If you’ve ever walked New York’s High Line, then you’ve likely admired a certain gabled red-brick building at Tenth Avenue and 20th Street. Surrounded by everything shiny, streamlined and new, this stately, 19th-century Gothic structure is about to become Chelsea’s hottest new hotel.
It’s been dubbed The High Line Hotel — and if you thought that was The Standard, then you’d better think again. Located right across the avenue from the city’s iconic raised park, the hotel was most recently known as the Desmond Tutu Center — a kind of under-the-radar, anything-but-sumptuous guest house owned by the General Theological Seminary, whose campus includes several of the surrounding buildings.
The seminary has been selling off some of its most striking and historic buildings, including the hotel, and most have been converted to condos (the hotel’s co-owner, The Brodsky Organization, owns a few of those condo buildings). Guests of the High Line Hotel will have exclusive access to The Close, an interior park-like quad that belongs to the seminary. A courtyard cafe will overlook these tranquil gardens, where guests can nibble on pastries and sip coffee from the East Coast’s first outpost of Intelligentsia Coffee.
That’s right: watch out, Ace Hotel (Manhattan’s hot hipster nexus thanks to a cushy hotel lobby and an embedded Stumptown Coffee bar). The Highline Hotel has taken note, installing Intelligentsia at a custom bar in its own lobby.
Guests of the 60-room hotel can expect collegiate-Gothic touches including original stained glass windows, old pine floors and fireplace mantels. The building was originally built in 1895 as a student dormitory for the seminary. And the grounds? They were donated to the Episcopal Church by Clement Clarke Moore — author of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
The High Line Hotel is set to soft-open in May.