Just How Cool Is Philly’s Hotel Scene?

We compared Philly with other cities to see how we stack up.

hotel restaurants

Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association. Photograph by Nick Gerber  

Here’s how we compare to other cities in what makes hotels work for locals.

The Must-Have: A local-celeb-chef-driven restaurant

Who’s Got It: D.C. Foodies love the gooseberry piri piri salad at Kith/Kin, an Afro-Caribbean eatery at the Wharf InterContinental from Top Chef competitor Kwame Onwuachi.

Does Philly? TBD. Vernick Fish has the name recognition, but the jury’s still out on whether the chef’s fancy new Four Seasons joint can inspire the fervor that surrounds his original spot.

hotel restaurants

A meal at Kith/Kin. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Must-Have: Hotel lobby as co-working place

Who’s Got It: NYC. The city’s creative class posts up on the ground floor of the Ace Hotel for biz meetings and long laptop sessions. There are even WeWork-style communal desks with power outlets.

Does Philly? No. Philadelphia’s freelance set prefers the wooden booths of La Colombe in Fishtown and more conventional co-working spots like Kismet and MakeOffices.

The Must-Have: An actually cool gift shop

Who’s Got It: Miami Beach. The Edition lobby shop is like a mini art gallery. On display: fragrances from Le Labo and Comme des Garçons, Mykita sunglasses and bags by Phillip Lim.

Does Philly? Yes. The Egan shops at the Rittenhouse Hotel stock home goods from John Derian and Tracie Hervy and fine jewelry by Kimberlin Brown and Anna Sheffield.

hotel restaurants

The champagne vending machine at the Ritz-Carlton. Photograph courtesy Ritz-Carlton

The Must-Have: Millennial-driven marketing stunts

Who’s Got It: NYC. The rooftop bar menu at the Moxy Times Square includes a $99 “crash pad” you can book night-of if you’re too sloshed to get home.

Does Philly? Yes. There’s no way you haven’t spotted the Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine in the Ritz-Carlton lobby on Instagram yet.

The Must-Have: A destination rooftop bar

Who’s Got It: Chicago. Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is packed with tourists and locals taking in the views of Lake Michigan every day of the week.

Does Philly? Technically. Stratus Rooftop Lounge at the Monaco and Attico at the Cambria get the job done, but neither of those compares to what’s going down on the rooftop of the BOK.

Published as “Philly’s Got Hotels. But What About a Hotel Scene?” in the October 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.