Former bank building shines as center-city retreat.
By Katie DeTar
Everything old is new again in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There’s a revived city center, new museums in the historic district, redesigned parks, and downtown neighborhoods bursting with art, culture, and great food. Within walking distance to these top sights is the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, a historic skyscraper-turned trendy and comfortable full-service hotel.
The grand building now revived as the Loews Philadelphia Hotel is known as the PSFS building, as it was built in 1932 for the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society. The building is considered the United States’ first modern skyscraper, and was one of the first buildings in the nation to have central air conditioning. Following a financial downtown in the 1980s, the building sat mostly vacant until being purchased at auction and opened as the hotel in 2000.
The “PSFS” letters still adorn the top of the building as homage to its heritage, and the rooms incorporate pops of crimson red, like the neon letters in the former bank sign. Sweeping views of the city and river from the former bank executive’s offices on the 33rd floor now accent event and meeting space.
Philadelphia’s reputation as the city of brotherly love flooded my first few minutes at the hotel. Staff was welcoming, friendly, and accommodating. I was greeted with snacks and water. The reception staff assisted with directions and engaged in friendly chitchat as I settled in.
The large first-floor lobby is cozy, with plush couches, a large TV, and tables for meeting or socializing. The on-site POD Market offers locally roasted coffee and to-go lunches and snacks. A short elevator ride takes you to the complimentary fitness center and indoor, heated 20-meter lap pool.
Following a day of travel in inclement weather, I opted to relax a bit before heading out to explore. My room was well suited for an afternoon in, with a plush robe, comfortable bed with ample pillows, and a seating area with work desk. The bathroom was large and well-lit, with great mirrors and counter space. I called room service for a pot of tea, and enjoyed the bright space and views of the Delaware River.
When I felt ready to emerge from my afternoon rest, the hotel’s Bank and Bourbon restaurant was a welcome treat. The Lowes Philadelphia Hotel focuses on bringing authentic and local flavors of Philly right into the hotel by partnering with area artisans. There’s local coffee from La Colombe Coffee, bread and pastries from Metropolitan Bakery, and beer from Saint Benjamin Brewing, named for Philly’s most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin. Try the bourbon barrel aged ale, made exclusively for the Bank and Bourbon restaurant.
Given the restaurant name, it’s clear the bourbon program is extensive. And unlike some hotel restaurants that cater only to transient guests, locals gather at Bank and Bourbon to taste some of the famed spirit. The restaurant’s own “Bourbon Master” helps guests select tasting flights, and–if you’re a real bourbon fan–will help you create, barrel, and age your own bourbon through the restaurant’s own private barrel-aging membership program.
The food menu focuses on classic American dishes with a modern flair, while changing seasonally. You can enjoy oysters, chicken soup, pastrami short rib and steaks. Or, dive into an assortment of salads, cheese boards (every restaurant in Philly seems to offer an incredible local cheese board), and sandwiches with fingerling potatoes. There really is something on the menu for everyone–including the solo traveler who will feel right at home at the full-service bar.
For breakfast each morning, the menu offers a full set of enticing options, from simple healthy smoothies to full cooked breakfasts. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, an elaborate but casual brunch buffet is served.
Just as Philly offers so much more than The Liberty Bell and Cheesesteaks, the Loews Philadelphia Hotel is so much more than your average hotel stay.
- Located within walking distance to Philadelphia’s famous historic sites, museums, shopping, and dining.
- Across the street from the Philadelphia Convention Center
- 581 guestrooms and suites
- On-site full-service restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service available
- To-Go market on site offering snacks, light lunches, and personal care items
- Hotel is pet friendly! $40 per stay pet fee applies
- All guestrooms are non-smoking
- High-speed wireless internet service throughout the hotel
- 15,000 square foot fitness center with indoor lap pool
- Valet parking available
- Business Center
- Ballroom, meeting, and conference space
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Text Reservations: 267-571-8788
@loews_hotels on Twitter
@loewshotels on Instagram
@visitphilly on Twitter and Instagram
– Photo Credits: guest room by Katie DeTar, remainder courtesy Loews Philadelphia Hotel
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.