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“Surpassed my expectations” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Chelsea International Hostel

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Chelsea International Hostel
2.0 of 5 Hostel   |   251 West 20th Street, New York City, NY 10011 (Chelsea)   |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Surpassed my expectations”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

I have some issues with claustrophobia so I figured I'd be in for it, staying in a hostel in Manhattan. However, the room I stayed in (4 beds, all-female) was awesome. Very comfortable and spacious. Cleaned properly daily. Nice bathroom and shower.

The staff is super friendly. There is a decent, filling breakfast, consisting of a bagel and a piece of fruit, with some generic coffee and cereal. Though I wish breakfast started earlier than 8am, as I'm a bit of an early riser.

The location is great. There are a lot of great shops in the neighborhood and it's pretty and well kept. There's a noise curfew so it never got too crazy.

The only thing I hated is the TV in the common room, which the staff kept blaringly loud. None of the visitors were watching it; it was just a nuisance. I don't believe most travelers like having the TV on all the time (I sure don't).

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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413 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

So this was my first experience at a Hostel and I would definitely return. The area was great; there were a lot of restaurants to choose from, a ton of brand name clothing stores, small boutiques, & a couple of "adult" stores (lol). Also, there are some subway stations close by and the time it took to get to Times Square from the Hostel was about 5-10 minutes by taxi, which is about $10-$15.

While I was here, it felt like I was living in a downtown apartment. The room was clean, the beds were comfy and each room had 2 lockers, a sink and mirror in it. Each housing unit had 4 floors with each floor having 3-4 rooms with 1 room with a shower and another with a toilet. Since everyone had their own plans and came home at different hours of the night, the shower and toilet rooms were never busy. Also the staff was very friendly at the Hostel.

The common area was small but they had outdoor seating as well. There was a fridge, microwave, stove and 3 computers with free wifi, but only available in this area. At 8AM, they would offer breakfast which included an oversized bagel with butter and jam, an apple or orange, and unlimited orange juice, coffee, milk, & cornflakes. They even had a conveyor belt toaster for the bagel, which I did not expect. For me, this was enough but if you were still hungry, you can just pick up more breakfast along the street at one of the stores.

All in all, I really liked this Hostel. Don't be fooled by the negative reviews, they're the ones who expect the same quality and service from a hotel. Obviously, it won't be the same as a hotel. Since you'll have a jam packed day full of sight-seeing and shopping, you'll only be there to get some sleep, it's not like you're gonna go all the way to New York City just to stay in a hostel the whole day. In short, you'll go to the Chelsea International Hostel with low expectations but then realize how wrong you were. 2 thumbs up, 5 stars, & all that :)

Room Tip: The rooms are all the same, and you need a key for the housing unit and your room so you can leave a...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Ottawa, Ontario
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013 via mobile

The location of the hostel is excellent. I stayed in the 4 bed female dorm with ensuite. Bathroom in the room is not easy to find in NyC so this is a definite plus. Also, the room had single beds so no bunk beds to deal with. The place is clean and provides all the basics of a hostel. BUT the wifi is only reserved for the common areas which close at 10 pm. So if you stay up late, you come back to a locked down facility with no access to the common room, the kitchen and the fridge. This is very inconvenient in the "city that never sleeps". There aren't many social activities and the staff seems to isolate themselves in an office. After certain hours, you can only communicate with them through a small window. Not sure if this has to do with the size of the place but the staff is very distant. However, the hostel serves its purpose and you are in NYC so you just sleep here anyway. The needed improvements would be access to common areas after hours and wifi on the rooms. Otherwise, this place is a good pick.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

Don't go in with very high expectations. The beds aren't comfortable at all, the ambiance is pretty grim, and it's very basic. However, you get what you pay for and at least everything is very clean. I thought the bagels for breakfast were great, but then I'm not from New York. The location is great and there's no way you'll find anything cheaper in this area. It's close to almost every subway line and places like times square or the village aren't too bad of a walk. There's a few things I wish I had packed (like I said, it's very basic), like hand soap, a hand towel, and an extra blanket. The wifi wasn't as bad as I expected. I would stay here again. I fell asleep pretty easily despite the awful bed and street noise. If you're not exhausted each night then you're not doing it right!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

I did a quick solo trip to NYC and did endless amounts of hostel research. I went with Chelsea International because of the location, it seemed like the best bang for my buck and well managed. Those 3 major details proved to be so true. All I wanted was for it to be basic and clean and it certainly was. Apple, bagel & cereal handed out in the morning. Wednesday night they have a pizza a party with complimentary pizza. I thought that was very generous. The guys at the front desk were friendly and extremely helpful with directions, recommendations etc. It was so easy to find the subway and get around from there. You have to check out by noon, but you can rent a locker to put your stuff in if you have a later departure time which I did. If you are looking for a glitzy & happenin hostel, this isn't it but you'll be in NYC and I hope for your sake, that you won't be spending too much time back at the hostel. Happy trails!

Room Tip: I stayed in a 4 bed female only. It was a perfect size. If you going to bed early I hope you don'...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

Ok the location is good. But being there during winter, the room we had was sooo cold we could'nt sleep. We told the receptionnist, he told us to go and buy some blankets ourselves ! We left for another place, really bad service, really poor breakfast.
If you are in NYC, avoid this place or it could ruin your journey!

Room Tip: Avoid the building at the rear of the courtyard !
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericton, Canada
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

Stayed at the Chelsea International Hostel Oct 2012 (mere days before Superstorm Sandy). Part of a school trip with university students. Location was great, staff friendly, room clean, free WiFi and breakfast to boot! I have stayed in a few hostels in NYC and this had to be the best so far. Located in Chelsea you are handy 4 or more subway. The hostel is more a grouping of buildings 2-3 floors each and a rear 'quarters' with more spacious rooms. I had a double which had a sink, mirror, shelves and lockers. Beds were comfortable and warm at night even with window open. Shared bathroom in hall was small but did the trick. Other than the narrow steep stairwell..but can't be helped with an older building it was great on a budget. WiFi was accessible in the 'breakfast' room and outdoors had a big courtyard with tables, garbage cans, recycle bins and ashtrays. That area was closed nightly at 11 to keep the partiers quiet, which we appreciated.

Many restaurants within a short walk as well as drug stores, markets and the famous Murray's Bagels! Best bagels and cream cheese to die for! You are also not far from the "Upstart Brigade Theatre" as well as bigger shopping areas. Maybe a 10 minute walk to the "High Line", walking distance to the Meat Packing District, more restos and shops..10 minutes on subway to Times Square or anywhere really! The Chelsea International Hostel just made a great, convenient place to access all that NYC has to offer but is in a neighborhood that is safe and quiet.

Unfortunately 'Superstorm Sandy' was on it's way so we left about 12 hrs early to head back to Canada (I like to think of it as our evacuation bus)...Chelsea was affected by Sandy as were many areas of NYC. When we returned we heard of a building facade a few blocks away had fallen away. But was heartwarming to hear of the stories of community and aid that followed. I do know the power was out and flooding where we had stayed, but to what extent I am not sure.

I would certainly recommend the CIH and I would certainly return again...maybe again this October!

Room Tip: First or second floor if you can get it...just the narrow hall is hard to maneuver a large suitcase...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chelsea International Hostel

Address: 251 West 20th Street, New York City, NY 10011
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Chelsea
Hotel Style:
Ranked #40 of 185 Specialty Lodging in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Chelsea International Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 150
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Chelsea International Hotel New York City

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