Philadelphia’s Kimpton Hotel Palomar: A Unique and Charming Center City Retreat

This refurbished Art Deco building is a great place to stay

The lobby's "living room" is stylish and inviting.

If you’re planning a visit to Philadelphia, the stretch of Sansom Street between Center City and Rittenhouse Square is an ideal neighborhood in which to stay. The sidewalks are bustling, the buildings are historic, and some of the city’s best shops, bars, and restaurants are just a stone’s throw away. And located smack dab in the middle of it is the fun and quirky Kimpton Hotel Palomar, where we recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend.

Dan Myers

The hotel is located inside an Art Deco 1920s skyscraper, and it takes great advantage of the old bones. Even though it’s a tall building, it’s also a relatively narrow one, so it still retains that boutique feel. The lobby is charming and welcoming, with a comfortable “living room” area and a restaurant called Square 1682 off to the side. Our corner room let in plenty of sunlight and had very comfortable beds, a large “foyer” area (a quirk of being built into an existing space), a comfortable vintage chaise longue (something you don’t see in too many hotel rooms), a large closet with comfortable robes, a large desk and workstation, plenty of plugs, and a marble bathroom. The hotel also offers several suites, including a 1,175-square-foot presidential suite. There’s also a ballroom on the top floor (which thankfully hasn’t been altered much since its office building days), a nicely-outfitted gym, and private meeting/dining rooms.

Dan Myers

Complimentary wine is served in the lobby in the late afternoon.

There are plenty of unique offerings for guests as well. Before their stay, they can fill out online forms to request everything from an in-room coffee maker to rose petal turndown service. In-room spa treatments are also available upon request, as well as a complimentary overnight shoe shine. Guests are also welcome to gather in the lobby’s “living room” in the morning for complimentary coffee, or in the afternoon for complimentary wine or a signature cocktail (a very nice offering indeed). The hotel can also provide everything from humidifiers to cell phone chargers, deodorant, anti-static spray, and lip balm on demand, and if there’s anything else you forgot to bring along, they’ll do their best to track it down for you. And if you’re a regular, you can leave a small bag of stuff behind and they’ll make sure it’s in your room upon your next visit. Kimpton hotels are also very pet-friendly, so don’t be surprised if you find a couple friendly pups in the lobby.

Kimpton Hotels

The hotel’s restaurant, Square 1682, is located off the lobby, with a main entrance on the corner of 17th and Sansom. We had the opportunity to visit for brunch, and weren’t surprised to find several locals in the restaurant as well. It’s a bright, airy space with an upbeat ambiance, friendly servers, and a very crowd-pleasing menu. Benedicts are available with your choice of Atlantic crab, pork roll, short rib, or smoked salmon (my crab Benedict was spot-on), and other brunch items include pancakes (plain, chocolate chip, blueberry, or granola); steak and eggs; short rib cheesesteak; and a burger with bacon, Cabot Cheddar, and onion marmalade. Carafes of sangria, rose spritzer, or seasonal prosecco punch are a great way to wash it all down; our punch was made with a full bottle of prosecco, fresh blackberries and blackberry puree, and a little simple syrup, and was much better than your standard mimosa. Coffee is from local hit La Colombe. The dinner menu also looked very intriguing, with menu items like grilled baby octopus with fingerlings, harissa yogurt, and citrus; braised short rib with Anson Mills grits and glazed tiny vegetables; half chicken with roasted roots and natural jus; corn ravioli with grape tomatoes, asparagus, and pistachio pesto; and pan-seared cobia with apricot sofrito, mustard greens, capers, and tomatoes looking especially tempting.

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It’s clear from spending a couple nights in the Kimpton Hotel Palomar that it’s anything but your staid, standard hotel. Even though it’s not expensive (rooms run as low as $188/night), it offers all the perks of a far pricier hotel, with personalized service and a willingness to go above and beyond for its guests. And honestly, who doesn’t want to start the evening off with a couple complimentary glasses of wine and some friendly doggies?

Kimpton Hotels