Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 18 September 2012
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Over the past year, I’ve stayed overnight in a former church and in an army barracks that dated back to 1699.  Just recently, I spent the night in the Architects Building in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square district.  Designed by Paul Philippe Cret in 1929, the historic Art Deco skyscraper was once the home of the American Institute of Architects’ Philadelphia chapter and is now a Kimpton hotel, the Palomar.

As I entered the magnificent structure, I noticed how it blended its Art Deco heritage with a modern vibe.  The hotel’s designers apparently took great care to preserve many of the building’s original features including the etched elevator doors and tile mosaic in the lobby and the unparalleled AIA library on the top floor.   The hotel pays more than just lip service to architecture: its original inhabitants were architects and the hotel’s meeting rooms have been named after several who contributed to architecture in Philadelphia, including Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, and Cret himself.

As I pulled up to the entrance, a doorman immediately presented himself, opened the car door, welcomed me to the Palomar, and offered to help with luggage. At the front desk, I was warmly received and quickly had my room key in hand.


My Spa King room was somewhat monochromatic with a grey and white theme.  Because the building was not designed for use as a hotel, the rooms vary in size.  The Spa King room is one of the larger rooms at 385 square feet or 35.75 m2.  A small sofa was in front of the window and two small padded stools formed a kind of settee on the other side of the king-size bed.

The bed itself was very comfortable with linens of very high quality.  The closets were spacious and there was a flat-screen television atop a small chest of drawers.  In the closet, I found two unusual bathrobes (see virtual tour of room), one in a leopard print and one in a print I couldn’t quite identify.

The bath area is what really made the room.  It had a wonderful view, at least for a bathroom, with exceptionally large windows (don’t worry, there are shades in case you are worried about privacy).  A glass door opens to a larger than normal shower area that in turn leads to a large Fuji soaking tub.  There’s just something about relaxing in a tub with a great view that melts away stress, and the room lived up to its (Spa King) name as a visit to the bathroom was definitely a spa-like experience.

Click here to continue to Page 2Road Warrior Support, Dining, and a Virtual Tour

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