Philadelphia family travel: Luxury and fun at the Hotel Monaco

Happy kids Hotel Monaco PhiladelphiaPlease click on photos to see full-size versions

I’ve made no secret that I’m a huge fan of Kimpton Hotels (not least of all because they sponsored my Passports with Purpose prize in 2012). And the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia is no exception. In fact, I knew we were in for a treat as soon as we walked into the newly opened hotel, which being just steps from Independence Hall is a great spot for Philadelphia family travel. The marble entryway boasts what may be my favorite chandelier ever:
Love this boat shaped chandelier at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

The staff refers to the lobby as the “living room” and that’s just how it feels – like the luxurious quarters of your favorite chic, rich aunt.

Gorgeous decorative details in the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia lobby

The staff at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia calls this the "living room"The Hotel Monaco Philadelphia is located in the historic Lafayette building, which was constructed in 1907 as an homage to the French Revolutionary War hero. Although the décor is modern and fun, there are definite nods to the heritage of the building and the area that surrounds it.

The details at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia reflect the history in and around it.

It’s also a great place to play “I Spy” as the boys discovered to their delight.

Playing "I Spy" in the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia lobby

Upstairs, we all shared a Parkview Queen/Queen room on the eighth floor and were perfectly comfortable. The room itself is generously sized, with room to spread out, play, and relax.

Relaxing in our room at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

Playing in our room at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

And you definitely want to spring for one of the rooms with a view – because this is what you’ll see right outside your window:

Independence Hall is steps away from the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

You can even see City Hall from the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and William Penn – that’s hard to beat!

If you’ve got a larger family or want more space, the hotel also offers twelve connecting rooms (one king bed, and two queens) as well as a Majestic Suite with a king bed, two queens, and a pullout couch in the living room.

Perhaps the most special aspect of a stay at the Hotel Monaco is that the staff is committed to providing what they call “Kimpton moments” for your kids. I was impressed with how hard they all worked to do this. From the doormen who chatted up the boys to the front-desk staff who fetched them apple juice and soda during the evening wine hour in the lobby to the toys and kid-sized bathrobes that were placed in our room to the “cookie currency” that entitled them to a delivery of cookies and milk, they definitely felt special and said as much repeatedly.

Free cookies are one of the perks for kids at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

Also awesome for kids: The hot chocolate bar that’s set up in the morning includes both mini marshmallows and whipped cream.

And grownups are also well taken care of with free coffee in the morning.

Free coffee at the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

We also enjoyed wine and hot toddies and amazingly delicious cider donuts during the evening wine hour, gloriously comfortable beds, full-sized delicious toiletries from Etro, and our own set of cozy robes. I also appreciated the general atmosphere – the hotel is elegant, but fun; the service  attentive, but friendly and not overly formal. I felt very welcome hanging out in the public spaces with my children.

We loved being in Philadelphia just before Christmas, but much of what makes the Hotel Monaco special can be found there year round. Its location in Independence National Historical Park means you can walk to many of the historical sites Philly is famous for. I think it would make a great spot for a January post-holiday getaway, especially if you take advantage of the winter Family Fun Package, which runs through January 27, 2013, and includes tickets to see Cinderella at the Arden Theatre. Become a member of the Kimpton loyalty program (it’s free) and enjoy additional perks like free WiFi.

Whether or not you book a family package, make sure to let the hotel know if you’re arriving with kids in tow, because the staff there will go out of their way to make sure every family member is kept happy. The concierge is also prepared to offer suggestions for family-friendly activities in Philadelphia if you need help planning your visit.

And don’t miss the story of our wonderful meals at the adjoining Red Owl Tavern, involving the repair of balloon animals and really delicious smoothies.

Want to see more photos of the hotel? Trust me, you do: It’s gorgeous. I’ve shared some on my Facebook page.

The Hotel Monaco Philadelphia offered me and my family one complimentary night’s stay. You can always count on me to share when I’ve received something for free – and also to share my honest opinion about it.

Reader Responses

3 fellow travelers had this to say

  1. Looks like a lot of fun. Is this Monaco pet friendly like the Palomar Kimpton Hotel near Rittenhouse Square?

    • Hi Suzanne – yes it is! They totally welcome pets and will provide amenities for them. I didn’t get a photo, but we saw several happy dogs during our stay there. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Best place for vacation fun

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