DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE BY dumping the traditional hotel and Booking a Night at THE INDEPENDENT Philadelphia’s New Classy Boutique Hotel

Style and substance are at the core of my choice for a boutique hotel and the newly opened Independent fits the bill. “Boutique hotel is a term popularised in North America and the United Kingdom to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized accommodation and services / facilities. ” The Independent at an address to remember 1234 Locust Street Philadelphia Pa 215-772-1440

Last week I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony (R-L) Stephanie Esposito, Vice President of Group Sales of Hersha Hotels, one of my hero’s (are you keeping count, did I ever mention I was a Foundation of Architecture Tour Guide for 7 years, there’s a theme here with who I admire most in this City) Director, CEO Meryl Levitz of GPTMC and Neil H. Shah, President of Hersha Hospitality, do the honors. Down this hall you will find 8 out of the 24 most beautifully appointed rooms that have graced Philadelphia. The Independent’s design reflects a charming sophistication that is consistent with the building’s architecture and the local area of Midtown Village. Interior Designer, Robert Moskowitz of Rittenhouse Interior Design Group, has redefined the four-story building’s interior, bringing a chic- refined aesthetic to the warm and inviting hotel. The 24-room charmer features hardwood floors, exposed brick, cathedral ceilings, and flat panel HDTVs. Oversized guest rooms range in size up to 470 square feet and are divided into ten standard rooms, twelve deluxe rooms, a gracious suite, and a residential duplex suite. Guest rooms feature hardwood floors with New Zealand Wool area rugs, custom window treatments, Robert Allen custom bedding, and the finest pillow-top mattresses available — Serta Presidential. Each room enjoys a variety of unique features such as fireplaces, exposed brick walls, cathedral ceilings, French windows, or loft bedrooms.

Having stayed in a few of Ian Schrager’s boutique hotels (let’s call him the father of boutique hotels) in NYC like the Hudson Hotel, The Parmount or The Gramercy, I have to say that the Independent has the same style and class but far more bang for your buck ($199 rack rate) and the rooms are twice the size. Philadelphia has been a world class city for awhile, and now we have a world class boutique hotel.

Most of the window views are of the wonderful Philly skyline, or the English garden next door.But all of them contain the brains that are located in the phone system which are placed in the room on the desk or on the night table. The phone operates an energy control system. As the guest enters the room, the phone is activated and the rooms temperature is elevated to an occupied mode. The guest then has normal control of the room’s electrical and HVAC systems through the phone. The system eliminates the need for sensors to be mounted on the wall or ceiling. When a guest leaves the room he can check out via the phone and the room goes into “unoccupied mode.” In this mode the room’s HVAC system’s operating temperature ranges are set back and the power to the switches and plugs is turned off to reduce energy consumption. The phone also controls the TV, the lighting system, the thermostat in the bathroom and most importantly the “Do Not Disturb” sign, which will be lit outside the door so no one will disturb you. No more getting up and placing the darn thing on the door knob. The bathrooms by the way are chic, carry fine skin care products and shampoos that would’ve found their way into my pockets had they not already been occupied with camera batteries, note pad and pen. (Oh the funny story I could tell you when I stayed at the Paramount last year, but it’s 2:30AM on a work night)
Some bathrooms have exposed brick, which I found a bit sexy (blush) and could become rather steamy with those hot weekend rates the hotel has been promoting ($149). It was interesting for me to see that other hotel management was invited to check out the Independent. I was told that this is done because if the said hotel is overbooked they might consider sending guests over to the Independent or visa versa. Did I mention that each room comes with a mini refrigerator and microwave. I would suggest that you cancel that Marriott Residential hotel reservation and book a week here instead.
After the touring was done lunch was serves, which was catered by John Stock who served Philly’s favorite mini hoagies, sandwiches, salad and delicious lemon bars. Drinks were served on the house marble breakfront, where a continental breakfast and evening cocktails will be served.
I also had a chance to meet these lovely ladies and talk about the Independent and the quaint MidTown Village. (L-R) Ann Lage, Rittenhouse Interior Design Group, Denise S. Kaminski, Mgr. Royal Bank America and Debbie Gilmore (Royal Bank America). The hotel’s lobby is accented by a crystal chandelier and features a 30-foot by 8-foot, hand-painted work of art created by local muralist, Kim Senior. Senior is an accomplished Philadelphia artist whose mural and screen paintings can be seen around the city in both classical and contemporary styles. For The Independent, she has created a vibrant image of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, which spans three stories, rising from the hotel’s lobby. Moskowitz’s design paired with Senior’s vivid piece de resistance offers guests a tailored, soothing feel amidst a rich color palette. (Check out Kim Senior’s work here and read the story of how she painted the mural SIDEWAYS!! ) The lobby is also where you may meet anyone of the helpful people below,

but there’s a good chance you will find Jim Evans the Resident Manager of The Independent, who can answer your questions, send you off to a nice restaurant or direct to your desired location.Finally, the hotel is stylish and chic, but I think you will want to stay here because you’ll like the intimacy, the comfortable beds, the breakfast, the location, and especially the price. BREAKING NEWS: Last minute 4th of July rate they are offering for the entire weekend, it is $139 a night.

PS Have A Safe Holiday Weekend, but if you’re near a computer I will be posting over the next three days, it’s a selfish thing as I am nearing my year anniversary and I want to go over the 100ks mark by the time I hit it Monday. Also I want to stay on top of the timing of my photos. I want to get the events to you in real time ie the day after I shoot it, unless of course something is going to be published as I have those contracts that limited me from scooping the paper. Thanks so much for stopping by.