In July, I had to take a quick overnight business trip to New York City. My meetings were in Chelsea, so I decided to ditch my usual Midtown lodging & stay right in the neighborhood. As I was researching places to stay, I came across what could be called a cruise-lovers dream come true: the Maritime Hotel. A veteran of eight cruises, I obviously had no choice but to stay there.
One of three similarly designed buildings built in the late 1960s to house the National Maritime Union of America, stepping into this retro building is like stepping back in time. Despite the fact that I arrived late afternoon, while the sun was still out, the lobby dark & mysterious – a throwback to the sitting room of a great ocean liner. The navy-painted hallway leading to my room was also dimly lit – so dark, in fact, that I almost couldn’t find my room. I’d admit, this made me a little nervous as a solo female traveler (luckily, once night did fall, lights came on & the hallway was better lit).
My room, a New York sized (read: tiny) standard room, was exactly like stepping into a cruise ship. Warm wood paneling covers the walls. The bed looked like it could fold up into the wall. A huge 5′ porthole window dominates the room. The bathroom? Surprisingly modern & not cruise like. Despite the fact that I was on the 11th floor, in true NYC fashion, I could still hear the sirens, jackhammering & honking of the streets below – perhaps a fault of the 50 year old windows.
A stay on this land-based cruise ship includes a number of amenities, including a wine & cheese reception in the afternoon & continental breakfast each morning. They’re both served in a delightful indoor-outdoor porch (complete with retractable roof!) on the 2nd floor, which is accessed through an unmarked hallway & a flight of interior stairs. The space itself felt like an oasis in the middle of the city.
Perhaps the hotel’s best attribute is its location: next door to Google & YouTube’s sprawling NYC headquarters, a few blocks from the High Line & right across the street from Chelsea Market. I spent a wonderful evening in the Market, having a great dinner at Friedman’s Lunch, buying too many books at Posman Books & stuffing my face with gelato from L’arte De Gelato.
You may have noticed that I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that I stayed here in July. It’s almost two months later – so why did it take me so long to write about this aquatic vessel parked in Chelsea? Here’s the truth: I can’t decide if this is the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in or the worst! It is so weird, so tacky, so unique, so old fashioned. I’d need to stay a second time to determine if this is truly a hidden gem or if it should be set out to sea.
Know before you go…
- Other amenities include complimentary wifi, a Keurig delivered to your room on-request & one of New York’s hottest nightclubs/restaurants, Tao. They’re also in the process of building a Mario Batali restaurant on-site.
- FYI: you came make it from the Maritime Hotel to Penn Station in rush hour traffic with an assertive cab driver in 8 minutes to catch your train.