Ben Franklin Hotel Palomar

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia Review

Posted on Posted in luxury hotel, Philadelphia, Philly Hotels, Travel
Hotel Palomar Philly
Hotel Palomar Philly lobby where the Wine Social is held

The last thing you want to hear in any hotel is the fire alarm going off.  In all of my travels, I’ve encountered about four alarms in the middle of the night and I quickly jumped out of bed, changed clothes and was ready to leave when told.  Luckily, all were false alarms and I didn’t need to vacate the hotel and quickly fell back to sleep (good thing when I was on the 30th floor as walking down thirty flights of steps at 2 a.m. is not something I was looking forward to).  Cut to this morning, when in the middle of a lovely shower with conditioner in my hair, I hear a loud beep.  Hoping it was city traffic and our horn friendly drivers, I soon realized that it was the fire alarm in my room at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, beeping loudly (and not in the “change the batteries” kind of way).

While not quite the right decision had this been real, I washed the conditioner out of my hair before getting out to further investigate.  The beep continued but the building alarm wasn’t going off and no announcements came so I was thinking it was just me.  I looked through the door into the hallway and it was not full of confused people.  Thinking this was odd, the beeping stopped and I called the front desk to inquire. I was told that sometimes the heat from the shower will cause the fire alarm to go off in the room.  Wait! What? Shouldn’t there be a note or warning to tell people about that?  or at the least a fan in the bathroom to deal with the heat/steam? Relieved that I wouldn’t need to don the funky zebra or tiger animal print robes and evacuate to the streets of Philadelphia, I continued about my morning routine, hoping my nerves and heartbeat would return to normal soon. What a way to end my lovely last minute stay at Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia.

Hotel Palomar Philly lobby
Elevator Lobby

With friends visiting Philadelphia for a quick overnight visit, I thought it best to stay in the city and booked the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia. My rate was $211.56 as the reservation agent was able to find a discount available for the same day booking.  The hotel rate generally hovers in the $259+ per night plus taxes so anything under that was a bonus!   The Hotel Palomar has been a winning hotel since it opened a few years ago, introducing the Philadelphia community to the Kimpton boutique experience.  Since the Palomar opened, Kimpton has brought the Hotel Monaco to the city and has plans to restore and open a new property on the Parkway near the Barnes Museum.

Ben Franklin Hotel Palomar
Busts of Ben Franklin in the lobby of the Hotel Palomar

Location – Rittenhouse Square

The Hotel Palomar Philadelphia is located, in the heart of downtown. A block from Walnut Street shopping, a plethora of restaurants and Rittenhouse Square park can keep you busy without leaving the area, but you need to leave to explore the history, the arts, the sports, etc.  It’s great that you can walk everywhere in the city from here.  I do love this location to stay in the city.  It might have something to do with Sansom Street and a few of my favorite foods within two blocks of the hotel (yes, bring your stretchy pants on a Philly visit as this isn’t the comprehensive list only a few of the many options I love):

  • Soft Pretzel Factory (Philadelphians love our soft pretzels – go for the regular or mini with spicy mustard)
  • Federal Donuts (fried chicken and donuts, don’t ask, it works)
  • Foodery (sandwiches and an incredible selection of bottled beer)
  • British Pub Dandelion (best Fish & Chips)
  • Tria Wine Bar
  • Davio’s for my favorite cheesesteak spring rolls, gnocchi in truffle oil and decadent pastry cart
  • Brown Betty Cupcakes (the Aunt Eva Says Pineapple Cupcake and the Red Velvet are indulgent treats)

The hotel was originally the Architect’s Building built in 1929 and renovated by Kimpton into the Hotel Palomar, a Gold LEED certified property. Luckily they kept a few original Art Deco items in the hotel.

Hotel Palomar Lobby
The lobby seating area with the colorful Ben Franklin busts in the backgroung

Front Desk Arrival

The hotel was busy when I arrived at 1:30 p.m.  The front door was quickly opened for me and the bell staff busy with check in/out of guests.  A very vibrant, social scene on the street and in the lobby.  Check-In is at 3pm but I was able to get into my King Room early.  The lobby has a few seating areas and is the location for the wine social held each night from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.  I was reminded of this at check-in, that it would get crowded and that they offered wine, punch, summer beer and truffle popcorn.

Art Throughout

Original tiles, decor and wood carving can still be seen on the 2nd floor event space elevator lobby in this 1929 landmark Art Deco building. There are four elevators to service the 26 story building with fun, cheeky decor inside.  The doors on the ground floor are stunning to view the art deco design.   Art in the lobby and on each floor are reminders of the history of the city and the building. Sadly, the lighting and my IPhone had issues capturing how awesome the views were for me.

Hotel Palomar elevator doors
The gorgeous elevator doors – not sure if original or not – do people even notice them?


Hotel Palomar Architects Buidling Art Deco Decor
The original decor of the Architects Building
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia Art Deco
The original ceiling of the Architects Building now the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
Step into the fun elevator decor at the Hotel Palomar


Hotel Palomar Philadelphia – Room 703

Located on the 7th floor, behind the elevator bank and yet quite quiet.  The hallways are not long as this is an older building restored into 230 rooms (I still have memories of my doctor’s office in this building).  Expect smaller boutique rooms with different layouts but all Kimpton.

Hotel Palomar lighting
Artistic lighting fixtures fascinate at the Hotel Palomar
Hotel Palomar hallway
The hallway at Hotel Palomar

My King Room was a bit larger than the standard room. When I entered, I had a bit of a hallway with a large closet before reaching the bedroom.  The closet had the Kimpton robes, yoga mat, safe, ironing board, iron and lots of space to hang your clothes.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia King Room
The King Room view
Kimpton Hotel Robes
Classic Kimpton Robes


The bedroom was leather, purple, white, cream and green – good soothing colors.  The bed had the softest linens, I’m not sure of the thread count but they were super soft – the website says they are Frette! (I don’t need to know that as I now want them!).  The bed itself was firm and comfortable for a good night’s sleep.  For the most part, the lower room views are going to be buildings next door.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia King Room
King Room with working desk and art


The Bathroom

Purple, silver and wood with leather brown accents, the bathroom was quite stylish.  The toiletries are C.O Bigelow.  The water pressure was good and the shower relaxing until my fire alarm issue (I didn’t even have it that hot or was I in there very long).  It’s funny as I kept the sliding door open during my shower to dissipate the heat as the bathroom was small – next time I know better.

Note: I’m not sure if my issue was just specific to my room as each configuration is different.

Hotel Palomar Bathroom
The King Room bathroom in purple and silver

C.O.Bigelow toiletries at Hotel Palomar

Hotel Palomar Philly fun
Even the coasters are fun art in the bathroom at the Hotel Palomar

The Kimpton Minibar

With my Kimpton In Touch membership (free to join), I am entitled to a $10 Raid the Minibar credit or at this Kimpton a $10 drink credit at the Square 1682 restaurant/bar on the ground floor.  I opted for two bottles of my water friend, Fred, at $5 per bottle.  I checked the items in the minibar and all were fresh, nothing had expired or was close to expiration (a hotel pet peeve of mine).

Palomar Mini Bar
A drawer of goodies in the mini bar

Kimpton Wine Social

My friends and I arrived back at the hotel at 5:40 with only twenty minutes left to be social.  The truffle popcorn was being held hostage by a large group of girls in the middle couches and I didn’t want popcorn that much to go in to rescue it.  We had wine and punch and were able to get refills before the social ended.  The social hours are where you realize that the hotel is full of folks (and their little dogs too!) as they were scarce in the hallways or elevators when I was using them.

Hotel Palomar Philly Wine Social
Lobby wine social


Square 1682 Restaurant

Square 1682 is the hotel’s on property restaurant and bar.  The menu has an eclectic mix of entrees and cocktails so you are sure to find something to your liking.  It was a fantastic Saturday/Sunday so the outdoor sidewalk tables were full of people. I enjoyed the Blueberry Pancakes.

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia – Final Thoughts

This was my first stay at the Palomar Philadelphia. I have visited many times prior for work functions, event planning and a hotel site visit so was familiar with the service, rooms, staff and amenities.  I often direct our work colleagues, clients and now my sister’s wedding guests to stay at the Palomar if they want a fabulous boutique experience in the city.  I’m glad I got to finally experience it for myself.  With it’s fantastic location to shopping and food, it is a gem in the city.  Just remember to close the bathroom door when you shower in Room 703!

Palomar Philly elevator decor
Fun decor in the elevator



4 thoughts on “Hotel Palomar Philadelphia Review

    1. Jen – thanks for the other cupcake suggestions within a short walk of the Hotel Palomar. While I have tried both Pamcakes and Sweet Box, I’m still a fan of Brown Betty’s cream cheese icing on both the Red Velvet and Aunt Eva Says Pineapple cupcakes. It’s all about the icing for me –

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