Philadelphia. Affectionately known as the City of Brotherly Love. It is the home of the Philly Cheese Steak … and of Rocky Balboa … and home of Benjamin Franklin. Believe it or not, this city was more important than New York during the days of the independence of the United States. Most important of all, Philadelphia is the home of the Independence Hall … the place where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution was signed. In many ways, Philadelphia is the birth place of the United States of America.
We got into Philadelphia quite late. The sun was almost setting and we were quite lost. There were a lot of one way streets and the GPS did not work too well. The GPS we brought along were giving us wildly wrong locations because the city center were so full of tall buildings that the signals got mixed up.
It was quite stressful really because of the way the lanes gets changed. Once I inadvertently cut a huge SUV off and the driver pulled by my side challenging me to pull aside for a fight! Geez … I am just lost buddy. Good thing I did not maintain eye contact because there were four burly black guys … he he he … was so afraid they would pull a gun out or something!
We managed to get a hotel right in downtown — just a couple of blocks away from the City Hall. The hotel is the Double Tree … which is more than we expected for less than $100 a night. Checking in was a breeze.
For the first time ever, we got free cookies and very good ones at that too. And it felt warm too. Man, that was a good way to make their guest feel at home.
The hotel room was quite spacious and have a angled windows to the main street below. We were quite pleased with the view from the room. We did not expect that because we thought that since we got the room through Hotwire, we would be given the room facing the back alley or something. These kind of rooms are reserved for rack rate paying guests.
The view overlooks Broad St which has quite a number of theaters too. We did not catch any show during our stay.
We had a double queen and used the one furthest away from the frosty air cond. Temperature control were terrible and virtually switches from very cold to very hot.
There is a complimentary coffee making machine which makes decent coffee.
The washroom was spotless and clean. More importantly, it smell fresh. I hate musty smelling washrooms.
The toiletries were better than most others too. Suanne swiped them all to use at home. OK, we admit, we are cheap! But we leave tips for the chambermaids … so the chambermaids were quite OK I guess.
Oh … favourite topic of chowtime readers … tips. How much do you tip … or do you even tip? For us, we normally leave a dollar or two every day. We used to leave the tip on the table but we found that in some hotels, they do not touch it. So, we normally write on the notepad … “For Housekeeping”. In this particular hotel, they actually handwrote a reply that says “Thanks for the tips” and signed with a little flower. Ah … the housekeepers in Double Tree has class. And the room were spotless clean every night.
This is strange here. There are no wifi in the rooms. To get on the internet, they use cable but it is, as expected, rather expensive. There is a saving grace though …
They have FREE wifi at the lobby. There are lots of sofa in the lobby area and at night there are lots of people with their notebooks. Free wifi is good.
Parking was expensive though. It was something like $25 per day or so … and the parking lot doesn’t look quite safe too.
We dropped our bags, freshen up and then hit the streets. I was quite surprised how safe it felt in the downtown core. There are many touristy looking couples all dressed up walking along the streets. After all it is where the theaters are and quite a few nice looking restaurants too.
We knew we would like Philadelphia. Well, this is the start of the “Philadelphia” series but I promise it will not be long and tedious like Washington DC. I just have my reasons to press on with this travel series. 🙂