Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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.
Cool and comfortable, with plush beds and up-to-date technology
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:
Just the boutique basics
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.
A stylish brasserie and bar
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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