The wife and I were both off for Monday MLK Day, and decided to take a quick trip down to Philadelphia. The NYC megabus stops at Independence National Park (at Market and 5th) before terminating at 30th Street Station. This was very convenient for us, as we were staying just a short block away at the Hotel Monaco.
The Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton chain of boutique hotels. Their loyalty program may be lacking in terms of ability to earn and redeem free nights, but their customer service is superb, particularly for "Inner Circle" members (earned after 15 stays). Even as a basic member (which is free to sign up for), you get free wifi and a $10 "raid the bar credit." We checked in at 12, and our room was not quite ready yet. The front-desk manager was very friendly and assured me that she would call as soon as our "corner suite" was ready. I was so excited! (rumor has it that they regularly upgrade IC members to the best suite in the house.)
In the meantime, we went to Independence Park across the street walk along the mall which was most pleasant in the unseasonably warm January sunshine. We stopped into the National Museum of Jewish History ($12 per person), and went on one of their free docent lead tours at 2:30pm. They had an interesting new exhibit on the 5th floor about Jewish professors who escaped Nazi Germany and pioneered teaching in the segregated south.
In retrospect, we probably should have taken advantage of the great weather and light Sunday traffic by borrowing the Monaco's free bicycles to peddle around the city, particularly because Monday ended up being a lot colder, and most museums (including the National Museum of Jewish History) were open and FREE on MLK Day.
The hotel called just before the 2:30 museum tour to let us know that our room was ready. Waiting for us in the suite was a welcome amenity which included a bottle of Glenfiddich and cupcakes and biscotti from Roz's kosher bakery. Perhaps they had been out for a while, but the baked goods were nothing to write home about, though we did appreciate the gesture and their effort to find kosher goodies for us.
We really enjoyed the views from the room out towards the park, and relaxed while soaking n the oversize free-standing tub situated in the middle of a large walk-in-shower. (I liked being able to overflow the tub entirely without worrying about soaking the entire bathroom as is often the case with hotel tubs.) The large pink tome of Alice in Wonderland was a fun and quirky touch to the room and made for great bed-time stories.
The furnishings and amenities in this property are really top-notch, and the service is excellent. I have returned since this stay.
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