Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Review

By Jeremy Del Nero on 10 May 2017
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The Hyatt at the Bellevue is a 172-room hotel situated in a building replete with history, both good and bad. Construction of the structure began over a century ago, in 1902. Two years and $8 million (in 1904 dollars) later, the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel opened its doors and quickly became Philadelphia’s “it” hotel, achieving landmark status soon thereafter.

While Thomas Edison designed the building’s lighting fixtures, he wasn’t the only distinguished personality to be associated with the hotel; whenever U.S. presidents visited the City of Brotherly Love, the Bellevue-Stratford is where they would head. It wasn’t until 1988 that the building was converted for mixed-use operations, and a year later that Hyatt took ownership of the hotel.

The site was identified as ground zero for the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States when, in 1976, the American Legion hosted its annual convention at the hotel. More than 2,000 Legionnaires attended the convention, and within a week, over 130 people were hospitalized and 25 died. Hotel staffers like to share this bit of history with guests but are eager to inform that the hotel is completely safe now and has been rid of the deadly bacteria for four decades.

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Situated on the corner of Walnut Street and South Broad Street, the hotel has one serious advantage: location, location, location. Rittenhouse Square is a few short blocks away, as is City Hall, and the vibrant and multicultural Reading Terminal Market is less than a five minutes’ walk.

Entering the Bellevue from Walnut St., I noticed a distinct lack of signage to guide me to the Hyatt’s front desk. A security guard pointed me in the right direction, and I later learned that entrance I had used was for the shops at the Bellevue, while the hotel’s main entrance was accessible by an alleyway called Chancellor Court off of South Broad Street. The lobby was smaller than I anticipated, but it was decorated with white fixtures with gold trim, and an ornate chandelier and elegant staircase lent the space an old-time air. While there was only one receptionist in attendance I was checked in quickly and after a brief elevator ride to the 14th floor, arrived at my room.

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