Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea Complete Review — and The Verdict Is…

This hotel property was not what Brian Cohen expected.

When the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea officially opened to guests on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, it became only the second hotel property in the world under the Motto by Hilton brand — the first one is in the District of Columbia — with a third hotel property now open in Philadelphia and two more hotel properties to open soon in Tulum in Mexico and in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea Complete Review — and The Verdict Is…

This article is currently the most extensive and detailed review of a Motto by Hilton hotel property — which includes at least 65 photographs — so please be advised that this review is lengthy; and that I was a guest of Hilton for my stay.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

When Motto was officially announced as the newest lifestyle brand by Hilton back in December of 2018, it was a bonafide affordable option located at or near otherwise expensive city centers which had been missing from the Hilton portfolio; and it was designed to empower guests by giving them the freedom to create their own experiences in the most sought-after cities around the world.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

“How does a multinational company offer an affordable lodging option in a prime global location? Offer a combination of a small footprint in a micro-hotel with a potentially significant amount of flexibility” is what I wrote in this article on Friday, December 7, 2018. “One type of lodging which is popular with students and other people who otherwise cannot afford to travel is the venerable hostel — but they are often not an ideal option for frequent travelers, as rooms and bathrooms are often shared by guests who do not know each other.”

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

As part of the Hilton Honors Experience called Quest Loves Food with ?uestlove, my lodging at the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea was paid by Hilton — but as it was my first stay at a Motto by Hilton hotel property, I wanted to relate my experience in this review.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Bicycles are available to guests of the hotel property at no additional charge for up to two consecutive hours — but a waiver must also be signed, and helmets are provided, as they must be worn when riding the bicycles. The bicycles are especially convenient when picking up some quintessential New York items — such as Kosher delicatessen or bagels and bialys.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The front desk is located on the left side; while people may lounge both inside in the lobby area and outside. When I read the word hostel in the original marketing materials from Hilton as part of the description of its Motto brand, I was expecting something more spartan. This hotel property surprised me as being more upscale — and it was indeed in a good location in Manhattan, which is convenient to such places as the High Line and Greenwich Village and such landmarks as the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building. It is also located eleven blocks north and one block west from the college where I earned my Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree and several blocks from where I spent the first semester of my senior year in high school.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

This area located between the lobby and the restaurant itself is the coffee and espresso bar. The front desk area is off to the right beyond the range of the photograph.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

After checking in at the front desk and receiving my plastic key card, I took the elevator to my room on the 36th floor. I really like when I can see on which floors the elevators are currently located so that I know how long I can expect to wait — and with four elevators that were speedy enough to cause the insides of one’s ears to need to be “popped”, the waits were never that long.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Guests need to use their key cards for access to the floors on which their rooms are located — and no, the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea hotel property has no thirteenth floor, which means that the hotel property is 41 stories tall. Fast elevators are definitely needed in buildings this tall.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Once exiting one of the four elevators, guests can only head one way towards their rooms — and the view out of the window by the elevators was simply of the building next door.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The hallway goes in two directions to get to the guest rooms, whose numbers are illuminated next to a work of art on the wall…

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

…and because the building is not all that wide, the hallways are not all that long — so getting to a room from the elevator is never a long walk and only takes a moment. The room numbers are illuminated from the floor, which I thought was cool while providing some light as to where the room is located if the hallway — which is not too brightly illuminated anyway — is dark.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The Room

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

A small hallway greets anyone who enters the room — but watch out, as the door slams shut, which seems to be the case with the doors to all of the rooms. The doors slamming shut does cause loud noises.

On one side is the entrance to the bathroom, of which a sliding barn door with a full size mirror is used for privacy — plus one hook to hang a garment or a bag.

On the other side on the wall is an electrical outlet, and nine more hooks with a bag holding a hair dryer and a Do Not Disturb sign that hangs on the door knob. Each hook can hold several hangers, of which three were available. A luggage rack is also attached to the wall; and it must be unfolded when detached from the wall.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

One side of the Do Not Disturb sign is “Winding down please do not disturb”; while the other side is “Out in the world please make up room”. I chose not to have the room serviced during the two days in which I stayed there.

Speaking of not being disturbed, I was able to hear a person in the next room speak at a conversational tone and volume while my room was quiet. While it did not bother or disturb me, that is something to keep in mind.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The room is not large; so if you are looking for a lot of space in one single room, you may be disappointed — but because I travel light and did not plan on spending too much time in the room, I had more than enough space for me.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The bed was a king size bed around which I did not have trouble maneuvering, as room was available on all three sides of the bed. The mattress initially felt too firm for me; but it wound up being quite comfortable. I slept rather well in this bed.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The smaller room space is utilized quite well, though — even though the room is not equipped with an actual closet. Underneath both sides of the bed are spaces on the floor where a guest can store larger luggage — which is somewhat similar to that in a room in a Tru by Hilton hotel property. At least this space is not out under the corner of the bed.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

One feature which I thought was a rather smart use of otherwise dead space was storage in the form of three large drawers that one can pull out from underneath the front of the bed. One drawer contained a safe; another drawer contained a laundry bag; and the third drawer was empty. These are the types of drawers that roll back in and close completely with a slight push.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

A night stand with a drawer and two shelves is located on one side of the bed — so quite a bit of storage space is actually available in this otherwise small room. I liked the subtle line of light just above the bed.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Above the night stand is a small light and an assortment of light switches, Universal Serial Bus ports, and an electrical outlet — and because I was staying in what is called a Landmark City View room, next to the bed…

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

…was an amazingly fantastic view of lower Manhattan south of West 24 Street. I never realized that the taller buildings basically ended at approximately West 23 Street and did not begin again until quite a distance downtown, which is the reason why the view was so incredible. More photographs of the view from the room are in this separate article because I took at least 115 photographs of it.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The view at night was just as amazing — but in a different way. I was truly in a New York state of mind that night as I was simply mesmerized by the view — despite being born and raised in New York and having seen all different kinds of views of the city over the years.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I am not sure I understand what was the purpose of this handle by the window, which does not open — as it should not 35 stories above the ground unless a balcony was outside. I would have really enjoyed the use of an outdoor balcony.

Anyway, back to the tour of the room itself.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The other side of the bed which is furthest from the window has an alcove of sorts with a cushioned bench and a small shelf on which a telephone rests. Three additional hooks are on the wall in this area, which add up to a total of 13 available hooks in the room. A small but light table is just large enough for a laptop computer, which I used quite often.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

This is a close up photograph of the sleek modern telephone — and above it is a small light and an assortment of light switches, Universal Serial Bus ports, and an electrical outlet. The cushioning of the bench itself is somewhat stiff and upright, which is not necessarily a bad thing — but although it could have been a bit more comfortable, it did serve its purpose well.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I had forgotten to activate the lights in this area when I was taking photographs; so I took an extra photograph to show what this area looks like with the lights on.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Speaking of activating lights, two minor issues were associated with the room:

  • The air conditioning did work — but it would deactivate long before reaching the desired temperature; and
  • The motion detecting lights would deactivate seemingly unexpectedly at approximately ten minutes — regardless of what I did — as it basically sensed only significant movements within the room. Maybe I would have had better luck if I controlled the lights and the thermostat from the official mobile software application program of Hilton Honors.
Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The sink is not part of the bathroom itself. Rather, it straddles between the hallway and the sleeping area of the room itself. Above the sink is an illuminated mirror; and on the vanity are two glasses, a box of Kleenex tissues, a container with cotton balls which were sealed in plastic wrap, and one large bulk dispenser each of body wash and body soap by bāsd — each of which had a pleasant scent of mint and menthol combined. On the side was a receptacle which was divided for recyclable waste and regular trash. An extra roll of toilet paper was stored in one of the small compartments under the sink.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Also under the sink was a small refrigerator, which kept items nicely chilled — but the area around the refrigerator was quite warm. Perhaps this enclosed cabinet does not have enough ventilation for the heat which is generated by the refrigerator?

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

As a person who was born and raised in New York, I really liked being greeted by the flat screen television with scenes and vignettes of New York behind my name, as it was like coming back home for me.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

I also liked the subtle lighting under the narrow shelf underneath the large flat screen television — as well as the color scheme of the room itself.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The Bathroom

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

As I mentioned, the sink is not a part of the bathroom itself, as it is located across the small hallway just outside of the entrance to the bathroom. The shower stall included bulk dispensers of body wash, shampoo, and conditioner — all with that same pleasant scent of mint and menthol. At least one can see how much product remained in these translucent bulk dispensers.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The bathroom itself was also small, as it was equipped with a toilet, toilet paper, towels, a bath mat towel, and a shower stall.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The shower nozzle was adjustable with two settings; and it can be removed for flexibility. The pressure and temperature of the water contributed to an excellent shower experience. Two washcloths and a step to place a foot were included in the shower stall.

The lights turned off twice while I was in the shower after approximately five minutes — and because the motion detector does not seem to sense movement in the shower stall, I had no choice but to open the door and reach out to turn the lights back on, which can be difficult to do as the bathroom became quite dark.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The Dining Experience

Fabio Viviani is the chef behind the menu at Bar Cicchetti, which is the Italian restaurant that is located inside of the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea hotel property.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The dark table on the right is where I enjoyed lunch with representatives of Hilton and several guests. Washrooms and toilets are conveniently located just beyond the doorway on the right in the above photograph.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The restaurant itself is a nice place to dine. Although customers can sit separately, communal dining is possible thanks to the continuous cushioned bench seat, as tables and chairs could be moved together as necessary.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The front desk — as well as the elevators — is located in the background on the left behind these decorative shelves with tchotchkes on them.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The coffee and espresso bar — as well as a recessed area to relax and read or converse with other people — are seen from the restaurant. The staircase leads to the second floor where the aforementioned Quest Loves Food event occurred.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

These lights hang from the ceiling of the second floor near the open entrance of the restaurant.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Click on the graphic for the official Internet web site of this menu. Source: Bar Cicchetti restaurant in Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea.

I did not get photographs of all of the dishes that were ordered — the Orecchiette Pesto with Pistachio Pesto, Stracciatella, and Basil for $20.00 looked absolutely delicious — but I did get photographs of many of them.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Black Rice Arancini with smoked Mozzarella, Pickled Onion, Romesco Sauce $17.00

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Fried Burrata with Pepperonata, Roasted Garlic, Crostino $18.00

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Polpetti Di Fabio, which consisted of meatballs, Tomato Sugo, Whole Milk Ricotta, Grilled Bread $18.00 — and I have to say that I am usually quite particular about meatballs, as they are usually too mushy or too hard; but these were just the right texture. The tomato sugo only accentuated the flavor.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Rosemary Focaccia with whipped Ricotta, Olive Oil, Saba, Chili, Garlic $12.00

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Spaghetti Frutti di Mare, which consists of fresh Spaghetti, Mussels, Shrimp, Heirloom Tomato, Garlic, Lobster Roe Butter $25.00

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Smoked Mozzarella Pesto with roasted Leek, Shallots, Goat Cheese $18.00

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Click on the graphic for the official Internet web site of this menu. Source: Bar Cicchetti restaurant in Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea.

For breakfast the next morning, I ordered the Smoked Salmon And Everything Bagel Sandwich with pickled onions, capers, and lemon for $17.00. The server cheerfully substituted tomato instead of whipped cream cheese at my request. As a Diamond elite member of the Hilton Honors frequent guest loyalty program, my daily credit was $18.00 because I was in New York; so excluding gratuity, this breakfast was covered by the credit.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Another attendee ordered exactly what was on the menu — but also received tomato anyway. The breakfast was bigger than we both expected, as it was actually hearty, delicious, and satisfying.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Fitness Center

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Walk into the fitness center — and not only will you find a place to refill your bottle with cold filtered New York City tap water — which is some of the best water in the world, in my opinion — but you will also find two bowls of fresh apples and oranges, cups, towels, and other items.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

The fitness center is filled with all sorts of equipment — including an exercise cycle, three treadmills, weights, a television, a mirror, and other exercise equipment.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Guests may use the fitness center at any time, as it is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Final Boarding Call

I would absolutely consider staying at the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea the next time I want to stay in Manhattan. The location is quite convenient — especially to buses and subway lines. The free use of the bicycles can help reduce transportation expenses — or walking around the area to many places is possible as well. Expect to pay more — but not unreasonably more — for a Landmark City View room, as that view cannot be beat.

At the time this article was written, the least expensive room rate available for one night can range from $147.00 on Sunday, January 8, 2023 — which is a potentially incredible value — to as much as $540.00 as the least expensive room rate on Saturday, December 31, 2022, which is New Year’s Eve in New York. The rates do vary wildly in between those ranges; so check the rates on the dates which you may want to stay at this hotel property before booking your reservation.

The Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea reminded me of my stay at Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis — at which I was the first official guest of the brand — but one person said that the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea is “what the Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis wants to be when it grows up.” The room may have been slightly smaller at the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea hotel property; but the storage options are definitely better and the room was more comfortable — and I liked the way the room was decorated better overall.

Mark Weinstein — who is the senior vice president and global head of loyalty and partnerships for Hilton — explained to me that certain ideas from hostels were used in the creation of the Motto by Hilton brand; but that it is not supposed to feel like a hostel itself. Those ideas were successfully integrated in the experience without feeling like I was staying at a hostel, as the experience was significantly more upscale than that.

The Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea may not be ideal for the typical business traveler — but unlike a Tru by Hilton hotel property, I do not believe a business traveler would be completely out of place here, either. In fact, I believe that guests from most generations would have no problem staying at this hotel property — I did see people of all ages there — even though it may be targeted to a younger audience. It was cool yet comfortable; and sleek — yet not pretentious.

If you have not yet stayed at a Motto by Hilton hotel property, give the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea a try — and pay extra for that view, which I intend to highlight in a future article.

Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea
113 West 24 Street
New York, New York 10001

All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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