An earlier incarnation of this hotel, the Bellevue-Stratford, opened its doors in 1904 and was known worldwide as Philadelphia’s preeminent hotel. Designed in the French Renaissance style, the Bellevue features Gilded Age architectural flourishes including a two-tiered ballroom with light fixtures designed by Thomas Edison, stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany, chandeliers by Lalique and an opulent cast-iron circular staircase (pictured). Famous guests have included Jacob Astor, JP Morgan, Bob Hope, John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, and the Vanderbilt family. Every US President since Theodore Roosevelt has visited the Bellevue. Abandoned for a time during the 1970s but thankfully saved from demolition, this building made a lasting impression on me when I visited the hotel as a child. Years later, I am still in awe of the delicate beauty of this building. Now part of the Hyatt chain, the Bellevue is still one of the most beautiful buildings in Philadelphia and the hotel promises its guests sumptuous accommodations and a premiere location on South Broad Street (the Avenue of the Arts).
Adjacent to the hotel are the Shops at the Bellevue, and in the lower level below the shops is an excellent and often overlooked food court, which is a great spot for a quick meal when shopping on nearby Walnut Street. The shops close at 7, and the food court closes at 6.