I stayed at the fabulous new Hotel Monaco Philadelphia this past weekend. I only got to spend one night but with a late check out I felt as though I was able to get a good feel for the new property. Gayot named it one of the top 10 new U.S. hotels.
The property is in the totally renovated historic (but previously neglected) Lafayette building, built in 1907 as a homage to Revolutionary war hero General Marquis de Lafayette. The building imposed some layout constraints so when you enter from the street you have to turn right into the ample lobby, the site of a free nightly wine hour from 5pm-6pm. (On the left from the entrance is the Red Owl Tavern.)
It’s in Old City so if you are visiting with the intention of getting a big gulp of historical Philadelphia, you can’t find a better location. It’s right on Independence National Historic Park with more early American history than you can shake a copy of the Declaration of Independence at, which was actually signed very near hear. It’s a quick easy cab ride or a nice 10- to 15-minute walk to Philly’s vibrant Gayborhood.
The room I enjoyed was a one-bedroom suite with stunning (third floor) views of a number of important historic buildings and museums including the home of the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center. The furnishings are reminscent of others in the upscale Monaco brand, very modern and tasteful with a dark, masculine palette, with localized touches like the words to important early-American legal documents in the wall treatments.
The Red Owl Tavern has become a very popular restaurant in the short month it’s been opened. What the staff may lack in seasoning (which will come), they more than make up in warmth and earnestness. I personally don’t like to be greeted as “friend” by my waiter every time he walks by the table, but there are worse infringements and it did not diminish from the hearty, tasty options like the fresh-caught seared Marlin special I enjoyed.
I briefly checked out the Stratus Rooftop Bar & Lounge, which drew a cool young (25-40), mostly hetero crowd. The view of the faint stars above was great but high walls obstruct actual city views.
For more information about Philadelphia, download ManAboutWorld’s inaugural issue by clicking here.