The venerable Chelsea Pines Inn has been a popular address for savvy gay and lesbian travelers to New York City since it opened in 1986. Back then, the owners typically emphasized the guesthouse's proximity to bustling Greenwich Village - indeed, the redbrick 1850s townhouse is right along a prime stretch of West 14th Street, between 8th and 9th avenue - the border between the West Village and Chelsea. But back in those days, Chelsea had yet to develop into the trendy epicenter of gay culture that it is today. The location is one of the best assets of the Chelsea Pines Inn, which is actually adjacent to a third cool neighborhood, the Meatpacking District, which is immediately due west.
Accommodations at the inn range from cozy but still graciously furnished standards to downright spacious (by NYC standards) suites with daybeds in the sitting rooms, and rates vary a bit by season but usually you can find a room here starting around $200 per night. All units have private bathrooms, high-end linens and bath amenities, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TV with cable, central a/c and heat, phones with voicemail, refrigerators, irons and boards, safes, and iPod-dock clock radios - and an expansive Continental breakfast is included. One very fun aspect of the decor is that rooms and public areas are hung with gorgeous framed vintage movie posters - in fact, the guest rooms are each named for a particular movie star. A tip: rooms on the upper (fourth and fifth) floors are a bit less pricey, as they require climbing more stairs (there's no elevator). If you don't mind the exercise, these rooms can actually be a bit brighter and more atmospheric, and the front ones have better views of the street below. And that brings us to a second tip: 14th Street isn't the busiest street in the city, but it does have some traffic. If you're seeking peace and quiet, opt for a room in back that faces the courtyard. The inn underwent a major $1 million renovation over the past year, which included all sorts of upgrades.
The inn has an attractive lobby, a small but well-stocked, solarium-style breakfast room, and a lovely shaded private courtyard in back. On the second floor, there's also a handy business center with free computers and printers.
One last great reason to stay here: the staff, which is professional, fun-loving, and courteous. There aren't many hotels in New York City that provide such personal and helpful service - and be sure to pat the feline innkeeper, Charlie Chaplin.