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The Rittenhouse: Where Old World Glamour Meets Modern Luxe

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Photos Credit: The Rittenhouse

The City of Brotherly Love was never really a place of humble beginnings. As the nation's first capital, it birthed the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and one of the United States' most revered icons: Benjamin Franklin. The Rittenhouse keeps with Philadelphia's rich tradition by providing every guest the kind of opulence one would expect from America's most historic city. Located immediately on Rittenhouse Square, the Five Diamond-rated hotel's unique charm stems from the pairing of its world-class service with one of the most desirable locations in town. 

From the moment you step onto the property its clear that the Rittenhouse experience is of a different class. A recipient of the prestigious Forbes Four Star Award, the hotel's facade belies the grandeur within. The land where the property now stands was once home to AJ and Lois Cassatt, a family whose legacy lies in the Philadelphia Railroad and New York City's Penn Station. Mary Cassatt, (for whom the world-renowned lounge and tea room is named) was AJ's sister and a famous impressionist painter in the art world. After the Cassatt family sold the property to the Episcopal Church of Philadelphia, the site became home to the Academy of Notre Dame, which taught three generations of the elite Hollywood family, the Barrymores. In the 1960s, the property switched hands again to become the renowned space known and loved today. Architect Donald Reiff angled the hotel in a way that provided maximum occupancy for guests and premium views of Rittenhouse Square while still maintaining some of its original architecture. 

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Space is the Rittenhouse's calling card. Boasting the biggest rooms in Center City and beyond, guests can expect anywhere from 450 to 1,700 square feet in their 91 guest rooms and 27 suites. Each room is appointed with an assortment of muted, classic furnishings that speak to the hotel's storied past. Don't neglect the opportunity to drape yourself in the robes and slippers left in the closet—they are among some of the most plush this writer has ever experienced.

While each room has its own special charm, the two-bedroom Rittenhouse Suite is the pinnacle of the hotel's accommodations. The open, light-filled space provides unparalleled views of Rittenhouse Square Park and all of the amenities one would find at home. In addition to the two bedrooms, the suite also features two and a half marble bathrooms, a full kitchen,a living room and a dining area. The room is the only room in the building that can be connected to an Executive King Suite as well, making the luxurious space perfect for families or those on a corporate retreat.  

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As the birthplace of the world's most infamous cheesesteaks, it's safe to say that Philadelphia has a significant culinary legacy. In the past decade, foodie culture has evolved from a burgeoning fad to a full-blown lifestyle for some, leading the world's best chefs to urban centers. Philly is no exception to this trend. Scarpetta is the latest addition to The Rittenhouse's suite of dining options on property, offering elegant, upscale Italian fare to the menu. Every pasta on offer is handmade in house and it shows—the duck and foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction was to die for. Our attentive waiter was careful to illustrate where in the local region every part of the meal had come from, reiterating the restaurant's committment to Pennsylvania-sourced products.

After dinner, be sure to drop by the Library Bar for a nightcap. Located on the first floor, the space is reminiscent of the reading nook in an old European mansion. Grab your beverage of choice and cozy up in a corner for some good conversation over candlelight. Library Bar faithfuls rave about the handcrafted cocktails, which change seasonally. Amp up your sense of adventure this fall with the The Great Pumpkin, a sumptuous mix of Stoli Vanilla, baking spice, pumpkin and cream, topped off with cinnamon. 

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If the hustle and bustle of the city has taken its toll, the Rittenhouse Spa & Club has you covered. Whether you're looking for eyelash extensions or a facial designed specifically for your skin type, rest assured that the spa has a service for it. For the truly indulgent, consider the Natural Balance Package. Guests will be treated to a four hour head-to-toe cleansing session, complete with ESPA personalized facial, a citrus drench body treatment, classic manicure and pedicure, and a blow out to top off those feel-good vibes.  

Rittenhouse Square was one of Philadelphia's original five squares planned by William Penn in the 17th century. The plaza is now one of the city's most appealing locations, providing ample shade and bench space to have a picnic or simply stroll through on your way elsewhere. During the spring and summer months, the site hosts flower shows, art markets and events for children weekly. For those with a serious shopping habit, you can't go wrong with the neighborhood surrounding the Square. Several high end shops, restaurants and other attractions are within a breezy 10-minute walking distance. No matter what time of year you stay at The Rittenhouse, you can't go wrong—the elegant atmosphere, prime location and superior service assure you a spectacular time in Phildelphia.  

Kat Ward

Kat Ward is the Assistant Editor at JustLuxe. She gets to call sunny San Diego home, but has lived in 4 other countries and most recently returned from a stint in the United Kingdom. When she isn't working or traveling, Kat can be found practicing yoga, enjoying a glass of Cabernet, or playing ukulele to one of her dogs. ...(Read More)

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