Just off Independence Park, a previously nondescript hotel (known as The Franklin at Independence Park) was last year completely redone and re-flagged as the Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, resulting in a high-end, art-filled hotel that honors the city’s history. Details like railings that mimic Ben Franklin’s famous spectacles and wallpaper adorned with the Declaration of Independence are just a few nods to the city’s past, while guest rooms and bathrooms—which were completely gutted and redesigned—reflect the historic location with pop-art inspired images of famous Philadelphians, furniture that recalls mid-century modern design, and pops of red color in strategic places.
On the ground floor is Franklin Social Lounge cocktail lounge and the Franklin Social American Kitchen & Bar, a bistro with a stone-clad bar, wine cave, and café counter with coffee from Philadelphia’s own La Colombe. This area is connected to the front desk and Navigator area (Renaissance’s local-expert concierge service) with a path that’s designed to pay homage to Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, which was once home to the 18th-century artisans and tradespeople. Don’t miss the hotel’s most interesting piece of art, which is actually inside the indoor pool: a hand-painted piece on the tile floor done by a local artist.