Inn at Penn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Hotel Review

By Jonathan Spira on 4 March 2012
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There are several cities around the world that I, for a variety of reasons, am drawn to.  Munich is one, Vienna is another, and Philadelphia is yet another.  In Philly, I typically spend time in meetings at the University of Pennsylvania, but, until recently, I had sworn off the hotels that were on or near Penn’s campus.  Having learnt that the Inn at Penn had undergone a major renovation, I felt it was time to pay it another visit.

On Sansom Street, The Inn at Penn is fairly central within the campus.  The Penn bookstore is right next door, and it’s a few minutes walk from most of the university’s buildings.  And Sansom Street itself is a mini restaurant row of sorts, with the Pod, the New Deck Tavern, the White Dog Café, and, until recently, La Terrasse, all practically next door to one another.

After an amazingly quick one-hour and 50-minute drive from New York on a snowy day in a Ranger Rover , I arrived at the Inn’s circular driveway and was welcomed by the valet who parked my car, as well as Teddy, the bellman on duty,  I arrived in the late evening, and Kenyatta Thompkins, the assistant front desk manager, checked me in, expertly demonstrating the in-room iPad functionality (more on that in a moment) in the process.  When she found out that I had had a long drive and was planning on going out to get a snack, she excused herself for a moment and brought back several oatmeal raisin cookies that I later enjoyed in my room.


My king superior room was spacious and elegantly furnished.  The seating area (the sofa could convert to a bed) was comfortable and suitable for meetings.

The bed, fitted with high-quality linens, was very comfortable.  The only problem with the bed was the wood base.  Unfamiliar rooms (such as those in a hotel) should not have furniture with sharp edges, and I banged my knee twice.

One problem the first night was noise from the ice machine.  I always ask at check-in about my room’s proximity to both ice machines and the elevators, and I was told this room would be fine.  A visual inspection en route seemed to confirm this.  What I didn’t know was that the door labeled “ice machine” didn’t necessarily indicate the machine’s placement relative to my room. Whenever the ice machine cycled on, it was audible to me in bed.

The next day, as I was moving to another room, the bellman noticed the bathroom’s noisy exhaust fan as we walked in, so we made our way to yet another room.  Fortunately, the third room was very quiet.

The bathroom was nicely done in marble and had a glass-enclosed shower but no tub.  The Evolve electronic control unit allowed me to turn various lights on and off separately or together and the night light feature was a great idea.

While the computerized climate control in both of my rooms did a credible job in keeping the temperature at the desired setting, it cycled on and off repeatedly (it seemed sometimes as if this was as often as every 30 seconds) and it made a loud noise each time it did so.

A small, but nice touch, were the key cards, which feature a variety of photos of Penn’s campus. Another nice touch was the placement of signs on each floor every evening reminding guests that “Quiet Time” begins at 11 p.m.

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