Philly’s Tourism on Record-Setting Pace

Image via Instagram user no_ordinary_mundane

Image via Instagram user no_ordinary_mundane

In the first six months of 2015, Philadelphia’s tourism industry has been on a record-setting pace. And with the World Meeting of Families scheduled for September, there’s a good chance that this year could be historic for the industry.

Visit Philadelphia has released a new report saying that Center City Philadelphia hotels have had occupancy rates of 76.2 percent in the first half of 2015 — compared to 75.2 percent in 2014. All three major market segments (leisure, group, commercial) increased in the first half of the year. Read more »

Headlines: Early Look at the Pricing at the Upcoming SLS LUX Hotel

SLS international rendering

Part of a Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates rendering of Dranoff’s new project.

Have you seen that gigantic hole on the southeast corner of Broad and Spruce lately? That’s the future home to the SLS LUX Philadelphia, a 47-story tower filled with 152 hotel rooms and 90 luxury residences. As you know, Philly’s development boom is very real, and we’ve been tracking its rapidly growing hotel scene closely. In other words, brace yourself, the hotels are coming. They’re coming fast and furious.

Here’s a bit of interesting news from The Inquirer‘s recent report from Jacob Adelman, we now kind of know where the SLS will stand in the hierarchy of Philadelphia hotel pricing once it is complete: Read more »

Morning Headlines: Proposed Hotel Near Convention Center Clears Hurdle

The existing building, courtesy of this sale flyer

PlanPhilly reports that a proposal to construct a 12-story addition atop the former Warner Bros. distribution center on 13th Street just north of the Pennsylvania Convention Center received approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission on July 11, and has video of the meeting. An earlier version of the proposal was rejected in June by the commission’s Architecture Committee.

The two-story Art Moderne building, designed by Frank Furness protege William H. Lee, was recently listed as being for sale for $2.75 million. It is currently owned by Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Read more »

Survey: Philly Hotels Are Most Highly Rated Online

hotel monaco

Hotel Monaco has certainly improved the city’s hotel landscape. Photo: Hotel Monaco.

You think this city isn’t friendly? Think again. reports that out of 30 destination cities, Philadelphia got the highest percentage of positive reviews of its three- and four-star hotels in the last year on

The other cities in the top 10 were Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Charlotte, D.C., Boston, Austin, Indianapolis, and Houston.

Excellent Ratings Achieved for Hotels in Philadelphia []

Charming Cape May B&B Gets National Attention

Popular with tourists, this Victorian inn was built in 1905 on one of Cape May’s oldest streets and boasts 30-plus years in the hospitality business. Now that it’s on the market, Curbed National has taken note of the merits of this long-established bed & breakfast.

The aptly named Windward House Inn, in Cape May’s historic district, could become a private residence or remain an inn, though Cape May B&Bs are still struggling in Sandy’s wake. Could this account for the property’s $90K price cut of four days ago?

Read more »

Philly Hotels: Stop Whining About W and Element and Clean Up Your Act

Woman at business hotel

Photo | Veer

In the news this week: Another Philly hotel battle.

A bunch of hotels are ganging up on one of their own. A group that calls itself the “Concerned Hotel Owners of Philadelphia,” along with the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, are  upset that the city is offering tax breaks to a developer who’s looking to construct a 700-room W and Element Hotel on Chestnut Street. Part of their argument is “the sorry state of Center City’s hotel industry. It just can’t support another hotel, especially one this size.”

Guys, please:  Stop fighting each other. You’ve got other things to worry about than getting involved in these petty squabbles. There’s plenty of opportunity to grow in Philadelphia. There’s plenty of room for you all. Instead of wasting your time with this nonsense, how about if you consider addressing some of the problems in your own backyard?  Like maybe taking a few simple steps to make your hotels better for the business traveller.  That’s me.  I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms over the past few years.  And special announcement:  You all still have some work to do.  What kind of work?  Here are 7 suggestions.

Read more »

Center City Hotel Owners Think W Hotel Is a Bad Bet; Lenfest Says They’re Just Jealous

1441 chestnut street

Photo of 1441 Chestnut Street via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Yesterday the Concerned Hotel Owners of Philadelphia published an open letter questioning the wisdom of opening a 700-room hotel in downtown Philadelphia — and particularly with public monies. From the letter:

Philadelphia’s downtown hotel market is not strong enough to absorb another 700 rooms on top of what’s already planned without cannibalizing business from existing properties. The next few years are projected to be generally flat for the Center City hotel market due to moderate increases in supply, but only modest increases in demand and continued pressures on average room rate.

Occupancy currently sits below that of other major East Coast markets, and property revenues are projected to grow far slower than most other major markets over the next three years.

Read more »

First Look: New Home2Suites Hotel Opens Tuesday With High Convention Center Hopes

It always happens this way with new construction. A site looks like a pile of steel beams for months and overnight a real building emerges. To wit: the $60 million Home2 Suites is opening to the public on Tuesday. It is the first hotel to be built from scratch in Center City in a decade.

The Hilton property features 248 rooms – including 22 enormous suites – as well as a fitness center, pool, Wii-enabled game lounge and a bevy of sustainability features. In exchange for $3 million in funding from EnergyWorks, the Wurzak Group (which has partnered with the Parkway Corporation on the new hotel), has installed energy-efficient appliances in the kitchenettes included in each hotel room. Rooms also feature motion-sensitive lighting and public spaces are lit with LED bulbs. There is, of course, a green roof.

Read more »

AC’s Historic Madison House Hotel Goes for $1.25M Below Asking Price

Four million dollars–that’s all it took for a Florida investor, Eli Hadad, to purchase the grand Madison House Hotel at auction. When the 121,000-square-foot property was on the market, it was listed at $5.25 million. At auction last week, the bidding started at $4 million. Hadad was the winning bidder because he was the only bidder.

The 14-story Madison was built in 1929 with a stairway modeled after the grand stairway inside Independence Hall. And while the resemblance is certainly striking, the acoustic ceiling above doesn’t quite fit in. Not only that, but the property itself looks like it’s seen better days. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential. Look at the hulking mess that’s the Divine Lorraine–everyone believes that has potential, and there’s barely a scrap left.

Read more »

Rittenhouse Hotel Renovation Begins: Biecker to Leave, Lacroix to Stay

bieckerThough the Hersha Hotel chain bought the Rittenhouse Hotel more than a year ago, the visible rehab and renovation efforts are quite recent. Today, smartly dressed young men scurry around with swatches and new light fixtures appear on the wall, looking more Hotel Monaco than classic, staid Rittenhouse. This should be interesting.

There has been apprehension among the Rittenhousers that Hersha, which doesn’t have much five-star experience, wouldn’t retain the five-star designation. Then Lacroix panic briefly set in–without the five stars, would Lacroix stay? Not to worry: Hersha will keep the five stars and Lacroix will remain.

Read more »

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