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“Awesome Hotel, but Room Service is a Hot Mess”

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Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
Ranked #3 of 85 Hotels in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Novi, Michigan
Level Contributor
22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Awesome Hotel, but Room Service is a Hot Mess”
Reviewed July 26, 2010

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!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelingBeautifully
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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West Point, New York
1 review
Reviewed July 26, 2010

My husband and I loved this hotel; it was the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary. The art deco finishes are gorgeous and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Even though it was after check-in time when we arrived, we had to wait several hours for our room, and the staff was very apologetic about it, and made amends by offering us 4 vouchers for cocktails at the restaurant, valued up to $13 each. Turned out, the room was worth waiting for. We stayed in a spa king, which had the most amazing jetted tub and shower combination I've ever seen. I took multiple pictures of it so we could remember what it looked like for when we build our dream house someday. The location was perfect as far as access to restaurants, bars, nightlife and all the other stuff we came to Philadelphia to experience. We didn't bring our dog this time, but it was nice to know that she was welcome if we come back in the future. It can be hard to find a hotel that will let you bring a large dog. And if you are bringing a pet, there is a great park to walk them in just a few blocks away. Overall, we loved our stay and would love to come back. In the future when we travel, we will be on the look out for other Kimpton hotels.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ArmyWife626
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Distributi0nManager, Manager at Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, responded to this review, July 28, 2010
Dear ArmyWife626,

Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience at Hotel Palomar Philadelphia! I apologize that you were not able to check in to your room right away once you arrived but I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the complimentary cocktails and the Spa King Room. We hope to welcome you back in the near future and make sure to bring your dog!
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Connecticut
Level Contributor
45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2010

Before the critical review - let me say that the valets and busboys were REALLY great...accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable as were the ladies covering the front desk the morning we left. Really good with the children, knowledgeable and accommodating.
..now for the rest of it. We like Kimpton hotels. We REALLY like Kimpton hotels so we try and stay in a Kimpton if there is one in a city we travel to. The service is always really good, rooms are usually great and food of high quality. They're a little trendy, but with that friendly edge that takes them above the usual hotels and always look after the children. This was our first stay at the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia. We arrived a late after a long day. (10.20 pm) The general restaurant was shut and the bar open. Having children with us, we didn't want to bother the bar staff with catering to us, so we asked the front desk whether we could have food for the children in the room and what sort of food we could order...we were told we could have anything on the regular room service menu and order anything from the drinks menu (I did mention I was in need of an ice-cold martini aswell)!! The front desk told us that the room menu was more extensive than the bar menu so it would work better for the children. Going to the room, it seemed a little "tired" even though the hotel only opened in October 2009. There weren't enough towels and the carpeting around the bathroom was frayed. The room lighting was poor and the bathroom was just not what you'd normally expect from a Kimpton. It felt a little drab and not 100% clean but we were tired and hungry so I put it down to being tired rather than the room. Calling down to room service - we tried to order food and were told it was too late - we couldn't have anything. We said "anything for the children will do..even a plate of fries"..but were told we couldn't have anything and that it was too late for milk and cookies even. We got to the 'almost begging' stage and told the room service/restaurant guy that the front desk had assured us we could get anything from the menu - but we were told 'no". I asked whether they could do a plate of cold fruit?..'no'. So we were forced to raid the mini bar...which would have been okay..IF someone else's half-eaten food (including fresh garlic dips...NOT fresh anymore) weren't in the mini-bar! (Hmm..why wasn't this checked when the room was cleaned previously)???? Dinner for the children ended up being 1 bar of chocolate, 1 bag of chips and a bottle of orange juice.
Even took a while to10 minutes get up to the room..as 2 of the 4 elevators were stuck at basement level and wouldn't move..so there was quite a line to get into the 2 small elevators that were working (for a large hotel of 19 floors..this was a little concerning). Bathroom shower pressure was VERY poor.
The next morning we went for breakfast which is in the restaurant which is situated above the bar. We were the only table and service even then was quite slow. The staff (in the restaurant and bar that morning) were more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than attending to the one table in use. We had to ask for coffee refills on 4 occasions as the coffee was not replenished without asking. The breakfast menu is limited but okay - however the quality of the food is very poor. We were given 3 cold, hard mini-muffins which were obviously straight from the fridge. 2 of us ordered waffles with fruit and they came quite hard, and were very dry (which I don't know how you manage with fresh waffles). The fruit consisted of 4 tiny strawberries and a few blueberries which seemed as though they had been sitting around for a while. Breakfast for four ..two of whom were children (which was 2 orders of waffles, one of fruit, a side of bacon and an omlette, with the coffee and orange juice..came to $100). Not acceptable for bad food and disinterested service.
The front desk staff on checking out were infinitely better than the night before. They were very embarassed and inisisted on removing the food charges, which was very kind. They explained that had they been on shift - they would have ordered food in for us the night before from any number of restaurants who would deliver. It must have been newer staff on shift he evening before. The morning staff at the front desk were REALLY very good and it was just a shame that we hadn't met them the night before.
I hate criticising hotels without reason. The staff did try to make amends in the morning but I'm still very dubious whether we would stay at this particular Kimpton again...because of the 'tired' room, the lack of adquate towels in the bathroom (which are basics any hotel needs to get right) and the dirty mini-bar. I'm hoping we just got this on a wrong night. My gut feeling is that the hotel is more directed to couples who may want to see Philly for a weekend and have a base with a trendy bar, or business people who want a good central location with a bar to relax in afterwards. It doesn't cater as well for children as other Kimptons, and that's a shame. The really good front desk ladies, the valets and the busboys who go out of their way to provide great service deserve better, as do the customers. $275 for the one night stay (excluding the food bill) was quite pathetic.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank mdbd1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dcelaya, Front Office Manager at Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, responded to this review, July 31, 2010
Hotel Managment has reached out to mdbd1 to discuss issues further and reach a favorable resolution
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
Reviewed July 23, 2010

We loved this hotel for it's great location, exceptionally courteous staff and cool decor. The free morning coffee and tea and cold drinks in the lobby were very appreciated. Would definitely recommend this hotel. It's pet friendly too.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sprintza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2010

My husband and I have stayed here twice -- once in early April for 3 nights and more recently for 1 week in July. It's in a great location for access to great shopping in the Rittenhouse Square area and a short cab ride (or a long walk) to the attractions of Old City/Society Hill. The hotel is very funky with hits of modern art everywhere you look with thoughtful little touches such as complimentary wine in the lobby from 5-6 (it's OK wine, but don't believe the in-room ad "taste wines from around the world" hype because it's the same California wine every night for 3 months at a time...) and coffee/tea in the mornings from 6am. The in-room toiletries are l'Occtaine and there is free wifi throughout your stay.

I find that their website has good package deals -- click on the 'specials' and read each offer carefully. I've been able to stay there for $169-179 with parking included each time even though the published rate was $200+ without parking.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rypeacock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2010

The rooms and location were great. But the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly throughout our stay. They had great restaurant recommendations, fun happy hour in the lobby, and a Wii set up for anyone to play! We had so much fun at the hotel, we were sad to leave!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gobears2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2010

I was excited to stay at the Philadelphia Sofitel. Had a very positive experience there a couple of years ago. The reviews of the Sofitel still rate it top-notch. However, when reading the reviews from fellow travelers on TA about Hotel Palomar, I was intrigued by the overwhelmingly positive reviews. On the particular night of our stay, the Palomar was 30% cheaper than the Sofitel, so I decided to give it a try. I did not regret it.

The staff was ingratiating from the start. I told them I was traveling with my family. They had a free wine hour which we just missed, but they offered us vouchers for the bar upon arrival. They also gave us a complimentary movie and a $10 credit at the mini bar. To top it off, my son had a birthday and when we returned from dinner, there was a card and a piece of cake. They even sent cookies for our other children.

I'm a member of Kimpton Hotels (which is free). With membership, you get free wifi. I also think it qualified me from some of these extras.

The only negative is parking which is $38 a night. Not unusual for this part of town. There are garages a few blocks away that are more reasonable.

I still love the Sofitel which is directly across the street, but I've found a new hotel which is every bit as good. Both are great...it all comes down to price.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank callstuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Distributi0nManager, Manager at Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, responded to this review, July 23, 2010
Dear callstuz,

Thank you so much for your review on your stay at the Palomar Philadelphia. I'm thrilled to hear that you had a pleasant first visit and that the staff took good care of you and your family. We love celebrating birthdays with our guests and I hope your son enjoyed every bit of it! It's great that you took advantage of the benefits from being a member of our free Kimpton InTouch Program. We hope to see you back here real soon!
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Additional Information about Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

Property: Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
Address: 117 South 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5025
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > City Center West
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 85 Hotels in Philadelphia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia 4.5*
Number of rooms: 230
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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