Sunday, November 28, 2010

Comfort Inn Hotel, Philadelphia

Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia
UPDATED April 30, 2016: Please note, this review was for the former Comfort Inn Hotel, in Philadelphia, PA. Since my stay in 2010, this hotel has been rebadged as the Holiday Inn Express. However, I have decided to leave the review on my site for historical purposes. 

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Travelling on a budget, as I do, necessitates looking for good affordable accommodation when one simply has to stay in hotels while on the move. On my summer road trip from New York City to New Orleans, I had occasion to book hotels twice; once in New Orleans and the other in Philadelphia (later I also stayed at Yavapai Lodge at the Grand Canyon). And since I wrote about my road trip in a series of recent posts, I thought this was a good time to offer a review of one of the hotels I stayed at during that journey.

In America, budget accommodation for me is in the $60-$80 range. Anything cheaper, and the flaws can start to show in the way of loose fittings, water damage in bathrooms, faulty equipment, poor quality bedding, and so on. Of course, where you are in America plays a big part in all this. In New York City $60-$80 won’t get you very much at all in the way of even reasonable accommodations. On the other hand, you can get very good rooms for those figures in other parts of the country, and smaller state capitals.

After the usual online research, and for numerous reasons, I settled on the Comfort Inn Hotel at 100 North Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106. (215) 627-7900.
  • It was close to the Greyhound Bus station
  • It was within walking distance of Philadelphia’s historic district
  • It was right on the Delaware River
  • It had great views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
  • It offered free high-speed WiFi in rooms
  • There was a small bar fridge
  • It provided a free shuttle bus to various locations in the city center
  • The extensive breakfast included in the price
  • It had very good reviews
  • At $70.00 per night – the price was right
I wasn’t disappointed.

The online booking was smooth and trouble free, and at check-in everything went just as smoothly. I asked for and received a room with a great view overlooking the Delaware River and the Ben Franklin Bridge (which connects Pennsylvania with New Jersey). The views during the day were great, but at night they were particularly beautiful.

Here are just a few of the historic sites you can walk to from the hotel: the United States Mint (free self-guided tour); Elfreth’s Alley and Museum; Betsy Ross House; Christ Church and Cemetery (where Ben Franklin is buried); the National Constitution Center; Liberty Bell Carpenter’s Hall, and so much more.

Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: a room with a real view
The room was perfect. The oversized bed was comfortable, everything worked as it was supposed to, and the air conditioning was cold (given that the temperature in Philadelphia during my stay was in the 100+ degree range, good air-con was a must). The room was huge and featured a large window that took up the whole width of the room, allowing plenty of natural light to fill the space.
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: main room with king bed
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: main room
The bathroom was also large and spacious, had more towels and soap than one person could reasonably expect, and the attention to detail was clearly visible (as can be seen in the next two photographs).
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: paying attention to details
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: still paying attention to details
Of course, hotel rooms are generally provided with towels and soap for two or more people which accounts for the excess of both in my room – but was I going to complain about that? Not likely.

As you can see in the next series of images, the bathroom was fitted out with plenty of counter space, a large mirror, a generous supply of extras (shampoo and conditioner, box of tissues, etc), and hair dryer.
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: plenty of counter space
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: bathroom hair dryer and tissues
There was more than enough storage space for clothing, and an iron and ironing board were also provided, as was a safe for storage of important documents, money and other valuables. An additional fee applies if using the safe, so if you don’t use it (and this applies pretty much universally), make sure you tell reception staff when either signing in or out, so that the fee is not included in the final account.

The air-con was large and very effective. In fact, it was too effective for me, and despite signs asking guests to not adjust the settings, I increased the warmth factor a few degree so that I didn’t have to over dress while in my room.
Image: Comfort Inn, Philadelphia: air-conditioning unit
The buffet-style Continental breakfast offered a good range of choices including cereals, donuts and muffins, juices, waffles (make your own), coffee and tea, and fresh fruit, etc. If I was going to complain about anything, it would be that the breakfast room is too small for a hotel of this size. However, guests are able to eat breakfast in the bar space next to the breakfast room, which, while not ideal, helps alleviate the crush.

I enjoyed a seafood meal just down the road from the hotel at the Octo Waterfront Grille, at 221, N Columbus Blvd, where a house band played some great funk and soul as the sun slowly set in the west, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge lit up to provide the perfect backdrop along with some stunning river views.
Image: Octo Waterfront Grille with Ben Franklin Bridge as backdrop
Image: My Octo Waterfront Grille seafood plate. Yum, yum!
I also ate at La Veranda Ristorante, a more up-market establishment which is right on the Delaware River (as is the Octo), and again on North Columbus Blvd, from where more great views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge can be enjoyed.
Image: The Benjamin Franklin Bridge viewed from my hotel room...
Overall, I rate the Comfort Inn Hotel an easy four stars. If you are looking for a well placed resting place, within walking distance of Philadelphia’s major historic attractions (don’t forget you can utilize the free shuttle bus as well), this hotel is certainly worth considering.

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm really starting to understand why Americans complain continously about the hotels when they come to Scandinavia...


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