3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2009 11:40 AM by tjcnewyork RSS

Flowers!

beltwayowl Gold
Currently Being Moderated
The Marriott Downtown Philadelphia hotel is the place to stay for the Philadelphia Flower show.  Immediately adjacent to the most appealing indoor market in the North East USA, the hotel has a sky bridge directly leading to the convention center housing the flower show.  A large property, the ever-efficient hotel staff make it their business to still provide a level of warmth and friendliness.  Try the market place for breakfast/lunch.  Hotel is within walking distance of many museums/sights.  
  • Re: Flowers!
    nycuws10025 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    While it is true that the Philadelphia (PHL) Marriott is a very nice and extremely conveniently located hotel - including being connected by bridge to the Convention Center where many gatherings are held, not just the flower show - there are also two other Marriott Brands literally steps away.  With Marriott GMs having been told by Marriott corporate not to over-achieve in their Concierge lounge offerings, a major benefit for many of us Platinum Elite members has been watered down enough that there's also no need for us to over-spend either.  So I don't.

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    A portion of the Marriott's rooms are actually located in the landmark old Reading Railroad terminal building, (yep, that's the same Reading Railroad from the Monopoly game) but don't count on your Platinum Elite status to get you a room over there - it's not going to happen unless the hotel is overbooked and is in danger of "walking" you to a competing hotel company!  So plan on being in the completely modern structure.  (A portion of the Convention Center itself is the old Reading Railroad train shed - PHL is great about respecting their architectural heritage and, to their credit, Marriott has participated very nicely in this city.)

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    For my dollar, I prefer the Courtyard or Residence Inn both of which, although not connected to the convention center are only one block from the Marriott - so emminently walkable.  Both of these buildings are reused Landmark buildings themselves.  The Residence Inn was originally a bank and the Courtyard, I think, was the City Hall Annex.

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    When in PHL, I ALWAYS go for the Residence Inn as it is usually considerably less expensive than the Marriott, plus it includes breakfast seven days a week and "dinner" (okay, snacks) five nights a week.  Of course the RI product includes a full kitchen in your room.   And not to be overlooked is my favorite Marriott "pet peeve" of being charged for Internet access in the so-caled "full-service" Marriotts while it is included for free at RI and CY properties.  Let's add to that Marriott's new focus on having their General Managers "not overachieve" in their Concierge Lounges and the PHL Marriott's Concierge Lounge - which was nothing to write home about to begin with has been sufficiently dumbed down and is not open on weekends to begin with, there is really no benefit to a PE member to pay the higher rate to stay there. (All of my travels to PHL are leisure trips so they are generally going to be weekend stays)

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    If you stay at the Residence Inn, the ceilings in the rooms are all 12 to 14 feet high and the windows are enormous.  Despite facing the street, the place has been very well insulated so there is little traffic noise.  If you ask for a view of City Hall, which is right across the street, the view is a treat.  On the mid- to higher-floors, not only can you see William Penn's status on the City Hall tower, you can also get a great view of many other historic buildings, of which Philadelphia has many.

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    All three hotels are literally located in the center of the city.  It is a healthy, but doable walk to the Art Museum, the "Please Touch" and Franklin Institutes.  The last two are very interesting, even if you're not traveling with kids.  In the opposite direction, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross's house are also walkable.

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    If you HAVE to have a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich in the place where it was first developed, it is worth the trip (it's a long walk, but through very charming neighborhoods if you do) to South Street to visit Gino's and Pat's - two competing, um... "restaurants" which have their own distinctive ways of creating this culinary masterpiece.  (I am not being sarcastic.  They're great!  But for those of you who are culinary snobs - beware! CheezWhiz is a major ingredient in both versions!)

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    I do have a bit of the culinary snob in me as well and there is a whole host of truly fine restaurants within a very close distance of these three hotels.

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    Three rather off-the-beaten path, but not-to-be-missed attractions while in PHL: 

    1. Go to the Macy's Department store, located in the old Wanamaker Department store - Literally across the street from the Residence Inn.  The Grand Court will transport you back to the golden days of truly classy retail.  It is an architectural gem and should not be missed.  Heck, maybe they'll even have underwear on sale!  While there, check to see when the Wanamaker Organ will be played - this usually happens twice every business day.  With over 36,000 pipes, it is the largest working pipe organ in the world.  When the organist opens that baby up, beleive me, you'll know it!  Concerts are always free and usually last 30 to 45 minutes.  Go hear it!  At Christmas time, if you're in town with kids, go see the Christmas Spectacular also at Macy's.  By today's standards, it is technologically pretty backward, but it has been charming kids with virtually the same format for decades.  My mom and her sisters went when they were girls living in PHL back in the 30's.  She cried when I took her and her grandkids there two years ago.
    2. Also perfect for a warm day's walk is a visit to Elfreth's Alley - a delightful collection of houses, most of which predate the establishment of our country.  All lovingly restored and maintained so the street probably looks like it did when those houses were new, back in the 1700's
    3. Have a cocktail in the lobby bar at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, on the south side of City Hall (the RI and CY are on the east side, for reference).  This used to be the banking lobby of a grand old bank.  It won't be inexpensive, but is a great way to end an afternoon aftering visiting museums or historical sites.  Or, go there for cocktails before dinner at one of the great restaurants in the city.  Being in this venue will transport you back in time to a very genteel era.  Enjoy!

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    So, to conclude, yes, go visit PHL, just don't overlook the two other Marriott brands beside the Marriott itself.  If Marriott GMs are being told by headquarters to "not overachieve" there's no need or reason for Marriott Rewards Elite members to overspend either.

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    This has probably been more info than you wanted, but PHL is a city I enjoy tremendously and recommend it highly as a great city to visit. 

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    All best wishes to my fellow Marriott Rewards members!

    Kip (NYCUWS10025)

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Flowers!
    jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated
    We found our travel experience here to be special.  The location was fantastic and the service just as good.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Flowers!
    tjcnewyork Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Kip  (NYCUWS10025)  see Postscript 4/8 below

     

    What an extremely clever way to leverage 'Sightseeing' and deliver a well-crafted message.  Bravo, Jonathan Swift would be very proud.

     

    http://www.jaffebros.com/lee/gulliver/winter/c.gif

     

    Marriott's committment to give new life to Philadelphia's architectural hertitage is well-deserved and nicely done.

     

    Postscript 4/8:   The following announcement* about Marriott Concierge Lounges was posted by a member of the Marriott Concierge Team on Flyertalk yesterday evening:

     

    Just over two weeks ago I announced that Marriott would be reevaluating its Concierge Lounge offerings. All the concerns raised in this thread were discussed; however, the focus of the current change is on food offerings. Based on multiple feedback sources, we learned that hotels needed additional flexibility in the types of popular, healthy, and comfort food selections they offer. Going forward, our General Managers and hospitality teams on property will have options that will help them to customize lounge offerings that meet their guests preferences.

    I recognize that many of you would have liked more details regarding this new policy, or perhaps to have seen additional changes. I am optimistic that as you visit our lounges over the next weeks and months you will be pleased with the changes you observe. I assure you that we continue to look for ways to improve and we value your comments, concerns, and questions.

    Regards,

    Ira

    Marriott Concierge Team

    marriott.concierge@marriott.com

     

    * Concierge Lounge

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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