The 230-room Palomar near Rittenhouse Square Park is one of the city's chicest boutiques, with bold, sleek style, excellent service, and contemporary rooms with plush, comfortable beds. The Palomar delivers the Kimpton chain's typical thoughtful extras -- an open-arms pet policy, a hopping nightly wine hour, free morning coffee and tea -- and the location on South 17th street is near some of the city's best restaurants, bars, and shopping. In Philadelphia, only Le Meridien offers a comparable boutique experience.
Striking design in a historic building near Rittenhouse Square Park
The Hotel Palomar is located in a 1929 Art Deco building that once housed the local American Institute of Architects chapter, but the interiors have been fully redone in modern boutique style. You can hear the oohs and aahs when guests first walk into the Palomar's striking lobby. And guests have good reason to be happy with their hotel choice: the lobby (or the living room, as the hotel prefers to call it) accurately sets the tone for the entire hotel experience.
The lobby has bold, high-end style, complete with hardwood floors, glass tile detailing, retro velvet seating, and a gas fireplace with a shiny white wall surround. Whimsical details like white roller skate sculptures reflect the hotel's "Art in Motion" theme (inspired by the building's history as a meeting place for architects), while other artwork -- such as Benjamin Franklin busts in different colors -- honors the hotel's setting in historic Philadelphia. There are plenty of thoughtful extras -- free lemon ice water throughout the day, coffee and tea in the morning, and a hopping wine hour with truffle popcorn at night.
The rooms, too, are quite stylish, and the hotels' thoughtfulness is evidenced everywhere -- from the free fruit and headsets in the fitness center, to the laundry list of items that can be borrowed by forgetful travelers, including curling irons, extension cords, sewing kits, and even humidifiers. (A small sign in the bathroom says: "Forgot it? We've got it!")
The success of Kimpton's open-arms attitude toward kids and pets was in ample evidence: Lots of families stay here, and I saw more than one dog. (But there were plenty of business travelers, too.)
On a busy, tree-lined street near Rittenhouse Square Park in Center City
The Palomar is on South 17th St, a busy tree-lined stretch that's home to a number of hotels (including the Sofitel, across the street, and the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel a couple blocks south), near Rittenhouse Square Park. The Shops at Liberty Place mall is one block to the north.
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 Park, 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.
1-minute walk to The Shops at Liberty Place
5-minute walk to Rittenhouse Square Park
10-minute walk to City Hall
15-minute walk to the Pennsylvania Convention Center
6-minute drive or 10 minutes by bus to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
6-minute drive or 8 minutes by subway to 30th St. Station
7-minute drive or 7 minutes by PATCO to Independence National Historic Park (home to Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, and the Liberty Bell)
11-minute drive or 23 minutes by bus to Penn's Landing, a waterfront neighborhood that's home to several historic ships visitors can tour, Adventure Aquarium, and the Independence Seaport Museum
11-minute drive or 27 minutes by bus to the Philadelphia Zoo
21-minute drive or 32 minutes by train to Philadelphia International Airport
The Palomar's rooms are fitted out with the accoutrements of modern luxury, including plush beds with Frette linens, big flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and high-end Etro toiletries. 1960's-inspired furniture (in most rooms, a velvet armchair and white padded office chair) as well as a geometric-pattern throw add some retro flair to the rooms' sleek style.
Feather-top mattresses with Frette linens
Stylish bathrooms with purple wallpaper, marble countertops and chrome fixtures; high-end Etro toiletries; hairdryers; and make-up mirrors
Solid fitness center on the fourth floor open 24 hours a day featuring two treadmills, four elliptical machines, and two recumbent bikes, all with personal TVs; free weights; yoga mats and balance balls; fruit, loaner headsets, towels, and newspapers; free yoga class weekly (be sure to sign up in advance)
Popular nightly wine hour between with two types of wine (one red, one white) and delicious truffle popcorn. It's not only an adult affair; there are plenty of kids to be seen pigging out on the popcorn (served out of a large communal bowl into small dishes) while their parents enjoyed the wine.
In-room massages and body treatments available
Lots of kid-friendly amenities, including child-sized bathrobes, a KimptonKids welcome gift, and (upon request) cribs, Playards, outlet covers, toilet latches, nightlights, and high chairs or booster seats (for in-room dining).
Concierge available Wednesday through Sunday
Pricey valet parking in on-site garage, with in-and-out privileges
Square 1682 serves upscale American cuisine from a renowned chef.
Square 1682 -- named for the year Philadelphia was founded -- is a popular dinner and drinks spot for both guests and locals, who gather over drinks in the lively bar and lounge downstairs, or sit down for a full meal in the restaurant upstairs. Breakfast and lunch are served as well. The New American cuisine, from renowned Chef Guillermo Tellez, includes dishes such as lobster paella, Pennsylvania goat chili, or duck sausage cassoulet. The menu uses seasonal, local ingredients.
Pets of all shapes and sizes allowed for no additional fee. The hotel has water dishes outside the entrance for thirsty pups, and guests bringing pets will find pet bowls and pet beds in their rooms to use during the stay. Owners will also have a pet amenity delivered to their room. Plastic bags and leashes are available for walks, and pet sitting, grooming, walking, or massage services can be arranged through the concierge.
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