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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.
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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Next Radisson Blu Will Be In Philly: In other Radisson news today, the Radisson Plaza Warwick in Philadelphia is undergoing a $17 million renovation that will see the hotel converted into a Radisson Blu property by this summer. This will be the fourth Radisson Blu to open in America, after this month's Mall of America opening. The Warwick, which originally opened in 1926, contains 297 rooms, 4 suites, a fitness center, 3 dining venues, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more juicy hotel news, read on!
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.
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Super Bowl parties shouldn't be hard to find in hotel lobbies and bars across the country, but we wanted to take a look at a lesser thought of approach to watching the Big Game: Hanging out in your hotel room.
We've found many hotels offering in-room Super Bowl packages and deals, usually surrounding the booking of a suite. While you know full well we'll never pass up a social event, we did the lazy man's dirty work and dug up a sample of such opportunities. Turns out, staying in your room isn't as lame as it sounds!
Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia: We'll be honest--it was the cheesesteak spring rolls that got our attention, and even better--you don't have to have a special room to enjoy them. The in-room package is available to all guests and includes four local Philadelphia beers, 12-piece BBQ wings, chips and dips, and the cheesesteak spring rolls for $40. That's a pretty good amount of food for a decent price. The hotel's proximity to the Ben Franklin Parkway, the Art Museum, and the Barnes' Exhibit give you plenty of opportunities to explore without straying too far before kickoff.
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.
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Anthony Bourdain is back for another season of “The Layover”, and we like it because he names the hotels in the cities where he'll be spending his precious time. We figure, he won't be laying his salt-and-pepper head just anywhere, after all, he's big time now.
So, for entertainment and a dose of travel value, we’ll give you some details on the properties he picks, just in case you find yourself looking for a place to stay in a city that’s sanctioned by this travel personality/chef.
Layover Hotel Episode 3: Four Seasons Philadelphia
Once again Bourdain hits the same brand that he stayed in Chicago, this time saying "I'm staying at the Four Seasons on Logan Square, because that's the way I roll, and the service is impeccable." And at $449 a night, it should be. Indeed, we've mentioned this hotel's lovely courtyard (a city rarity) in the past, and attention to detail from tiny tots to pet perks, so we can't blame him for bedding downn there. It's a no-brainer, really. Perhaps he wasn't in town when the new Kimpton opened--a shame since this episode was all about discovering the "new" Philadelphia. After all, Bourdain immediately announced in the beginning of the episode "there will be no cheesesteak in this show."
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According to the Mayan Long-Count Calendar time is no longer measured after December 21, meaning that the world might just end on this day since there is no December 22nd. Just about 13 years ago, have heard this all before with Y2K, but that was before HotelChatter and now we can present some of best packages for spending your last day as a mortal.
Spending your last few days on earth might be better spent in the lap of luxury and some of these hotel packages are doozies. Geographically and historically speaking, it makes sense count down the last hours in Mexico and Central America, but we have also found a few that a bit closer to home. And just think, if December 22nd does happen, you get to brag about your digs on your vacation.
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Steve Wynn officially threw his hat in the ring last week to bring one of his casinos to the City of Brotherly Love, meeting the November 15th submission deadline along with five others who hope to obtain the city’s currently unclaimed casino license.
This isn’t the first time Wynn has had his eye on Philly (and it’s no surprise considering he’s a graduate of UPenn). Back in April of 2010, he agreed to salvage the Foxwoods casino on Columbus Boulevard, but pulled out of the deal a week later because the deal was, in his words, “so screwed up.” Due to a lack of other interested investors, Foxwoods eventually lost its gaming license, which instantly made Philly a top bachelor in the casino world. And, given that his dream of building a casino in Massachusetts' Foxborough have been blown to bits, it's back to the Pennsylvania drawing board.
What’s at stake? The $50 million license permits a casino to operate with up to 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games. To put that in perspective, the new Revel in nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey, opened with 2,439 slot machines and 97 table games. These high limits set by the city would give a new Wynn – or whatever – the opportunity to compete in both size and grandeur with Atlantic City if it so chooses (something we’re sure is no coincidence).
It looks like lawyers are still hashing out the legal details on the brawl that took place at Philly's Sheraton Society Hill back in the beginning of October.
But that hasn't stopped a few third-party legal opportunists from trying to "help" by promoting and profiting from its aftermath.
Apparently, an overlooked aspect of this whole debacle is the monetary damage done to the hotel, and insurance companies don't want to miss the chance to scare couples into taking wildly paranoid preventative measures. One insurance report specifically referenced the Sheraton Society Hill fight as part of an "it could happen to you so buy this now" scare tactic:
We covered the opening of Philadelphia’s first hotel to overlook the Liberty Bell – the Hotel Monaco – and last week we invaded the city of Brotherly Love to get a look at the finished product. It's location is outstanding, right on Independence Mall and within walking distance to the waterfront, South Street and the restaurants/bars of Old City.
First impressions were great - the hotel was sold out and it put forth a colorful personality, both figuratively and literally. Most of it shone through small details (like closet quotes, see photo) and young, outgoing staff members that made themselves appear more like friends than bellhops, front desk clerks, or lounge managers. Multiple interactions went beyond the pleasantries - they really went out of their way to make a connection. You were more likely to get a conversation starter, like “Hey, you coming to wine hour tonight?" than a quick in-passing "Hello, Sir."
Here are a few photos of the lobby and a one-bedroom suite.