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“No better choice in Philadelphia. Period.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of AKA Rittenhouse Square

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AKA Rittenhouse Square
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   135 South 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103 (City Center West)   |  
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Ranked #20 of 84 Hotels in Philadelphia
Cambridge, MA
Level Contributor
45 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“No better choice in Philadelphia. Period.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

This hotel was outstanding.

As many have mentioned before, my sense is that AKA was designed as a long-term stay hotel. I needed accommodation in Philadelphia the weekend of the marathon and of a large conference in town and was having trouble finding a room for two nights; I found AKA on booking.com and am so glad I did. The entire experience staying here was a complete pleasure in every way.

The hotel’s location, at the intersection of Walnut and 18th Street, is just at the corner of beautiful Rittenhouse Square. You really can’t find a nicer spot in terms of eating, shopping, and general ‘entertaining’ in the city. It’s a privileged location and there's a lot at your doorstep.

I was surprised and delighted to receive a phone call several days before my arrival. Julia asked if there was anything in particular I needed to make my stay more enjoyable. She did, in fact, make a dinner reservation for me at a.kitchen. More about that later.

I paid $265/night + tax (prepaid and non-refundable) for a premium suite. I had read that the rooms were large, but I really had no idea what I was in store for. Though I’m not entirely sure why, I was upgraded to an enormous one-bedroom corner suite, with one side facing 18th Street, one side facing Walnut street, and the corner facing Rittenhouse Square itself. Stunning.

The ‘room’ had an entryway, a full kitchen, a king bedroom with marble bath, a living room (with dining table and chairs) and a study with two club chairs and a desk/chair. I think there were three huge flat-screen TVs in the entire suite. Everything was sleek, elegant, in perfect condition and very tastefully decorated in beiges and browns.

It was a thrill to be in what felt like a very upscale apartment. Way bigger and nicer than my own apartment and I felt like a king for the weekend.

Julie made a dinner reservation for me at a.kitchen, and what a delight to eat there. According to my server, the plates were ‘small to medium,’ and she was right. At the same time, they’re really quite delicious, and I had a full meal of three plates and a dessert with really nice wine pairings. Great food, great service. Highly recommended.

The desk staff at AKA were super friendly and very helpful. A great welcome and a nice check-out. I do want to comment on the lobby, which is pretty minimal and barely even there, actually. What I would say? Who cares? With rooms as nice as they are, why would you want to hang out in the lobby? Yes, there’s a sofa/bench place to wait for friends or to organize your stuff, and that’s all you need, really.

I would absolutely stay at AKA the next time I’m in Philadelphia and would recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for a short- or long-term stay in the city center. Fantastic.

Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
Helpful?
3 Thank MAWander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 reviews from our community

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The World - But based in US
Level Contributor
32 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

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

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Aragorn The Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jerusalem, Israel
Level Contributor
40 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012 via mobile

This is a great apartment hotel. Located at the heart of Philadelphia. Rooms are very very spacious and clean. Staff is extremely polite and helpful. The only minor issue is that it has no parking. ( you park at a private parking a block away)
Excellent value for money.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MShamir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
managementakars, General Manager at AKA Rittenhouse Square, responded to this review, October 23, 2012
Dear MShamir,
I am very pleased to learn that you enjoyed the accommodation, service, and overall location of AKA Rittenhouse Square. I appreciate your feedback and we look forward to the opportunity to host you again in the near future.

Regards,
Evan O'Donnell
General Manager
AKA Rittenhouse Square
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level Contributor
77 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

POSITIVES: This is an exceptional facility that mixes class with a perfect location next to the Rittenhouse Square Park. Its a perfect Park to just sit in the sun and watch people from 4 different directions. Its perfect for folks that are probably okay with a nice Hotel room, but really appreciate and can justify a better facility with a separate living room with an entertainment center and a full kitchen with a dishwasher. There are two 32" flat screen TV's with Comcast cable. I was able to pop my lap top onto the HDMI connector to watch some movies I had on my lap top. I stayed a week on business, but would have been happy to stay longer just to soak in this fantastic City and great place, The desk staff was very friendly and it felt like they were an extension of services for the stay. I travel allot on business. Philly is a big thumbs up City and aka Rittenhouse Square is where I will stay again.

OTHER FACTORS - OFF A BIT: The maid service was a bit off. The trash was to be removed daily and they missed two days. I was to have the sheets changed twice, they only did it once. However, I did receive all the extra towels I asked for. There is no room safe, which I find severely disconcerting as long term travelers usually have more cash and aka appeals to long term stays. That really angered me. Modern hotels are "with" the program. aka relies on video audit surveillance and access control cards on room locks and elevator access from the lobby - which are all very reasonable. I want to feel safe and having to resort to locking my cash in my luggage bag every day was annoying and not as good as a common hotel room safe. The bed was a bit hard "for me". Most upscale hotels have pillow tops on firm bases. aka has just a solid firm bed. The bedding materials were quite nice and everything was clean.

Room Tip: When checking in ask what view you will have. I preferred to view 18th. street. I always travel with...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jerryrobinson1911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
akaManagement, Manager at AKA Rittenhouse Square, responded to this review, September 24, 2012
Mr Robinson,
Thank you for taking the time to complete a Trip Advisor review of AKA Rittenhouse Square. I am pleased to learn that you enjoyed your overall stay, and particularly that the Guest Services team made your stay even more memorable. I appreciate your for the feedback in regard to the housekeeping services and it allows us to investigate this shortfall in service with our team. My apologies for the inconvenience.

I can understand your concerns in regards to the lack of an in-room safe. I am pleased to share that we have plans to install in-room safes to all suites by the end of the year. We look forward to the opportunity to host you again in the near future.

Regards,
Evan O'Donnell
General Manager
AKA Rittenhouse Square
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, Delaware
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

A beautiful property, with a great staff. We stayed for several days in a two-room suite and had ample room (with a folding table and chairs) to host several family meals. The suites have the feel of a comfortable, up-scale apartment. The staff is very, very accomodating. The price is a bit high, but not out of line given the fantasic location and the quality of the property.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank david m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
akaManagement, Manager at AKA Rittenhouse Square, responded to this review, September 24, 2012
David M,
Thank you for taking the time to complete a Trip Advisor review of AKA Rittenhouse Square. I am pleased to see that you and your family had a great stay with us. We look forward to hosting you and your family again in the future.

Regards,
Evan O'Donnell
General Manager
AKA Rittenhouse Square
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenwich, Connecticut
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

The AKA is a well-cared for property. The hotel is geared more for the extended stay business traveler, but is a good option for couples who are simply in Philly as tourists. I value the fridge as it allows us to store any leftovers from dinner. Also nice is the onsite laundry. The main issue with the hotel is the noise from the street. I have stayed on the 18th St and Walnut St sides, and would recommend the 18th St side as it is somewhat quieter. Understandably, the street noise is more of an issue on Friday and Saturday nights. Although the hotel is close to Rittenhouse Square, only a few rooms have a view of the Square.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DovidM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012

My boyfriend and I travel to Philadelphia for work and for leisure. We've stayed at this hotel 4-5 times in the last two years, each stay surpassing the previous as we get to know they staff and they us. The new restaurant at the hotel is superb!
We love this hotel because it feels like an upper west side apartment with enough kitchen to allow you to prepare purchases from the Farmer's market @ Rittenhouse Square on Saturdays; we love this hotel because the staff is courteous, friendly, helpful and knowledgable about the area; we love this hotel because of its central location near great restaurants (shout out to The Marathon -- again!), shopping, museums and the park along the Schuykill River where I go running in the morning.
What you won't find here are kids running in the halls, bored tourists in a soul-less lobby, obligatory bad breakfasts -- and that's fine with us!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NYTravMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about AKA Rittenhouse Square

Address: 135 South 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > City Center West
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Philadelphia
#43 Business Hotel in Philadelphia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:4 star — AKA Rittenhouse Square 4*
Number of rooms: 80
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Also Known As:
Aka Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia

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