19103 Travel Guide
Despite a traditional reputation as a blue-collar town, Philadelphia has proven that it knows how to pamper its visitors, especially in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, where most of the city's luxury hotels stake their claim. We've already told you about the big names that come with big views, and on our most recent jaunt through Philly, we decided to check in on one of the smaller properties in Rittenhouse, the Latham, which markets itself as a boutique hotel with 139 rooms.
The room you see in the cover photo above is the King Suite. It has a separate living room and two full bathrooms, one off the bedroom and one in the common area (both have mirrors on the ceiling!). Each room at the Latham comes with Keurig coffee makers, large writing desks, Gilcrest & Soames bath products, and fast, free wifi. The hotel guarantees the best rates via its website, and if you find a lower price, it will give you 10% off that lower price.
Yesterday, we highlighted three luxury hotels in Philly that have killer views, and one of them, the Rittenhouse Hotel in Center City, is currently in the midst of a $10-million, 12-month refurbishment in anticipation of the hotel's 25th anniversary next year.
The facelift will feature new 1,000 square-foot park-view suites (for some reason, people refer to Rittenhouse Square as "the park") and a new health club. Earlier this year, the hotel opened a lobby bar called the Library, which currently features a Grace Kelly cocktail.
Most are familiar with Grace Kelly as an actress, princess, and public figure, but Philadelphians remember her and her family for their influence on the City of Brotherly Love. Not only was Kelly grow up in Philly, but her mother was the first woman to head up the Physical Education Department at the University of Pennsylvania and her father was an Olympic rower and once ran for mayor of the city. Her brother, John Kelly Jr, was a Philly councilman and was memorialized when East River Drive was renamed Kelly Drive in the 1980s.
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.
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.
Hotel Events / Hotel Bars / Hotel Restaurants / Philadelphia Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / → All Tags
The courtyard, pre-biergarten
We have three very inspiring words for you: hotel beer garden. We don't know about you, but just the words "beer garden" inspire us to dress casual-cool, get outside and order a foamy pitcher. Add "hotel" onto that and we're planning a weekend around itspecifically June 6-10 as the Four Seasons Philadelphia plays home base for Philly Beer Week.
Daily from 4pm-8pm during this time, the Four Seasons will transform their al fresco courtyard into a full-fledged beer garden, complete with taps for special and limited-edition brews, like Victory Brewing Company's second annual release of Summer Love Ale.
What's more is that the beer garden will be doing giveaways to those who check in on Foursquare and Facebook Places (of course), and if you're hungry, there's a menu of cookout favorites coming from the Four Seasons' Executive Chef Ralph Gonzalez. Here is the full schedule of goings-on at the hotel, which is just one hotspot for beer guzzling awesomeness during Philly Beer Week.
If all those pumpkins and pesky trick or treaters didn't make you feel like fall is here to stay, try this: a nice cozy spot in front of the fire at Liberté, the chic-looking new bar at the Sofitel Philadelphia.
NYC isn't the only city cooking up new hotel bars and restaurants. We hear that our favorite neighboring city, Philly, is also getting a fancy new hotel cocktail bar. It's called Liberté and it's moving into the Sofitel Philadelphia in October.
We already like the sound of it, just from the name alone--Liberté will replace the old Lounge Bar La Bourse, which is a bit of a mouthful, especially if you've already had a few cocktails.
Located in the first-floor lobby, Liberté will having a dining area, lounge and seating at an oval-shaped central bar.
There it was, sitting on the desk and openly taunting us. Would we dare read it or could we pretend we never even noticed it in the first place? The Hotel Palomar Philadelphia's city jogging map threatened to make us feel guilty about taking a long weekend away from New York City and all the subway stair-climbing life in NYC entails.
Instead of in the back pocket of our workout pants, the map landed in a shuffled stack of torn-off hotel notepad paper on which we had jotted our impressions of Philly cheesesteaks from around the city, but we had not forgotten about it.
Photo Gallery / HotelChatter Reviews / Kimpton Hotels / Philadelphia Hotels / Hotel Bathtubs / → All Tags
We just had our favorite kind of weekend: a long one spent in a hotel with a giant bathtub and an excellent city view. So where were we? On the 22nd floor of Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, the chain's first Philly hotel and a semi-new one at that, since it only opened back in October 2009.
We stayed for two nightsone of them a gift from a party and the other paid for by ourselvesin a King City View room with Spa Tub, which starts around $250 per night.
Check-in: Located just off of the ritzy shopping strip of Walnut Street and like a two minute walk away from Rittenhouse Square, the Palomar occupies an enviable location. We actually walked straight to it from Philadelphia's 30th Street train station after taking a bus in from New York; that took no more than twenty minutes. The hotel itself is in the "Architects' Building," a vintage structure directly across the street from the Sofitel. Comparing the two, the Palomar makes the Sofitel look like a crummy office block built during the Cold War in East Berlin.
What are we doing twenty-two stories high above Philadelphia? Sleeping at the newish Hotel Palomar, naturally. On a weekend escape from New York, we headed down to the City of Brotherly Love for our own loves: baseball and food. And since temperatures here are reaching a humid 92-degrees, there's never been a better time to return from a Phillies-Reds game to central air conditioning and free Arnold Palmers in the lobby.
We'll have the full hotel review for you tomorrow, but enjoy the video tour of our room abovea King City View with Spa Tub, which runs $250 and up per night, although other rooms here go as low as $149. And like the Hotel Palomar Chicago, Philly's Palomar is on the conservative end of the Kimpton Hotels chain, but that doesn't mean that the Kimpton-standard free wine receptions in the evening are any less neighborly. See what we mean tomorrow. [Photo and video: HotelChatter]
Let this week’s Check In, Check Out review in The New York Times be a lesson to any hotel outside of New York City: Do not mess with a New Yorker’s breakfast bagel. Or, if you do, make sure you’re damn well apologetic about it.
The Grey Lady visits nearby Philly for this review of the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, almost six months after it opened last October. Things start to sound ominous when we learn that the reviewer’s “smoked salmon breakfast arrived without smoked salmon” in the first paragraph. But it’s the same mix-up that ends up earning the Kimpton property extra points for service.
The staff was so eager to make amends that I came away with a better impression of the hotel than if nothing had gone wrong.” (In case you’re wondering, the smoked salmon on a bagel costs $11.)
And from that point on, it’s always sunny at the Palomar Philadelphia…