Doubles from: $150 to $180
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
Housed in a 19th-century townhouse on a leafy Chelsea street, the gay-friendly Colonial House Inn is a pension with flare.
Pros: Pleasant neighborhood location. Welcoming, helpful staff. Breakfast included. Interesting history. Rooftop patio.
Cons: Small rooms. No elevator.
Although the Colonial House Inn’s 20 rooms and two suites show some signs of age, they are reminiscent of a cozy urban apartment: physically small, but comfortable and clean. Décor is quite minimal and simple, but original artwork brightens things up.
“Economy” rooms feature a full-size bed, while “Standard” rooms offer a queen or two twins. “Superior” rooms and suites are a bit larger, with a queen-size bed, some with a single sofa bed for a third person.
All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a telephone, satellite TV, safe and XM satellite radio. Most rooms also have a mini-fridge, and some Supierior rooms have a fireplace.
The Colonial House Inn is remarkable for its role in the vanguard of Chelsea's gay life. Its founder, Mell Cheren (music mogul, "Godfather of Disco" and financial backer of the famed Paradise Garage disco), was one of the first gay men to respond to 1980s AIDS crisis. He did so by giving the Gay Men's Health Crisis organization its first home, in a 19th-century townhouse that he would convert into a bed and breakfast once the GMHC outgrew it.
Although Cheren is no longer with us, his legacy lives on at the gorgeous Colonial House Inn, which exhibits many of his original paintings throughout the property and in its 24-Hours For Life Gallery. Done up with café tables and bright artwork, the cozy lobby is a nice place to unwind with a cup of coffee or tea (complimentary throughout the day). The inn also boasts a lovely rooftop patio, done up with greenery, umbrellas, chaise lounges, and occasional a nude guest or two (note that the patio is clothing optional).
Wi-Fi is available throughout and an Internet station with printer is available in the lobby (clothing required), both for an additional charge. A superb continental breakfast spread is included in the room rate. Please note that there is no elevator in this historic building.
The Colonial House Inn's location is a real treat. It's convenient to many of the popular sights, but also has a pleasant "neighborhood" feel, replete with quiet, tree-lined street. Madison Square Garden, Macy’s Herald Square and the Garment District are within easy walking distance (to the north), as are the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park (to the east).
Walk west and you’ll hit the High Line, New York's groundbreaking elevated park, and if you head south the while the fashionable Meatpacking District and postcard-perfect West Village await.
And then of course there is Chelsea itself, the elegant, artistic district populated by galleries, trendy eateries and an array of gay bars. Try some one of the incredible paella dishes at nearby Socarrat (19th Street and Eighth Avenue) and pick up a cupcake at famed Billy's Bakery (Ninth Avenue and 21st Street).
Subways: Local C/E trains stop at 23rd Street, right around the corner from the Colonial House Inn, and the 1 train stops one block east at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue.
JFK: Take the Air Train to Howard Beach Station, and pick up a Manhattan-bound A express train to 14th Street. At 14th Street, walk across the platform to catch a local C or E uptown train to 23rd Street (one stop) and then walk to the Colonial House Inn.
LaGuardia: We recommend an airport bus service to Penn Station. From there, take a Downtown C or E train one stop to 23rd Street.
Newark: Take the Air Train to the NJ Transit station, and then any NJ Transit train into New York Penn Station. Transfer to a downtown C or E train and get off at 23rd Street.
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
- Cable TV
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About the Colonial House Inn 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.