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Oyster Hotel Review
A historic YMCA turned stylish luxury boutique
Le Meridien's stunning design didn't happen by accident. It took a four-year, multi-million dollar renovation -- completed when the hotel opened in 2010 -- to turn this former YMCA into one of Philadelphia's top hotels. A core tenet of Le Meridien's brand is "juxtaposition," and the hotel's style is defined by the surprising contrasts of old and new. In the lobby, original oak-paneled walls and arched entrances blend with clean-lined, contemporary decor and modern art that is rotated every few months. The sleek bar and restaurant merge seamlessly with the lobby -- in fact, the bar is the first thing guests see when they walk in -- creating a unified space where guests can mingle.
Le Meridien's building may have once been a YMCA, but it was quite a bit grander than your typical YMCA. The Georgian Revival building was built in 1912 by renowned architect Horace Trumbauer from donations provided by some of Philadelphia's most prominent families. Original architectural details include stone fireplaces, lots of oak paneling, and in the ballroom, fluted columns and a stage -- all incorporated flawlessly. But some rooms face the bright, 75-foot atrium in the center of the building, rather than outside -- one of the only downsides to the renovation. The elevator landings on each floor also face the atrium, so if your shades are open, other guests can see inside.
In the heart of Center City, near the Pennsylvania Convention Center
Le Meridien is located in Center City, a block north from City Hall and down the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
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, including Independence Hall, are located here, as is 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. 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.
- 5-minute walk to the Pennsylvania Convention Center
- 5-minute walk to City Hall
- 5-minute walk to The Shops at Liberty Place
- 15-minute walk to to Rittenhouse Square Park
- 15-minute walk to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
- 5-minute drive or 6 minutes by subway to 30th St. Station
- 7-minute drive or 9 minutes by subway to Independence National Historic Park (home to Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, and the Liberty Bell)
- 10-minute drive or 20 minutes by subway to Penn's Landing, a waterfront neighborhood that's home to several historic ships visitors can tour, Adventure Aquarium, and the Independence Seaport Museum
- 12-minute drive or 30 minutes by bus to the Philadelphia Zoo
- 19-minute drive or 32 minutes by train to Philadelphia International Airport
Cool and comfortable, with plush beds and up-to-date technology
Superior King Guestroom
Le Meridien's rooms are sleek and a little retro, with white ruched bedspreads, 1950's-style gray cushioned chairs, shiny black-and-white patterned wardrobes, gray carpets, and rich red floor-to-ceiling curtains. Because it's a historic building, the room layouts are all slightly different.
All rooms include:
- Pillow-top mattresses, 350-thread-count sheets, and down pillows
- 42-inch flat-screen TV with premium channels, including HBO
- Stylish bathrooms with marble countertops and shower/tub combos or walk-in showers (only handicap accessible suites have separate soaking tubs)
- iPod docks
- Stocked minibar, coffeemaker, and water glasses
- Safe big enough for a laptop
- Luggage rack, iron and ironing board
- Turndown service available upon request
- Classic Room: King or two double beds
- Executive Room: King or two double beds, more space than the Classic Room and placement on a higher floor
- Deluxe Room: King or two double beds; more space than the Executive Room and placement on a higher floor
- Superior Room: King or two double beds; more space than the Deluxe Room; placement on a higher floor
- Suite: King bed; separate living room; placement on a high floor
The fitness center
If Le Meridien has a defining feature, it would be the atrium courtyard, with comfortable chairs for lounging and the "business center" (essentially a long table) off to one side. The fitness center is small but adequate, and the concierge is top-notch.
- Small 24-hour fitness center off of the atrium courtyard with treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, free weights, and a flat-screen TV mounted in the corner
- 24-hour business center located in the atrium courtyard is made up of a long table with a printer and power outlets
- Concierge is a member of the prestigious Les Clefs D'Or organization
- Valet parking available for $38 per day
- In-room Wi-Fi available for $11 per day (it's free in the lobby)
- Jogging strollers available upon request
- ATM in the lobby
- Abele Library, which was the original library in the YMCA, has striking design (including the YMCA's original shelves) and is used for functions
- Trumbauer Ballroom has original historic details, including a stage and columns
- 5,000 square feet of meeting space (including the library and ballroom)
A stylish brasserie and bar
- Amuse is a stylish brasserie serving French bistro fare, such as onion soup gratinee and sauteed skate, in a stylish space (white cushioned chairs, marble tabletops, bubble-inspired hanging light fixtures, and a fireplace with an original wood hearth). The main dining room flows through tall archways into to a more casual space adjacent to Le Bar, with taller chairs and a stone fireplace. A private dining rooms is also available. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Le Bar is in the center of the long room that also includes the lobby and the restaurant's casual seating for the restaurant, creating a unified space.
- 24-hour room service is provided from the same kitchen as Amuse
Le Meridien is one of the most stylish hotels in Center City, with a striking combination of historical and modern design. Only the Hotel Palomar offers the same level of luxury boutique experience. But it's not quite perfect: Some rooms face an interior atrium and lack privacy.
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Things You Should Know About Le Meridien Philadelphia
- 1421 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Classic Room
- Deluxe Room
- Executive Room
- Superior Room