Harrisburg Apparently Wants to Kill Philly’s Hotel Industry

travel, hotel

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

In an effort to end the state budget stalemate, Republicans in Harrisburg are pushing a plan to add a 5 percent tax on hotel stays statewide.

The levy would be on top of an existing 6 percent state tax, bringing the total Pennsylvania hotel tax rate to 11 percent. If the proposal got the green light, Philly would have the nation’s highest hotel tax, according to HVS, a consulting organization that specializes in the hospitality industry.

PennLive reports that Philly already charges the state’s highest hotel levy, and the tax here would jump from a combined rate of 15.5 percent to a whopping 21.25 percent if legislators backing the proposal have their way. (The increase is more than 5 percent because of another tax already scheduled to kick in in January.) Read more »

Lt. Gov. Billed State for Philly Hotel Stays While Still Owning Home Here

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack. Photo: Jeff Fusco

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack billed the state for more than $4,000 worth of Philadelphia hotel room stays while the Democrat still owned a home in the Northeast, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The La Salle College High School (and university) grad requested that the state reimburse him $4,210.69 for lodging and incidental expenses incurred on visits to the city between his inauguration in January 2015 and February 2016, when property records show that Stack and his wife sold their home. Read more »

Little Pete’s to Close by End of August

Little Pete's awning

The awning at Little Pete’s at 17th and Chancellor streets in Center City | Photo: Dan McQuade

Little Pete’s has a closing date.

The diner, one of only a handful of diners left in Center City, has been told it needs to vacate its 17th Street premises by the end of August. Plans call for the beloved diner to be replaced by a Hyatt Centric hotel. The parking garage on the parcel, as well as a City Nails location and the flower shop Blossom, will also be demolished.

Co-owner John Koutroubas, who owns Little Pete’s with his brother Pete, confirmed the closure date while working the register yesterday. He said the diner may move out earlier than the end of August. Read more »

Field Guide: The 10 Sexiest Hotels in Philadelphia

Raddison Blu

The lobby of the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel is a smart mix of old and new. | Photo via Radisson Blu.

Attention, would-be romancers: You’ve got two weeks until Valentine’s Day, which means there is still time (though, it’s quickly dwindling!) to nab coveted reservations at restaurants, theaters and hotels. As for the latter, we’ve rounded up the 10 swankiest, sexiest spots to spend a romantic weekend. From top-notch pampering to room service worth ordering, consider this your guide to getting away, if only for a night. (Sorry, you’re on your own for the babysitter.)  Read more »

Conshohocken Hotel Sells for $26.5 Million

The Residence Inn Tower Bridge in Conshohocken.

The Residence Inn Tower Bridge in Conshohocken.

Philadelphia-based HHM, formerly known as Hersha Hotel Management, is increasing its portfolio once again by agreeing to buy the Residence Inn Philadelphia Conshohocken for $26.5 million. That’s a cool $193,430 per room key.

The seller is Brandywine Realty Trust which owned 50 percent of the property as part of a joint venture which originally developed the hotel in 2001. The deal closed December 30, 2015. Brandywine netted $6.1 million from the sale.

The all-suite hotel was renovated in 2014 and with a new bar and lounge, as well as an indoor pool, fitness center and outdoor sports court. Read more »

Lawsuit: Center City Sheraton Fired Woman Who Reported Sexual Harassment By Guest

The Four Points by Sheraton at 12th and Race Streets. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

The Four Points by Sheraton at 12th and Race Streets. (Photo by Jared Shelly)

A former employee at the Four Points by Sheraton at 12th and Race Streets has sued the hotel and parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts claiming she was fired in retaliation for making a workers’ comp claim and reporting sexual harassment by a guest.

Alexandra Austin, then a housekeeper at the hotel, claims that she suffered back and knee injuries after a slip-and-fall in July of 2014. After filing a workers’ comp claim she “began to experience hostility” from management, court documents say. When she came back to work, she claims that she was scheduled for fewer and less-desirable shifts. Read more »

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. TravelMag.com 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 Expedia.com.

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 [TravelMag.com]

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