Steed Hale helps design Riff Chelsea

Riff Hotels launched Riff Chelsea, a musically-inspired hotel. Originally the Chelsea Star – the inspiration for singer/actress Madonna’s first top-five hit, "Lucky Star” – the property was renovated, paying homage to the 1980s.

Drawing inspiration from Madonna's time at the original Chelsea Star, as well as nearby Chelsea club, Danceteria, a former flower shop on the hotel's ground level is now a rotating gallery curated by Chashama, a New York artists' collective that transforms empty spaces into venues for local emerging artists.

The hotel consists of 44 retro-contemporary rooms, from budget-friendly singles with shared bathrooms to guestrooms with seating areas and en-suite bathrooms. The property also hassix 500-square-foot to 1,000-square-foot "rock star" apartments in an adjacent building, which is connected by the hotel's central design feature, a 600-square foot outdoor courtyard.


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New York interior designer and editor Steed Hale, who helped shape the look of Studio 54 and SoHo's T Salon, oversaw the Riff Chelsea's décor. Bold colors and graphics make every guestroom different, with pop-art photography, graphics and Jonathan Adler wallpaper used throughout.

Eighties-inspired amenities include copies of the Interview magazine and Madonna NYC 83, New York photographer Richard Corman's book including images of the star in the early 1980s.

Riff Chelsea is the first Manhattan hotel to partner with UrbanBuddy, a mobile concierge of local residents exclusively selected for their knowledge of New York neighborhoods, hot spots and cultural destinations. UrbanBuddy offers the Riff Chelsea guest authentic experiences by providing recommendations from through live chat on the UrbanBuddy app.

In 2015, Riff Chelsea’s founders plan to expand with Riff Downtown, a 36-room apartment-style hotel at 102 Greenwich Street near the World Trade Center and Tribeca. The property has a black and white themed look with curated mix of pop art by artists Francesco Scavullo, Richard Avedon and Richard Corman displayed throughout. Huge windows and loft ceilings capture some of Tribeca’s singular flavor and history, and each room will feature a kitchenette and a washer/dryer unit. Riff Downtown will also have a 2,500-square-foot rooftop terrace and bar.


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