Pennsylvania's big cities are defi nitely upping the ante with a bumper crop of new hotels (Philadelphia could warrant an entire article alone), but they aren’t the only bastions of cool. It turns out that some of Pennsylvania’s smaller cities and towns are also turning out sleek, modern lodging that could compete with Manhattan or Miami. Read on for a fresh look at some new and old(er) hip havens across the Keystone State.
KIMPTON HOTEL MONACO, Pittsburgh
Kimpton Hotels’ Monaco collection is well known for its funky style and the Pittsburgh hotel is no exception. It opened in January 2015, and as one of the city’s newer hotels, it’s definitely a conversation starter. “Its design is standout,” says Christina Paonessa, area public relations coordinator. “The Monaco brand is designed to feel like a world traveler’s home with items from all over.” Indeed, you’ll certainly feel that sensibility as you gaze at the array of objets d’art. From the bird feet tables and the wacky busts to the portraits half covered by blocks of color to the chandeliers encased in bird cages, the look is eclectic to a tee. While it may give off a worldly feel, the design definitely hints at its Pittsburgh locale, with desk lamps shaped like penguins, a nod to the local hockey team, in each of the 248 rooms. Take a second look at those chairs in the living room—those “keys” are actually a miniature representation of the city itself.
In addition to the 248 guest rooms, there is a charming restaurant, The Commoner, with a funky farmhouse vibe. There are six meeting rooms with 11,300 total square feet. “Not a lot of ballrooms are brightly colored like ours,” says Paonessa. “They have an energizing effect.” In contrast, the Monaco’s two ballrooms share a more traditional look in keeping with the building’s original incarnation as the headquarters of a law firm. Still, the Monaco manages to deliver offbeat chic that is suitable for a corporate gathering.
LANCASTER ARTS HOTEL, Lancaster
If you’re wondering what kind of factory this boutique hotel used to be, take a look at the chairs in the lobby. See those leaf-shaped cushions? Yes, that’s right, this was once a tobacco factory. The Lancaster Arts Hotel celebrates its history while simultaneously showing off a totally modern style. Imagine an artist’s loft and you’ll get a sense of what the 63 guest rooms (12 of which are suites) are like here. Exposed brick walls, wood beams and wide plank wood flooring are some of the original details, while an impressive art collection is shared throughout the public and private spaces. “We have over $300,000 of artwork throughout the hotel,” says Travis Stevens, director of sales and marketing. The hotel’s creative spirit is evident in every last detail. “We have sketch pads in the rooms in case the mood strikes our guests,” he adds. Imbued with inspiration, the hotel is a natural choice for corporate brainstorming sessions or retreats. The Art Gallery boardroom is just off the lobby and has a funky, yet professional vibe. The Blanche Nevin Room serves as the breakfast room but is available for events or meetings after 1 p.m. While the artistic flair is ever-present, one thing you won’t find here is any starving artists, since the hotel’s upscale restaurant, John J. Jeffries, delivers gourmet fare. The space is small, but private events are possible with advance notice.
HOTEL INDIGO, Pittsburgh
“Hotel Indigo is a collection of like-minded hotels with some brand hallmarks—hard surface flooring, spa-inspired showers, etc.—but the look, feel and history of each hotel are very different,” says Kathy Kolar, director of sales and marketing at Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh East Liberty. This hotel is one of the city’s newest and is located in the East Liberty neighborhood, once a thriving downtown with a large theater scene. “The Regent, the Bijou Dream and the Sheridan Square, among others, all showcased live performances, movies and big bands. You will notice a nod to this era throughout our guest rooms and public spaces,” Kolar says. Other nods to the area include the steel beam in the lobby. “We discovered a U.S. Steel beam and the decision was made to use it as a talking point at check-in rather than hide it or box it in. The beam was oxidized and painted to match the lobby’s décor, but it really announces you are in the Steel City and is a unique design element,” she says. Even the ground announces you’re in Pittsburgh, with the terrazzo-tile floor depicting an aerial view of the city with the charcoal depicting the three rivers.
Perhaps one of the most unique elements of the Hotel Indigo is its use of three buildings. While many hotels revitalize one structure, this hotel blends three with different architectural styles, yet somehow manages to do it all seamlessly. “One of the three original buildings, the Consad building, was originally just a four-story structure. Two floors were added to match the height of the adjacent Governor’s building, which resulted in beautiful 18-foot vaulted ceilings in the fourth-floor rooms. It’s very unusual in a hotel,” she adds. Hotel Indigo has an executive boardroom for up to 10 guests and an 1,800-square-foot ballroom, which can be divided into two spaces. The hotel’s restaurant, Wallace’s TapRoom, is available for semiprivate dining for up to 100 guests, along with access to the patio.
WARE HOUSE HOTE L AT THE NOOK, Manheim
It’s 10 minutes from Lancaster and 20 minutes from Hershey, but Manheim’s Spooky Nook is quickly making a name for itself all on its own. It began with the 100,000-square-foot Spooky Nook sports center, but now with last summer’s grand opening of the Warehouse Hotel, groups can stay and play in one cool spot. The Warehouse is indeed as its name suggests—it’s a renovated warehouse that has been converted into a sleek and modern hotel. The look is industrial chic, with exposed beams and pipes in each of the 135 guest rooms. Repurposed is definitely the name of the game here, where the lobby fireplace is framed by wood salvaged from the pallets used in the construction process. In fact, pallets are a big theme: A collection hangs on the wall, gallery-style. The side tables and even the bar use the same wood and the hotel commissioned tables to be constructed of the wire spools used to transport cables. The result? Very chic, not to mention green. “The Warehouse is very eco-friendly,” explains Alyssa Matangos, communications and public relations manager. “We dug 48 wells in order to have geothermal facilities for heating our water.”
The Warehouse was designed for groups, as it is adjacent to the sports center, and there are five corporate meeting and event spaces. Large groups are handled with ease, as the atrium accommodates 300 to 500 guests, and Olympic Hall handles up to 1,000 for trade shows and conferences. The Field House is also available for rental, and can be used for sporting or nonsporting events. “Teambuilding is a large part of the experience at the Warehouse and Spooky Nook, where we have our own director of adventure,” says Matangos. “You can really use your imagination here.”