‘Philly’ as Pennsylvania’s largest city is affectionately known, is a heady mix of the traditional, friendly, and glamorous with plenty of hipster credentials thrown in.
Gaze at awesome street art, grab a craft beer, try vegan scrapple, relax in a hammock in Spruce Street Harbor Park, dine in one of the many award-winning restaurants, or hang out in the vibrant neighborhoods of Fishtown and Northern Liberties which have often been likened to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Bushwick – this is a seriously cool city!
Want to stay somewhere equally as hip? From unique and quirky boutiques to modern, trendy and shiny, here are our best cool and unusual hotels in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in no particular order)…
1. Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, Center City – a chic, unique and very Instagrammable boutique hotel housed in a historic art deco building
IHG has a reputation for being a bit different with their Kimpton Hotel Palomar. This 26-story former architect’s tower, on the edge of the French Quarter in Philadelphia Center City, is no exception.
From the glorious art deco entrance to quirky pieces of art – everything is designed to make you grin and enjoy the moment. Shared spaces are glorious and stylish yet comfortable and welcoming.
Guest rooms and suites are simple, genuinely chic, respecting the building rather than trying to mimic the era. Try to get a room as high as possible to take advantage of the views and, at least once, get up early and borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles for the best way to tour historic Philadelphia.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, Center City
2. The Bellevue Hotel, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt – a swish upmarket and very Instagrammable hotel set in a landmark skyscraper offering incredible city views
Every city has its grandest of the grand – à qui mieux mieux. Opened in 1904, and looking every inch like a nobleman’s townhouse from Imperial Paris, the Bellevue Hotel is undoubtedly one of the finest, most splendid creations in Philadelphia, if not on the entire east coast.
The huge atrium, sweeping staircases, soaring arches, delicate tiling, and intricate art nouveau details are preserved and gloriously enhanced with modern, tasteful luxury furnishings.
Rooms and suites are simpler, spacious and comfortable with a charming design. Within the Bellevue complex is an entire shopping mall, enormous fitness center, jaw-dropping two-tier ballroom, and a restaurant on four huge balconies on the nineteenth floor with the highest outside dining experience in Philadelphia – genuinely breathtaking.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Bellevue Hotel, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt
3. Lokal Hotel, Old City – a cool, hip and modern hotel with unique rustic chic decor set amongst trendy shops and cafes
In a street that looks more like Notting Hill in London than Philadelphia is the delightful Lokal Hotel. A proper boutique aparthotel with just six flats all furnished in an absolutely lovely upcycled airy style with rough wood and naked floors creating an almost Parisienne feeling throughout this beautiful historic building.
For all its old town charm the Lokal is secretly brimming with technology; there is no front desk and no onsite staff. From the automated coded check-in to an in-room iPad with multiple service-driven apps, everything is done with a few taps.
The hotel is located in the very heart of the old city surrounded by shops, restaurants, and a cornucopia of history.
- To book, check prices or availability for Lokal Hotel, Old City Philadelphia
4. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia – a funky, fun and trendy hotel perfect for partying Millennials and Gen Zs
It’s quadruple the fun at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia in South Philadelphia’s Stadium District with four sports teams, entertainment and dining, hotel accommodations and all the excitement of gaming.
Named Best Casino and Best Overall Dining in Pennsylvania by Casino Player Magazine, and Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best for 2022 at TripAdvisor, the hotel is located conveniently close to I-95 and I-76.
The luxurious rooms and suites are a quiet retreat, with floor to ceilings windows with views of the city laid out at your feet. Marble bathrooms, upscale linens and toiletries, 65-inch TVs and superfast wifi all add up to serious luxury.
Dining options include the Zagat-rated steakhouse The Prime Rib, Asian food at Luk Fu, and a variety of other restaurants, bars and lounges.
- To book, check prices or availability for Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia
5. W Philadelphia Hotel – an ultra-hip celebrity haunt with the wow-factor and fabulous Insta-worthy views
The playful spirit of the W hotels finds itself at home in this Center City location in Philadelphia, close to Love Park, City Hall, Old City, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the trendiest art galleries, restaurants and music venues in the city.
The cool futuristic decor with bright, quirky artwork leads to oases of quiet like the AWAY Spa, and the swimming pool with the WET Deck bar. The spacious rooms and suites are dens of understated luxury, and you’ll love the comfort of the signature W beds and the private balconies with views of the iconic skyline.
You can order room service, or head down to the Dolce restaurant which serves breakfast and then a regional Italian menu all day. Stay on track with your fitness routine at the gym, and check out the music at the Living Room cocktail lounge to finish the day in style.
- To book, check prices or availability for W Philadelphia Hotel
6. Canopy By Hilton Philadelphia Center City – a hip vintage chic boutique hotel housed in a 19th-century building where guests can take their pets too
Right in the heart of Philly by the Liberty Bell, you’ll find the Canopy By Hilton. The landmark 19th century Midtown Village building connects to the city’s history and traditions and is close to major attractions like the fashion district, the museums, Reading Terminal Market, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and City Hall.
The interiors are full of historic charm and elegance, with plush curtains, chandeliers and gold accents. The rooms have high ceilings, comfortable Canopy beds and local artwork along with all necessary comforts like a 55-inch TV, Nespresso machine, refrigerated drawer and luxury toiletries.
You can borrow a complimentary Canopy Bike to explore the neighborhood and stop at The Wayward American brasserie for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There’s a gym and breakfast is also served at the Canopy Central Café. For a decadent start to your day, you can have a Canopy Breakfast Bag delivered to your room.
- To book, check prices or availability for Canopy By Hilton Philadelphia Center City
7. The Study at University City – a sophisticated, elegant and contemporary hotel with easy access to the main attractions in the city
Like all major cities, Philly has many facets, one of which is a college town. The Study Hotel, winner of a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award, is ideally located in the middle of University City, between Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Quite appropriately, the interior public spaces are full of books and art, and exhibits from nearby museums of archeology and natural sciences. The rooms and suites offer both overnight and extended stay choices. They are furnished with comfortable leather reading chairs with lamps, generous work spaces, and plush robes in which you can get comfortable.
The Co-op Restaurant and Lounge has a lively college atmosphere and great food, and is located on the street corner for the best people-watching opportunities.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Study at University City
8. Chestnut Hill Hotel – a unique quirky-chic boutique hotel that is the perfect home away from home
With just 36 rooms and suites, this boutique hotel in the upscale neighborhood in the northwestern section of Philadelphia is a hidden gem. The 1894 building has been an inn, bordello, and retail store complex, before it was restored to its current glory.
The rooms are all individually designed and furnished in a mix of period and contemporary styles, and come with a complimentary breakfast. Two nearby buildings – the Carriage House and the Post Office – also have guest accommodations, with original charm and character and features like exposed wooden beams.
There are plenty of dining options, with a brewery and food market right downstairs. The neighborhood abounds in restaurants, bars and markets for some exciting shopping and dining.
- To book, check prices or availability for Chestnut Hill Hotel
9. Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown Center City – an ultra-creative hotel that features a chic modern interior and quirky design details
The downtown location near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall puts you near the upscale shopping and dining, museums, historical sights and major venues on the Avenue of the Arts.
Super friendly staff and attention to comfort have won the hotel the 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award. The lobby with a colorful mural and cozy fireplace sets the tone for your stay, while clean modern lines and neutral decor make the interiors and rooms restful places, and pops of color add cheer.
Room amenities include comfortable seating, a mini-fridge, and microwave and coffee maker, and there is a fitness center for guests.
Dining options include the Treble & Bass lounge with cocktails and the rooftop Attico bar and restaurant serving snacks, small plates and dinner.
- To book, check prices or availability for Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown Center City
10. Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Center City – a modern design hotel with upscale sleek and sexy decor
This landmark structure was America’s first skyscraper, rising a commanding 33 stories into the air. Using curved glass and bold geometric shapes, it looks modern but was, in fact, constructed in 1933 as home to Philadelphia Savings Fund Society (PSFS).
Internally, rare woods along with marble and granite from over 30 countries were used to dramatic effect, along with clocks by Cartier.
Now a big corporate-style hotel perfectly located for conventions and anything else that must be done in the city center. The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Center City has 581 rooms and suites are neat, comfortable, and stylish – some have lovely views across the city.
There are two very good restaurants, a big fitness center, a spa and salon retreat, indoor heated swimming pool, and masses of function space for meetings or events including three ballrooms.
- To book, check prices or availability for Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Center City
11. ROOST Midtown, Center City – a cool modern apartment with a kitchen set in a 1920s building with a rooftop patio
In the heart of the Center City, a stone’s throw from Dilworth Park and Philadelphia City Hall, is ROOST Midtown, an aparthotel in the old 1920s Packard Building.
There are 27 fully equipped apartments from studios to two bedrooms, each furnished in a very chic, almost catalog-looking, Scandi-style of clean lines, block colors, and pale wood.
Tasteful, thoughtful, and highly liveable throughout. If it’s available, try to book the penthouse for beautiful high-vaulted intricate plasterwork ceilings and some lovely views through the city skyline.
Unlike some aparthotels, ROOST Midtown has a 24-hour concierge, fitness center, and complimentary bicycles. They even supply a dog-sitting service for those four-legged guests.
- To book, check prices or availability for ROOST Midtown, Center City
12. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, Center City – an exquisitely restored unique boutique hotel inside the historic Lafayette Building
Surrounded by the beautiful parks and history of the Old City is the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, an IHG hotel. The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are across the street.
The outside is imposing formal classical stonework, but inside all illusions are forgotten as this grand hotel hugs the visitor with an unexpected colorful extravagance of décor.
Guest rooms and suites are stunning, whimsical, indulgent – delightful spaces of art and design and, if you’re lucky, fabulous views of the history right outside.
There are all the amenities you’d expect but, best of all is the frankly lovely rooftop lounge and bar; a superbly comfortable inside/outside space high above the bustle of the streets.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, Center City
13. Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown, Rittenhouse Square – an upscale design hotel with contemporary decor set in a great central location
Among the business blocks and offices of Center City West is the Sonesta. A large 439 room corporate-style hotel in beige and grey with dollops of red.
Conveniently located for Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia City Hall, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and all the city shopping, at first glance this appears to be an archetypal city hotel – except that it holds a couple of surprises: a good, small rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, which is very uncommon in Philadelphia Center City, and a unique art gallery with rotating exhibitions from local artists.
Get on the rooftop when the sun shines, and in the gallery when it rains; that’s your stay sorted without even leaving the hotel!
- To book, check prices or availability for Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown, Rittenhouse Square
14. The Rittenhouse Hotel, Center City – a popular and romantic high-end hotel recognized as one of the world’s finest places to stay by many prestigious travel magazines
Visually dominating the beautiful Rittenhouse Square, the 1980s Rittenhouse Hotel perches like a massive cheese grater in the skyline.
In contrast to the stark outside the interior is chic and tasteful with beautifully furnished spaces and a clever use of color to create a super-relaxing feel and exploit the masses of natural light.
The Rittenhouse Hotel has managed to entirely avoid the bland corporate feeling, so often associated with big hotels, and focussed on creating exquisite rooms and suites with delicate character and charm.
There are five excellent eating places in the hotel, plus a huge choice within walking distance, and a superb on-site spa, salon and fitness center.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Rittenhouse Hotel, Center City
15. The Notary Hotel Autograph Collection, Center City – a chic and Instaworthy upscale boutique hotel housed in a historic building in a great central location
In Philadelphia’s historic Penn Square, The Notary Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, is a place where 1920s-era grandeur meets modern hospitality.
Located in the former City Hall Annex, just steps from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Reading Terminal Market, the 499-room property fuses the city’s unique soul with its historic legacy.
The building dates to 1926 and was designed by prolific architect Philip Johnson in the classical revival style.
For decades, the City Hall Annex was where a Notary’s stamp was given to signify the start of a marriage, a business or a new journey.
The rooms and suites are decorated with a nod to the art deco interiors of the period. The public spaces reveal much more of the unique history and are splattered with clever, interesting artistic installations.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Notary Hotel Autograph Collection, Center City
16. The Gables Bed & Breakfast Philadelphia, University City – popular quirky-chic accommodation housed in a beautiful historic home
On the west side of the Schuylkill River, near the University of the Sciences, is the Gables Bed & Breakfast in a pretty turn-of-the-century suburban street with trams (known as trolleys in the US) running past the door.
A small Victorian mansion kitted out in splendid over-the-top designs from the period to create a warm, nostalgic, homely feeling with original oak floors and cherrywood paneling.
There’s a magnificent wrap-around veranda and terrace in the garden for breakfast or reading the morning paper in the summertime, shaded by a stately old Norway maple and blossoming dogwood, Japanese cherry, crab apple, and magnolia.
A truly charming slice of hospitality and relaxation just 15 minutes from the heart of the magnificent city of Philadelphia.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Gables Bed & Breakfast Philadelphia, University City
17. Sonder at The Arco, Center City – a fabulous mid-range hotel with minimalist Scandi chic-inspired decor
Get a mix of both worlds at Sonder | The Arco, where historic charm and contemporary convenience merge. Former home of the Printing Industries of Philadelphia, a classic red-brick exterior perfectly contrasts the charming collection of modern artworks inside.
Take a moment to kick back beside the cozy fireplace in the lobby, or to refuel with a quick bite at one of the many local restaurants.
Comfortable apartments, simply styled for modern living, act as a crash-pad for enjoying Midtown bars, clubs, and restaurants. Refresh and rejuvenate in your bright, comfortable space, then step out to the vibrant streets of Midtown Village.
Rich with LGBTQ+ history and bursting with lively bars and restaurants, South 13th Street’s entertainment scene begs you to explore.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sonder at The Arco, Center City
18. Gifford-Risley House Bed and Breakfast, Media – a beautifully unique guest house with vintage-inspired decor
A few miles outside the city of Philadelphia, in Delaware County, is the beautiful Gifford-Risley House. An 1877 Gothic-revival Victorian villa hosting 7 guest bedrooms each decorated in rich Victorian patterns with original antiques.
There is a homely parlor, library, dining room, and conservatory at Gifford-Risley House Bed and Breakfast, Media all bedecked with balloon-back chairs, chaises, carved wood, velvets, and tapestries – a genuine effort to recreate the ambiance of a slice of history when Philadelphia was the largest city in the US and leading the Industrial Revolution stateside.
In the summer, breakfast and afternoon tea are served on the veranda (the porch in US English) surrounded by the pretty gardens and manicured lawns of this quiet suburban street.
- To book, check prices or availability for Gifford-Risley House Bed and Breakfast, Media
19. Le Méridien Philadelphia, Center City – a stunning design hotel with an onsite spa and a restaurant offering fine city views
A beautiful hotel, both inside and out, in the heart of the Center City close to City Hall and LOVE Park. Le Méridien Philadelphia is a smart 10-story neo-Georgian building crammed with clever design features in comfortable surroundings.
A former YMCA, its striking architectural details are cleverly aligned so the old complements the new.
A lovely skylight allows a flood of natural light to the 75-foot central atrium courtyard, while an airy restaurant bar with graceful archways and classic woodwork bring endless possibilities.
The 202 rooms feature bold black and white décor with inspired red accents to enhance the hotel interior’s rich millwork. The Grand Ballroom provides a stately yet original setting for any gathering, with views of Philadelphia’s renowned City Hall.
- To book, check prices or availability for Le Méridien Philadelphia, Center City
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/