The historic square from which this luxe city escape takes its name is a masterpiece of urban planning by Beaux Arts architect Paul Cret. When completed in 1903, Cret’s French-flavored park was a hub of city living lined by Georgian mansions and stone steeples. Rittenhouse Square remains Philadelphia’s prime address, with mansions of yore giving way to modern towers, including the glass-and-concrete Rittenhouse Hotel. Behind the dark, angular facade, the Rittenhouse Hotel is a grand dame radiating classic luxury, clad head to toe in marble and dripping with crystal chandeliers and original art, including paintings by Mary Cassatt.
Starting at 450 square feet, each of the 116 guestrooms is a suite by Philadelphia standards, and the hotel’s recently renovated Park Suites up the ante with up to 1,600 square feet of living space and fabulous views of the leafy park. The suites are refined and uncluttered, with an elegant sitting and dining room and kitchen. All guestrooms have spacious marble bathrooms with separate walk-in showers and tubs.
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The Rittenhouse Square area caters to discerning foodies, and the Rittenhouse Hotel puts guests in striking distance of some of the city’s best restaurants. The empire of Iron Chef Jose Garces spans the country, but it started in Philadelphia. Just down the street, Tinto is the spot for Spanish wine and delicious pintxos—Basque-style tapas such as razor-thin jamon Iberico and moules Basquaise spiked with chorizo. Though it is just next door to Tinto, Garces’ Village Whiskey is on the complete other end of the culinary map, frying up duck-fat fries, house-made cheese puffs, and cheddar biscuits to plate with lobster mac and cheese or a burger drizzled with whiskey reduction sauce.
Need to Know
Rooms: 116 rooms and suites. From $299. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Make reservations well in advance at Lacroix, one of the city’s best tables with progressive international cuisine by chef Jon Cichon and views of Rittenhouse Square. For an elevated steakhouse experience, Smith & Wollensky grills the finest cuts and the freshest seafood available. For small bites and craft cocktails, the Library Bar is a discreet, candlelit spot where one is just as likely to see businessmen closing the deal as couples cuddling in the corner. A classic afternoon tea is served in the refined Mary Cassatt Tea Room. Spa and gym details: The Rittenhouse Spa and Club is upper echelon on every level, from the new state-of-the-art fitness center to the indoor pool in a sunny atrium. The spa offers a full menu of treatments, and the salon will have you looking your best for a night on the town.
Who’s it for: Luxury travelers with classic tastes. Our favorite rooms: Third-floor Park Suites put guests just above the tree level for the best views of Rittenhouse Square. Expansive service: The service here matches the scene, from the doormen and the front desk to the concierge, Les Clefs d’Or member Frank Marandino, a Philadelphia insider who can get reservations at on-site Lacroix or tickets to a sold-out game.