When William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, planned the
city he included sylvan squares in his grid, green oases for neighbors to enjoy
a respite from the city's bustling commercial life. Drawings of colonial days
show residents gathering in the small parks. Of all of the downtown squares,
Rittenhouse Square is the one that is best-known and is the
town's toniest address. Every room at the The Rittenhouse Hotel,
built five years ago, faces the square.
The plan of the park with its diagonal paths is also the hotel's logo, perhaps
to underscore how important both the city and the square were to the building's
design. A section of historic Fairmount Park is duplicated in the lobby and
on the walls of the Boathouse Row Bar is a lighted replica of the Schuylkill
The hotel tries to provide guests with the quintessential Philadelphia experience.
One of the its town cars will conveniently transport you to your appointments,
museums, shopping and restaurants. A full-service health club has the latest
equipment, a generously-sized pool, a variety of beauty treatments and "the
best masseuse in the city" (Philadelphia magazine). Denzel Washington and
Tom Hanks lived at The Rittenhouse in the posh limited edition suites while
The thriving Philadelphia dining scene has been invigorated by the debut of
Lacroix at The Rittenhouse. Previously known as Treetops, the new restaurant
will be overseen by internationally acclaimed chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, who joined
the Rittenhouse Hotel as Executive Chef in fall 2001. Stone pathways, warm sunlight
and abundant greenery capturing the spirit of an elegant park and garden will
greet guests as Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square comes alive inside the city's
newest star in its culinary crown. During the renovation period, guests enjoyed
breakfast and lunch in the Cassatt Tea Room and dined al fresco in the
garden. Dinner was served in the Boathouse Row Bar and Smith & Wollensky.
The Rittenhouse, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Tel.
(215) 546-9000, 800-635-1042. Rates start at $199.00. www.rittenhousehotel.com