Well located along Rittenhouse Square, the AKA Rittenhouse is a boutique hotel with two distinct tiers of rooms.
Being budget conscious travelers, we stayed in the "Studio" room, rather than the suite, for about $220 plus tax a night. We wanted a well-located hotel, and got what we paid for.
Parking was available at the Penn Warwick Garage in the next block for a special rate of $20 per day as guest of the AKA-R. Call 10 minutes before you need your car, and they'll have it ready to go. Most convenient, even though it involves a short walk to and from the garage.
The lobby is minimalist hip, rather than a place you'll ever lounge around in. It is, however the "home" of the all-in-one concierge/desk clerk/manager on duty. Even before I arrived, I received the nice touch of a personal call to see if I needed anything special upon my expected arrival. Their staff was always attentive and helpful throughout our visit in this manner. That attention to the comfort of the guests takes this hotel up a notch.
The studio room was basically well appointed. The king size bed was comfortable, the windows were triple glazed, the room lighting was ample and flexible to our needs, and the kitchen lacked only food. The granite dining nook with barstool height chairs did double duty as desk space. A nice benefit of the location was a wonderful view of the attractive surrounding buildings and Rittenhouse Square. Very pleasant!
The bathroom was the least satisfying part of the studio. They've tried to get a lot of service out of this space, but they partially failed here.
The bathroom is sumptuous in its use if marble for much of the wall and floor covering. The shower is also marble, with a nice soaking shower head and stable water temperature. It's large enough to dry off in, and without many of the protrusions that can bump you. Good job there.
The rest of the bathroom is, unfortunately, not as well designed. Crammed onto a tiny wall in the bathroom is the toilet, shelf, mirror and a sink. In order to make it fit, the sink is tiny and misaligned with the mirror. It's jammed into a corner underneath the small glass shelf. Trying to wash your face (or shave) requires careful contortions to accomplish. To use the mirror while shaving, you have to move away from the sink since the mirror is centered on the wall and not the sink. And while you're misaligned over the sink and partially straddling into the toilet area so you can see your face in the mirror, you're dripping on your feet.
Since the bathroom lights are MR16 spots in the middle of the room pointing straight down, there is almost no bounce light to light your face in the mirror. Poor lighting design. I understand that all the studio bathrooms are designed this way, and its dreadful and should be changed.
Architects and designers should be forced to live with their layouts for a week. If they had done that, another arrangement for the bathroom would have been done before building out these spaces.
But little time is fortunately spent at the sink, and there are many positive aspects that make this hotel an otherwise pleasant stay.
We ate several times in the attached restaurant. The food was delicious, and the service excellent. Portions were American contemporary in size; small for those watching their weight. As someone who isn't trying to lose weight, I felt like I needed a snack after eating a vegetable plate, main course, and desert. It's easy to spend around $80 on dinner for two without any drinks. Be advised. Breakfast there seemed hardier and more reasonably priced, and their coffee was European strong and delicious!
I would probably stay here again, although I might check to see how much more the suites were than the studio. It was a good experience overall, but the bathroom sink arrangement needs to be resolved by the hotel on their next redesign.
Aragon The Traveller
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- Also Known As:
- Aka Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia