There was an article in Monday’s NYTimes entitled, “Hotels Moving into Old Buildings,” about how many hotel chains are now opting to renovate an older or historic building to operate as a hotel, instead of building a model hotel from the ground up. Several newer hotels were mentioned, and included in that group was Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia; otherwise known as the Lafayette Building.Built in 1906, the Lafayette Building is located on Independence Mall, directly across from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, two of the most visited tourist sites in Philadelphia. Clearly, that makes the Lafayette Building a good location for a hotel. It is a beautiful building, with many extremely attractive architectural details, such as these gargoyles on the cornice. In many instances, Kimpton has made beautiful additions to the building, such as the rooftop bar overlooking Independence Mall. However, as a preservationist, it is not the additions that I latch on to, it’s the original pieces.When I took a tour of this building with a preservation class, we were told that this lobby would be preserved. I cannot find any pictures on the Hotel Monaco’s website that confirm this, and I had half a mind to call their reception desk and ask. If I have any Philadelphians reading the blog, or those who have stayed at this hotel, please let me know! Because if this beautiful early 20th century lobby were gone, now that would be a real loss.
Lacquered Life • Olivia M. Brock