HOTEL PALOMAR PHILADELPIA
117 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA
hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com; (215) 563-5006
Distance by car: 2½ hours
Carved out of the 1929 art deco Architects Building (which housed office space for Frank Lloyd Wright, among other prominent designers), Hotel Palomar is Ben Franklin chic. Busts of our country’s brilliant co-founder in lime-green and watermelon-pink greet you at the graffiti-splashed reception area. Palomar is a hipster favorite, but this ultra-cool, whimsically designed boutique hotel is popular with a wide range of style-loving guests. The placement of just-shy-of-camp knickknacks throughout public areas elevates them to high art. Walls are covered with iridescent mosaic tiles, and a glass-topped dining table holds complimentary coffee and tea in the morning and Happy Hour wine and sinful truffle-oil popcorn (also free for guests) each evening between 5 and 6 pm.
The decor in Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is just shy of camp.
ROOM: Smallish, but fastidiously designed, rooms feature plush bedding, rich colors, flatscreen TVs, and white leather desk chairs. The Presidential Suite has one of the most ridiculous and sublime bathrooms you are likely to encounter in any hotel. Tread on a wave-like mosaic of multicolored glass tiles. You can almost host a cocktail party in the double-rain-shower and deep marble soaking tub, separated from the sink area by a glass wall. For a certain “spoil-me-rotten” globetrotter, this bathroom alone is worth the $1,300 plus a night for the complete suite.
BOARD: In-house restaurant Square 1682 is a destination in its own right, with Chef Guillermo Tellez approving every enticing small bite that comes out of the kitchen. Downstairs, the bar is made of recycled beer bottles, but you may never get through the crowd to elbow up to it.
ONLY HERE: Ask for a walking-tour brochure of the hotel and discover its repurposed-and-sustainable style secrets. Palomar is the first LEED Gold-certified hotel in Philadelphia, a point of pride for all who work there. Take note of the artwork, some of which is based on the architectural plans, on the second floor. Bronze eagle reliefs on elevator doors are original to the building, as are the brilliantly hued art deco tile mosaics covering the second-floor foyer.
WHILE HERE: Visit the newest museum on Independence Mall—the National Museum of American Jewish History, which tells the 350-year history of Jews in America.
JUST THE FACTS: Room rates range from $220 to $450 per night. The Presidential Suite starts at $1,299 per night. Room rates include a free yoga class every Wednesday at 6:30 pm and complimentary bike rental.