The Good Life: Travel: The In-Laws Are Coming!

When the Center City hotel standbys fill up, these B&Bs are perfect for holiday guests

Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast
Innkeeper Ashley Mon has spent the past five years bringing out the best in this circa-1856 stone home, the former country house of Major General


Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast

Innkeeper Ashley Mon has spent the past five years bringing out the best in this circa-1856 stone home, the former country house of Major General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, quartermaster general to President Lincoln. The fruits of Mon’s labor are elegant and homey: a tall-ceilinged sitting room with her Southern ancestors’ furniture, a closetful of board games, a crystal decanter of sherry in the billiards room, and warm chocolate chip cookies set out in the hallway at bedtime.

Why it beats your guest bedroom: All rooms have feather beds, English linens, antique maps and wireless Internet — but only one has a rosewood bed that’s rumored to be haunted. A separate carriage house, with two bedrooms and full kitchen, is the perfect spot for families with little ones or pets. "I always welcome dogs," says Mon. "They never get drunk and throw up on the comforter."

Dig in: Tall candles and classical music accompany made-to-order upside-down banana walnut pancakes, fluffy eggs and sausage — or, if you specify, vegan, low-fat or even to-go fare.

When you all need a break from each other: Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum are nearby. But really, who could possibly leave a place with shelves of classic romances on video, or a symphonium that plays Sousa for a dime per song?

Details: Rooms $150-$235 a night; carriage house $350-$500; there’s a two-night minimum. 115 Indian Springs Drive, Chester Heights, 610-459-3000; hamanassett.com.

Morris House Hotel

Think Colonial, convenient — and clandestine. The first question asked of incoming guests: "Did you have trouble finding us?" Owners/­developers Gene LeFevre and Michael DiPaolo bought the nationally registered 1787 historic landmark in 2001, when the brick building was an office. Today, the random-width floorboards are uncovered; portraits of original owners John and William Reynolds hang over gray marble fireplaces; and the bricked, boxwood-rimmed, iron-gated courtyard is a sought-after wedding site.

Why it beats your guest bedroom: Eight rooms in the main house are outfitted in Colonial style, with satin damask duvets, slant-top desks, leather armchairs and fully stocked bookshelves. Seven newly annexed rooms are eclectic-­modern. The largest of the latter has a full kitchen, a Jacuzzi, a marble shower and a living room. Request a room facing the courtyard; the traffic on 8th Street can get noisy.

Dig in: Breakfast caters to those who’d rather get up and get out. Chocolate croissants, sesame bagels with raspberry jam, cereal and coffee are available until 10 o’clock. (See page 191 for a full review of Morris House’s Restaurant M.)

When you all need a break from each other: This one is perfect for dads who stop at each historic marker, moms who adore the Martha Washington-ness of it all, and anyone who appreciates the proximity to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania Hospital and Morimoto.

Details: Rooms from $179 a night; suites $199-$239 a night. 225 South 8th Street, 215-922-2446; morrishousehotel.com.

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