By Hope S. Philbrick
Show me a Historic Hotel of America, and I’m eager to book a stay. Whenever possible, I’ll pick a member of that particular hotel organization over any other because its members consistently impress and are rich with stories.
Plus, there’s usually a luxurious bathtub, robe, and slippers awaiting my arrival in the guestroom, a soothing invitation to unwind after a busy day of travel.
Hotel du Pont is no exception. In fact, it may be one of the group’s best-priced options.
The 12-story Italian Renaissance building is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Wilmington. When it opened in January 1913, Hotel du Pont was quickly ranked among the world’s best hotels, an honor it doesn’t seem to have let go. In 1918 property additions included the Gold Ballroom and the theater now known as the Playhouse at Rodney Square, which stages Broadway musicals, stand-up comedy and concerts—it’s the fourth-largest stage in the U.S.!
The exterior of Hotel du Pont is nothing compared to its glamorous interior. The lobby makes an eye-popping posh first impression with rich woodwork, grand chandeliers, a spectacular ceiling, gilded accents, and sparkling terrazzo floors—in fact, don’t drop a pearl earring or you may have a hard time finding it on these gleaming pearl-colored tiles. But fear not, hotel staffers will drop down on their knees to help with the search!
If you arrive during an evening happy hour, the lobby may be filled with a who’s-who of hotel guests and locals mingling together sipping cocktails and swaying along to live musical performances. It’s so jovial and festive it can feel like the whole city is celebrating your arrival.
Hungry? The hotel is home to four-star/four-diamond-rated dining at The Green Room where you can expect upscale service and artful presentations of deliciousness. If you’re eating dinner before an evening show at the theater, even the abbreviated menus and service impress without compromise or concern about missing the curtain time. If, like me, you enjoy elegant service and impressive cuisine, any visit to Wilmington should include a meal at The Green Room.
When walking around the hotel, take note of the original paintings, which include works by three generations of Wyeths (see more of works by these famed local artists at The Brandywine River Museum of Art).
Hotel du Pont was named “The One Hotel You Can’t Miss in Delaware” by MSN Lifestyle. It’s swanky, upscale, a community hub, rich with stories, adults-oriented, and considerately flush with modern amenities: We heartily endorse Hotel du Pont as an appealing place to stay for grownups.
Past guests at Hotel du Pont include President John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Prince Rainier of Monaco, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prince Bertil of Sweden, and Henry Kissinger.
- Huzzah! Guests must be age 18 years or older with photo ID to reserve a room and check in. Note, however, that children are not entirely banned: cribs and pack-n-plays are available upon request
- Odds of Encountering Children: Very low. I saw only adults during my 2-night stay
- 217 rooms and suites; weekend rates from $199/night
- Free Internet
- 24-hour room service
- In-room mini bar
- Spacious bathroom with separate shower and deep-soaking tub
- Spacious work desk
- Plush bedding
- Couch (a seating option in addition to on the bed and at the desk)
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Check-in at 3 p.m.; check out by Noon
- On-site dining options include The Green Room, a 4-star/4-diamond-rated fine dining destination among Wilmington’s best. There’s also a bake shop, café, bar and more
- Afternoon tea is available on Wednesdays and Saturdays
- Happy hour and nightly events are hosted in the lobby lounge. Tuesdays feature cocktail demonstrations. Wednesdays offer wine flights. Fridays showcase live musical performances
- Valet and self-parking options available.
- Six accessible rooms are available; please request at time of booking if needed
- On-site ATM
- Pet-friendly / Dog-friendly: $100 per night for registered pet and $150 per night for unregistered pet
- Non-smoking property
- Transportation can be arranged through the concierge
Hotel du Pont
42 West 11th Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
- Read “Five Reasons to Visit Wilmington, Delaware Right Now.”
- Read “The Bobbie: Delaware’s Most Adored Sandwich.”
– Photos courtesy HOTEL DU PONT
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Visit Wilmington & Brandywine Valley and HOTEL DU PONT for hosting my visit.