Chronological / Destinations / Hotels & Resorts / Pennsylvania / United States

Kimpton Opens Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia

Hotel Monaco facade

The entrance to Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia © Melanie Votaw

The brand new Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia, which opened October 2, 2012,  is a visual feast. The décor is bright, funky and eclectic, with colorful furniture and art from across the globe.

Hotel Monaco lobby

A portion of the Hotel Monaco lobby in Philadelphia © Melanie Votaw

The lobby contains Asian pieces alongside African masks. Behind the check-in desk is an array of brushes hanging on a hot pink wall; another wall in the lobby is covered in yellow- and red-striped wallpaper. I took photos of some of the furniture, just because I had never seen pieces like them before.

The room décor is equally interesting. My bed had a padded headboard, wore a white dust ruffle with blue polka dots, and included a red pillow containing the Colonial quote: “Delicious bed! That heaven upon earth, to the weary head!” The large mirrored end table had a black and gold graphic-design base. Even the lamps were unusual.

Hotel Monaco check-in

The check-in desk at Hotel Monaco, with its unusual light fixtures and "brush backdrop" © Melanie Votaw

The curtains were a bold blue and white print, and the doors were painted bright yellow inside. Some walls of the room had white wallpaper with scenes drawn in black, and the black carpet had a large light tan floral design. The television sat atop a bright red Asian lacquer dresser. It sounds like a mishmash, but it all worked to create a harmonious, albeit quirky, whole.

In the bath, the shower was its own room with a modern oval-shaped Japanese soaking tub next to the jets. The amenities were Etro brand from Milan, in brightly colored tubes that fit the décor.

Hotel Monaco is located at 5th and Chestnut Streets in the historic part of Philly, across the street from the Liberty Bell. It is housed in the historic Lafayette Building, a former 11-story office structure that was built in 1907 and named after war hero General Marquis de Lafayette. While the interiors have been largely redone, the marble elevator bank is original.

Hotel Monaco room

A portion of a room in Hotel Monaco, Philadelphia © Melanie Votaw

The property boasts a large rooftop bar that overlooks Independence Mall, as well as a restaurant, Red Owl Tavern, that provides gourmet comfort food, such as slow roasted herbed chicken pot pie.

The hotel also has a grand ballroom where it hosts weddings and conferences, and it has 13,000 feet of meeting and event space. Part of the Kimpton Hotel group, Hotel Monaco provides complimentary WiFi if you belong to Kimpton InTouch Loyalty Program. If you don’t, simply go to their website and sign up. It’s free, so you won’t have to pay for Internet use.

Complimentary wine is served in the lobby every night from 5:00-6:00 p.m. – a nice perk before you go out for the evening. You can rent a bike at the hotel or order in-room spa services, too. Hotel Monaco is 100% smoke-free, however, so if you’re a smoker, this isn’t the property for you.

If, on the other hand, you’re a pet owner, this hotel will cater to you. If you have no pets, they have a fun, unusual amenity called the “Guppy Love Program” – upon request, they’ll put a goldfish in your room and take care of it during your stay.

Hotel Monaco room design elements

Room design elements in Hotel Monaco, Philadelphia © Melanie Votaw

Hotel Monaco has 268 rooms and suites, and there are several different types of rooms: King, Queen, or Double Deluxe; Parkview King or Queen Rooms; King Spa Room (including some in the corners of the floors) and Deluxe and Corner One-Bedroom Suites. The prime rooms are the Majestic Suite, at 655 square feet and the Majestic Parlor Suite, at 711 square feet.

I stayed at Hotel Monaco just a couple of weeks after its opening in early October. Admittedly, there were a couple of kinks. These are to be expected just after opening, and these minor issues were rectified immediately. I feel confident that the hotel will hit its stride quickly.

If you’re a connoisseur of modern interior design, you will especially appreciate this property, but you’ll also get all of the amenities and service that you expect of a luxury boutique hotel of this caliber.

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