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the long awaited hotel post

the long awaited hotel post

February 6, 2007

perhaps only long awaited by me

Hotel Chelsea

The hotel is what it is. It doesn’t pretend to be the Marriot. Hell, let’s be honest it doesn’t even pretend to be Motel 6. My idea of roughing it is a 4 star hotel. It wasn’t any cheaper than any other “normal” hotel either, so it’s not like we got some sort of bargain.

I did not book the hotel. I don’t know what Rob was thinking, to be honest. But I am now adding it to the list with the green paint in the family room and the Audi. And perhaps with the box of Junior Mints that he gave me as a Christmas present one year. Why yes, it does suck being married to me. Or maybe to him.

I also have a thing about germs, dirt, and hotels in general. Stacy could tell you the first time I met her at BlogHer in San Jose I walked into her hotel room and was horrified that she had the comforter still on her bed. I helpfully tore it off and threw it in the corner, while Kris and I told her about the 20/20 special, or whatever tv expose it was that we had both seen. So to say that the Hotel Chelsea was not a good fit for me would be an understatement.

hotel lobby

This is the hotel lobby. Filled with kitschy artwork. I am an artist, or at least I was until I had children who sucked every last bit of my creative energy out of my soul, so I appreciate artwork.

artwork in the stairway

artwork in the stairway

Look at the awesome metalwork on the stairway. It really is incredible.

walking down to the lobby

Aesthetically speaking, it is a cool old hotel. But it is sorely lacking in it’s upkeep. The old home renovator in me would love to buy it and restore it, strip the 120 layers of paint that are slathered on all of the woodwork, polish the floors, repaint the ghastly colors. Did I mention give it a good scubbing?

And it smelled. Like all different people’s dinner cooking at once. And you could hear everything though the walls. A phone rang in the room next to us and we got to hear the entire conversation like he was sitting in the room with us. Also, some people near the stairs having really loud sex, or else killing each other, it was difficult to tell.


To get to our room, you had to walk through doors like these.

And there at the end of the hallway we were greeted by this. The man who worked at the front desk walked Rob up to the room because he said we could never find it on our own. Because there aren’t numbers. Not sure why, he could have just said take a left at the toilet. Unless of course this feature is on every floor, a fact I didn’t consider until just now.

just in case you can't wait until you get to your room

And here is our room. Our colorful little room.

the room

There were these adorable little bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom. free shampoo and conditionerAren’t they cute? I brought them home with me.

I wrote REDRUM in the steam in the bathroom mirror when Rob was showering. And then pretended I had no idea how it got there.

Posted by Chris @ 10:48 pm  

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  1. Jeanne says:

    I’m speachless. Did the toilet in the hall work? Was it yours?
    And were those legs hanging in the lobby? Art or dead body?
    Hope you had fun.

  2. shaz says:

    “I helpfully tore it off and threw it in the corner”


    I do that too!! all the time!
    it’s the first thing I do as soon as I step into a hotel room. I carry my own bedding and towels.. I am sooo happy that I am not the only hotel-germaphobe ;)

  3. Annika says:

    I really, really hope the toilet in the hall was functional.

  4. Chris says:

    It wasn’t functional, but still.

    I was going to take a picture sitting on it, but it was way too yucky to even sit on fully clothed.

  5. Ruth H says:

    Once when we were traveling through Arizona we
    had to stop at a motel that was THE WORST, and no it wasn’t a brothel. We made the owner come to the room and change the sheets. He said, (I’m not making this up) “You want the top one changed, too?” If there had been another motel in town we would have left, but it was late, we were tired….. what are ya gonna do? But there was no art work, no toilets anywhere except the filthy bathroom.

  6. Sarah says:

    Thank you thank you for filling us in on your hotel adventure. Me being the pathetic person I am checked your blog incessantly all Monday because I wanted to know how your weekend was. ok, I admit it, I also checked your blog all day Sunday as well. I know, scary. Perhaps I need to go out more.

  7. Suzanne says:

    A couple of years ago my husband and I spent a week in New York, the first time for both of us. I considered staying at the Hotel Chelsea because of the Sid and Nancy connection (yeah, we’re weird)… I’m glad you did instead.

  8. daring one says:

    Did you rip the comforter off the bed in our bunker at BlogHer? I can’t remember.

    It’s too bad that toilet wasn’t functional. The location was PRIME.

  9. Me says:

    I say that this is brilliant timing! You have OODLES of leverage to get what you want for Valentine’s Day. Perhaps a weekend away at a decent hotel over the summer would begin to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

    I commiserate. We had to spend an extra night in Paris at a wretched place, not the quaint place we had stayed in until then. It almost makes me wish we had caught the plane.

  10. The Wooden Porch says:

    Were the Junior Mints the ONLY thing he gave you????

  11. amy says:

    All I can say is — YOU are a trooper. I too am weirdly obsessively into cleanliness especially when it involves hordes of other people who may have been there before me. I guess you could say I am a Four Seasons Hotel person with a Motel 6 budget so I guess that means that it is really hard to travel. Still I plug my nose and deal with lousy hotels (each year we have been married we sort of upgrade in the hotel department lol — 22 years now)because I love to see the world (not that I have much money or time to do so!). I am praying by the time we get to 50 years I will get to consistently stay at the Four Seasons or its equivalent if I am not dead yet or completely out of it.

  12. Heather says:

    We drove from AZ to Alaska about 10 years ago. There is a point in British Columbia, where your CHOICE of hotels are limited to about, two. It was very interesting to say the least, something I will NEVER forget. How could I forget being served a huge, extremely dry, moose burger with alfalfa srpouts mounded on top, delivered by a very hairy woman working room service. The best part about it now, is looking back and laughing. Good times, good times. :)

  13. Melissa says:

    I can almost smell it from here…was it also musty?? It looks like it would smell like must and boiling cabbage….with maybe a little patchouli and cigarette smoke mixed in.

    I always, ALWAYS bring my own pillow to hotels, as well as chuck the comforter as far away as possible. ICK

  14. Laura K. says:

    Ok.. enlighten me.. WHY should we remove the comforter from hotel beds? I’m going to be in a hotel soon so lemme know!

  15. Angela says:

    I used to work as a hotel maid. We changed the sheets but the comforters and blankets only got changed if we could see obvious ‘dirt’ on them. There could be years of nastiness on them for all you know and I NEVER use the comforter! I make sure only the sheet touches my body.

    Looks like a unique place to stay Chris. Why does ‘unique’ always mean ’smells funky’?

  16. Sara says:

    My 2 oldest children came over when they heard my laughing. As I scrolled through the pictures, they laughed at the lobby, ooohed and ahhhed over the stairway and when we got to the picture of the toilet, my 10 y.o. daughter had the same reaction as I did (and as you did, for that matter) and was completely squicked out. My 8 y.o. son was fascinated and thought it very clever. I am so far removed from understanding 8 y.o. boys that I may have to hire someone to finish raising him…
    Thanks for posting this. Hope you had fun anyway.

  17. judi casey says:

    i think a box of junior mints is the perfect valentine’s day gift for him this year.

  18. Deborah D says:

    Hi, I’ve never commented before. But I have to ask, was this THE Chelsea Hotel of fame that Leonard Cohen and others stayed at and sang about? It looks very funky cool and yes kitschy. Sorry it wasn’t a hit for you.

  19. Katie says:

    Ugh, the smell would have gotten me. I can’t deal with odd smells. I’m so glad you survived to tell us about it! (Next time the Waldorf, trust me on that one.)

  20. Jim B says:

    REDRUM. That is so not the Stanley Hotel. Wondering — have you been to the Stanley? I’ve been to hotels like that in Chicago. Your description of intermingling cooking smells perfectly describes some of those. Oh, but the ironwork in that hotel. Just beautiful.

  21. Jennifer says:

    LOL! I stayed at a bed&breakfast like that in London. Wait. And Dublin, too. And I won’t even tell you what some of the youth hostels I’ve been in were like. But at least there I had my own sleeping bag. Which was filthy. But at least it was my filth.

  22. cheryl says:

    I am insanely jealous that you got to stay at the Chelsea. Really. In my previous life (single, no kids) I would have loved to stay there - now not so much. But I do hold an intense fascination with the place still. As a former hotel exec, I can say that the blanket is no better than the comforter, so don’t forget to toss it too. I rarely stay at hotels anymore because even the pricey ones are nasty. I worked in the pricey ones. Ick. But thanks for the chance to live vicariously through you, lol.

  23. cassie-b says:

    Hotel rooms often make me nervous. I really don’t care if you have to pay more for a clean one - with no cutesie things.

    I just like to feel safe.

    The pictures really look interesting.


  24. Meg says:


    Awesome pics…I’m so jealous!

  25. sandra says:

    I am so glad you went. And as sucky as the hotel experience was, look at all the good blog and storytelling fodder! Not to mention the racked-up points Rob owes you. (He has to know he owes you …) You’re glad you went, right? Right? :)

  26. Heather B. says:

    Ewwww Stacy left the comforter on her bed?? Glad you and Kris saved her from scabies or herpes or the rotovirus or some such shit.

  27. Brandi says:

    This reminds me of a place my husband and I stayed while in San Francisco early on in our relationship. You had to pay extra to have your own bathroom!

  28. Shaylind says:

    Wow. Your incredibly disappointing hotel experience is way too funny.
    It makes me feel a little bad to be laughing so hard at your expense but I can’t help it.

  29. Jean says:

    Just think of it as ‘collecting experiences’.

    My dh and I went to Europe for our 25th anniversary and stayed in hostels to save money. It was a blast! In Prague we stayed in a hostel that had been used as a prison. And yes, it did look pretty much like that. Also the doors locked as soon as you shut them and it took us ten minutes to figure out how to get out of our room. And those Czechs know how to make a prison — there was no other way out! If we had stayed in nice places, we wouldn’t have nearly as much fun talking about it later.

  30. Kendra says:

    I too am curious about the legs hangin in the lobby. They sort of look like a pink version of sponge bob. When I saw the picture of the toilet in the hallway, I seriously thought that was the communal bathroom. I was scared. Hope you had fun other than the hotel!

  31. Jess says:

    It does look funky and cool but I would have ran screaming towards the nearest Marriott.

  32. april says:

    My husband has made the same mistake. Except it wasn’t in New York City, it was in Arkansas. An historic hotel in Arkansas…I think any person with a tiny bit of common sense would have known what they meant was; freezing cold, tiny room with no water, cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and as a bonus…bugs, you know to feed the spiders. I feel your pain of luxury lost.

  33. Susan says:

    LAURA K: The reason you don’t want anything to do with the comforter is because it’s rarely cleaned. 20/20 did a special on hotel rooms, and the amount of feces, urine and, uh, OTHER bodily functions found on hotel comforters, carpet and walls was absolutely DISGUSTING. We’re talking even in 4 & 5 star hotels. Almost enough to make me ne never want to stay in one ever again. Almost.

    When we go to a hotel, I have to repeatedly shriek at my kids to STAY OFF THE FLOOR and DON’T GET NEAR THE COMFORTER and WEAR YOUR SHOES IN THE ROOM!

    It’s very relaxing.

  34. Susan says:

    FLUIDS, I meant - not functions! ROFLMAO

  35. Gina says:

    WOW! I totally want to go there!!!

    Except that I wouldn’t be sleeping there.

    Or taking off my shoes.

    And I would have had to search the hotel for more toilets in the halls and asked if they thought that was art and if the fire inspector had seen it since it was sitting in front of the EXIT. I would have asked those things.

  36. KathyB says:

    I know that perhaps the hotel was not what you were expecting, but I am INSANELY JEALOUS!!! You got to stay at one of the coolest spots in NY…if you are a 60’s-70’s music and art buff. I have ALWAYS dreamed of spending one night where you did…obviously not for the cleanliness or amenities, but for the pure pop culture of it all….lucky you!

  37. rachel says:

    wow. I wish I could have switched places with you - I would LOVE to stay at the Chelsea! *swoon*

    Ah well - thanks for the tour and surviving to tell us about it! :)

  38. CathyC says:

    I just don’t know what to say, but it makes a hell of a funny story! I take it you will be in charge of planning all future vacation getaways? yeah.

  39. Artemis Rich says:

    That sounds like a totally different Chelsea than the Chelsea I stayed at 20 years ago.

    This is going to deserve a post all of its own. Give me a couple days…I want to see if I can find my old journal recording the experience.

    To give you an idea: your experience was 5 star compared to mine. Seriously.

  40. jody2ms says:

    LOLOL!! Me too, on all “hotel ick factor” points. It must be the Howard Hughes in us.

    There is nothing like climbing under the sheets in a Marriott owned hotel and smelling the smell of dirty feet/laundry. That happened to us this weekend. Blek, blek, blek.

  41. Mary W says:

    the metal work and toiletries look way cool - the art is cool but oy I couldn’t sleep in that bed.

  42. Gwen says:

    Hmm, I no longer have the urge to visit New York!

    I got a kick out of your REDRUM joke.

  43. halloweenlover says:

    I’m cringing with you. Ick. Ick. Ick.

    Was the trip fun, though? Despite the hotel? You should have had some cupcakes at the Magnolia bakery for me. Mmmm. On second thought, you should mail some to me!

  44. Tania says:

    Chris, this was very funny but inquiring minds (read: nosey people) need to know - how did your SIL go babysitting? I need to know if she survived! :)

  45. Maddy says:

    I’d have run a mile, not slept a wink and been on the first plane home. My worst nightmare is me on a toilet in public, this would have had me doing an about face at the top of the very nice staircase.

  46. JO says:

    In Chicago it was the Harrison…a chain has tried to clean it up…but. I’d probably love it in a campy camping sort of way.

  47. Joy H says:

    I was with you until the cooking smells and the curtains/comforter combo of your quaint little room. Egads!

  48. Holli Smith says:

    Oh gross! Well, at least you got away from the kids for a night!
    Did you learn anything from the sex-ed you freely got?

  49. Kimmie says:

    Nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to sleep there? LOL

    Still just seeing the whole Sid and Nancy thing…….

  50. AHCB says:

    Imagine how we felt when we cam home and found the numbers removed from our doors. Here’s the reason why –

  51. Reneebren says:

    Please, I don’t get the whole REDRUM thing? What does it mean???

  52. ben says:

    That looks like the place where they filmed some of Leon. (”the professional”)

    And –

    Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!

  53. nabbalicious says:

    Haha, love the “redrum” on the mirror bit! Well, I still want to stay there. But just for one night. I have a feeling that’d be plenty for me.

    Also, I’ve heard about the 20/20 special and it sufficiently horrified me that I don’t so much as LOOK at those comforters! Blech.

  54. crunchy carpets says:

    I stayed with friends a while back right around the corner from there.

    All I kept thinking was Sid and Nancy! SIIIIID….and they didn’t get it.

    The coffee shop next door was trippy too.

  55. Lyndsy says:

    The suites on the hotel chelsea website look pretty funky. I want to live there in an apartment on the roof at least I’d be able to clean it and maintain it. Although I guess if youre not into 60s and 70s pop culture etc the dust and strange going ons in the place aren’t appreciated. Did you feel any vibes?

  56. Vicky McGee says:

    The skankiest I’ve stayed in was the most expensive in San Fran. It was awful. I ended up sitting in a chair all night. After what I saw under the bed, I didn’t dare lay on that mattress. Thanks for the pix of The Chelsea. Way cool.