Where to Stay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a Local Experience

The City of Brotherly Love is easily navigable, so pick one of the city's best hotels according to your passions
The City of Brotherly Love is easily navigable, so pick one of the city's best hotels according to your passions | © Maurice Savage / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Frances J Folsom
19 January 2021

Where to lay your head in the City of Brotherly Love? Try one of these fine places to stay, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Philadelphia is one of America’s most walkable cities, with streets laid out on a flat grid. There is also an excellent public transit system (SEPTA), which goes beyond the city limits to the various neighborhoods and the airport. So, pick your location according to your passions: for high-end shops and culture, you want Rittenhouse Square, surrounded by chic stores and restaurants. For history? The Old City neighborhood, where everything up to, during, and after the American Revolution took place.

Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast
Map View
 Courtesy of Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast / Expedia
Here’s one for parents of returning students – tucked into the University City neighborhood, amid the campuses of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. Stepping inside the Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast, you’re greeted with gleaming original 19th-century woodwork, hardwood floors and stained-glass windows glinting at every turn. There are just six guest rooms, all decorated in soothing shades of tans, blues and greens. If you want local color, you’re conveniently close to several cultural institutions, among them the Barnes Foundation and its art collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Wm. Mulherin Sons Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
Map View
 Courtesy of Wm. Mulherin's Sons Hotel / Expedia
Housed inside a 19th-century former whiskey distillery, the Wm. Mulherin Sons Hotel certainly has character. Each of the four guest rooms is a funky outing in exposed-brick walls, painted cement floors, Apple TVs and hip living rooms as well as kitchens. The furniture was designed specifically for each space, and art on all the walls is by local artists. You won’t have to go far for restaurants, cafés and bars: the Fishtown neighborhood is right outside the hotel’s front door.

ROOST Rittenhouse

Apartment, Boutique Hotel
Map View
 Courtesy of ROOST Rittenhouse / Expedia
You can’t beat the location: ROOST Rittenhouse is in one of the city’s best neighborhoods, Rittenhouse Square, teeming with restaurants, shops and cafés. You’re well served by public transportation nearby, and you’re within walking distance of the University of Pennsylvania. ROOST Rittenhouse comprises 27 furnished apartments with full-scale kitchens, which means the convenience of an apartment with the services of a boutique hotel – add hot-and-cold running Apple TV and complimentary weekly cleaning. Oh, and bring pets – they’re welcome.

Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing

Chain Hotel
Map View
 Courtesy of Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing / Expedia
If you hadn’t guessed from the laptop-size safes, Hilton hotels cater to the business traveler. At Penn’s Landing, rooms are just on the right side of utilitarian (gently patterned carpets, groovy desk chairs). Floor-to-ceiling windows offer – in many cases – views of the harbor. There’s no need to step out: you can sink craft cocktails at Keating’s Rope & Anchor Bar + Kitchen, and there’s brunch and dinner at the Admiral’s Quarters. But venture forth you should: the hotel is within walking distance to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the Museum of the American Revolution.

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  • The Notary Hotel Philadelphia

    Chain Hotel
    Map View
     Courtesy of the Notary Hotel, Autograph Collection / Expedia
    This stunning Art Deco-era structure, with its soaring facade and columns on high, dates from 1926, when it was built as the City Hall Annex. Today, the building has the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places – so, of course, it’s a memorable hotel. The lobby is a triumph, full of polished brass and gleaming oak walls, with furnishings that recall the golden age of Art Deco. Guest rooms are not exactly big, but they’re lively (busy-motif carpets) and inoffensive (monochrome tones), with high ceilings and large windows that lend a grand scale.

    The Bellevue Hotel

    Luxury, Chain Hotel, Spa Hotel
    Map View
     Courtesy of the Bellevue Hotel, Unbound Collection by Hyatt / Expedia
    Check in here for an absorbing dose of hospitality history: built in 1904, in French Renaissance style, the Bellevue Hotel boasted all the fineries of the early 20th century: steam heat, electricity throughout and bathrooms for every room. Thomas Edison, no less, designed the light fixtures, many of them still in situ today. The 172 rooms are reassuringly boutique-stylish, in calm stone tones, and substantial, with 14ft (4m) ceilings and large windows coaxing in light.

    Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center

    Chain Hotel, Spa Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
     Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center / Expedia
    The only fitting description for Philadelphia’s Four Seasons is gob-smacking – first and foremost for its setting, high up the 60-story Comcast Center. If you’ve stayed with the brand before, you’ll know (and love) the decorative drill: rooms of downy-soft furnishings, a color scheme of whisper-quiet whites and taupes, with outbreaks of rich woods and no loud notes. Vertiginous views through the full-length panes of the 59th-floor Jean-Georges restaurant are as dramatic as the signature swirl of yellowfin tuna noodles with ginger dressing. End a day of sightseeing or business meetings with a glass of wine in your room and drift off as the city lights come on.

    The Windsor Suites

    Chain Hotel
    Map View
     Courtesy of the Windsor Suites / Expedia
    If you’re in town for a while, you should think about booking an extended-stay base – and Windsor Suites fits the bill: spotless two-bed spaces with separate living areas, full kitchens and sleeper sofas are just the ticket for corporate travelers (bringing families along for the ride). Premium accommodations (bracketed as the Skyline Level) have outdoor terraces with views over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, aka Philadelphia’s answer to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and booking this echelon gives you a seasonal rooftop infinity pool as well as a gym.

    The Logan Philadelphia

    Map View
     Courtesy of the Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton / Expedia
    Art lovers and academics, look no further: its location, on Logan Square, places this handsome property conveniently close to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Franklin Institute, the Barnes Foundation and the Rodin Museum. It’s one of Hilton’s Curio Collection of characterful hotels worldwide, offering a clutch of places to eat and drink: among them sleek steakhouse Urban Farmer. Rooms are crisp, clean and unobtrusive of decor, and there’s an impressive art collection (much of the work is by local talent). Take a self-guided tour by downloading from the App Store the hotel’s mobile art tour app, and get set to be wowed.
    These recommendations were updated on January 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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