The Morris family’s roots are among the deepest in colonial Pennsylvania. Anthony Morris settled here in 1685 and would become one of the city’s first mayors. A century later, his grandson Samuel served as a captain of the Continental Army’s Philadelphia City Calvary. Though the Morris family’s red-brick mansion on 8th street was built in 1787, it upholds a pre-Revolutionary colonial style epitomized in the stately Independence Hall, and members of the family would live in this large corner property for the next 120 years. A painstaking restoration in the mid-1960s earned it a spot as a National Historic Landmark, and the current owners renovated the property in 2000, transforming the distinguished address into a 15-room boutique hotel without compromising original architectural details. With a leafy courtyard garden, gourmet farm-to-table restaurant, and a focus on personalized service, the latest incarnation of this home lives up to its storied past.
Each of the 15 rooms is tastefully decorated in Colonial-era decor and reproductions. Despite the history and limitations inherent in any historic structure, guestrooms are large and uncluttered with all the modern conveniences, splashes of natural light, and sparkling bathrooms, some with Jacuzzi tubs. Adding to the allure are a complimentary continental breakfast and an evening hosted wine hour.
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This lovely inn is in the heart of Philadelphia’s theater scene, and M Restaurant is a popular spot for pre-show drinks and dinner. Just down the street, the Walnut Street Theatre is America’s oldest, dating to 1809, and still going strong with a slate of shows including Broadway and local productions. West of the hotel, the Kimmel Center is a modern marvel by architect Raphael Vinoly hosting theater venues, a rooftop garden, and Volver from Iron Chef Jose Garces.
Need to Know
Rooms: 15 rooms. From $179. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The hotel’s M Restaurant is one of Philadelphia’s best farm-to-table restaurants, with many ingredients grown at the owner’s farm. The restaurant takes the concept all the way to its cocktail menu, which includes herbs grown in the courtyard garden and house-infused liquors. Highlights include a maple mushroom martini with mushroom-infused vodka, maple syrup, and orange bitters, and Rosemary’s Baby with rosemary-infused gin, honey syrup, and dry vermouth. Spa and gym details: There is neither a spa nor a gym on-site.
Who’s it for: Couples with distinguishing tastes and a penchant for historic architecture. Business travelers weary of the chain hotel scene. Our favorite rooms: The carriage house behind the mansion has been transformed into a two-story Presidential Suite, with a king bedroom loft and a sitting room with French doors opening to a balcony overlooking the courtyard garden. Good to know: Hotel guests save 10 percent on their meal at M Restaurant.