Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Old meets new in this funky hotel with whimsical decor and great services
With a whimsical design of contrasting patterns and textures, bold colors, and a couple of Alice in Wonderland-inspired details, the Monaco is one of the funkiest hotels in town. However, as a nod to the building’s past as bank (built in 1907), the hotel’s designer, Todd-Avery Lenahan, has blended historic touches into the mix -- including coffered ceilings, period-inspired wood paneling, and a wine cellar door that used to secure the bank’s safe.
The historic Greek Revival façade and uniformed doormen do not hint what guests will find past the glass doors: A colorful lobby with pink, deep blue, turquoise and black furniture that feels straight out of a fairytale, and fun rooms with modern amenities. The hotel’s eclectic design may not be to everyone's taste, but the quirky combination of colors, textures and patterns somehow works without giving guests a headache.
Both business and leisure travelers can appreciate the hotel's great features, which include a gorgeous rooftop bar with indoor and outdoor seating; wonderful in-room amenities (iPod docks, Etro toiletries, flat-screen TVs and plush beds); a solid restaurant serving contemporary American fare; tons of outstanding freebies; and a central location adjacent to the Independence Hall.
Interior-facing rooms are a little dark, but those overlooking the square get great light and have views of the Independence National Historical Park.
Adjacent to Philly’s top attraction, and within walking distance of restaurants and shops
Hotel Monaco is located on the corner of Chestnut St. and Independence Mall East, right across the street from the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia’s top attraction. There are restaurants, bars and shops both along Chestnut St. and the surrounding streets, and many other attractions are within walking distance, including Penn’s Landing, the Independence Seaport Museum, and the City Hall.
Center City is Philadelphia's commercial and cultural center, and the vast majority of the city's hotels are clustered in this neighborhood. Popular historical sites can be found here, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (fronted by the stone steps made famous in the Rocky films). The picturesque Rittenhouse Square -- located in the southwest area of the neighborhood -- is surrounded by some of the city's best restaurants and bars, and the ornate City Hall, built in 1901, is the second tallest masonry building in the world; its tower is a prominent fixture of the Philadelphia skyline.
Appealing rooms with bright decor and wonderful amenities
The hotel offers several room types: Deluxe, Parkview, and Spa Rooms; One-Bedroom Suites; and a 711-square-foot Presidential Suite. They all have special features unique to their category, but all have the same wonderful amenities, such as flat-screen TVs, Etro toiletries, iPod docks, and quality beds.
Decor is as quirky as in the common areas, with wallpaper featuring geometric patterns and other prints as well as stylish mismatched furniture. Fun and thoughtful details are found everywhere, from the the gray bathrobes (designed as a tribute to Rocky Balboa), to the cotton balls in the bathroom, to the in-room yoga and fitness videos.
Views vary depending on room type, but those who want vistas of the Independence Hall from their rooms should book a Parkview Room or Suite. Interior-facing rooms are a little dark.
Large 24-hour fitness center with high-end machines and natural light
Hotel Monaco has a well-equipped fitness center featuring Precor machines with individual LCD TV screens, yoga mats and hula hoops.
Free use of cribs and strollers -- but no extra amenities for families
A wonderful restaurant and bar with a popular happy hour
The rooftop bar is a great spot for a drink rain or shine.
Located on the 11th floor of the hotel, Stratus is a stylish bar serving drinks daily until after midnight. It features indoor and outdoor seating as well as two separate areas for private events. It doesn’t have striking views, as the top of the façade could not be lowered because of its historic features, but it is still a great spot for a drink.
Fantastic freebies and upscale services
Hotel Monaco's unique design featuring bright decor and stylishly mismatched furniture sets the hotel apart. Attractive rooms with high-end amenities, wonderful freebies, a beautiful rooftop bar, and a great restaurant all help round out the experience. Plus, the hotel’s location across the street from the Independence National Historic Park is convenient for business and leisure travelers alike.