The industrial powerhouse cities and ivy-clad college towns in Pennsylvania are within easy reach of the picturesque countryside. Whether it’s soaking up Philadelphia or a rural respite, you’re going to need a great hotel. Here’s our pick of the best in the Keystone State – bookable on Culture Trip.
Art lovers can get close to the action with a stay at the city loft-style Maj Hotel. Bordering Fairmount Park, it’s close to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum. Stylish but simple rooms feature exposed brick, metal and wood furnishings, along with occasional splashes of color. Need some outdoor space to call your own? Book a room with a private patio. Insomniacs can peddle all night in the 24-hour gym, powered by coffee and croissants from the nearby Whole Foods Market.
Bike through wildflower-filled meadows, across trestle bridges spanning babbling brooks, through the woods and along the creek. The historic Penn Wells Hotel makes an easy base for accessing the Pine Creek Rail Trail, one of the best bike trails in the region, at 62mi (100km) long. The hotel itself wears its 150-plus years of history with style; think deep reds, hunter green and mahogany fixtures. It’s grand. Stop in the lobby for a cocktail or a choppy cobb salad, and warm yourself by the open fire.
Artsy Swarthmore College, 1mi (1.6km) away, is the source for much of this hotel’s artworks. Sculptures and prints by students and alumni decorate the walls, including the light-filled rooms with wood accents and rural views. The hotel also hosts four exhibitions a year by both distinguished and emerging artists. Book the two-bedroom king suite for a view across the picturesque Swarthmore College main campus. Tuck into food and drink from local farms, vineyards and breweries, including a delicious burger with applewood smoked bacon.
Take afternoon tea in the Cameo Room of the XIX Restaurant. The belle-époque architecture of this historic hotel is perhaps most on show in this domed room, all curving archways and alcoves, ornate plasterwork, leaded windows and French doors that open to generous balconies. Dating from 1904, the Bellevue exudes elegance. Rooms range from those with city skyline views to luxury suites with parquet flooring.
Grab a fluffy bathrobe and escape to the scenic Cumberland Valley in southern Pennsylvania to stop by the world-class Springs Eternal Spa at the Omni in Bedford. It covers 30,000sqft (2,787sqm) and is fed by eight natural mineral springs; there’s also a spa garden for relaxing after a treatment. Follow the Bedford Bath ritual with an aromatic steam, a mineral deluge, a whirlpool and finally, a cool plunge to leave muscles feeling relaxed. Reservations are recommended six to eight weeks in advance. There’s also a golf course and the Clubhouse, where you can sip on spiced tortilla soup even if you don’t play.
Live, eat, sleep and breathe music at the Hotel Rock, part of the Rock Lititz campus, a 96-acre (39ha) production community for the live-events industry. This unique hotel combines art and technology to create a “one-of-a-kind lodging adventure,” with decor such as road case doors to backstage pass wallpaper. If you’ve been living too hard, hire a hybrid bike or do multiple laps in the indoor pool to restore balance before devouring a whoopie pie.
Sure, you can relax, but there’s just so much to do. Heritage Hills Resort features an 18-hole golf course. But in winter, this sprawling property also offers outdoor tubing and ice skating, and there’s minigolf and soccer in summer. Book a treatment in the spa to reward yourself for your hard work. The mineral salt scrub can be tailored to be relaxing or energizing. Cozy up in the rooms and suites, decorated in shades of brown; choose one with a whirlpool if you like to bathe near your bed.
Culture lover, look no further for a place to lay your head. On Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this hotel is close to the Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum. Take it all in from the rooftop infinity pool. Use the customized grocery program, allowing you to choose your favorite essentials from Trader Joe’s, which will be ready in your fridge when you arrive in your cozy cream-and-brown room. Try out the Irish pub downstairs for a pint of Guinness.
For more options, discover our guide to the best vacation rentals in Pennsylvania and book now on Culture Trip.