I think it’s safe to say that this is a tough time to be opening a new hotel. However, just a few weeks ago, the Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia did just that and opened its doors. It’s an $81 million entirely newly built hotel 5 years in the making. And, perhaps surprisingly, it opened pretty much right on schedule.
By happenstance, I had to be in Philadelphia for a weekend in October. As a Hyatt loyalist, I frequented The Bellevue Hotel (previously known as the Park Hyatt Philadelphia and subsequently Hyatt at the Bellevue; I have previously reviewed the King Room and Junior Suite here). However, being a sucker for new hotels, I decided to give the Hyatt Centric Philadelphia a shot.
Booking the Hyatt Centric Philadelphia
I booked my stay directly from Hyatt’s website. The cash rates were very reasonable for Philadelphia for a weekend, and I snagged a King Room for $144 a night, plus taxes/fees. Weekday rates are not bad, about ~$30 more.
This is a Category 5 property in the World of Hyatt program, meaning that it would cost 20,000 points for a free night. It also means that you won’t be able to use the anniversary free night certificate from the Chase World of Hyatt credit card. Interestingly, this hotel is in a higher category than The Bellevue Hotel, which is category 4, but the cash rate for The Bellevue Hotel was higher for all dates I searched.
I should note that many early Hyatt Centric locations were simply rebranded old Hyatt properties. For the past few years, though, more Hyatt Centric locations are popping up, many of which are new builds. They are generally in city centers, with smaller rooms but a focus on adding local flares. For instance, here, all elevators feature a map of Center City Philadelphia.
The Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia is—as the name implies—located in Center City. I find Philadelphia to be a very manageable city in general. The hotel’s location on 17th and Walnut means easy access to tons of restaurants, shopping options, and tourist attractions all within walking distance.
Hyatt Centric Philadelphia: Check-In and Patchwork Marketplace
At any rate, I arrived late in the evening after a few hours of driving. The valet parking drop-off and pick-up area is in a garage directly next to the hotel’s street entrance. Signs are clearly marked—I dropped off my car and was on my way. The valet requested my phone number and I received a text confirmation, which says to text “CAR” in order to summon my car. Valet parking costs a hefty $58 a night here, with in and out privileges. I never needed my car during my stay, but at check-out it took less than 5 minutes for my car to arrive.
The street entrance lobby—the one connected to the garage—is pretty basic. From there it’s a flight of stairs or an elevator ride away from the main lobby, where guests can check-in.
The main lobby shares a floor with the hotel’s restaurant and bar, both of which are not currently open. They seemed ready for guests, but with Covid-19 it’s probably not profitable to have them open just yet.
The front desk agent was chipper, and checked me in within minutes. He ran down a few World of Hyatt benefits. Since I was a Globalist member, he confirmed that parking is free under the current promotion. Unfortunately, because the hotel restaurant is currently closed, the free breakfast benefit would come in the form of either a daily $25 credit at the Patchwork Marketplace, or 2,500 World of Hyatt points per day. I gladly took the points.
He was clearly excited about the new hotel and proactively asked for me to come up with feedback to give him at the conclusion of my stay. I also took a quick peak at the Marketplace, which basically consists of a snack table and a fridge.
There is a decent variety of drinks, as well as a small selection of salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie plates. Items are a bit pricey here. A bottle of black cherry soda ran me $6.
The Executive Suite Living Room
On account of my Hyatt Globalist status, I received an upgrade to the Executive Suite. This is a standard suite (for World of Hyatt upgrade purposes), and at around 500 square feet, it’s a bit cozy. Though to put things in perspective, even the Presidential Suite of the hotel measure just 750 square feet.
My suite was located all the way at the end of the hallway. You can see they really went to town with the patchwork theme, featuring it in everything from carpets to wall decors.
The Executive Room opens to a small landing area, which then opens up to the living room.
The living room features a small apartment-sized couch, an accent chair, and a work desk. The coffee table is high enough that it easily doubles as a dining table for one or two people.
The decor is very, very, very, very, very mid-century modern mixed with industrial chic. I imagine if West Elm threw up in the room, this is what the aftermath would look like. (Hey, remember when West Elm was going to open their own hotels?) But as a lover of mid-century modern design, I am here for it. The ceilings are left unfinished with exposed concrete, which adds a brutalist vibe that is softened by the curved edges of the furniture.
The colors really do brighten up the room, which is a good thing, because I find the lighting to be significantly lacking in the room. I know I took these pictures late at night, but it turns out daylight didn’t help much. For the most part, the room was very dark. In fact, I would dare say that the pictures on the website are deceivingly bright.
The work desk is open in the back and peeks into the bedroom, which is helpful since the bedroom doesn’t otherwise have a window. The is plenty of workspace (for me to type up this review), and outlets are plentiful. There are even USB-C ports in the wall outlets!
Adjacent to the work desk is a small touchdown station, with a Keurig machine and a very small mini fridge. K-cups are provided, but there is otherwise no minibar to speak of.
The Executive Suite Bedroom
The bedroom is about the same size as the living room, which is to say that it’s also very cozy. A king bed dominates the room, with flanking night stands that feature plenty of power outlets.
A bench fills the nook on one side of the bedroom, but no tapered, rounded legs here.
On the other side of the bed is a small closet with an integrated luggage rack. Engaging the sliding door exposes what some might conceive to be a closet. A(n extremely large) robe adorns the clothing rack, and there is an ironing board and iron. I do find it crazy that an Executive Suite doesn’t have a proper closet, but I suppose living a suite life and living out of a suitcase are not mutually exclusive.
Under the luggage rack are a few storage drawers, one containing a safe.
Directly opposite the bed is another large flatscreen TV, as well as a small ledge that I ended up using to put my medicine, wallet, water bottle, etc.
I should note that both of the TVs in the room have Chromecast, so I was able to cast YouTube videos to watch on the big screen from my phone. Instructions were available in the Hyatt app.
Finally, there are a few thoughtful touches throughout the bedroom. For example, the foot of the bed has integrated motion-sensing night lights. This makes for a safe(r) trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
The Executive Suite Bathroom
The bathroom is enclosed by a space-saving sliding door, but is decently sized and well appointed. It features a large shower and a single vanity.
Amenities are barebones, with just a single dental kit and some body lotion.
While some Hyatt brands (ahem Park Hyatt) are famous for having amazing showers, my experience is that Hyatt Centric properties generally offer pretty lousy showers. And yes, I will freely admit this is based on an extremely small sample size of four Hyatt Centric properties across only two continents. They all had terrible showers.
Here at the Hyatt Centric Philadelphia there is no rain shower, and the water pressure is absolutely awful.
Bath amenities are BeeKind branded, which are nice enough, but doesn’t exactly scream local.
The toilet is separate from the main bathroom, with…a…varsity oar on the wall. Probably not previously used on the Schuylkill River.
Hyatt Centric Philadelphia Fitness Center
The hotel’s fitness center is located on the 3rd floor (one floor above the main lobby). It features a number of cardio machines and free weights.
Notably, there are also two Peloton bikes for those who need it in their routine. I also like that they provide single-use headphones, as well as a spot to recycle them. There are some Covid restrictions, but I was the only one at the gym the one time I used it.
The Upshot: Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia
This is a beautiful property in Center City Philadelphia, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. The restaurant was not available, but I think the hotel offered a good alternative for Globalists. The rates are (at least currently) reasonable, the service is friendly, and the location is fantastic, all part of the winning formula for a successful city hotel.
With any new property, it’s tough to say whether it will age well. Still, given that this is a dedicated new building with 300+ hotel rooms, I think the hotel will be dedicated to keeping up the service level. Everyone I interacted with seemed thrilled to be here, I can easily see this replacing The Bellevue Hotel as my primary go-to Hyatt hotel in Philadelphia.
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I contracted pink eye while staying at that hotel- though I think the infection had less to do with the hotel and more to do with the party I was attending.
I stayed here last weekend in an executive suite on floor 5. I liked the hotel. Out of curiosity, did they waive the parking fee even on a paid stay? I paid cash and didn’t park here because of the crazy high rate. Now I’m kicking myself if they waived that fee.
They did waive the parking fee proactively (this was mentioned both at check-in and confirmed at check-out by two separate agents) for my paid stay as a Globalist benefit from a promotion that will run until 1/4/2021.
Judging from the decor, somebody really loves the Ikea look.