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REVIEW: The Bellevue Philadelphia

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

The Bellevue Philadelphia is one of the only two Hyatt properties in the city of brotherly love. Part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection, this hotel is an historic property built in the early 1900s. I recently spent a weekend at the hotel along with my wife and kid. Overall, our stay was positive, and I would stay there again. The hotel's location is excellent, in the heart of center city, and the staff was very helpful. The rooms, however, could really use a facelift.

Booking

The Bellevue is a category 4 property. This means a standard room costs either 12,000, 15,000, or 18,000 World of Hyatt points per night for off-peak, standard, and peak nights, respectively. Hyatt was charging the peak price of 18,000 per night for our stay. At the time of booking, cash rate for the Bellevue was $502 per night, including taxes.

I redeemed two category 1-4 certificates for this stay. The Chase World of Hyatt credit card (review) gives you a category 1-4 certificate each year of card anniversary and you can earn another certificate if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year. I was pleased with the return I got for using my certificates, since I used them for a category 4 property that was costing peak award pricing.

This booking would also have been a great use of Hyatt points. Redeeming 18,000 points for $502 per night yields about 2.8 cents per point, which is excellent value for World of Hyatt points. If I didn't have enough Hyatt points, I would have transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards to my World of Hyatt account that I earned with my Chase Sapphire Preferred (review).

Check-in

On the morning of our arrival, the Hyatt mobile app had informed me that I had been upgraded to a suite and that my room was ready for check-in. This was all great news!

We arrived at the Bellevue at around 10:30 am. The two representatives at the front desk were assisting other guests and there were a couple of other guests in line. There was no separate line for World of Hyatt elite members.

The line moved quickly and in a few minutes it was my turn. The front desk representative thanked me for being a World of Hyatt Globalist member and confirmed that I my upgrade to a Conservatory Suite. However, she said that even though the room was ready, there was an issue with the room and an engineer was already repairing it as we spoke. She would not tell me what the issue was, but said it should only be a few minutes. She apologized for the inconvenience and asked us to wait in the lobby.

After about 10 minutes, I noticed I had a missed call on my cell phone. There was a voicemail message from the front desk manager of the hotel apologizing for the inconvenience and informing that we had been further upgraded to a Bellevue Suite. The message asked me to come to the front desk whenever I was ready to check in. This was quite odd. We had never left the lobby and never saw any other employees walk through the small lobby while we were there.

I got back in line, but then noticed the manager walking by (his nametag matched the name in the voicemail). I intercepted him and greeted him. He was very friendly and again apologized for the inconvenience. He ran behind the front desk and came back with our room keys and a couple of sheets of paper with information about the hotel, dining options, and local attractions. The manager gave a detailed explanation of Globalist benefits, including free breakfast and late checkout. Globalist members have free parking on award stays, which at the Bellevue means free valet parking. With that, we were off to check out our Bellevue Suite.

Room

As a Globalist, I had been upgraded to a Conservatory Suite. But I was further upgraded to a Bellevue Suite since they hadn't fixed the problem with my original room. Our suite was a corner suite, and it was massive. It consisted of a bedroom, a separate living room, a small foyer, and a bathroom. The bedroom was huge and the living room also was quite spacious.

Overall, the suite was comfortable. Since the hotel is right on Broad Street, noise was an issue. We could hear traffic all day and late into the night. Thankfully, the living room faces Broad Street while the bedroom faces the side street, so it was much quieter. We managed to sleep just fine.

The Bellevue Suite's bedroom was huge, but it was also dark and showing signs of aging.

The bedroom was very big and even included its own seating area. That said, the bedroom really needs some updating. The curtains, windows, doors, and fixtures all showed significant wear and tear. The room was also quite dark.

The living room was a little better because it had windows on two sides, which provided much more natural light. But like the bedroom, it also showed a lot of wear and tear. There were large scratches on the floor some of the furniture was chipped.

The living room provided ample space to hang out outside the bedroom.

Perhaps most surprising was the bathroom. The shower looked and operated like the shower at a very old roadside hotel. The bathroom door did not latch when closed, so it never closed all the way.

Food

The hotel's only restaurant is XIX (pronounced “nineteen”). Located on the top floor of the Bellevue, the restaurant has two dining rooms; one for breakfast, and another one for dinner. It also has a separate lounge space with a bar and plenty of seating. We did not have a chance to grab a drink at the lounge, but I would definitely check it out if I return. The restaurant also had a few private rooms for small, intimate dinners that looked really cool.

The staff at XIX was very friendly. Different servers and managers checked in with guests regularly while making polite small talk, but without letting it affect efficient service or lingering too much.

The XIX's dining room is spacious with views of downtown Philadelphia.

As a Globalist, I received a $75 credit per day for breakfast at XIX. This credit could also be used for breakfast room service. Breakfast prices were reasonable and we did not hit the $75, even after tip. My wife and I each had coffee, she had pancakes, I had a croissant sandwich with home fries, and we ordered a yogurt with granola for our toddler. With tip this was just under $65.

I did enjoy the ease of simply charging the breakfast to the room and having that wiped off the bill at check-out. While the $75 credit worked well for us, I could see how it would not be enough for a family of four or more with a couple of older kids.

One night we also ordered room service after our kid had gone to sleep. The restaurant requires guests to pick up their food at the restaurant instead of delivering to guestrooms. I found this pretty odd.

The XIX Lounge looked like a good place to grab a drink.

Other

The Bellevue looks like a popular spot for conventions and other big events. Every single ballroom and meeting space was in use during our stay. Based on catching a few glimpses here and there, the meeting spaces all looked great.

The hotel has a large atrium on the 12th floor that can host cocktail receptions. Since rooms on the 12th floor face this atrium space, I imagine it could get a bit awkward for guests in those rooms.

The spacious 12th floor atrium can host cocktail receptions.

The hotel's gym was quite small and limited. I overheard another guest mention that guests used to have access to the Bellevue Sporting Club, located in the same building as the hotel. The Sporting Club looks closed for renovations, so perhaps hotel guests will regain access when the renovations wrap up.

The gym is very small and offers limited equipment and weights.

Final Thoughts

Hyatt loyalists have limited options for staying Philadelphia, with one of them being the Bellevue. The hotel has a lot going for it, including location, a cool historical building, and friendly staff. Rumor has it they are looking into starting renovations later this year. That would be great, because with renovated rooms, the Bellevue Philadelphia could become a category 4 gem.

Have you stayed at the Bellevue Philadelphia? Come over to our Facebook group and share your thoughts.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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