My husband and I went to a Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre event the last Friday of Nov. 2012. Even though the event was located in another part of the city, we chose to stay at the William Penn in downtown since I had stayed there several times while it was a Westin. Now Omni owns it and, thankfully, nothing has changed! The service is as exceelent as ever and the Old World charm of the place has not diminshed one iota. Everyone was friendly, considerate and knowledgable. The hotel is located on a small cross street, which makes getting in and out a bit dicey, but is also right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Cabs for evening travel (if you don't know your way around) are readily available outside the hotel, though you may have to call for a cab for return.
The room we had was small but impeccably clean and decorated in muted neutrals... possibly a bit modern for such a grand dame of a hotel, but it worked well enough. If you look, a few of the old Victorian details are still around, like special moldings and details. Nice. Our windows faced one of other towers of the hotel (there are three), so we had no view to speak of and carefully drew our blinds so as not to see or be seen by other guests which made the room darker than it needed to be. The room was a bit close to the elevators for my taste, as the loud ring of the elevator's arrival bell was clearly audible inside our room.
The real glory of the William Penn, however, is its lovingly restored and cared for lobby and restaurant (The Terrace Room). Sumptuous Oriental carpets and deep chairs and couches fill an incredibly large space in a room that is easily 3 stories high. Intricate decorative details and woodwork have been carefully restored and much of the lighting and other accents are original to the hotel (early 1900s?). At the time we visited, all their holiday decorations were on display, complete with a hand made gingerbread replica of the hotel, iced and lit from within! A soaring tree dominated the lobby and festive touches were everywhere - fun!
The Terrace Room also shines as one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh and certainly in the downtown area. The service is superb and the "terrace" outside the main dining room is a great place for any kind of meal - even a real afternoon tea! A wonderful "people watching" perch as you can survey almost the whole of the vast lobby from this position. We ate two meals there; One a dinner after our evening with the Ballet and a breakfast buffet the next morning which is one of the most extensive (and delicious) I have ever seen. The late night dinner presented no problem for the staff who were polite, helpful and friendly throughout.
Downtown Pittsburgh on the weekend is a shadow of its weekday self, but there is good eating not too far from the hotel and Macy's flagship store in Pittsburgh is only 1/2 block away. I sorely missed the Saks that used to just down the street, but the area still has many compensations, including an ample Starbuck's in one outside corner of the hotel lobby.The holiday spirit was evident all around, despite relatively empty streets over a weekend.
The final observation about our (short) stay at thw William Penn is to say that it's rare indeed that my husband comments about hotels, but he was at some pains to make sure I understood that he liked the William Penn and its atmosphere and food quite a bit and would look forward to a return visit there. With all the other great qualities the hotel offers... that clinches it!
Ask for something away from the elevators and WITH a view - especially if you are spending more than...
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We truly enjoyed reading your review of the Omni William Penn and are delighted that we even won over your husband! Thank you for sharing your experience in such detail on TripAdvisor and we look forward to another opportunity to serve you soon.
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