There are few places in the world that make us feel like at home when we’re traveling. There’s nothing like warm and hospitable hotel staff, clean and comfortable bedding, and wholesome and fulfilling meals cooked with love to do the trick. For us, our recent trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania introduced us to such an establishment: Penn’s View Hotel.
Penn’s View Hotel is a charming and historic boutique hotel located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Old City, and has welcome more than 587,000 guests since its doors first opened. With striking views of Penn’s Landing and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and located just a stone’s throw away from the bustling sidewalks, shops, and tourist attractions of Market Street, Penn’s View Hotel has remained a Philadelphia favorite for the last 25 years.
In partnership Visit Philly, we traveled to the City of Brotherly Love to help Penn’s View celebrate their milestone 25th anniversary, as well as the birth of another one of our favorite icons: America! What better way to celebrate freedom and fun than in the city dubbed the “Birthplace of America” on the Fourth of July?
We were lucky enough to experience all the city had to offer through the richly historic authenticity and legendary pride of Penn’s View Hotel, whose original building was constructed in 1828. Over the years, the hotel has built a reputation for its spacious and endearing rooms that come equipped with unique amenities such as private balconies, electric fireplaces (we took full advantage of this amenity), and spacious spa tubs. Rooms with exposed brick walls, polished hardwood floors, and high vaulted ceilings give this must-see home-away-from-home destination a rustic and comforting feel – perfect for lone wolf travelers and families alike.
Guests are treated to a fresh and piping hot continental breakfast each morning by attentive and hardworking staff that consists of assorted muffins, pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee, and a variety of juices – perfect for tourists on the go in need of a quick fuel up before heading out to explore the city.
While the guests are busy frolicking (did we mention that the hotel is a stone’s throw away from most major Philly tourist attractions such as the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House?), the efficient and detail-oriented housekeeping staff ensures all rooms are stocked with warm and fluffy bath towels, fresh downturned sheets, and re-stocked toiletries for those of us that may be a bit more high maintenance than usual (raises hand).
When guests return to the hotel after a busy day of sightseeing and exploring, they are treated to impeccable service, local knowledge, and authentic, trattoria-style dining complete with menu items that are created using the only the most appealing flavors and freshest seasonal produce and ingredients.
Located just behind the main lobby of the hotel, Panorama Restaurant’s atmosphere has provided patrons with an intimate and relaxed dining experience that mirrors that of an authentic Italian meal since 1990.
Feeling transported back to our recent trip to Rome, we were presented with a newly reconstructed menu that featured nearly a dozen specialty pasta dishes (Panorama makes all of their noodles by hand using a pasta guitar), assorted antipasti, speciality cheese dishes, and unique sides such as crushed fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus with sun dried tomato pesto.
The food menu isn’t the only impressive aspect of a dinner adventure at Panorama. We were also given a separate menu to choose the wine we wished to accompany our meal – and trust us when we say this wasn’t just any boring wine menu.
In fact, Panorama offers an array of sommelier-selected wine pairings from their unmatched selection of over 150 wines by the glass, vintage bottles from their massive reserve cellar, and their world-famous “Panorama Flights.” Cool fact: with 120 flights for guests to choose from, Panorama is home to the largest wine preservation and dispensing system in the world as declared by The Guinness Book of World Records!
The wine flight menu is divided up into White, Rose, and Sparkling, Red, and Mixed, categories. After much deliberation, we chose Flights #906 under the “Sparkling Wine” category, and #801 under the “Red” category. Flight #906 (“Sparkling World”; $28.75) featured crisp Brut Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Champagne from France, Italy, California, and Oregon.
Flight #801 (“Varietal Variations”; $19.75) featured rich and robust tastings of Pinot Noir, Malbec, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand, Argentina, Italy, Spain, and California respectively.
For starters, we were given the “Burrata Antipasti” which featured a creamy ball of burrata cheese seasoned with salt and pepper and surrounded by firm and freshly-sliced heirloom tomatoes – all resting in a pool of sweetly tart balsamic reduction with a thick slice of herb and cheese bread for dipping.
Already blown away with both the presentation and the burst of flavor in our wine and appetizer selections, little did we know that the best surprises were yet to come. For our main courses, we were served the “Chitarra” which consisted of a heaping pile of Panorama’s house-made fehttuchini noodles generously doused in their light and fragrant white wine parsley sauce, and topped with chunks of jumbo lump crab and tender mini, in-shell clams.
At the recommendation of our waiter, we ordered the “Ricotta Gnocchi Pesto” that featured al dente gnocchi coated in a creamy broccoli rabe pesto sauce, topped with sliced rounds of scamorza cheese.
As the last people in the restaurant (it should be noted that Panorama allowed us to stay well past closing hours so that we could thoroughly enjoy each decadent bite) the talented chef didn’t stop there.
We were surprised with a frozen plate of “Limoncello Cheesecake Semifreddo” which was a much fancier version of an ice cream sandwich. Neatly stacked between two crisp waffle cookies was a heaping dollop of creamy, tart, frozen limoncello – a popular Italian lemon liqueur. Scattered across the plate for both presentation and added flavor were mounds of whipped cream and halved strawberries.
To make these dishes even more enticing, Panorama pre-recommends individual flights per dessert dish so patrons don’t feel overwhelmed when looking through the impressive wine cellar options for a midnight cap.
While both Penn’s View Hotel and Panorama Restaurant are currently undergoing major renovations, that didn’t stop us from experiencing one of the most memorable trips we have ever had. In fact, in no way did the renovations hinder us from enjoying any amenities the hotel had to offer. It was just as darling and welcoming in appearance as it will be after all is completed.
To book your stay at Penn’s View before the waning summer months (and nightly rate specials) are gone, visit http://www.pennsviewhotel.com/reservations today. For historical and wholesome fun, as well as a truly artistic and unique dining experience, look no further than Penn’s View Hotel for your next visit to the City of Brotherly Love. Don’t forget to tell them the East Coast Contessas sent you.