I far prefer a charming old building to a modern confection and this pair of 19th-century commercial structures joined to create a boutique hotel in the center of old Philadelphia fit the bill perfectly. From the hardwood floors and the exposed brick wall in the bathroom, to the soaring ceilings and Palladian window, my room was an old architecture lover's dream.
The furnishings were just fine for a quick business trip, and the staff was great from making reservations through checking in to giving advice when heading out to explore. The front desk is truly a desk. And after a long train trip and a pair of subways to reach the hotel, it was a treat to just sit across the desk from the person checking me in. So civilized.
There's no hotel restaurant or fitness center in a property this size, so they have a free pass to a nearby gym, and a generous breakfast basket delivered to your door first thing in the morning -- way better than most hotel fitness rooms and breakfast buffets.
Bottom line: I paid less and was much happier than if I'd stayed at one of the big chain properties not far away.