“The Guild House Hotel is an enchanting package of history, tastefully wrapped with ribbons of luxury and elegance.” – Jessica James
If you’re looking for a distinctive and historic boutique hotel in Philadelphia for a quick overnight or an extended stay, look no further.
The Guild House Hotel on Locust Street will sweep you away to a bygone era the moment you walk through the front door.
Located in a building designated as a National Historical Landmark, the Guild House Hotel exudes a sense of history — but the allure of this boutique hotel in Philadelphia is so much more than just its unique past.
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Step Back In Time At This Boutique Hotel
There’s something about staying in a historic hotel that is palpable and profound, a feeling you can’t get by spending the night in a glitzy new building.
Whether it’s the creaky wooden floors that evoke memories of yesteryear, or the “energy” from those who occupied the space a century or more before, the experience is special and unquestionable.
So when I visited Philadelphia—one of the most historically significant cities in the country—I was delighted to learn that I would be staying at the historic Guild House Hotel on Locust Street.
If you’re not familiar with the Guild House, it is not your every day run-of-the-mill hotel. Opened in 2021, this boutique hotel in Philadelphia was named one of the best new hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure.
Read on as I give a glimpse into the Guild House Hotel’s remarkable history and provide details of my experience staying there.
I received a complimentary stay at The Guild House Hotel courtesy of Visit Philadelphia, but this review reflects my honest opinion.
The History Behind The Guild House Hotel
Located in an unassuming 1850s Italianate rowhome at 1307 Locust Street, the Guild House Hotel was once a meeting place for a group of female activists fighting for gender equality and workplace reform.
Known as the New Century Guild in the early 20th century, this group worked together as activists, trend setters and pioneers to help bring attention to women’s rights.
This unique boutique hotel in Philadelphia emphasizes that history by paying tribute to 12 of the women from the Guild. Each room highlights the individual passions and contributions of the member it is named after, giving guests a first-hand glimpse at history.
Appropriately, all of the rooms were designed by the female owned ROHE Creative who worked hard to capture the essence of the women through the décor and furnishings.
Connecting the Past To The Present
As a “country girl” traveling alone in a big city, I was little bit wary of this trip, but I discovered that it is a very walkable city and encountered no problems.
After parking in the deck next door the Guild House Hotel, I carried my belongings for the short walk to the hotel. Unfortunately, I ended up passing right by the front door and having to turn around.
The plain brick structure blends into the landscape from the outside, making it easy to miss. (A black iron gate around the front porch steps made it impossible to pass by after my first gaffe).
A very helpful modern feature of this boutique hotel in Philly is that guests are texted a passcode to enter the building and their room before their stay. (No key card to keep track of and no time-consuming check in or check out)!
I have to admit I had a little trouble getting into the building because the sun was shining directly on the keypad and the traffic was loud.
When I entered at other times of day, it was much easier because I could see the pad emit a dim green light when the number I entered was correct and it made a small sound.
With the sun and the noise upon my arrival, however, I couldn’t tell when my numbers were actually registering. Some of the number keys seemed a little worn, so it took more than one push. After a few tries, I heard the door unlock and was able to enter.
Inside This Boutique Hotel In Philadelphia
As I stepped into the entranceway of the Guild House Hotel, I was greeted by a tile floor, rich dark wood paneled walls and an overall Victorian-style charm.
A short walk down a wooden-floored hallway led to the main public area of the hotel. Called the Library, this first-floor lounge once served as the Guild’s main dining room.
In its heyday, the Guild initiated “noon rests,” where women could come and grab a bite to eat and socialize in this room.
The main feature of this lounge was a 22-foot-long tufted velvet upholstered bench along the wall that looked inviting and comfortable. I could definitely envision sipping coffee from one of the gold-rimmed cups sitting nearby and getting some work done in this room.
This is also where visitors can help themselves to a drink of cold sparkling water through an old-fashioned tap. Just what I needed after my drive into the city!
After a refreshing sip of sparkling water, I continued up the old-fashioned wooden staircase to Room #5: The Eliza Suite.
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The Eliza Room At The Guild House Hotel
Getting into my room with the touchpad was a breeze and I stepped through the doorway into another era.
The Eliza suite, also known at “The Founder’s Suite,” was inspired by Eliza Sproat Turner, the founder of The New Century Guild.
When Eliza died in 1903, she willed a small fortune to the Guild she’d help start, which led to the 1906 purchase of the building that now houses the Guild House Hotel.
Eliza was a writer, abolitionist, suffragist, educator, and nature lover. (I think it was Fate that I ended up in this room).
With built-in bookshelves and old books stacked throughout, I immediately felt the vibe of an old-fashioned library. Sure enough, I soon found out that this room was once the Guild’s library.
Apparently Eliza was a big lover of the Pennsylvania countryside, which was highlighted in this room by lush green accents, botanical prints, and an exquisite woodland-like wallpaper that surrounded the king bed.
The past and the present were beautifully woven together in the design of this suite with the combination of modern light fixtures and bold prints set alongside dark vintage furniture and detailed wooden features.
The coffee maker was hidden inside a giant old-fashioned wardrobe and the television blended seamlessly into the room like a piece of art.
Best of all were the treats and snacks sitting on a gold platter on an antique writing desk. Of course, most hotels offers complimentary coffee and tea–but not like this.
The coffee was from Sip & Sonder, a Black women-owned brand, and the tea was from Blushing Wren, a Philadelphia-based, woman-owned business. They also offered locally sourced, high-quality snacks of thick chocolate cookies and lemon coconut cakes.
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Sleeping At This Philadelphia Boutique Hotel
Nothing provides a good night’s sleep like down pillows, rich bed coverings and 100% cotton sheets that are made in the USA. Add in a mattress that feels like you’ve landed on a cloud, and you get an idea of what it was like to spend the night at The Guild House Hotel.
Like I said before, there is no key card to worry about misplacing and no check-in or check-out. A virtual concierge is on hand to answer your questions or help you find something via text, email or phone. When I had a question, they answered immediately.
Just like any other concierge, the staff can help with parking tips, dinner recommendations or make other suggestions upon request. I loved this “invisible service” that helped make my stay seem both private and personal.
One feature that some may find lacking is any sort of view — but I didn’t really expect one from a city hotel. My suite at the Guild House Hotel was so comfortable and quiet (and cozy), that I didn’t miss that aspect at all.
The Bathroom At The Guild House Hotel
I don’t usually review the bathrooms at hotels, but the one at this boutique hotel in Philadelphia was so wonderful that I’ll make an exception. Gold trimmed fixtures and a marble-top vanity were just part of the sumptuous experience.
The water pressure and hot water temperature were delightful as were the luxurious bath products that included Watermelon Seed Extract from France.
The supplied bathrobes were the softest I’ve ever felt, and the towels were large and fluffy. Storage space for those spending more than a few days at the hotel would not be an issue because there was another cabinet behind the door.
The attention to detail and the little touches — like a travel packet of cotton swaps and dental floss — reminded me of the 106 Jefferson Hotel in Huntsville, Alabama. Both hotels seem to think of everything!
The Guild House Hotel also offers complimentary Wifi, Smart Screen Television and an antique bluetooth speaker (a lovely touch). Select rooms also have kitchenettes and sitting areas.
For history lovers like me, Philadelphia is a bucket list destination with iconic historic landmarks that every American should visit at least once in their lifetime.
The Guild House Hotel is located in what is known as Midtown Village in Center City, but walking to the historical district was about a 15 minute stroll down streets that were well-traveled and appeared to be safe.
There are also plenty of restaurants close by, but I chose to visit McGillin’s Olde Ale House, which is the oldest continually operating bar in Philadelphia. First opened in 1860, it has been serving Philadelphians ever since.
Located at 1310 Drury St., Philadelphia, McGillin’s was an easy walk from the Guild House Hotel. I visited for the history, but it is a lively place with great food and plenty of drink options.
Plan A Visit To This Historic Boutique Hotel In Philadelphia
With its fascinating early history and unique contemporary culture, Philadelphia is a destination that makes a perfect weekend getaway.
Whether you enjoy visiting museums, taking a walking tour, sampling food and cocktails at restaurants or exploring upscale shops and boutiques, you’ll find something to keep you busy in Philly.