The Chelsea Guest Who Wouldn’t Leave

When guests at the Chelsea Hotel learned that it was abruptly shutting down, they reacted with anger, sadness and disappointment — but ultimately with resignation. One by one, they dutifully checked out of the storied hotel on 23rd Street by midday Sunday.

With one exception.

Jeff Stewart, 54, a Scottish actor in town for the Manhattan Film Festival, where he collected the best actor award on Sunday night, was determined to stay.

He ignored phone calls from the front desk that jangled in his fourth-floor room on Sunday morning. He sauntered back into the hotel late that night and proudly showed the hotel staff his award. He paid no mind to the banging on his door early Monday, followed by the words, “We can see you in there!” and instead calmly continued drinking his morning orange juice.

An hour or so later, when big security guard-looking types stopped him in the lobby and told him that they were going to move him out, he promptly called the police.

“I was worried about my safety,” said Mr. Stewart, who was originally supposed to check out on Tuesday. “I wanted to stay because of how much I care about the place.”

A new owner, the developer Joseph Chetrit, is poised to buy the hotel — which has housed Bob Dylan, Arthur Miller, Leonard Cohen and Dylan Thomas, among other luminaries — for more than $80 million. Renovations are expected to last at least a year, and the ousting of guests on Sunday made this the first time that the hotel had been shuttered. The hotel does have 100 permanent residents — essentially tenants — who were allowed to stay.

Mr. Stewart is best known in Britain for his role as Police Constable Reg Hollis on the television series “The Bill,” a character he played for 24 years.

He won the award Sunday for his role as Jakob in the independent film “Under Jakob’s Ladder.” Though he lives in Britain, Mr. Stewart has been staying intermittently at the Chelsea over the last decade or so, befriending residents along the way, and for this trip checked in on July 23 to room 419.

Part of a Web series that he has a role in, “The Third,” was shot in his room during this stay.

After summoning the police on Monday morning — and letting it be known that he himself had once played an officer on TV — Mr. Stewart implored the staff to allow him to stay the one remaining day.

But they showed him a copy of the fine print on the check-in form that gave management the right to ask guests to leave without notice. Defeated, Mr. Stewart arranged with the staff to give him a few hours to pack up, and went around the corner to a diner on Eighth Avenue for a late breakfast.

“This visit I felt the most that I could live there,” Mr. Stewart said, “But it seems that hotel guests don’t have a leg to stand on.”

He plans to stay at the Chelsea Savoy on Monday night.

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