I checked into the Palomar Hotel on July 23rd, 2010 at 2:30 PM for a 3 night, weekend stay. As soon as my taxi pulled up in front, an efficient bellman rushed to get my bag from the cab, get my name, and hustled my luggage to the reception area where he told the desk worker my information to expedite the check in process. (Have a tip in your hand.)
The woman who checked me in was very nice, and you can tell the people here are all very well trained. If you read the rest of the reviews on here, that was a common theme and I found it to be the case, personally.
My overall first impression of the hotel was that it wasn’t as “flashy” as I thought it would be, but rather quaint, comfortable, and modern. It was not overdone, but not at all boring. I liked it. It had a dark, Manhattan kind of a feel to it. Because this is a dog friendly hotel, you will notice a lot of people cuddling their K9s in the lobby, which gives it a friendly vibe. Although I don’t travel with animals, I think it is cool that this hotel caters to those that do.
After reading a lot of the reviews, I noticed that some people complained that the elevators were slow or were old; I didn’t find that to be true at all. The elevators, like the rest of the establishment were cute with character, but efficient. They were fast, and new with mural-like paintings inside. (This hotel is ALL about detail, and you will find that throughout your stay.) There was a bit of a wait to get up from the lobby at 7 PM on a Saturday night, but I think that can be expected at most hotels when everyone is trying to get in and out to get to their evening plans.
My impression of the room (#701, 7th floor) was that it was what I expected. They gave me a handicapped room by the elevator and I was worried that I would hear people coming in and out, plus the elevators themselves “ding,” but I rarely heard a peep. (Also, I booked on hotels.com and I know that desk worker saw the booking came from a 3rd party, because she mentioned that to me. Do they give you crappier rooms when you book from a 3rd party rather than the hotel directly?) Anyway, some of the reviewers complained that the rooms were small and dark. I do “get” what they mean. There is only one small window per room, so your natural light is a bit limited, but I didn’t find it to be a problem at all. There are plenty of lamps in the room. Because the room was handicapped, I found it to be big enough, and the bathrooms I thought were really nice. Everything is chrome and sparkling; they did a nice job and I felt at home. The bedding is amazing and you will love the mattress.
After the plane, I was STARVING and needed room service. Because there were a ton of complaints about the room service, I just made my order simple by getting a burger. It was great! It was $15, plus $3.50 delivery charge and 18% gratuity. It got there in less than 30 minutes and I was thrilled.
Because the first room service experience was good, we went for snacks the next day. We ordered 2 “small plates” as the hotel calls it and a soda. K. The bill was $50 for this. We were expecting them to be awesome, due to the price. Here comes the wait…and the wait…and the wait. They called 45 minutes later to say that they would be another 10 minutes. OMG. They were another 25 minutes. By this time, we were starving, grouchy, irritated and ready to eat. When we uncovered the lids, I wanted to laugh. It was 4 small shrimp and a teeny, tiny portion of angel hair. The other “plate” was brushetta that I wouldn’t even serve to men at a Super Bowl game. The bread was hard and looked like it was from a bag instead of cooked fresh. It was a joke. We were so hungry that we debated about ordering the aforementioned burger that we knew would be good, but decided just to stay hungry until dinner. Moral? Just stick to the sandwiches and burgers for room service here.
Room Service #3 story. Around 10 PM, we, (ok I) wanted dessert and he wanted soda. We ordered and it got up here within 30 minutes. The dessert was the apple fritters and ice cream. OK. I am NOT kidding you. It was 4 small doughnut holes and wait for it…2 tablespoons of vanilla ice cream. HA HA HA! I just started laughing. This is good, because it is lighter on my diet, but I am on vacation! I wanted a really great dessert because I never eat them. Moral? See above. Just stick to the simple stuff if you want room service at this hotel, and expect to wait a long time. Room service should “wow” you. We were wowed, but the bad kind where you can’t believe how crappy something was.
Tips and Tricks
1. The rates on this property fluctuate greatly. They started out at $189, then $159, then $149, then I bought at $139. They almost immediately went back up to $149. The moral? Watch the prices. I booked on hotels.com. (BTW, they were $189 on the Palomar site at the time I booked. Look elsewhere.)
2. Go to retailmenot.com and get a coupon from the site for hotels.com. I got another $40 off my bill because of this, and got a steal on my 3 night stay at this awesome hotel.
3. Register for the Kimpton Rewards program. This entitles you to $10 minibar credit and free wireless internet in your room, which would have been $10 a day. Also, 2 PM late checkout. Discounted in-room spa treatments. Awesome perks.
4. Like health food like I do? There is a market called, “Rittenhouse Market” 2 blocks past the park on the same street the hotel is on. You can buy fresh fruit salads for $3.99, diet iced green tea, and yogurts for your room. You have a little fridge to store them.
What I really liked…
1. PRECOR equipment in the workout facility! A lot of hotels will skimp on this to save money and stick you with the crappy Lifetime Fitness machines because they get a deal on those. Not here. All of the exercise equipment is top of the line, neat and in good repair. It is also 24 hours, which I like so I can go when I want.
2. Fuzzy bathrobes for you and a guest in animal print. (Zebra and Cheetah – how adorable!)
3. Matching fuzzy socks for $15 purchase in the room. They are SO cute and a great keepsake of this hotel.
4. Hot pink umbrella in the room for purchase, if you run into crappy weather.
5. L’Occitane products! I have long, Kim Kardashian hair, and I am telling you, the conditioner worked on me amazingly well. I could actually use hotel bathroom products because they picked the best brands.
6. Strong water pressure in the shower with beautiful fixtures. This is huge for a small, boutique hotel.
7. Non-computerized minibar, so you can put small items in there for yourself to keep cold if you like. (Other hotels have systems where if you so much as even move a candy to the left or right, it charges you automatically.)
8. Ipod charger / sound dock in the room. (Careful that it is actually charging. It doesn't work like a standard charger.)
9. Huge, vanity mirror for easy makeup application or shaving
10. The blow dryer is awesome, even if you have a mass of hair. Leave your blow dryer at home.
11. The location is awesome! You are around a lot of cool shops (Coach, Juicy Couture, etc.) so enjoy the eye candy window shopping.
12. Really cool items in the minibar, adding to the character and class of the hotel. Organic and Whole Foods products. Everything was eclectic and different, selected with care.
13. Noticeably friendly staff
14. An amazing vibe, culture with people walking their pugs and French bulldogs. It really is an adorable hotel and a great spot to stay.
I wish I would have…
1. Ventured out right away to find take out from the surrounding great places, rather than be stuck with their craptastic room service.
I wish this hotel had…
1. A bathtub. We only had a shower and I like to soak on vacation.
2. A small gift shop for you to buy small items, waters, sodas, yogurts, snacks, etc.
3. The complimentary waters, apples, and oranges I read about online in the workout facility. I was looking forward to fresh fruit and water, but boo…to no avail.
4. A Jacuzzi to soak in, post workout.
5. Hot tea going all day, instead of the limited hours. It annoyed me that I had to rush down by 10 AM to get tea on Sunday. At home, I literally drink green tea throughout the day. Why not have the tea stand going all day?
6. Better room service menu / and service itself. They should set higher goals and standards for themselves, like 30 minutes or less, no exceptions as the first rule, and second, revise the entire menu so the presentation “wows” guests in the good way. Plates should look full, lavish, and delectable. We found them to be lacking, unsatisfying, unimpressive and disappointing.
7. Better maid service. The maid stopped by and asked me what time I wanted my room cleaned. It was 10:54 AM. I told her 11:30 AM and reluctantly left my room for a sightseeing workout through the city while my room was cleaned. I returned at 1:30 PM hoping to find a clean room and fresh towels so I could shower. Instead my room hadn’t been touched. When she did come by to clean, and I got back to the room for the second time, my shampoo / lotion / conditioner weren’t refilled and I had to call down for the items. There were dirty room service glasses and water stains left sitting on the lamp end tables; not the greatest job I’ve seen.
8. Better computer records. The woman that checked me in said she would put me in for a 2 PM checkout. I watched her type something into the computer indicating this. When I went to make sure we were all set for a late 2 PM checkout the afternoon of my checkout date, there was no indication of this in their records. That’s annoying. The second desk worker put another record of the time, but guests shouldn’t have to repeat themselves, or ride the staff to ensure accuracy.
Points of Interest:
1. The cab ride from the airport to the hotel is $28.50 flat rate to any where downtown. It is nice because then you know you are not getting ripped off.
2. We liked both places we ate at: Marathon Grill (breakfast / lunch) and Alma de Cuba (dinner) Amazing. The front desk will direct you.
3. We walked through the Sofitel across the street and the Palomar is a lot nicer. I did not find the Sofitel to be luxurious whatsoever, so book here at the Palomar if you are on the fence.
4. You are right next to Burberry, Coach, Juicy Couture, Ann Taylor, Kiehls, and Cosi – great shopping and eating.
This hotel is perfect for…
1. Young couples
2. Modern people
3. Solo travelers
4. Hip / trendy, good taste and style aficionados
5. Gay friendly
6. Dog friendly
7. Romantic weekenders
8. Girls trips
9. Preppy clientele
Overall, I was impressed, despite some minor and forgiveable problems. I will come back to this hotel chain repeatedly. I feel like I have found a chain that is "me." :) Enjoy your stay!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is the first LEED Gold Certified luxury hotel in the heart of Center City is a testament to superior eco-friendly hotel design, personalized service and genuinely warm hospitality. Hotel Palomar is a unique luxury boutique hotel that features a striking lobby, the critically acclaimed Square 1682 restaurant and on-site fitness center. Throughout our boutique hotel, original artwork dynamically interacts with soft hues, luxurious custom furnishings and original architectural detailing. ... more less
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