Philadelphia Travel Guide
Cyber Monday Hotels / Cyber Monday Hotel Deals / Radisson Blu Hotels / Philadelphia Hotels / Room Rate Gimmics / Hotel Deals / → All Tags
Black Friday and Cyber Monday always brings out the crazy in people. We've all seen the reports of people fighting at the store for discounted merchandise and of people staying up until midnight in front of their computers to drop items into their virtual shopping carts. But today's Cyber Monday promotion offered by the Radisson Blu Warwick in Philadelphia has people up in arms for a very good reason.
The hotel's Cyber Monday deal, one of our favorites in our ultimate guide, promised "newly redesigned business class rooms for just $19.26, the year the historic hotel opened." The deal would only be available for 24 hours or until the deal sold out. But when many folks signed on to get the deal at midnight, it was already sold-out. So what in the world happened?
A tipster let us know that the hotel had put up an incorrect auto-populated code of STEAL when it was really CYBER, thus not allowing people to book the rooms. The hotel's booking link is now saying CYBER but an upset Facebook fan posted a screengrab of the wrong code on the Radisson Blu's Facebook page. Oops. You can read more of the angry Facebook reactions if you dare.
The good news is that the deal is still very much valid.
Hotel Openings / Hotel News / Philadelphia Hotels / Pennsylvania Hotels / Radisson Hotels / → All Tags
The 301-room Raddison Blu Philadelphia just put the finishing touches on its lobby last week (they were literally pressing the letters on the wall during our stay), finalizing its $20 million conversion and celebrating its full opening. Looking for a new hotel to check out in Philly? Here are five things to know before you check in:
2. It's the first repurposed Radisson Blu property in the States: While the aforementioned properties were all new construction, the Rad Blu Philly was the first conversion project, originally opened as the Warwick Hotel in 1926. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that the exterior and structure of the building could not be altered. The top few floors of the hotel have remained as private residences.
On a recent jaunt to Portugal, we discovered what we thought was a great split-hotel package that allowed guests to experience two sides of the country: A few days in Lisbon and a few days on the south coast soaking up rays. For travelers who are adventurous but still desire structure, the concept takes out a lot of the planning but still leaves you more independence than, say, a full-on "put your bags outside the door before you go to sleep" tour operator type of thing.
Since being introduced to the idea last month, we've been thinking about where this "best of both worlds" partnership might be a good fit in the States. Despite driving distances and train services being what they are in our country in general, we were able to come up with a bunch of places where this type of package could go over well (some of which have tried it at times in the past). Think San Francisco with Napa or Sonoma, Denver with Breckenridge, Park City with Salt Lake, New York City with the Finger Lakes/Hamptons, or Philly with Atlantic City.
We focus on the latter in this column for two reasons: 1) While visitors to San Fran or Denver most likely already have their sights set on wine country and the mountains, we're not sure many realize how close Philly is to the shore and 2) Atlantic City could certainly use a little love these days, and a package that gave city dwellers the chance to check out Atlantic City, a place they've certainly heard about given all the press Revel has attracted the past two years, could help boost tourism.
We're currently in Philadelphia, getting the scoop on the city's hotel scene and checking out the new Radisson Blu near Rittenhouse Square, which we will give you a look at next week.
But in the spirit of a good old-fashioned spoiler, we learned that the Rad Blu will offer in-room massages since they don't have a spa on-site.
While we doubt many would agree that in-room massages are an equal substitute for a spa facility, we do appreciate the gesture from hotels, the extra "room service," if you will. That said, we're curious as to what travelers think of this concept that has almost become common at mid-to-luxury city hotels without spas.
Philadelphia Hotels / Football Hotels / Home2 Suites / Sofitel Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Extended-Stay Hotels / → All Tags
It's no secret the Philadelphia Eagles aren't repping the NFC East to the fullest these days--their offense is so bad Benjamin Franklin has risen from the belly of Lincoln Financial Field to harness some electricity (and bifocals) for the teams key players. We kid! Still, what the city is lacking in football fortune it's making up for it in the hospitality sector.
Not only did they bring the fab Kimpton's Hotel Monaco Philadelphia last year to the historic area of Center City, but they've created what can be described as a seriously grown and sexy rooftop scene with their Stratus bar. It's open year-round, so if you haven't been, they've got heated banquettes and a now working fireplace which will keep you toasty. Plus Kimpton has introduced the "Raid the Bar" amenity for their loyalty program. Now Kimpton InTouch members can use their $10 credit per visit toward a delicious craft cocktail or drink of choice at a Kimpton bar. And remember, there are two Kimptons in Philly. (Rates from $199)
If you're looking for luxury, there's the Sofitel Philadelphia, which seems like the sophisticated European secret near Rittenhouse Square. It's all French, all the time right down to bell staff wishing you a "bonjour". And taking inspiration from Paris, they're bringing the French Art of Living to your home this month with #SoBoutique, their bed and linens line. So that fluffy duvet is yours if you want it, madam. (Rates from $156)
Hotel Openings / Philadelphia Hotels / Home2 Suites / Extended Stay Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We've been keeping a close eye on the fast expansion of Hilton's Home2Suites brand, a hip extended stay concept, but their newest hotel in Philadelphia (the 20th overall for the brand) has us crazy excited.
We first wrote about the property back in 2011. Back then, all we knew was that the hotel would have all of the Home2 Suite brand standards such as a kitchenette, free WiFi, free breakfast and an iPad docking station. Fast forward two years and the Home2 Suites is way more than that.
Located at 1200 Arch Street in Center City near the convention center, Home2 Suites has "distinctive Philadelphia and urban flair" with natural woodwork, quarried wall stone and and oversized historical Philly map in the lobby. We also love that the hotel features an energy-efficient roof, chairs made from recycled Coke bottles and tables made from recycled bowling alley lanes. All in all it has 248 guestrooms, making it the largest Home2 Suite hotel yet.
Philadelphia Hotels / Hotel Hype / Fairmont Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Kimpton Hotels / Hotel Development / → All Tags
Just yesterday we heard that Philadelphia would be getting a hip SLS Hotel and now today, we hear the City of Brotherly Love may get a new luxury hotel too. But first, a few hotel brands are duking it out to see who will win the gig.
Philly.com reports that a group of developers are working to transform the the 72-year-old Family Court building at 18th and Vine Streets. Each developer has paired up with a hotel brand. In the race for the property are, Fairmont Hotels, Starwood's Luxury Collection Hotels and Kimpton Hotels.
Fairmont's proposed project would cost $180 million, include 332 hotel rooms,44,000 square feet of event and meeting space. restaurants, bar, shops and a spa. The Luxury Collection would put forth 267 hotel rooms; a 4,000-square-foot ballroom; 10,000 square feet of meeting facilities; and a restaurant and bar while Kimpton's project would cost $85 million with 199 hotel rooms, a 3,500-square-foot ballroom; meeting and board rooms; spa and fitness center; and restaurant and bar.
Though it's only been open several months, Hotel Monaco Philly is already the hottest ticket in town, as far as rooftops are concerned. The hotel's 11th floor Stratus has become legendary for its outdoor patio, indoor bar, two private lounge areas, and outdoor fireplace*.
Most days of the week, it's possible to head up to Stratus, enjoy a few cocktails and be on your merry way. But the lines to get in on Friday and Saturday can get pretty long, and once you enter the bar, it can be difficult just finding a seat.
As a result, Monaco will soon start issuing membership cards just to access the bar. We heard from an employee that a designated number of seats will be set aside each night for card-holders. Of course, hotel guests get priority automatically, but when it comes to random people walking in off the street, Stratus members will definitely have the upper hand.
A man is dead, and one hurt after a shooter opened fire on rapper French Montana’s tour bus outside of the Holiday Inn Express on Penn's Landing late last night. We hope this isn’t the hotel HC just wrote about that recently opened. If so the property certainly isn’t off to a good start!
French, the man behind the popular club and radio banger “Pop That” had just finished a show at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia and was not hurt.
According to NBC Philadelphia News, when the artists’ tour bus arrived around midnight on Christopher Columbus Boulevard near the Holiday Inn Express where he and his group had rooms reserved, a crowd formed outside the bus. A car then pulled up and opened fire on the crowd, hitting a 27-year-old man in the abdomen and a 29-year-old man in the shoulder, according to Chief Inspector Scott Small.
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The Holiday Inn Express at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia is now officially open for business after a four-million dollar renovation converted the property over from a Comfort Inn. All 184 guest rooms were retouched while the lobby was completely remodeled. A business center and exercise room were also added.
We told you before how we were a little disappointed that the area didn't draw a sexier hotel, but that all said, it doesn't change how good the location is. In addition to the views of the Ben Franklin Bridge, guests of the Holiday Inn Express will be in good shape when it comes to visiting Independence Mall, Old City, and Penn's Landing -- all are within walking distance or a short cab ride. The area is also prime lodging during the summer when concerts are held at Festival Pier or across the river in Camden (you can take a ferry right to the venue).
Here's what the new hotel looks like now according to its website, but we'll try to swing by soon and check it out for ourselves.
If Philadelphia is indeed a blue-collared industrial city, someone better let the artists and curators in town know about it. So far, all they've done is improve the scenery with a top-tier arsenal of murals and museums. From the brains in jars at the Mutter Museum to the infamous Rocky-run steps of the Art Museum, Philly is stacked with artistic and historical culture.
The latest promotion out of the City of Brotherly Love is centered around this strength. Ten hotels are participating, including the Four Seasons on the Ben Franklin Parkway and the new Hotel Monaco at Independence Hall, with a two-day With Art Philadelphia pass and two trolley tour passes included in the rate. The With Art Philadelphia package gives you access to the Barnes Foundation, Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Perelman Museum, Academy of Fine Arts, and the Penn Museum. You can see all the hotels along with the fine print here.
We were on Columbus Boulevard in Philly last weekend when we came across the scene in the photo above. Formerly a Comfort Inn, we saw boards on the doors and a small note that said “closed for renovations.” As you can see, they put up a fat teaser for all to see, but no other details about what the property would become were available on-site.
Well, we did some digging, and guess what? It’s going to be a Holiday Inn and will open in March. Cue the sound effects and let the wind out of our sails, because we’re officially disappointed. A hip, vacation-oriented property in that location would have gone a long way to help an area that is currently undergoing a face-lift.
A public space was recently added under the Ben Franklin Bridge, as well as a new bar added to the nearby marina. With Festival Pier and Penn’s Landing within walking distance, the next logical step would have been the addition of a hotel that would attract leisure travelers.