The High Line Hotel, new kid on the block of New York boutique hotels, is not your cookie-cutter-design tourist hotel. Entering the lobby is like stepping back in time. It is easy to imagine yourself in earlier times when wide-open spaces, horse-drawn carriages and much less hustle and bustle characterized the area. The historic building housing the hotel in the heart of Chelsea feels like an urban sanctuary, but with the advantage of modern amenities.
Situated on land once owned by the Reverend Benjamin Moore and later inherited by Clement Clark Moore, the vast country estate stretched from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River. Benjamin named it “Chelsea” after the London hospital for veterans of war. Famous for its apple orchards, it is said that New York’s “Big Apple” nickname comes from Benjamin’s famous produce.
Clement Clark, famous in his own right for authoring the Yuletide classic, “Twas the night before Christmas”, donated one of the orchards to the Episcopal diocese. And from 1817-1895 the buildings in existence today were built. Now the property is undergoing its third great transition, incorporating hospitality into its ecclesiastical use. The former seminary dormitories now form the 60-rooms of the High Line Hotel.
Superstars of the new Americana interior design style, Roman and Williams have applied their inspired method to bringing this lovely original interior to a new use and audience. Their style blends Vintage Americana with an old-world European feel. But not in a typical gut-and-decorate process. Roman and Williams take existing conditions as an anchor for their process, building on the history and qualities they find, and with a light touch, they add modern amenities to bring spaces into the 21st century. And all without losing the intangible qualities that have built up over time. Which is pretty efficient when you think about it. Recreating the ambiance of this place would not only be challenging but cost prohibitive.
The lobby is tiny but fit for its purpose, with a sparsely appointed table for check in, and a great coffee bar that offers a variety of stronger drinks starting around 5:00 pm. Even the choice of coffee beans is well considered. From Chicago based Intelligentsia, the High Line Hotel location is the first outlet for Intelligentsia in the Big Apple.