What an unexpected surprise to walk into a hotel in the middle of 14th Street. Chelsea Pines has been in business for twenty-five years, filling their twenty-plus rooms with a long list of interesting characters. The inn’s rooms have recently been refurbished, and there is a small garden in the back. This neighborhood inn serves as a bed and breakfast to many out-of-towners.
In keeping with the original nautical theme from the 1960′s, each room in the hotel has a porthole window and is decorated with teak wood. In 2014, the hotel’s restaurant La Bottega closed to make room for La Sirena by Mario Batali. The Cabanas, open in the spring and summer, is on the rooftop and offers a welcome reprieve from the city streets when the weather permits.
Trendy and filled with beautiful people, the Dream Hotel has created quite an aura around it. Sitting in the lobby is certainly entertaining at any hour of the day, but in the evening the action really kicks in. There is a DJ in the lounge area right off the lobby and not far from the entrance is Bodega Negra, with a Mexican menu. Also attached to the hotel is a restaurant called Fishbowl, with a 5000 gallon fish tank behind the bar. On the rooftop, the PHD Club tends to play top 40's music, and downstairs is the Electric Room, which is described as a rock club.
From the bright yellow revolving doors, to the adorable little ice skating rink, to the bar, the lobby, the rooms with the views, this is quite the place to see and be seen. Located in the Meatpacking District, where so much of the city's nightlife takes place, this hotel is definitely one of the more popular places to visit... but some of us prefer it during the daytime when you can really appreciate all that it has to offer... including its proximity to the High Line. That being said, if you are a night time person who loves the party scene, then do check out Le Bain, the rooftop club that opens at 4: 00pm.
Beneath the Spanish Benevolent Society lies La Nacional, one of Manhattan’s most authentic Spanish restaurants and the most easily accessible part of the society. Just by walking down the steps into the dimly lit basement lounge, we felt the bustle of 14th street quickly recede and we were transported across the ocean. La Nacional has the same relaxed, no frills atmosphere as most tapas bars in Spain. We gazed at the old photographs from the society’s earlier years on the walls and then had the option of sipping a drink at the bar, sampling some classic simple Spanish tapas such as tortilla de patatas, croquetas or chorizo, or dining on a full meal of paella. Perhaps the most authentic option, though, was to simply have a seat by the television to watch the fútbol game - it is always on. For visitors from Spain who want a taste of home, those of us pining for the Spanish travels of our past, or New Yorkers simply curious about a new culture, La Nacional is the place to go.