The best hotels in Philadelphia

CNN  — 

Whether you prefer over-the-top luxury or an intimate boutique setting, a secluded hideaway or a spot right in the center of it all, you can explore the best of Philadelphia’s rich history, vibrant culture and dynamic culinary scene when you make one of these hotels your home base.

Hotels near history

Rittenhouse Square – one of the five public squares city founder William Penn originally plotted – is centrally located, so its surrounding neighborhood is home to a host of convenient lodging options.

The Rittenhouse Hotel just completed a redesign of all 118 rooms and suites.

A room at The Rittenhouse.

The luxe property overlooking the bustling, tree-lined square has two restaurants on site (including the lovely Lacroix, home to an exquisite tasting menu), plus the intimate Library Bar, a day spa and the best afternoon tea program in the city.

On a sunny day, sit in the secluded garden and sip one of the hotel’s signature blends, paired with tiers of house-made scones and pastries.

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On the other side of the square, find the historic Warwick Rittenhouse. Originally opened in 1928, the hotel now has a contemporary vibe, with a lofty, modern art-filled lobby and stylishly minimalist rooms.

Connected to the hotel, guests have access to a classic steakhouse, Australian-inspired coffee shop Bluestone Lane, and the new Mediterranean spot, Spice Finch, from Top Chef alum Jennifer Carroll and partner Billy Riddle.

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar is a few blocks north, and also features a curated collection of playful, contemporary art, plus use of the hotel’s bicycles, 24-hour fitness center, in-room yoga mats, and Kimpton’s signature nightly wine hours.

The colorful Hotel Palomar.

Half a block from the square’s south east corner, the Rittenhouse 1715 boutique hotel occupies a quaint carriage house that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

The 23-room property has all the amenities of a bigger hotel – WiFi, wheelchair accessibility, 24-hour room service, plus an evening wine reception, daily continental breakfast, outdoor pool and loads of charm.

In the center of it all

Chez Colette at the Sofitel.

Paris-based hotel chain The Sofitel has an outpost in Center City, with a prime position just a few blocks north of Rittenhouse Square, close to Love Park, and the Franklin Institute science museum.

Even closer to the museums, The Logan is one of the city’s newest hotels (it was once the Four Seasons, and opened after a complete revamp in late 2015.)

Decked out in Philadelphia-inspired artwork, the hotel features an indoor pool, spa, health center, and a rooftop bar with some of the city’s best views. It’s also very close to Logan Circle, the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and more of Philly’s essential cultural institutions.

Smack in the center of the city, find The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, housed in an opulent, neoclassical building that was once a bank.

The lobby – light-filled and reminiscent of Rome’s Pantheon, thanks to its stunning oculus – is home to the hotel’s restaurant and bar, and many of the beautifully appointed rooms have an up-close view of City Hall.

Visitors looking for a robust fitness center should check into the Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The rooftop view from the Hyatt Bellevue Hotel.

Located a few blocks south of City Hall, the stately, 172-room hotel has free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly rooms, and the 93,000-square-foot Sporting Club at the Bellevue — perhaps the best place in the city to work off Philly’s iconic cheesesteaks.

Guests of the hotel get free access to the sprawling training floor, with cardio machines and weights, plus an indoor, 25-meter swimming pool, basketball court, racquetball court, running track, boxing studio and more.

Big and small alike

In Old City, the brand-new Renaissance has a hip lobby bar, indoor swimming pool, Aveda bath products and a backdrop of the Independence National Historical Park.

Also in very close proximity to the city’s best historical sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, is Hotel Monaco. Another Kimpton property with the brand’s customary amenities, the 268-room hotel welcomes pets and has a lively rooftop lounge.

An airy loft at the Lokal Hotel.

On a quieter street in the neighborhood, Lokal is a whole new type of lodging. Their “invisible service” means no staff on site, but plenty of technology to make your stay comfortable and seamless. Spacious lofts are reminiscent of a Silverlake pied a terre, and iPads come filled with recommendations for local favorites.

A little north, in the Fishtown neighborhood, Mulherin’s Hotel is a similar setup. The four-room property is situated over the popular restaurant, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, which serves nightly dinner and weekend brunch, and is also home to a upscale bar with a cozy fireplace.

Just over the Walnut Street bridge, overlooking the Schuylkill River, the modern AKA University City is perfect for short or extended stays.

Studios, one- and two-bedroom suites have full kitchens, plus all the benefits of a hotel – a 24-hour front desk, housekeeping, and a long list of amenities. Walnut Street Cafe, the restaurant on the ground floor, has star baker Melissa Weller and her outstanding pastry and bread program.

Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 546-9000

Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square, 220 S 17th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 735-6000

Hotel Palomar, 117 S 17th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 563-5006

Rittenhouse 1715, 1715 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 546-6500

The Sofitel 120 S 17th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 569-8300

The Logan, 1 Logan Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, (215) 963-1500

The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, 10 Ave Of The Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102, (215) 523-8000

Hyatt at the Bellevue, 200 S Broad St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102, (215) 893-1234

Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown, 401 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, (215) 925-0000

Hotel Monaco, 433 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, (215) 925-2111

Lokal, 139 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, (267) 702-4345

Mulherin’s Hotel, 1355 N Front St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, (215) 291-1355

AKA University City, Cira Centre South, 2929 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, (215) 372-9000

Regan Stephens is a Philadelphia-based writer covering food, drink, and travel. Find her on Instagram @regan.stephens.