News & Reviews Rest of the World USA Review: Four Seasons Philadelphia

No, this is not that Four Seasons, the one between a dildo store and a crematorium.  This is the lower-profile version.

You’ll notice a lack of pictures in this review.  That’s because I asked room service to come to clean my suite so I could photograph it, but they never showed up.  Perhaps that should be my entire review.  However, that’s not entirely fair as the Four Seasons Philadelphia is a hotel that lives up to their name, in that it’s in Philadelphia and it has Four Seasons on the building.  Ok, that also wasn’t fair enough.  Let’s start again.

Four Seasons Philadelphia is in the Comcast Center, the tallest tower in Philadelphia. As the elevator shot me from the ground floor to the 60th, I felt my ears popping with the pressure change.  It was at this point I realised I’m getting old.  Long gone are the days of fighter jets, now I need some motion sickness pills to review a hotel.  The hotel is on the higher floors, with the lobby taking the 60th, the spa and pool the 57th and rooms and suites down to the 50th. My Premier Landmark Suite was on the lowly 50th.

There are parts of the hotel that are really designed to impress, whilst the rooms and corridors just felt so generic that it looked like Four Seasons was trying to see what they could get away with.  In fairness, when I look at the prices, I don’t really blame them.  I was paying around $1500/n for a 57 sqm suite, which in New York they’d call a mansion and “bargain of the century”.  My suite definitely felt common,  even non-luxurious to some extent in some of the features and minimalism.  It all felt very Four Season-ny.  They are the kings now of creating luxurious hotels based on some boilerplate that just about convinces you it’s worth 3x more than the competition. Things like remembering my previous preferences from other stays.

I had a small living area, but with a slider so it could be separated from the bedroom, a tiny bath that I could just about manage to wash one foot at a time in, and large, glass, floor-to-ceiling windows that show off the city. What they do well is the tech, with easy-to-use blackouts, blinds and lights.  It felt a bit like spending time with your family over Christmas – initially it’s quite exciting; it’s a pleasure to see everyone, then you realise you’d rather be somewhere else.

Elsewhere, you have Jean-Georges, who seems to have at least three restaurants in every city on earth.  He’s probably already talking to Elon about putting one on Mars.  I shouldn’t complain, as I really love his food at The Connaught, and the menus here were suspiciously similar.  His fine dining option is only open three days a week, so I ate from the JG Skyhigh menu.  I don’t think you can call any of the options a “twist” when they’re almost identical to his other restaurants.  Strangely, dinner wasn’t impressive, but I picked again for lunch and it was excellent.  Once again I had to do a double take on the bill, as everything just felt so cheap here.  That’s what staying in Aman New York does to ya.  Breakfast was also excellent.  There’s also a Vernick Coffee Bar, although it and the Vernick Fish restaurant on the ground floor were not open.

The spa takes up much of the 57th floor, with the pool and its panoramic views being the highlight piece. I had to listen to some dude yelling at his phone for Tiktok, giving some inspirational speech about being up from 6 am.  Interesting clientele here.  I know dude, I’m here with you.  I woke up early too, but I think there’s more to success than who can sleep the least.  In the men’s changing rooms you have a sauna, steam and showers.  The gym is incredible until I saw they had Fox News on one of their eight televisions that cover a wall.

This was a quick visit for me – I had better things to be doing whilst in Philadelphia – but that doesn’t mean I don’t take my job seriously, so I spent at least five hours in the spa.

The lobby and spa are ultimately what make this hotel worthwhile.  I don’t want to downplay that it’s beautiful to look at: the Jeff Leatham flower display, the absurdity of hiring Brian Eno to create music and artwork, the water-walls, ambience, bars, and panoramic views.  It’s just a shame that feeling is lost once you get to your room.

The Good

  • Food selection (when open)

The Bad

  • It’s yet another Four Seasons that feels like yet another Four Seasons.
  • My third hotel in the States and the third time no one showed me to the room.  I’ve gotta shower more.
  • I thought I’d booked Four Seasons Total Landscaping – imagine my surprise when I showed up here

The Luxurious

  • Spa / Gym area
  • Views

Rating

Good

Conclusion

It is the best option in Philadelphia, but like many city hotels, it’s only somewhere you should visit if you need to be there.

Room type: Premier Landmark Suite Duration: 2 October > 3rd October, 2022.  $1,700/n + taxes

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 25th Oct '22

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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