Top 10 Mid-Atlantic Hotels: Readers’ Choice Awards 2021
Why did this hotel grab your attention? What’s the vibe? Arriving at the hotel, I admit: I was a little puzzled. On the outside, it looks a lot like any other skyscraper that simply has “Four Seasons” stamped on the entrance. But as we started to make our way to the 60th floor sky lobby at more than one floor per second, with Ben Franklin Parkway flying in sight through the glass wall of the elevator, I started to let go of my skepticism. When we finally made it to the top and found myself watching a massive Philadelphia tape, with floral arrangements designed by Jeff Leatham framing my way to the registry office, I conceded utter defeat. Basically, it blew me away.
What is the backstory? This is a Four Seasons: expect flawless service and lots of raw carpet. However, this particular Four Seasons is somewhat unique in that so many big names were in demand for its creation: floral designer Jeff Leatham, composer Brian Eno, architect Norman Foster, and chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick. Each of the elements these people contributed to, whether it was a dedicated musical score, meticulous floral arrangements or a global food profile, came together to make this project singular and special. It’s not often that Philly feels like the center of the world, but it does here.
Tell us all about the accommodations. Any advice on what to book? Our Landmark Corner Suite was beautiful: bright and light, elegant but not stuffy. The king-size bed had a crisp, cloudy white duvet and linens; at the foot of it was a lounge chair and an ottoman ideal for reading. We also had a small living room which could be separated from the bedroom with a white leather sliding door; if we had stayed longer the two bedrooms and their two televisions probably would have been useful for our super E! against ESPN split. The honey-colored wood accent walls were sculptural and modern; they curved around the room in a way that showcased the abundant views, which were easily the best part. From almost every vantage point we could see part of the city: Billy Penn’s hat tip, One Liberty Place, Ben Franklin Parkway (from the tub!), Even the Eastern State Penitentiary. . And, unlike New York City, there is very little height competition, so the views are more or less clear. It really feels like you’re sitting in the sky. The hotel also gets serious bonus points for tech keys like a volume knob in the bathroom (so you can listen to the news while you’re in the shower without turning on the TV) and the switches next to it. of the bed which control the blackout blinds as well as the lights.
Food and drink: what are we looking at? There are several ways to play F&B here. We only spent one night at the hotel, so we chose to eat at Jean-Georges on the 59th floor, and the de facto star of the lobby below. For JG fans, the food is reminiscent of the fine cuisine of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s other eponymous restaurants around the world. We went all out and ordered the seven-course summer tasting menu, and enjoyed a steady three-hour rollout of small dishes like tuna tartare in chili oil and Maine lobster sautéed in broth. smooth with Aleppo pepper and garlic. With more time, I would have loved to try Vernick Fish, the downstairs restaurant run by local favorite Greg Vernick, but alas, we could only consume a limited number of meals per day.
What about the service?
The service sets itself apart from other hotels of its caliber in the best possible way. It’s precise and enthusiastic, of course, but also authentic. The hotel just opened, maybe that explains it, but there is a real atmosphere of excitement, and the staff seem to want to represent the biggest manifestation of the Four Seasons brand. Many of them are also from Philadelphia and expressed the spirit of generosity that exists in the city. There are a few staff members that I would like to highlight: Josie, who showed us to our room, was a delight; Charles, one of the valets, who looked after us while we waited for our car, brought us water and loaded our bags; and Anthony at the reception. I’m sure there are more, but this is who I specifically remember. All three were incredibly attentive and kind, and exemplified exactly what you expect from Four Seasons service.
What kind of travelers will you find here? Look around and you’ll likely spot some 30-something who grew up along Philadelphia’s Tony Main Line and are in town for the weekend to attend an old friend’s wedding: think of the little blondes in the quarters. Ralph Lauren and their handsome, chunky husbands all swollen at Brooks Brothers. There were also parents from Penn who were probably taking their kids to college this weekend.
And the neighborhood? Does the hotel fit in, does it fit into the decor? The Four Seasons is less than a 10 minute walk to the Ben Franklin Parkway, where you’ll find museums like the Barnes, the Rodin, and of course the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is great. But the central location is both expected and surprising; the first because families, couples and businessmen who set foot there overnight will no doubt want to go sightseeing during the day; the latter because of the calm of the hotel’s cross street. This is a bit of a hike – about a 30 minute walk – from Liberty Bell and Independence Park, but of course you could just get dropped off by the hotel’s Tesla service…
Are there any other features of the hotel to note? I didn’t bring my swimsuit, but I should have; the infinity pool on the 57th floor is not to miss. I didn’t go to the gym either, but it’s a nice room, with a wall of eight TVs and again, those must-see views of the city. Next time, I would also have a drink at the sky lobby bar, which as you might expect becomes a chic late night scene where locals flock for a nice cocktail and a background for the required IG position. for the night. I also learned about the hotel’s pet policy when two friends based in Philly booked a suite at the hotel to celebrate their engagement while we were there, and the hotel was kind enough to host them. puppy with treats and a dog bed.
One thing I liked about this hotel – and maybe it’s because of how new it is – is how the Philadelphians themselves are enamored. During our dinner at Jean-Georges’, no less than five couples made their way into the dining room; not for eating, but just for taking pictures of the views. A couple even dragged their baby, which was in a baby carrier, next to our table by the window for a family selfie. I couldn’t help but volunteer to take a family portrait; I was moved by the fact that they were excited enough about the hotel to get their baby up to 60 floors, down a steep flight of stairs, and through a restaurant, just to figure it all out.
Conclusion: is it worth it? I would like to put flyers to tell people about this place. It’s really special and full of the kind of people who care about making your experience – both at the hotel and in Philadelphia itself – as perfect as it gets (with just the right amount of fuss). As one bartender cleverly told us, “It’s still Philly.”