19106 Travel Guide
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.
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.
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.
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A little over a week ago we showed you the brawl that went down between two wedding parties in the lobby of Philly's Sheraton Society Hill. It was a tragic event that resulted in the death of a 57-year-old man reported to be one of the bride's uncles, and it sure as hell ruined what was supposed to be a beautiful day for four families. While it pales in comparison to the passing of a man who is believed to have been an innocent bystander, we are curious as to what, if anything, the hotel has done for those guests who may have been disturbed or disrupted by the 100-person brouhaha. As you can see from the photo below, the lobby eerily looks like an arena, the corridors in front of the rooms all looking down over it.
Our e-mails to the hotel requesting comment on this matter haven't been returned, so we went on foot yesterday to see if we could get some answers. We were directed by the front desk staff to Susan Carney, the Director of Human Resources, who entertained our questions but declined to make a statement. Due to an on-going investigation, she said the hotel didn't plan on making one anytime soon.Yes, things are getting complicated.
A 15-year-old in Philadelphia to celebrate his birthday recorded part of a fight that broke out between dozens of guests from two wedding parties at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel early Sunday morning. The altercation, authorities say, was fueled by booze and began in the lobby bar before spilling out into the lobby. The video, shot from the balcony above the lobby, shows police officers with batons attempting to control the crowd. At one point, it appears one of the brides becomes detained by officers, and you can hear screams of panic throughout the entire clip.
Had that been it – drunk wedding guests hell bent on ruining a beautiful occasion – this story would be just another Hotel Guests Behaving Badly moment. However, while it's currently unknown if he was directly involved with the fight, a 57-year-old man suffered a heart attack during the incident, collapsing outside the hotel and passing away at Jefferson Hospital shortly after. NBC Philadelphia reports that the man was one of the bride’s uncles. You can see the video of the fight here, as well as some raw news footage from outside the hotel.
One thing is certain about today’s grand opening of the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia: Ben Franklin’s going to be proud, and that’s not only because they have put old-fashioned kites in every room for guests to fly across the street in Independence Park (seriously, they did that).
We reported in August, after receiving an update, that the hotel would be open for business on October 15th, but Kimpton bumped up the schedule and the first guests actually arrived yesterday.
As the first hotel to overlook the Liberty Bell, it’s a dream location for history buffs, rising up in one of the country’s most historic square miles and putting guests in spitting distance of Independence Mall, the Betsy Ross house and the National Constitution Center. That said, we don’t expect the newest Kimpton property to be a one-trick pony.
UPDATE: We've just heard from the hotel that despite the website's date of November 1st the hotel will open now on October 2nd. Guests looking to stay the night can do so starting October 15th. Reservations for the 15th should open up later today on the hotel's website. Woohoo!
Aside from allowing you to share your current thoughts, stalk old lovers, post party pics, ooo and aww at photos of pets and babies and suffer through random political rantings, Facebook can actually be pretty useful when you're planning your next hotel stay--especially if you're like us and always want to stay in the newest spots.
Just last week we saw that the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia is getting closer to opening after they posted a pic of the front desk and lobby area. But while we thought the posting meant the September opening was still on track, we were a little dismayed when we headed over to the website and found that we are going to have to wait until November 1 now. We guess those pretty rooms need a little longer getting ready.
Here is a hotel, slightly transformed, just a little break from the norm....
The hotel scene in Philadelphia is getting hotter by the moment. After we learned last week that both a Hotel Indigo and a W Hotel (redux) are slated for the City of Brotherly Love by 2015 comes an excellent sneak peek of the forthcoming Hotel Monaco Philadelphia from Kimpton Hotels.
The hotel will open on Independence Mall in September and Uwishunu.com has the detes:
The project is an adaptive reuse development of Philadelphia’s historic Lafayette Building at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets in the heart of Historic Philadelphia. The conversion is dramatically transforming the 11-story office building located across from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall into a 268-room, four-star Hotel Monaco.
IKEA furniture, an eye-assaulting color scheme, and a bongo drum can mean only one thing: we're in an American hostel. It's Apple Hostel, a member of Hostelling International in Philadelphia's Old City, to be more precise. Unimpressed with the hotel offerings in Philly and determined to keep our entire weekend trip under $100, we revisited this institution of responsibility-free youth and got in touch with our inner vagabond.
Everyone may be familiar with European hostels, those dens of Aussie accents and pub crawls, but American ones done right turn out like Christian youth centers; in fact some of our roommates were in town for anti-gun protests. Overall, this was the quietest and least-partying hostel we've ever stayed at, and we've slept across the rainbow of hostels in our day, from bedbugs in Brooklyn to luxury in Luxembourg.