(from Andy) A couple weeks ago I headed back to my stomping grounds, Philly, as I was in the States 2 weeks for a TAD and wanted to hang out with my youngest brother. I had two $200 Hyatt gift cards from a previous promotion that were burning a hole in my pocket. I’d tried to use them previously on our trip to Saigon, but they’re only available to use in the US or Canada. Also, Frequent Miler had his GCs hacked, twice, so I didn’t want to linger with them. I decided to try out the Hyatt Bellevue, as I’d played in a basketball league at it’s huge gym during residency, but I’d never actually stayed there. Also, it’s in a perfect location in Philly, just south of City Hall on Broad St and about midway between Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square, two Philly hotspots. I was able to book my two nights there with the military rate, $160, and was able to get a late 4pm checkout.

Originally built in 1904 and called the Bellevue-Stratford, per wikipedia, “Over two years in the making and costing over $8,000,000 (in 1904 dollars), the Bellevue-Stratford was described at the time as the most luxurious hotel in the nation and perhaps the most spectacular hotel building in the world. It initially had 1,090 guest rooms, the most magnificent ballroom in the United States, delicate lighting fixtures designed by Thomas Edison, stained and leaded glass embellishments in the form of transoms and Venetian windows and sky-lights by Alfred Godwin, and the most celebrated marble and hand-worked iron elliptical staircase in the city.” Cool.

The facade today is not all that impressive:

hyatt entrance

After navigating through ground-level shops, the lobby is concealed in a small and dark vestibule in the Southwest corner. The lovely young lady at check-in thanked me for my Diamond status, and upgraded me to a deluxe room, which didn’t look too different from a base-level room, at least on the website. I then discovered probably my biggest gripe with this hotel: the awful elevators. There are only two elevators for the whole hotel, which encompasses the top half of the Bellevue building, and they take FOREVER. Especially when there are weddings and wedding parties, for which the Bellevue is well-known. It often took 10-15 minutes for the elevators to show up, which to me is unacceptable for a chain as highly regarded as Hyatt.

Once I eventually got to my room, my reaction was, “meh”. It was a large layout, and the bed and everything was comfortable, but the furnishings were dated, the wifi was slow, and the awful window shutters did not keep out any light at all. Sorry for the picture, but I was tired and had to take a nap before I shot this pic:

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The bathroom was tiny, and not particularly luxurious…maybe in 1904:

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At least the closet was large:

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Diamonds get free breakfast, which took place at XIX, on the nineteenth floor. It offered gorgeous views over the city:

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Breakfast was good, not great, but to me any free food is good. I didn’t show pics of the gym for privacy reasons, but it is enormous and phenomenal, probably one of the best hotel gyms I have ever seen, so if you’re a workout phanatic then this is your place.

Overall I was not very impressed; I guess I’m just used to Hyatt having phenomenal properties, but this place was extremely outdated and with the elevators, not convenient. My biggest gripe, especially after some late nights out with my brother, were the cheap wooden window shutters which offered no morning light-blockingĀ at all. I will likely not stay here again unless they undergo renovation.

Posted by glenn | 6 Comments

6 responses to “Review: Hyatt Bellevue Philadelphia”

  1. Michael says:

    Andy, as you mention, the history of this hotel is fascinating almost beyond compare with any other. That being said, this was once a Park Hyatt and I’m pretty sure that Hyatt stripped the “Park” away after they demanded room renovations from the hotel ownership, who refused. Never confirmed this, but was a rumor around town (I live here) at the time.

  2. Ed C says:

    Amazingly that’s after the renovation. I have a feeling that some of it was due to historical reasons but it also felt like they tried to cut costs during the renovation too. In addition, I found the walls to be pretty thin and wasn’t able to sleep a few nights when there was a party next door.

    I wish Hyatt had better and more properties in Philly. I miss the Penns Landing property which turned into a Hilton (I think).

  3. Ben says:

    Ed – it did indeed turn into a Hilton. There’s a gorgeous outdoor beer garden that’s at the base of that hotel on the water now also, so it’s an even better spot.

  4. Andy says:

    @ed – after reno?? Jeesh. It is now a Hilton, but kind of far from everything. Hmm when’s the Park Hyatt Philadelphia going to open?!?

  5. DWT says:

    Unfortunately, yes, the property just completed its renovation this past spring! However, the original renovation was supposed to be about four years ago (in fact the suites and adjoining rooms were done then), but was then put off for the rest of the property, and the rooms done in phase two don’t look anything like phase one, so I suspect there were some budgetary issues that came into play.

    Unfortunately, the “bones” of the property are quite old, so without a full gut renovation, some things like the poor internal noise insulation and tiny bathrooms will never change.

  6. Doug says:

    As you failed to note in your review, the Bellevue -is- the Park Hyatt Philadelphia, or more accurately, used to be.

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