Philadelphia: Hotel boom town?

I’m from Toronto. I love this town, especially in the past decade when it has really come alive. I’ve sat courtside to witness the booming rise of hundreds of new condominiums and a dozen new hotels in my fair city, especially at the luxury level, with brand names like Ritz-Carlton, Trump, Thompson, Shrangri-La and a shiny new Four Seasons.

Now it appears the City of Brotherly Love is also starting to share in this rekindled love of hotels. And through a little gentle nudging from some colleagues in the media, I’ve had a front-row seat for this unveiling, too. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on the horizon.

Starting with what’s new, there’s a 246-room Home2 Suites by Hilton opening in late August right next to Reading Terminal and a five-story, 172-room Courtyard by Marriott set to break ground as a part of the revitalization of the Philadelphia Navy Yard near the international airport. Also worth noting at the planning stage is a 150-room Hotel Indigo (part of InterContinental Hotel Group) on a site one block away from city hall.

In terms of refurbishments, renovations and rebrands, the list includes the 757-room Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia; the Holiday Inn Express Penn’s Landing (previously a Comfort Inn); the DoubleTree by Hilton currently adding another 48 rooms for a total of 480; the 337-room Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West; the Radisson Blu at Rittenhouse Square; and the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District (formerly the Holiday Inn Historic District). Additionally, the Loews Philadelphia Hotel and the Rittenhouse Hotel are both undergoing renovations set for completion in the near future.

Whether you consider these results to be good, bad or white noise, I leave up to you. Personally, I see this hotel stimulus as an instrumental part of the grand-scale revitalization and gentrification of this metropolis. Better guestrooms up the ante for other preexisting providers, forcing the incumbents to improve or get left behind. Compounding this ebb and flow of one-upmanship over the course of a 10-year span translates into a vastly improved market for accommodations as well as more astutely competitive owners and operators. Moreover, the incentive of additional visitors means more revenue for local businesses, helping uphold an urban landscape of vibrant shopping avenues, haute restaurants, art galleries and so on.

All said, this is good for business and good for the city. Philadelphia has a wondrous and well-preserved history in addition to dozens of outstanding museums. I didn’t even mention my fondness for cheesesteak sandwiches or the Eagles. This “Birthplace of America” is a city you simply have to visit, and this expansion of guestroom supply is likely motivated by an already growing demand from other trendsetting sightseers.

What are your thoughts?