This could be Philadelphia’s best hotel--with some vision, attention to detail, and an infusion of renovation money. Until those things happen, Hyatt at The Bellevue suffers from a baffling amount of neglect. Still, if you cut the hotel slack--or get a good price here, you are likely to enjoy this Philadelphia landmark.
Of course, for many of the past 110 years, this hotel was Philadelphia’s best. Then it was The Bellevue-Stratford, and until the mid 1970s, this is where Presidents and celebrities stayed when in Philadelphia. After Legionnaires’ Disease closed the hotel in 1976, any number of managers took over--Cunard Cruise Line, Fairmont, Westin--until finally the hotel got carved up into retail, office space and a top level boutique hotel managed as a Park Hyatt.
Thing is, much of the hotel hasn’t changed a great deal since it opened in the 1990s as a Park Hyatt. . .at least as far as the hallways and rooms go. (In fact, the last time I stayed here I watched the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential debate in my room. Decor, other than a flat screen TV, is still largely the same. . .) The style is most kindly referred to as “Grandma’s living room”. That said, things are in fairly good shape, and given the age of the building, the dated decor sort of fits. However, this is all rather erratic. My room, 1216, wasn’t any different from the mid 1990s Park Hyatt. 1217 next door had been completely renovated. Hallways are grand, but dated. But the public areas on the 19th floor have been updated beautifully (though tablecloths should come back to the dining room, which is a gorgeous space).
Clearly, the owners’ failure to keep this hotel updated led to the rebranding of the hotel from a Park Hyatt to a Hyatt (if you have stayed in Chicago, or Tokyo, or Buenos Aires at a Park Hyatt, you realize this hotel--however quaint--just isn’t in the same league). Torn hallway carpeting and beat-up elevators aren't acceptable in any hotel, frankly.
That said, there are many things to recommend this hotel:
--The location at Broad and Walnut is the most central in the city. There are several upscale shops in the building lobby, including Tiffany. And the subway is very convenient.
--The public spaces are lovely, and worth visiting. And the Grand Ballroom is The place for a formal Philadelphia wedding.
--One of the best gyms in the city, The Sporting Club, is connected to the hotel by skybridge, and available to hotel guests free of charge. If you regularly workout/lift, this is a great amenity.
In my instance, I got this hotel room at $81 on Priceline, and that constitutes quite a bargain.
So my advice. . .sure, stay here. Just don’t pay too much. And think about just how wonderful this hotel could be if the owners of the hotel gave it the attention it deserves.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover true grandeur, historic style and unrivaled service at one of the most iconic hotels in the all of downtown Philadelphia. Situated on the famous Avenue of the Arts, Hyatt at The Bellevue seamlessly blends old-world architecture with modern interiors to provide a stay that epitomizes Philadelphia luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt At The Bellevue Hotel Philadelphia
- Hyatt Philadelphia
- Park Hyatt Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Hyatt