A relic in time, the Guild House Hotel is an ideal luxury boutique accommodation in the Washington Square West neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though it only opened a year and a half ago, it is a building with more than 100 years of rich history to share. Established in the 1890s by abolitionist, philanthropist, and writer Eliza Sproat Turner, the building was formerly used as the headquarters for The New Century Guild, a nonprofit that provided a haven for women and aided resources to jumpstart their careers.
“It was really an organization to help women [build] skills to enter the job force,” says Scott Walker, PR and communications strategist for The Guild House Hotel. “It was a place where women could go and get a meal comfortably by themselves, all the while learning different traits and different skills.”
At the time of operation, the headquarters featured a collection of gathering spaces like seminar, board, and social rooms, as well as a cafeteria. It was here where women could authentically be themselves, network with other likeminded individuals, and tune into their interests for nearly 100 years—and its sacred history lives on today as a National Historic Landmark.
“We (the hotel owners) took it over and really wanted to pay tribute to the women that came out of there and honor their contributions,” he says.
To memorialize its storied past, the designers of the new hotel concept wanted to maintain the integrity of the building and its roots. Restoration work was done to the interior to refresh original architectural elements such as the natural woodwork, the intricate molding, the distinctive color palette, as well as items that were left behind like paintings, portraits, and a piano.
In addition, every guest room is named in honor of a different woman that was a part of the guild. “Each of the 12 rooms has a different personality, name, square footage, and features,” he says.
For group meetings and events, planners can book The Lounge, located in the Guild’s former dining room. The space allows for 20-25 people seated, and up to 35 reception style. Planners can also consider a buyout of the entire hotel to comfortably accommodate 28 individuals.
The hotel is also just a 15-minute walk from Old City—the location of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall—and is near a collection of art galleries, unique Philly eateries, and plenty of entertainment to boast.