Doubles from: $75
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
The humble and friendly Chelsea Highline Hostel offers 80 budget beds in a cool location just across the street from the Hudson River and a block from the popular Highline Park. The lap of luxury this place is not, but the price is right, the facilities are new and the area is fun.
Pros: Clean and comfortable. Friendly staff. Fantastic, unique location.
Cons: Bare-bones. There can be a wait for the bathrooms. No elevator. Location can feel removed from Midtown.
The Chelsea Highline Hostel feels more like a basic hotel than a hostel, in that you won’t be packed into a massive dorm room here. Rooms come in four configurations: two-bed dorms, doubles with either two twin beds or one double bed, and four-person “family rooms” with one double bed and bunks.
All rooms are simple, tidy and spacious (by New York standards), with dark hardwood floors and Ikea furnishings. The metal bunks and single beds have a mildly “prison-issue” feel, but otherwise rooms are actually rather stylish, done in a palette of red and black, with sheer curtains and funky artwork that varies from room to room. We liked red shag rugs in some rooms.
Rooms are equipped with air conditioning and a safe. Most also offer a small work table and a sink. Street-facing rooms are bright, but may pick up traffic noise, while inner rooms are quieter but can be a tad dark.
One room at the Chelsea Highline has a private bathroom and the rest share facilities. The bathrooms are decently sized and well maintained, but note that there may be a wait at high-traffic times.
The nondescript “Hotel” sign that hangs out front gives the impression that the place is dated and impersonal. On the contrary—having opened in December 2011, the Chelsea Highline Hostel is sparkling, new and lovingly maintained by friendly management. (While showing us around, the manager, Carlos, stopped to adjust a curtain, greet guests and give direction to the bustling cleaning staff).
The hostel has a spare, college-dorm sort of feel, with a few fun elements like the Manhattan skyline mural in the stairwell. It does not have many of the social elements traditionally found in hostels (which could be good or bad thing, depending on your outlook), with the exception of a cheery lobby with concrete floors, red walls and a smattering of tables and chairs. It was bustling when we were there, a movie playing on the flat-screen TV and guests coming and going or working on laptops.
The lobby's small leave-one-take-one library is populated by a number of guidebooks in various languages, indicative of the hostel's youthful, diverse clientele. There lounge also offers a few vending machines free Wi-Fi and two Internet stations (for an additional charge). A continental breakfast is included in the room rate (but go early as some guests say it runs out). Note that the hostel does not have an elevator.
We’re somewhat smitten with the Chelsea Highline’s unique location, although admittedly it won’t be for everyone. Those looking to be in the middle of the action may find that 11th Avenue feels a tad removed, given that the subway is three long blocks away and the immediate surroundings seem somewhat industrial and in flux. Those looking for a vibrant, unique neighborhood, however, will love being in the midst of Chelsea’s art scene, where cool galleries abound.
The Highline Hostel provides excellent proximity to a number of other interesting attractions. Across the street, the Hudson River Park is a great place for a waterfront stroll, and just a block south are the Chelsea Piers, a historic dock that now houses an entertainment complex with everything from putting greens to bowling. And, of course, the hostel's namsake park, the always buzzing Highline on the elevated train tracks, is just a block away.
The trendy Meatpacking District is a short walk from the hostel, and there are also a variety of eateries and bars along 10th Avenue. During the summer, join the cool kids for a bucket of beers at the the Frying Pan, a historic lightship turned happening bar, docked at Pier 66 (26th Street). Manhattan Kayak, also at Pier 66, offers a variety of kayaking tours, plus stand-up paddle board and “liquid yoga.”
Subways and Buses: The closest subway access is three long blocks from the hostel, at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue, where the C/E trains stop, and the 1 train stops one block farther at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The M23 Crosstown bus, which runs East-West along 23rd Street and stops right in front of the hostel, is an especially useful transit option.
JFK: Take the Air Train to Sutphin/Jamaica Station, and catch a Downtown/World Trade Center-bound E train to 23rd Street. From there you can either walk three blocks along 23rd, or catch an westbound M23 bus on the corner of 23rd and Eighth Avenue.
LaGuardia: We recommend taking an airport bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and then catching a downtown E train to 23rd Street, where you can either walk three blocks or catch the M23 bus to the Chelsea Highline.
Newark: The most direct route from Newark is to catch a Newark Airport Express Bus directly to the Port Authority. From there, take a downtown E train to 23rd Street and either walk or take the M23 bus to 11th Avenue.
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor. This review is based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Breakfast Included
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Wi-Fi: Free
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
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About the Chelsea Highline Hostel neighborhood
Bordered by the West Village to the south and the Garment District to the north, Chelsea boasts a staggering concentration of art galleries. The neighborhood is also the epicenter of New York's gay scene, and hip restaurants, swanky boutiques, and bars abound. However, at its heart, Chelsea is a residential area, characterized by long streets lined with century-old brownstones.