Trip Report & Review – Hyatt at the Bellevue, Philadelphia (King Room)

As I mentioned in the introduction, I spent some time living in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. And as a Hyatt junkie, I’ve always wanted to check out the only Hyatt property within the city, Hyatt at the Bellevue.

Built in 1904 as a hotel, it was perhaps the height of luxury, located right down the street from City Hall. Through the years, it had been converted into a mixed-use property. In 1996, Hyatt took over the property. In the beginning, it was known as the Park Hyatt Philadelphia, but in 2010, it was stripped of its Park Hyatt brand and “downgraded” into a plain old Hyatt. I have always wondered why this is, but (spoiler alert) after these two stays, it kind of makes sense.

This trip report/review is part of a series. See also:

Hyatt at the Bellevue had been undergoing significant renovations, and it was finally done just a few weeks before I checked in. I took a day off to do some mileage run, so I actually had two separate stays at the property. In this review, I will focus on the first stay.

I can never quite figure out the pricing of this hotel. I am sure there are a lot of events going on at the hotel or in the city I am not aware of, but their rates can consistently go from around $200 to almost $700 for a standard room, and that’s just the range within the same week. Since this hotel is a Category 4 property, I redeemed my expiring Anniversary Free Night from the Chase Hyatt card. The annual free night can be used for any Category 4 property or below.

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Like many new hotels in skyscrapers or mixed-use buildings, the check-in lobby was located on the top (19th) floor. However, unlike said hotels, this check-in area is not a dedicated one. The staff explained to me that it’s usually in the ground floor, but with renovations in place they moved it up to the 19th floor, right next to the XIX Restaurant.

I waited about 15 minutes to be helped, and the lady who checked me in acknowledge my Diamond status with Hyatt. She proactively provided a 4pm-checkout, and explained the breakfast situation. However, no upgrade was offered or mentioned. I was assigned a King room.

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I loved the USB charging ports right by the bed, because probably like most people I spend some time on my phone before I go to bed (you’re not supposed to do that…I know, I know).

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There was no decoration whatsoever in the room—the walls were completely bland and it frankly felt a little bit sterile.

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The room was spacious, and the bed was comfortable. I appreciated that there was a huge desk and a large coffee table for me. It’s always nice to have a surface to unload all my bits and pieces as soon as I entered the room.

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Opposite the bed was also a huge flat screen TV. Opposite the door was a cabinet with the coffee maker.

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As I mentioned, the property had recently undergone significant renovations, but you wouldn’t really be able to tell from looking at the room. My observation and experience begged the question, what was renovated?

To begin, the room had a hodgepodge of different furniture with all sorts of different designs. There was no coherence—it’s as though someone went to a few “hotels going out of business” sales, picked up a few chairs and nightstands from each hotel, and threw them in the same room. If you take a look at the night stands, you will notice that they are drastically different on each side. The TV lounge chairs, chairs by the table, and bench by the bed all featured different patterns and material.

The closet was dingy and felt like something I would see at an old Holiday Inn Express, not a recently renovated Hyatt.

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The bathroom had no tub but a pretty spacious shower. However, the light switches and outlets had seemingly not been changed during the renovation. I know I may be nitpicky here, but that seem like a cheap and easy fix that would make the feeling of the room a whole lot better.

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The bath products were the standard Kenet MD for Hyatt.

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Then there is the cleanliness factor that I think is pretty important for hotels in general. I know rooms sometimes do stay vacant for a bit, but I was frankly a bit shocked to see the air vents so dirty and the phone covered in dust.

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And this brings me back to the history of the hotel. I think it’s fair to say this property definitely does not deserve the “Park Hyatt” name. Even knowing it is now just a plain Hyatt, though, it was still underwhelming. And I know, design of hotel is pretty much a first world problem. But for a hotel that can run ~$400 for a standard room during busy weeks, I expected something better.

Have you stayed at Hyatt at the Bellevue? What was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. I have stayed here many times in the past 40 years or so and sadly the property continues to decline. I had hoped that Hyatt or the owners under pressure from Hyatt would being to at least “freshen” the rooms which are getting beyond tired. I still like the bar upstairs dark and old !! After this last stay I have decided to look elsewhere when returning to Philly, unless of course they do some work, chances of which appear to be slim.

  2. Disagree. I love the history, the ambiance. ALthough maybe not a super upgrade, it still feels refreshed to me. And I’ve acutally got some decent prices on this hotel. It’s not the only place I stay in Philly, but definitely a top option for me. And yea- its not a Park Hyatt or even a 20K hotel and its an awesome hotel.

  3. Stayed there for a (free) night back in July, and I didn’t think the room was that bad. Renovations were still going on at the time though, and it was kind of annoying to have to take one elevator up to 19 to check in, then walk all the way across the hotel and take a completely different elevator bank down to my room. And then when I left the hotel, I had to repeat that process in reverse, because due to the construction, I was unable to take the guest room bank of elevators down to the lobby. I mean, for free it was not bad, and I might try it again next time I’m in the Philadelphia area.

  4. We stayed at the Bellevue a couple of years ago before renovations. The location is great and the spacious room worked well for our family. We’ve stayed in much nicer Hyatts but, as a cat 4, we had no complaints.

    You buried the lede: this hotel was ground zero for Legionnaire’s Disease. Kind of makes me a little uneasy looking at the housekeeping standards.

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