for entertainers and creative types.

While you’re there, you can have your hair done at their basement salon, or visit their third floor gym. The salon comes in handy for bridal parties — Dream Downtown does have a 500 seat reception room. There is also a library where those doing serious work can set up power meetings for up to 20 people.

Want to throw a party in your room? No problem. The Three Bedroom Terrace Room in the south tower, like many of their rooms, has Murphy style beds. Just tuck them up against the wall until the party has moved downstairs to the Electric room! This is just another reason that the Dream Downtown is the best hotel in Chelsea for good times!

We visited their most fabulous rooms, including the Guest House Duplex, with its infinity hot tub overlooking the Chelsea skyline. Go live your best life at the Dream Downtown, knowing you can keep everything you don’t post on Instagram a secret.

The Pendry Manhattan West

438 West 33rd St. between 10th and 11th

If you ask them at the Pendry where they are located, they won’t say Chelsea. They won’t say Hudson Yards. They will say Manhattan West. It’s so you clearly understand that they are easily accessible to the entire city. The world, really, given their proximity to the train station that brings in guests from Newark Airport, Philadelphia, Boston and DC. It’s easy to get to the Pendry, but the guests don’t stay for long -- they go out -- Broadway shows, shopping, the galleries and their high-rise office buildings are all within walking distance.

The Pendry opened in 2021, during the pandemic. They catered to C-suite executives who were never quarantined. In the lobby, you do feel like you should be wearing a suit. But then you step beyond the lobby to Bar Pendry and immediately feel the need to slip off that jacket. It’s an incredibly cozy space with a gold-leafed design by Nancy Lorenz over the bar that is so luscious that it’s engraved on the guestroom chocolate bars!

While initially embraced largely by executives, travelers are starting to find their way to the hotel. It’s a fantastic starting place for visiting anywhere along the westside of Manhattan. The Moynihan Bridge comes right across the highline and leads to the plaza in which their lobby restaurant, Zou Zou serves delicious Mediterranean Cuisine. It's recommended you sit at the bar of the open kitchen and observe. Or, you can walk out the door, south on the highline, all the way to the Whitney at its southern end. Walking 23 blocks is a breeze surrounded by curated gardens and art!

When you return home in the evening, you’ll be immediately enveloped in calm. Gachot Studios orchestrated this effect with a strong homage to light panels with a 60’s flair. The effect is muted, calming and instantly slows your breathing by the time you arrive at your suite. The hotel’s 164 rooms are divided into five categories within two larger categories of rooms — Deluxe rooms are on the lower floors and the High Skyline rooms begin on the 12th floor. Traveling with family? No problem! You can occupy two rooms and they won’t be connected, but will share a private foyer. So much privacy, yet so intertwined.

The Pendry does not have a spa, but has partnerships with two salons in the plaza for preferred access and rates. Their spacious gym is filled with the latest equipment, including Peloton bikes. On the fourth floor you’ll find the most stunning bar, Chez Zou, with views that allow you to simultaneously overlook and be swallowed up by the plaza outside. Finally, if you’re throwing a party, wedding or board meeting, the Pendry has got you covered, with private rooms for every occasion.

The High Line Hotel

180 Tenth Ave, between 20th and 21st Streets

This Hotel isn’t for everybody — especially given there are only 60 rooms! It’s for someone who really wants to hang out with Chelsea natives. The team here estimates that about half of their café and bar clients (there is no restaurant at this hotel, but it’s across the street from neighborhood favorite, Cookshop) are regulars from the neighborhood. Or regular hotel guests — their main accounts are with Google and LVMH, both of which are headquartered nearby.

Like Daniel Brodsky’s other pet project, the TWA hotel, his High Line Hotel is part of the MCR group. This hotel is the opposite of the splashy TWA Hotel, though. It’s worn in, cozy and comfy, like furniture from a vintage shop (maybe because all of the decor is unique and from antique shops!) Each room also has a typewriter — often used to leave a goodbye note just before check-out! The hotel may have opened in 2012, but this place is old! In the 17th century, their back garden housed an apple orchard and there is one tree remaining to this day. In the early 1800’s, the General Theological Seminary began development of their cathedral onsite. You can sit on their back patio and enjoy a cup of their intelligentsia coffee amid the landmarked buildings.

The hotel does not have a gym, but they do have a partnership with Chelsea Piers, where you can swim laps in the 75 foot pool, take yoga classes or climb a rock wall. Prefer to stay outside? Borrow a Shinola and a helmet and pedal around the city on one of their complementary bikes — truly one of the reasons the High Line Hotel is one of the best hotels in Chelsea.

Need to Know

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York City.

Advisor - Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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