Saturday, December 27, 2014

SPG Mission Accomplished

Hotel Details
Hotel: Le Meridien Philadelphia
Dates: December 26-27, 2014
Rate Paid: $171/night (incl. taxes)
Upgrade: Used a Suite Night Award
Suite Cost: $329 (incl. taxes)
Points Earned: 2,286 SPG points

Well, after coming so close last year, my father finally achieved the Starwood Cycle by staying at one of each of the 9 SPG brands in a single calendar year.

Instead of heading north from Atlantic City the day after Christmas, my parents, grandmother and aunt decided to swing by Philadelphia to mattress run get some Philly cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches.

The hotel is located in the heart of Center City on Arch Street, within a stone's throw from City Hall and a few blocks away from Reading Terminal Market. We couldn't have picked a better hotel since we went to the Market about 3 times during our 1 night stay. Since we had our car with us, we opted to park in a nearby lot on 15th and Spring for just $18/night (significantly cheaper than the Le Meridien Valet rate of $40/day).

My father was able to book a nice AAA Rate for $148 plus tax for a basic room with 2 double beds (225 sq feet). At the time, Starwood also had a promotion where he would receive an extra 500 SPG points if he booked using the SPG mobile app on his iPad or phone and paid using an American Express card. Plus, there was another Le Meridien-specific promotion where we would receive an additional 1,000 SPG points for our first Le Meridien stay during the promotional period.

Then he applied a Suite Night Award (which he received for hitting 50 Starwood nights this year) to get upgraded to a Superior Suite (500 sq feet). The SNA was confirmed a few days ago, so the four adults and 1 adorable toddler had some space. Of course, we may have been upgraded to that suite anyway at check-in without the SNA, but we didn't want to leave it to chance.

The Property
The hotel was a retrofitted YMCA so you could see the remnants of the former space as you entered the lobby. Interestingly enough, they placed the lobby bar directly across the room from the front entrance, so you have to make a turn left into the adjacent room where the front desk was stationed.

Upon check-in at 3PM, my father was confirmed into the Superior Suite for 1 night. He asked if the hotel were busy this weekend, and they said it was a lot more active than the past week (Christmas week), but still not that full. He was given the keys to Room 549 which was on the floor with the sleek business center that was retrofitted from what used to be an exterior inner courtyard.

We navigated the twists and turns of the hallways and finally found our room.

The Suite
Upon entering the suite, we were pleasantly surprised at the stylish furnishings and cleanliness of the room, especially after the prior two nights at the Borgata in Atlantic City. The livingroom area had a nice couch for lounging (though not a pull out as we had hoped) and a bar stool desk area with a flat screen TV. Fortunately, there were plenty of electrical plugs on the desk that made modern travel with your personal gadgets very convenient.

The bedroom area was not separated by a door, but the wall partition made it sufficient enough to feel moderate privacy. My parents actually prefer not having a door since then they could always keep tabs on me when I was in the other room pretending the bed pillows were my own stable of cowgirl horses. There were also two large windows that gave the feeling of old world sophistication even though neither of them were made to actually open.

The closet was a free standing structure (again since the hotel was retrofitted from a YMCA) and the bathroom had a sliding door which definitely did not seal either sound nor smell. But hey, they say Family means never having to say, "Excuse me."

We were only staying for one night, but we made the most of our location by visiting the nearby Reading Terminal Market several times during our sub-24 hour visit. The area didn't seem that desolate at night, though it was pretty void of pedestrians - though there were some needy people we gave some food to during our walks to/from the Market.

We used the free wifi in the room (just pick the most expensive $14.95/day option, and it would be removed from the bill) as well as chose the Platinum breakfast over the 500 welcome SPG points. The breakfast was actually a $12/person credit at their lobby restaurant, Amuse. Click here for their breakfast menu. My mother and I partook in the breakfast downstairs, while my father and extended family opted for a hearty Roast Pork sandwich at Tony DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market.

Overall, it was a perfectly pleasant stay and for the price we paid ($148/night + tax), we'd definitely stay here again should we stay overnight in downtown Philadelphia again. That being said, the primary reason we chose the Le Meridien was to complete the Starwood Cycle - all 9 hotel brands in a single year. And earning another ~$50 in SPG points didn't hurt either!

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