GEM Hotel Chelsea Offers Affordable “Boutique Efficiency” Accommodations in New York City

Following our recent stay at Distrikt Hotel, we had the pleasure of scoping out GEM Hotel Chelsea, part of the Choice Hotels Ascend Collection of unique hotels.

Vagabondish is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our disclosure.

GEM Hotel Chelsea, New York City (lobby)
GEM Hotel Chelsea, New York City (lobby) © LA Times

The Skinny

GEM Hotel’s philosophy, in their words:

We believe that honest and unique hospitality does not have to be confined to exorbitant prices and pretentious service at our boutique New York hotels.

Standard amenities include:

  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Free high-speed wireless internet
  • Cordless phones
  • In-room coffee makers
  • Local calls
  • Concierge service
  • Business center
  • Exercise room

GEM Hotel Chelsea, New York City
GEM Hotel Chelsea, New York City

In Detail

The GEM Hotel Chelsea is part of a growing trend in the hotel industry that could affectionately be dubbed “boutique efficiency”. It’s clear that a great deal of thought went into designing the hotel to be chic, yet comfortable. But the hotel also considered clever ways to ensure that guests could cut costs wherever possible.

Management assured me that the focus is on necessities with just the right amount of “nice-to-haves” thrown in. It’s not intended to be a full-featured hotel in the traditional sense of the word – there’s no massive business center, no indoor heated pool and no restaurant to speak of. And this is all great news for the budget traveler: why spend a small fortune when much of that cost is going towards features you’ll never use?

The week I stayed, many of my fellow hotel guests were visiting from abroad. Many Europeans know what they want in a hotel – clean, chic accommodations that offer everything they need, and maybe a touch more.

Guestroom & Amenities

Our room was modest, yet plenty comfortable. The computer workstation served as a suitable headquarters for our two-day stay. Modern vagabonds and flashpackers will appreciate the free, fast (and rock solid) WiFi service.

Hotel Staff & Service

Folks at the hotel assured me that GEM Hotel staff are hired primarily on their outgoing personalities, rather than specific industry experience. The thinking being: the former can’t easily be taught, while the latter obviously can. It’s a simple approach and one that I wish more hospitality businesses would adopt.

Every member of the staff – from the front desk, to housekeeping, to the janitors – was friendly and courteous. I was consistenly greeted with a smile and a hello by each and every person.

Location, Location ”¦ Location?

In Chelsea, of course. But you knew that. It’s still one of the most happening, funky neighborhoods in the whole of Manhattan. A stone’s throw could hit several coffee shops, delis, ATMs, and a subway station.

Plus, train travelers can save the cab fare – the GEM Hotel Chelsea is barely a ten minute walk from Penn Station.

Connect with GEM Hotels

On Twitter:

On Facebook:


From May 1, 2010 – Aug 31, 2010 rates from just $159 USD per night. GEM Hotel’s latest special is a homage to Sex and the City:

If the spoilers are any indication, it seems the “Sex and the City” ladies will be feeling the economic downturn’s pinch in this spring’s highly anticipated sequel. While the days of $500 shoes and $20 cosmos might be long gone, fashionistas can still enjoy a Carrie or Samantha-worthy NYC weekend without breaking the bank. The Big Apple’s GEM Hotels are offering the GEM in the City package, available May 1 to Aug. 31, 2010, for glamour-seeking SATC fans on a designer shoestring budget.

With nightly rates starting at $159 per room*, the GEM in the City package includes:

  • Stylish accommodations at The GEM Hotels in Chelsea, Midtown West and SoHo, familiar locations for SATC lovers. Complimentary amenities include premium bottled water, high-speed Internet access and Wolfgang Puck coffee.
  • A guide to NYC sample sales and designer discount stores near The GEM Hotels. Who says you have to pay retail to look fabulous?
  • Two make-your-own cocktail kits. Savvy girls know that it’s best to avoid pricey drinks unless your very own Big is buying. GEM will provide the ingredients to mix a Very Cherreâ„¢ cocktail before heading out for a night on the town. The kit includes a mini vodka bottle and Very Cherre premium tart cherry juice.
  • Dean Jacobs Cupcake Mix to make like Charlotte in the movie and bake your own sugary confections. Waiting in an around-the-block line for a $3 treat is not very chic, so take a much less expensive taste of NYC home with you

Seriously, even guys can appreciate free cupcakes! Starting May 1, visit to book the “GEM in the City” package.

Bottom Line

The GEM Hotel Chelsea will appeal to budget travelers seeking swank accommodations with just the right amount of frills. New York City hotel rates have come down slightly in recent years, but only slightly. And still … $159 per night with free WiFi, in-room gourmet coffee (that was actually damn good), a top-notch staff, and an ideal location? We highly recommend it for budget travelers.

Founding Editor
  1. Stayed here once a while back and they have an AMAZING penthouse room. It’s basically the same size as any of the other king rooms I think, but it’s the only room on the top floor (private and quite) and has a rooftop patio that’s almost larger than the room itself! We had a great 180 view of Chelsea, including the Empire State Building too!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Make Sure You're Human ... * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Subscribe to Our 'Under the Radar' Newsletter
If you love travel, you're gonna love this!