I would stay here again. The rooms are small, but adequate and what I would expect in Center City. The desk staff were VERY nice! My major problem was the noise from what I am assuming were water pipes. A rude awakening at 0300 in the morning! It happened again 15 minutes later. Then I heard it in distant parts of the hotel. I only stayed one night, so I don't know if the problem was corrected, but I did tell staff about it. Overhead noise was an issue as well. Breakfast was a bit less than what I would have thought it would be. Might want to cosider a waffle maker. But it was good enough.
If you like a small, open plan hotel where drunken conversations in the lobby at 3am sound like they're right outside your door -- ditto the noisy tour group departing at 6am -- then this is the place for you. Women traveling alone will find that it's better to approach the hotel from the 13th street side so they don't have to run the gauntlet of men hanging around smoking outside the two missions next door on Race Avenue. The picturesque view of the alley behind is just a bonus. In its favour, I'd say the staff were unfailingly friendly and helpful.
I have visited Philly a lot over the last few years and this is certainly the best value centrally located hotel on offer. All the rooms I have stayed in are spacious, clean and have everything you could want. The hotel is certainly not plush, but that is not what you would expect given the price or the fact that it is a Travelodge. The location is fantastic as it is a short walk from all the main sites. If you are budget conscious and want to stay centrally, then think you would be hard pushed to find better.