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“Rittenhouse Hotel is NOT average, but excellent service is being diminished by room conditions”

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The Rittenhouse Hotel
Ranked #1 of 85 Hotels in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
rural hinterland
Level Contributor
88 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
“Rittenhouse Hotel is NOT average, but excellent service is being diminished by room conditions”
Reviewed May 7, 2012

After returning home from a one night getaway in this hotel (to visit the fantastic Van Gogh Up Close exhibition in the Art Museum) I am now reevaluating hotel rates in general - what is it exactly we are paying for when we are booking hotel accommodations: the room/suite itself, the service, the location, the view?

How do I rate the hotel in general if all the listed factors vary greatly from each other?

We have had a similar experience before, also in Philadelphia. The Palomar (a Kimpton hotel) had a fantastic spa room I greatly enjoyed, but the service was not up to par.

Here, in the Rittenhouse Hotel, it was the other way around: the staff was indeed superb and flawless in every way (every single one we met), but the rooms were not quite meeting our expectations.

The 2nd room was adequate (after we moved from the first which had not been to our liking), but we have had bigger and better rooms (and suites!) elsewhere for HALF the rate we paid for a "deluxe room" at The Rittenhouse.

So is the prime location worth the prime rate? Or the view onto neighbouring buildings and the park? Or does the outstanding service justify the outrageous rate?

The deluxe room 912, while kept up over 20 years, seemed outdated. The furniture had chips and nicks, and the curtain even had a burn hole from a cigarette! (Since when is this property a Non Smoking property? For how long has this hole been there already?)

While this was not disturbing us, the very high price was simply not matching the room's condition. It was absolutely clean, but it seemed strangely outdated. The style was very pleasant, and I would keep that (so this is not about fashion!), but when things get damaged or worn, they should be replaced. Especially at a rate like The Rittenhouse's!

If we had paid around $200-250 for this room, I would have been absolutely happy and would have simply ignored the chips, nicks and the burn hole. But with over $500 per night (incl. museum tickets, valet parking, breakfast for 2, taxes and fees we paid $517) you are really getting onto another level here, and I am afraid that their rooms are not worth that price.

Now that the Hersha Group (owner of properties like Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn etc) recently bought The Rittenhouse Hotel (March 2012), maybe they will take some steps to refresh the rooms.

I had serious doubts that our first (small looking) room really had the advertised 600 sqft, in fact I suspected that a mistake had been made and we had mistakenly been put into a "superior room" (their term for standard room).

The front desk reassured me that our room indeed was a "deluxe" room (one step above "superior") and that it really had the advertised 600 sqft, only the layout was different from room to room, and therefore it looked different than the picture online.

But without me asking they were looking for another room right away, found one, and a servant led me there to evaluate it.

On the way to the new room he asked me whether I had seen the large bath room, and he mentioned that its huge space is counting to the room's square feet measurement. I had seen the bath in the first room we were put in and had to tell him that they were actually not big at all, and that I was actually a bathroom nut who chooses hotels by their bathrooms, and that I am usually staying in hotels who offer spa bath rooms. And those spa bath rooms were really not comparable with the Rittenhouse bath rooms. He was a bit silent after that and then we changed the subject.

I found their bathrooms really kind of ordinary. Separate shower stalls are standard today, and the low tub was not comparable to anything other hotels would offer nowadays (google "Fuji tub" to see what is out there in other hotels). It even lost its water while I was still sitting in it (seal was not tight).

But we greatly enjoyed the 2 corner windows we had in deluxe room 912, which was actually laid out pretty well with its furniture, and it felt indeed spacious.

The vanity section between the room and the bath was also designed well. Make up mirror and big dressing mirror were helpful, and the free Fiji water and the fresh nuts were a nice greeting, along with a welcome card from the management.

Another plus was the free Internet (wired and wireless), the turn down service with robes and slippers and LaCroix chocolates, and the generously sized tubes of Aromatherapy toiletteries. They also offered complimentary shoe shining over night.

I was looking forward to swim in their pool, as hotel guests are having free access to the Adolf Biecker Spa, but alas, it was closed during our stay. Management had left a note on the desk about it with an apology, and it offered a shuttle to the Bellevue's pool, but I knew that one already from my birthday trip last year. It would have been too much of a hassle, and since we had only one night, I forsook the swim.

I actually would like to return to this property, if they'd offer a good deal. You know, if they had a loyalty program which would offer perks and exclusive offers to members only.

Oh, I forgot - they do have that already - but unfortunately it costs $150 yearly to join the "Access Level" and even $1200 yearly for the "Leaders Club Unlimited Level"... (Seriously!)

So where will I stay next time in Philly?

Room Tip: 9th floor deluxe room 912 had 2 corner windows, was very spacious and really quiet
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Albgardis T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, May 11, 2012
Thank you for your constructive review of the hotel. We are pleased to let you know that our new owners are planning a beautification program to enhance the hotel. We look forward to your return.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Edgewater, Maryland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2012

We stayed here one night (sat) in a king deluxe room for a weekend birthday trip for my husband. Clean, quiet, friendly, beautiful, luxurious bathroom, roomy, great location (shopping, food and beautiful park steps away), comfortable bed, excellent view of park and city, champagne and cookies upon arrival, complimentary chocolates - it was perfect.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jmipm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, May 12, 2012
We are so pleased you had a wonderful birthday weekend! Congratulations! Thank you for your complimentary review.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
58 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2012

When you stay in a first class hotel you expect first class service. The Rittenhouse didn't disappoint on any level. Looking forward to a return visit.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank msnanalou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, May 11, 2012
Your gracious review to Trip Advisor is appreciated. We are pleased you enjoyed the hotel and look forward to another visit.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed May 1, 2012

I stayed here during a weekend trip to Philly in April 2012. The location is awesome. My room was comfortable and spacious. I loved the bed, the view of the park, and even the products in the bathroom. I found the staff to be kind and helpful. The pool and fitness center were clean and nice. And I greatly enjoyed the champagne and chocolate covered cherries that were served down in the lobby. I highly recommend The Rittenhouse.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MTBeeZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, May 3, 2012
We so appreciate your kind review to Trip Advisor readers, and pleased that you enjoyed the hotel and the City of Philadelphia.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilton, CT
Level Contributor
61 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2012

This was our third stay at The Rittenhouse -- and the first with our teenage daughter. We purchased the Van Gogh Up Close package and were placed in a large (600 sq ft?), quiet deluxe room on the eighth floor. While the layout was a bit odd/awkward, the room was comfortable and well appointed.

One of the things we love about staying at the Rittenhouse is how friendly and helpful the staff is. Jennifer, the receptionist, who helped us check in and check out, instantly made us feel welcome. We also love having breakfast at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse. Unfortunately, the kitchen was shorthanded the Saturday we were there, which we would have appreciated knowing before we ordered our French toast and omelet, and it took over an hour to get our food (after a delay in getting a server and then our coffee). However, much to the hotel's credit -- and why we will continue to return to the Rittenhouse -- when we told the manager about the problem, he insisted on crediting us the cost of breakfast.

While the Rittenhouse is not inexpensive (and the various taxes and fees don't help), you are paying for a world-class experience and a great location.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JustJ33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, May 2, 2012
We thank you for writing a gracious review to Trip Advisor. I am so sorry that you had less than perfect service for your breakfast, but appreciate your understanding, and pleased that the manager was able to respond to your concerns. Please let me know when next you visit with us, so I can upgrade your accommodations, to let you know that we care very much about your comfort.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and general manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Owl's Head, Maine
Level Contributor
57 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed April 28, 2012

The Rittenhouse is a gem, not only because it has lovely spacious rooms which are elegant and quiet, as well as beautifully maintained, but because of its employees. Everyone in the hotel was gracious, obviously selected for and trained in old-fashioned courtesy. We had breakfast at La Croix where service was excellent and personal. The location is perfect for walking to major points of interest.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank efghij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, April 30, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write such a splendid review for Trip Advisor readers. We are pleased you enjoyed your breakfast at Lacroix and that you were happy with the service from our wonderful staff. I shall certainly pass on your good wishes to them all.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ulm
Level Contributor
194 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2012

Great hotel located in downtown Philly. Large, boutique rooms, great bathrooms, well equipped Gym and swinmming pool in the hotel's health club.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank howo72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
curious53158, General Manager at The Rittenhouse Hotel, responded to this review, April 28, 2012
We are so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and thank you for taking the time to write to Trip Advisor.
Kind regards,
David G. Benton
Vice President and General Manager
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Rittenhouse Hotel

Property: The Rittenhouse Hotel
Address: 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Philadelphia
#1 Luxury Hotel in Philadelphia
#2 Business Hotel in Philadelphia
#2 Romantic Hotel in Philadelphia
#3 Family Hotel in Philadelphia
#7 Green Hotel in Philadelphia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Rittenhouse Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 118
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Forbes Four Star Award winning Rittenhouse Hotel is rated one of the top hotels in the world as well as #1 hotel in Pennsylvania by Travel + Leisure. The Rittenhouse has an ideal location directly on Rittenhouse Square for business or pleasure. Guests may walk out with easy access to boutique shopping, restaurants and the Center City business district is just steps away. The guestrooms at the Rittenhouse are the largest in the city, the smallest measuring 450-600 square feet, with views of Rittenhouse Square or University City. Guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, overnight shoe shine and newspaper delivery to their room. Lacroix at the Rittenhouse is one of the top restaurants in Philadelphia with panoramic views of Rittenhouse Square. Immerse yourself in an oasis of relaxation in Center City with a menu of massage and salon services, spa packages and fitness center at the Rittenhouse Spa, Salon & Health Club with hair by Paul Labrecque. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Rittenhouse Hotel Philadelphia
Rittenhouse Hotel Philadelphia
Rittenhouse Philadelphia

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