An early noon at Selina Chelsea NYC



It's 1pm in NYC. I'm sitting in the lobby at the Selina NYC Hotel for my second breakfast, when actually, only a small breakfast was planned. The lobby seduces. Interiors are a symbiosis of reception, bar, and wooden tables which invite you to linger. It seems that the interiors are adapted to the needs of a modern nomadic lifestyle. Borders soften and flow into one another.

Indeed, Selina accommodates the needs of a new generation of travelers, remote workers, creatives, entrepreneurs and local communities. But what about sustainability - which fingerprint between a carefully curated local experience and cultural programming does the s-word leave at Selina´s hospitality world? Let`s check it out. 
Still sitting in the lobby, an artwork catches my eye infront of me, reminiscent of Bauhaus design. The interiors integrate the Latin American artist Marco Rountree Cruz, a crucial step which is the result out of the DNA of Selina NYC.  The Salina Chelsea art program is designed to create a bridge between Latin American and New York City’s cultures and communities, thus artworks of artists like Pablo Lòpez, Nelson Morales, Sebastiao Salgado, Camilo Carlo or Caio Reisewitz are presented here. The program shines a spotlight on a community who for too long has been marginalized by the international art scene.
But Selina doesn't just bring local Latin American artists to New York. Rather, the added value depends on the relationship between the guests and the hotel itself. That is why the Selina Gives Back team works to develop activities and programs for staff and guests to use their skills and strengths to contribute to the community. The staff is incentivized to commit time to social responsibility initiatives and ecncourages guests to give back through the company’s loyalty program called Luna, in which members earn rewards by participating in volunteer opportunities hosted by each property worldwide.

But don't panic. If you have no time or interest to get involved, you just can get inspired by the offered event program, which represents a cultivated cross- cultural dialogue from underrepresented communities in NYC and around the world. A look at tonights program offers interesting topics. A public dialogue and examination of some of the most crucial topics in criminal justice reform; ranging from restoring voter right for people with criminal histories, and removing profit and incentive structures from the criminal justice system. Also this seems interesting, a monthly Drag Queen Story Hour. Drag queens from around the city read stories to children, offering children glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer role models who defy gender restrictions and represent a world where people can be as they wish. A step into a better future! 


A look at the clock: It is now almost three in the afternoon. I grab the Herb Ritts illustrated book from the lobby bookshelf and take the lift. 8th floor, I open the door and fall into bed. Above me the incredible New York skyline, peers through my large window. I could look at the city for hours. The interior design is not intrusive, and the composition is well thought out, a mix between new and pre-existing. It seems that here, it's all about up-cycling existing and second hand inventory for sustainably-minded refurbishments. A new structure breathing new life into the yet existing. 

And what happens next? Selina seems to be aware of their social responsibility within an expanding business and leisure travel industry, offering cutting-edge experiences connected to education, art, music and everything inbetween. With more accessible global travel opportunities to the masses, travel brands have a responsibility towards local communities. That is why Selina offers a training program, which provides hands-on practical training and theory to increase community member's hospitality skills and job opportunities. As the company plans to expand across Europe and the United States, targeting 400+ locations and 130,000 beds by 2023, this program could have quite a big positive impact on local societies. 

None the less, time has been quick. A gentle tic toc sound in my watch calls me back to present. Let`s see what Selina can offer straight away. What about the upcoming nude drawing class with John Macconnell or a workshop on astrology with Mecca Woods? The possibilities seem endless to find happiness here. For the community; the locals and me. 



Photography & Words  JENS WITTWER