When my kids told me the typewriters at the High Line Hotel New York were broken, I was a little surprised. The Highline Hotel was totally on trend and well-maintained. It turned out that the kids did not actually know how to use a typewriter! I taught them that you punch in the letters but then you have to manually turn the knob to move down a line and back to the beginning. For my kids both the typewriters and the rotary telephones were great fun! Explaining how these ‘vintage’ items worked made me feel pretty old though.
The High Line Hotel is a modern boutique hotel set in a converted Episcopal Church seminary. There’s nothing monastic about the Highline Hotel though – remember this religious institution was Episcopal not Catholic!
History of The High Line Hotel New York
The High Line Hotel New York is a beautiful old building built in 1895 to emulate European Gothic buildings. The building is located on on what used to be an apple orchard on Clement Clark Moore’s estate, Chelsea.
Yes, that Clement Clark Moore who wrote ’Twas The Night Before Christmas in 1822. This poem is the most widely known American poem in the world and did a lot to create the idea of Christmas as we celebrate it today.
Chelsea Before It was Chelsea
According to hotel lore, New York City got it’s Big Apple nickname from this apple orchard. This estate named Chelsea was north of what was officially Manhattan at the time – the city at that time only reached up to Houston Street. Hard to believe in this day and age when Chelsea is the epicentre of downtown cool!
’Twas An Early Subdivision
Moore’s family were well-connected Americans of English extraction. His father was an Episcopal bishop and twice president of Columbia University. Moore inherited Chelsea from his mother’s father who was a British officer.
Moore donated part of the land to a seminary for the Episcopal church with which his family had deep connections. The rest of Chelsea he made a fortune by subdividing the land into a new neighbourhood for the ever-expanding New York.
What To Expect From The Highline Hotel
The Lobby is informal with no official check-in desk. The black-uniformed staff will help you sort out check-in or any concierge-questions you have.
The designers have maintained some of the old world elegance of the interiors with its stained glass, gorgeous wood panelling etc. The rest of the decor is flea-market chic with a mix of vintage finds ranging from typewriters to farm equipment. Seriously. Like 18 Pulteney Street Hotel in Bath, England, this hotel style shows that anything can be curated into a good-looking collection.
A trendy coffee bar is de rigueur for this type of hotel. Expect serious coffee drunk by serious coffee-drinkers, not the mass-produced milky concoctions of your average Starbucks consumer. You would not expect any less from a coffee bar called Intelligentsia (a coffee chain based out of Chicago).
The hotel has a big front garden overlooking Tenth Avenue and a smaller courtyard in the back. The front garden has a small Intelligentsia coffee truck which is a converted 1960’s Citroen moving van imported from France.
The Guest Rooms
The guest rooms are a decent size for Manhattan with more retro cool touches. I like that the decor made the rooms feel warm and individual thanks to the antique rugs, books and furniture everywhere. Lots of quirky pieces made it feel less institutional even though this boutique hotel is quite large with 60 rooms.
The old-fashioned rotary phones have been wired to actually work! In addition, you get free global phone calls. I remember a time when this detail would have been an expensive luxury. Nowadays though everyone uses FaceTime or WhatsApp.
The Highline Hotel is family friendly in so much as you can book a family of four into a deluxe double queen. In addition, there are blackout blinds which I always need with children. The hotel is also dog-friendly but you do need to tell them ahead of time if you are bringing Fido.
As you would expect, the WiFi is excellent and free (very important in my family’s list of wants and needs).
Location of the High Line Hotel
The Highline Hotel NYC is located right across the street from one of the entrances to The High Line, a pedestrianised urban park and walkway with great views over lower New York and New Jersey.
The High Line Hotel is located at 180 Tenth Avenue (between 20th and 21st streets), New York, New York 10011.
Check out the TripAdvisor Reviews for the High Line Hotel NYC!
In addition, to the High Line Hotel, other hotels near the High Line are the Standard High Line, Gansevoort Meatpacking and The Maritime Hotel. I felt these hotels had more of a buzzing scene better suited to couples than families.
Things To Do Near The Highline Hotel
It’s in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan and conveniently located near the Meatpacking District (fun for grownups) and Chelsea Piers (fun for grownups and kids).
Lower Manhattan with its myriad attractions like the Circle Line cruise ship, the Intrepid Air & Space Museum and the 9/11 Memorial Museum are close to hand.
The hotel has free Shinola bikes available if you feel like braving New York City traffic. They do not have any kid-size bikes though but they are easy enough to rent at kiosks in Hudson River Park.
Chelsea Piers is a recreational facility with a bowling alley, driving range, climbing wall etc. I used to take my children to the toddler gym which is a soft play area when they needed to get rid of excess energy and the weather was not cooperating.
Chelsea Market is a massive complex of shops and food court in the former National Biscuit Company factory (makers of the Oreo!).
The High Line is an urban park made from a disused train line modelled after the Plantee Promenade in Paris.
Hudson River Park is a riverside park that stretches from Battery Park to 59th street. For kids, there are many things to do including playgrounds, a Carousel and mini-golf. There’s plenty to do in lower Manhattan with kids especially near the revamped Battery Park area.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is located in a Renzo Piano designed building in the Meatpacking District and adjacent to the High Line. The museum restaurant, Untitled, is excellent even if it did cost me $14 a burger to feed each of my kids.