Striking the perfect balance of Old World charm and modern comforts, this newly minted Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star address — the only independent hotel in the city to win the top award — makes it easy to rest and recharge after a day of work, exploring or a mix of both.
You can also look forward to friendly, unpretentious service and extra-large rooms, not to mention a serene spa, an indoor pool and a few of the city’s top restaurants and bars.
Here’s why you should check into this dazzling urban hotel:
Few hotels in the city can compete with The Rittenhouse’s sprawling floor plans, starting from 450 square feet in a Deluxe Queen and stretching up to 2,000 square feet in a Specialty Suite. Cloud-like mattresses, fluffy duvets and residence-like layouts await in every accommodation. Even in the smaller rooms, you’ll find a writing desk, dressing area, dining nook and living area complete with a pull-out sofa bed.
Better yet, the hotel renovated all of its rooms and suites in 2018. The updated look features an understated vibe with mix-and-match palettes and patterns and fine details — picture carved floral motifs on the wooden bed posts, stylish Oliver Hemming Bluetooth alarm clocks and speakers, custom hexagonal-print wallpaper, and spacious silver travertine bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs.
The four Park Suites are particularly impressive. Designed by Alexandra Champalimaud, the genius behind The Dorchester in London and Hotel Bel-Air in California, the third-floor suites stretch up to 1,330 square feet. From the oak wood floors to Kohler massage showers, standalone silver travertine tubs, Acqua di Parma amenities, Belgian linens, custom art-deco-inspired furniture and well-appointed butler’s pantries, these suites go above and beyond.
The views make a lasting impression, too. The Park Suites — and many of the rooms — overlook Rittenhouse Square, a historic public square that dates to the 17th century. Enjoy the park’s morning rhythms as the city wakes up, or watch the sun set over the grand sycamore and maple trees. Many people also love the hotel’s city vistas, which provide a front-row seat to Philadelphia’s eclectic mix of historic and contemporary architecture.
The Rittenhouse is a dining destination in its own right, home to one of the city’s most celebrated fine-dining establishments: Lacroix, a Four-Star restaurant. Situated on the second floor with floor-to-ceiling windows framing Rittenhouse Square, the acclaimed restaurant turns local, seasonal ingredients into art.
Executive chef Eric Leveillee’s menu changes regularly to include the freshest possible produce, while a couple of signatures — like a decadently creamy risotto made with finely sliced new potatoes, Kaluga caviar and chives — remain fixtures on the menu. Other delicacies range from king crab with soft onion and flowering dill to king salmon sashimi with buttermilk and Baerii caviar, white asparagus velouté topped with a gently poached egg and black truffle, and glazed sunchokes with Savagnin and shiso.
No matter what’s on the menu that day, we’d recommend a wine-pairing experience. Sommelier Max Pinsky will take you on a journey through established and emerging wine regions, sharing stories about family-owned vineyards and their wine-making traditions. Before or after your multi-course meal, stop by Bar 210, near the entrance, to try the hotel’s house cava, created in collaboration with Castellar winery in Spain, or a carefully crafted cocktail.
For a more casual night out, Scarpetta pleases with its sophisticated Italian fare and convivial atmosphere. Reserve a table at this handsome restaurant — outfitted with leather, brick and blackened wood — to try the braised octopus, creamy polenta, crispy grilled branzino, foie gras ravioli and an array of decadent desserts.
If you’re after a traditional afternoon tea experience, you’ve come to the right place. Bathed in natural light, the Mary Cassatt Tea Room radiates refinement with its plush upholstered chairs and pristine white tablecloths.
Borrowing its name from the influential Pennsylvania Impressionist painter, the tearoom is the place to indulge in classic savory sandwiches, freshly baked scones and delicate pastries, like a lime and honey marshmallow tart or basil buttermilk bavarois. Choose from an assortment of loose-leaf teas or upgrade the experience with sparkling wine or rosé champagne.
Come evening, find your way to the speakeasy-like Library Bar on the ground floor, where comfy sofas and a library full of rare books on Philadelphia history and culture make for an inviting scene. The menu continues with the literary concept, offering diverse cocktails themed after tomes like Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter.
Dive into an engrossing book or riveting conversation with the bar’s handcrafted drinks, which range from “The RH,” a whiskey-sour-inspired signature, to the effervescent Goblet of Fire, made with aromatic elderflower-based St-Germain, cynar (a relatively bitter Italian amaro made from artichokes), sweet and citrusy Montenegro amaro and cava. There’s also a curated list of wines, beers and premium spirits to enjoy as you soak up live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.
If you need a little pampering after a long flight, drive or a day exploring the city, The Rittenhouse Spa & Club provides a welcome retreat. Home to a spacious hair salon, fitness center, indoor swimming pool and a prestigious spa, this wellness haven has something for everyone.
Ease into your spa break with a few minutes in the dry sauna or the hydrating steam room, then sip tea and munch on housemade granola in the low-lit relaxation room as you wait for your treatment to begin.
Known for its innovative approach, the spa offers a refreshing mix of classic rituals and unconventional services, such as an Espresso Limon Tightening Facial, a Diamond Brightening Treatment, energy-healing reiki sessions, a Sleep Massage designed to help you wind down for the evening, a relaxing foot soak in CBD tea and a Creamy Coconut Body Glow experience.
Guests particularly love the heated bamboo massage, which uses warm bamboo pieces in all different shapes to provide a deep tissue experience that melts knots and boosts circulation. Deep relaxation comes quickly during the 75-minute treatment, thanks in part to the blissful face, head, hand and foot work that hits tiny, often overlooked muscles.
As for facials, the spa’s regulars — not to mention many celebrities — swear by the HydraFacial, which uses a wand-like device to deeply cleanse and exfoliate the face, then vacuum up dead skin cells and impurities. Next, the wand hydrates the skin with serums designed to target specific concerns, such as pigmentation or fine lines, leaving you with a brighter, smoother complexion.
Location, Location, Location
The storied hotel, which will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2024, boasts one of the best locations in Philadelphia. Not only will you be right by Rittenhouse Square — a treat in itself — but you’re within walking distance of many local sites and attractions.
Swing by a Philly institution, La Colombe Coffee Roasters, around the corner for a specialty cold brew or draft latte at the original café, then walk a few blocks northeast to explore ornate City Hall (topped by a 37-foot-tall statue of city founder William Penn). Head west to enjoy charming Logan Square before continuing to Museum Row, a lush one-mile strip along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where you can explore the world-class Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art (of “Rocky Steps” fame) all within a few minutes of each other.
Going east, you can catch an orchestra or ballet performance at the nearby Kimmel Center and pop into Reading Terminal Market to sample local gourmet bites. Or make a day of it, venturing farther afield to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and cobbled Elfreth’s Alley — the oldest continuously inhabited street in the U.S.
With The Rittenhouse as your home base, you’ll have no shortage of quintessential Philadelphia experiences at your doorstep.