by Shelley Seale
Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia and settling into Penn’s View Hotel, I left the hotel for a stroll. I had no particular destination in mind, I just wanted to check out the area and see what was around.
Almost immediately, just a couple of blocks away, I turned into quaint Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continually-inhabited residential street in America. The warm colors of the nearly-setting sun bathed the colonial homes and cobblestone streets in a gorgeous light. After a turn down a small street lined with art galleries and boutiques, I stumbled upon the Christ Church, where George Washington and William Penn attended services, and the Betsy Ross house. A few minutes after that, I stopped to peer through the iron gates of an old cemetery. Upon reading the plaque, I discovered this was the burial place of Benjamin Franklin – and sure enough, there was his grave site.
One of the big drawing points of the Penn’s View Hotel is the incredible, unmatched location only steps away from historic Philadelphia’s most interesting spots, including Independence Hall. Located just off Front and Market Streets and a block from the SEPTA train, there is no better spot for a visit to the birthplace of the nation.
You arrive at a charming block of buildings that face cobblestoned Front Street and the Delaware River, overlooking Penn’s Landing. The 1828 building that houses Penn’s View Hotel was originally built as a shipping warehouse for the port; it later served as a hardware store and coffee house. After the 1950s, the building sat vacant for many years, until the Sena family bought and renovated it, opening Penn’s View Hotel in 1990.
The Sena family’s background includes many decades and several family members involved in the restaurant business. Although Penn’s View is the family’s first hotel, it opened along with the Ristorante Panorama, an award-winning Italian Restaurant and wine bar, which holds the distinction of having the world’s largest wine preservation system and serves more than 120 wines by the glass. The il Bar offers wine flights and special tasting nights, winning acclaim from both Wine Spectator and Food & Wine. The New York Times called it “the mother of all wine bars.”
Other on site features include wireless internet throughout the hotel and guest rooms at no additional charge and guest access to the fitness facilities. Complimentary, European-style continental breakfast and the morning newspaper are also included with each stay and several function rooms are available for meetings and private parties.
Each of the 51 guest rooms are finely appointed, with queen or king beds. Some include working fireplaces or terrace balconies with views of the river and Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Simple upgrades to premium rooms provide guests with rooms that feature Jacuzzi bathtubs.
Penn’s View Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Sena family’s loving restoration resulted in an architectural award in 1995 from the city of Philadelphia. Owner and family patriarch Luca Sena is a native of Napoli, Italy, arriving in the U.S. in 1967 with his father Carlo, a master chef. Luca’s son, Carlo A. Sena, currently manages the hotel and continues his family’s tradition of hospitality.
Philadelphia’s Penn’s View Hotel
Front & Market Street
14 North Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2202
TEL: (215) 922-7600 OR
The price of a room at Penn’s View Hotel ranges from $139 for a Standard Queen to $309 for a Premium King room, with corporate discounts and deals for AAA members available. The hotel also offers a Vino Viaggio package, consisting of two wine flights, a personal tasting and a imported cheese platter. In addition, a weekend escape package is avaliable in which guests receive a two night accommodation, dinner for two at Ristorante Panorama and champagne upon arrival.
Many accommodations are provided, including fitness equipment, hotel restaurant, hotel bar, room service and complimentary internet access.