Because central Philadelphia is so compact, choosing the area to be based in is generally not much of an issue. Most hotels, including plenty of national chains, are in busy, business district Center City; competition keeps a cap on rates, but do book ahead for busy times of the year such as holidays and graduations. A smattering of B&Bs can be found across the Schuylkill River near University City.
All the major chains have outposts (usually several) in Old City and Center City with other hotel clusters being in University City and out near the airport. New additions to the downtown hotel scene include the W Philadelphia/Element Philadelphia near City Hall and the Four Seasons atop Comcast Innovation & Technology Center. There are several boutique hotels and smaller independent hotels downtown, too.
You'll find a handful of characterful B&Bs in the neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill, Rittenhouse and University City.
The main hostels are clustered in Old City, but there's also a very good one stuck out on a limb in leafy West Fairmount Park. Book well ahead as they are popular in a town where hotel taxes can really add to the cost of accommodation.
For longer-term stays, self-catering studios and apartments can be great value compared to hotels. There are some excellent and very stylish options, particularly in the Rittenhouse neighborhood. Airbnb provides plenty of choices across the city.
Several Philly hotels, including Windsor Suites and the ROOST apartment hotels, allow pets, but the best of the bunch also provide food and water bowls, pick-up bags and maps of neighborhood dog-walking areas. Generally there's a fee of around $50 or less to pay for these services, but at some places your pet can stay for free.
Need to Know
Plan on paying $25 to $50 per day to park in a hotel lot; on-street parking is expensive and difficult to find in the center.
Taxes on accommodation are high in the city. As well as the 7% hotel occupancy tax there's an 8% total sales tax and 8.5% hotel room rental tax.
- Hotel porters: $2 per bag
- Housekeeping staff: $2 to $5 daily
- Parking valets: $2 to $5 when you're handed back the keys
- Room service: 15% to 20%
- Concierges: Up to $20 (for securing last-minute restaurant reservations, sold-out show tickets etc)
Recommended for busy times of the year including major public holidays and around graduation time for the universities and colleges.
Often included in rates but check when booking.
Check-in Check-out Times
Check-in is normally 3pm; check-out is usually noon. Many places will allow early check-in if the room is available (or will store your luggage if not).