Philadelphia has been watching the second Comcast skyscraper rise for years. But most people don't know that when the 60-story building is complete, its top floors will be occupied by the newest addition to the ultra-luxury offerings among Philadelphia hotels: a brand-new Four Seasons hotel with the highest views in the city.
Along with restaurants by award-winning chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick, the new Four Seasons will have a spa on the 57th floor, as well as indoor "infinity pool" that visually will merge into the sky over Philly.
Sound classy? It is, and it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has watched Philadelphia's number of hotel visitors rise steadily in recent years, with the five-county region now attracting nearly twice as many visitors as it did two decades ago.
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"It just shows how far we've come as a city in attracting developers," said Ed Grose, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association. "A lot of people are bullish on the future of Philadelphia."
To meet the demand, nine recently opened and upcoming hotels are reshaping Center City, including the Four Seasons, while other existing hotels are getting extensive renovations and redesigns. The growth also signals the creation of new jobs for Philadelphia. Philadelphia's hospitality industry is currently made up of some 73,000 jobs, a number that could grow with the addition of new hotels.
"A hotel job is a good job," Grose said. "Our hotels in Center City are paying on average north of $40,000 a year. That part of it is a positive."
But Grose cautioned that Philadelphia will have to remain desirable as a tourist destination and attract even more guests to keep the new hotels at full occupancy.
"We have to stay on top of our game with marketing the city and making sure we can maintain our hotel performance," he said. "We are optimistic about our future. Our leisure and group demand are on the upswing but corporate demand is flat. Those are some areas we need to work on as a city."
The newest Philadelphia hotels
Including hotels that recently opened, some 2,000 new hotel rooms will be added to the city in the coming years. Below, check out some of the most notable new hotels coming to Philly.
Lokal Fishtown –The six-room Fishtown outpost of Lokal, which has already built a reputation in Old City and is known for "invisible service" – everything is automated and you don't have to see any staff, although they are available upon request. It is expected to open at 1421 N. Front Street by fall 2018.
ROOST Apartment Hotel –Bringing 60 rooms of an extended-stay brand hotel to Market East. Expected to open at 1199 Ludlow Street in fall 2018.
Fairfield Inn & SuitesPhiladelphia Downtown/Center City –Opened in June inside the former Parker Hotel, with 119 rooms in the Gayborhood at 261 S. 13th Street.
Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown Center City –A 15-story, 223-room hotel that opened in March at 219 S. Broad St.
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia –Set to open in early 2019 on top of the new 60-story Comcast Tower and boasting an ultra-luxury experience. The hotel will have 219 rooms, 39 of them suites at 1 N. 19th Street.
Hyatt Place Philadelphia Airport –150 new rooms near the airport expected to open in late 2019 at 4521 Island Avenue.
Pod Philly –The trendy New York-based micro-hotelpioneer is expected to open in September 2019 with 252 rooms in 11-stories near Rittenhouse Square at 31 S. 19th Street.
W Philadelphia and Element Philadelphia –A 52-story dual-hotel complex at 15th and Chestnut streets with 750 rooms.
MainStay Suites/Ascend Hotel Collection –Set to bring 119 rooms in early 2019 to Chinatown at 917 Arch St.
Growing demand for Philadelphia hotels
The numbers tell a compelling story of skyrocketing growth in Philadelphia's hotel industry and a 50 percent increase in visitors to the area
26.7 million visitors to five-county region
254,000 leisure room nights spent in Center City hotels
41 million visitors to five-county region
983,000 leisure room nights spent in Center City hotels
(Source: CBRE Hotels/Longwoods International/Econsult Solutions, Inc.)