There's no shortage of designer hotels in New York City, but it seems there is always space for one more. Especially when it is as unique as Chelsea's new boutique High Line Hotel.
It may have only just opened, but the cluster of red-brick buildings spanning a whole block on Manhattan's 10th Avenue are a local landmark, giving a long-established feel to the hotel.
The interior is a far cry from its original purpose as student housing for the General Theological Seminary though. Guests are checked in almost seamlessly by iPad, and whisked past the Intelligentia cafe and courtyard on the ground level to one of the 60 rooms above.
The high life: The rooms at the High Line Hotel are generously-sized by New York standards, and interiors are a far cry from the building's original purpose as student housing for the General Theological Seminary.
Unique decor: Carefully-chosen antique furniture pays tribute to the age of the building, offset by one-off pieces made locally that play on architectural quirks in each room
And each is highly individual. Yes, there are the luxury linens and large TVs that one would expect from a five-star property, but what saves it from becoming the typical identikit luxury hotel room is the decor.
Carefully-chosen antique furniture pays tribute to the age of the building, offset by one-off pieces made locally that play on architectural quirks in each room. We loved, for example, how one low-ceilinged spot in an upper room was transformed into a writing nook complete with vintage desk, mini library and sensational views.
Well-received: Guests are checked in almost seamlessly by iPad, and whisked past the Intelligentsia cafe and courtyard on the ground level to one of the 60 rooms above
Historic: The hotel sits on land that was once the estate of Clement Clarke Moore (named 'Chelsea' after the London hospital for veterans). The orchards on his land are said to have inspired the 'Big Apple' nickname
Indeed, every item in the room boasts both form and function. That antique telephone by the bed is no mere ornament. Pick it up, and you'll actually hear a dialling tone. You need not fear using it either - guests can make complimentary phone calls to anywhere in the world.
The antique embosser on the desk, too, allows guests to stamp letterpress motifs on their stationery (hours of fun), while the 'minibar' is unlike any we've seen: beers, salamis and cheeses made by local artisans across the East River in Brooklyn, and all the ingredients you'll need to shake your own cocktails.
Buzzing with activity: There is an Intelligentsia snack and coffee truck in the front courtyard
The hotel describes itself as an 'urban sanctuary' - and it is certainly a peaceful spot. Perhaps the antithesis of The City That Never Sleeps, one might think. But in fact, the hotel is more a part of New York's history than one realises.
WHAT TO DO IN CHELSEA
Go for a walk along the High Line: A park on a disused railway that runs from the Meatpacking District to the northern reaches of Chelsea, the High Line has become one of the city's most popular attractions. Check out the views across the Hudson of New Jersey - especially beautiful at sunset.
Visit Chelsea Market: A Mecca for foodies, this series of tunnels was formerly the National Biscuit Factory bakery. Today it is home to some of the city's favourite artisan suppliers. Popular stops to grab a bite include Lobster Place, Fat Witch Bakery and One Lucky Duck.
Check out the local galleries: A stroll around 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and 24th streets will see you take in the Gagosian, Paul Kasmin, Pace Gallery, Luhring Augustine, Mary Boone Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, David Zwirner and Jack Shainman Gallery.
The buildings sit on land that was formerly the country estate of academic Clement Clarke Moore. He named it 'Chelsea' after the London hospital for war veterans, and the apple orchards on his land are believed to have inspired the 'Big Apple' nickname.
Clarke Moore, who famously wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas, donated one of those orchards to the Episcopal diocese in 1817. The current building dates from 1895.
But for all its history, the High Line Hotel definitely doesn't have a touristy feel. It is likely to appeal to a more literary and artistic crowd who shy away from the party scene at the nearby Standard and Dream Downtown.
What will make the High Line Hotel a popular hangout with non-tourists though, is the Intelligentsia coffee shop on the ground level. It is the Chicago-based chain's first East Coast outpost - and coffee obsessives need little invitation to wax lyrical about it.
Already it buzzes with activity, and when cocktails and small plates are served in the front courtyard, it is likely to be more popular still.
Rooms at the High Line Hotel start from $400 (£250) a night.
The Standard, High Line
848 Washington at 13th Street, New York 10014
Phone: (212) 645-4646
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