As part of a weekend trip to Philadelphia in September, using flights booked during the #BA100 sale, Lucy and I stayed in The Independent Hotel. Whilst we were planning the trip, it had reasonable reviews and wasn’t badly priced.
We had taken the train from the airport, and walked down to the hotel from City Hall Station. In retrospect, not the best choice given we each had a suitcase, but it wasn’t too bad.
The entrance to the hotel is no more than that — a doorway that leads into a lobby about 6ft square with a lift (elevator) that takes you to reception, which is one floor above. There are no obvious stairs (as someone that prefers to take the stairs for a floor or two).
Reception is a large wooden desk, and it took a little while to find someone to check us in, but as we were being checked in it was explained to us that there was cheese and wine in reception every evening, and that breakfast was delivered to the rooms in baskets every morning, we just had to fill in the card the night before.
The first impression of the room was favourable. It was reasonably large and had a high ceiling, even if the floors were a bit worn.
There was a small selection of books to read from, though the title of the top one was curious!
The bathroom was slightly odd, being an ‘L’ shape with the sink at one end of the L, close to the door, and the shower at the far end of the L, in what I guess might originally have been a different building given what appears to be a keystone in the lintel. As you can see from the photo above, the ceiling was a little uneven.
There was also the usual in-room coffee machine (which leaked whilst in operation). When we arrived there were two ‘normal’ coffee capsules and two decaffeinated. However, even though I was leaving out a tip for housekeeping, it obviously wasn’t enough, as one day when we arrived back (for a second time, when we got back at 4pm the room hadn’t yet been serviced), this is what was waiting:
We only had the in-room breakfast once, and it was a bit of a disaster. This is what we ordered (for two people):
A bagel and two hard-boiled eggs each, plus some juice and milk. This is what was delivered:
A croissant and a snack bar, with butter and jam each. There were also two small bottles of orange juice, not pictured. No bagels, and no eggs. Looking at other reviews, this doesn’t seem to be an uncommon occurrence, and as we had plans for the day, we didn’t bother asking them to rectify it, we just nibbled on the croissants, put the snack bars in our bags and headed out.
The less said about the cheese and wine reception the better. The cheese was cubes of American-style cheddar, accompanied by some rather bland plonk. We only partook once.
The rooms are single-glazed, and being towards the bottom of the busy bits of 13th Street let in quite a bit of noise at night. However, perhaps that’s a sign that we should just have been staying out later.
All in all, I was mildly disappointed with the hotel. We had paid over £800 (including tax) for four nights, but the room we had was nothing like the bright, airy rooms portrayed on the website. The power sockets were almost hanging out of the wall, and the breakfast experience was poor.