Hotel Pennsylvania

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 26 Comments

Photo from the Hotel Penn Website
Okay, so I know everyone is dying to know-- how was our stay at the Hotel Penn?

(If you're confused, read last week's post here.) 

I booked the hotel out of curiosity, but I must admit, the feelings of trepidation grew stronger as the time for our NY trip came closer. Truth is,  I'm squeamish about seedy hotels. I've experienced a few too many doosies in my time.

No, I don't moonlight as a hotel call girl; my husband is a tight wad.

In our twenty-some years of marriage, my husband has booked us hotels that have been host to spring break, middle-of-the-night fire drills...doors without locks after, I assume, being busted during drug, fresh air ventilation sans air conditioning in the hallway...clerks behind bullet-proof glass...

My husband was so lousy at hotel selection, he was fired from making reservations in 2004.

I now make the travel accommodations.

So, it was my turn to sweat. I realized my desire to see history could get me served a big plate of crow from Mr. Seckman. I mean there were LOTS of bad reviews. Plenty of stories of bedbugs and bad service. There was even one that claimed a rat was spotted in the room.

But we know how reviews can be unfair, so I tried to keep an open mind.

Initial impressions were stunning. The lobby was gorgeous.

Check in was smooth and fast. I was done before my husband and son returned from the parking garage. I decided to try to find the Cafe Rouge where the Big Band's played while I waited on them. Sadly, all I found was a souvenir shop run by an aggressive salesman obviously working on commission.

Afraid to wander down anymore corridors, I went back to the lobby to find my crew and we headed to our room.

The hallway leading to the elevator still had some of that Roaring Twenties glam with the dank musty-smell of age.

It reminded me of the fifth season of American Horror Story Hotel. During each episode, I kept asking, "Who would stay in that hotel?"
As we got on the elevator that looked like it needed a uniformed guy in a pill-box hat to push the brass buttons for us, my son said, "Now you know what kind of people check into haunted hotels."
But it was all good. I wasn't getting any creepy vibes from the place. I expect old things to have an old smell and creaking floors.

All in all, my biggest disappointment in the place was that the hotel had been stripped of so much of its character. It looked like it had been last renovated in the 1970's and was stuck there. There were still gems, like the lobby, but so much of the character was gone.

The room itself was worn. The furniture, the carpet, even the drapes looked decades old. But the room was huge and contrary to reviews, it was clean. Probably one of the cleanest I've ever been in. It was so clean, my son suggested the room might have been a recent crime scene and cleaned with copious amounts of bleach.

Of course, I'm not saying crime is good, but cleaning up after yourself always makes this mom happy.

I've heard the owners of this hotel would like to return it to its turn-of-the-century splendor. I've also heard they might demolish it and put up office buildings. I hope they've come to appreciate the beauty of their investment and keep  it. I did notice from their website that they seem to be appreciating the history of the place.

*So who was the driving influence behind the Hotel Penn? EM Statler...interesting guy...I'll tell you about him next week. 

Now, onto this week's good thing check-in!!

Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in! 

~Mr. Right, the movie. I watched it on HBO Go and really enjoyed it. It's rated R for the violence and language-- so when I say it was a great romantic comedy, you'll think I'm nuts, but it was. I'll add that to So I Married an Ax Murderer as one of my favorite off-beat romance flicks.  
~Caleb flew in Thursday night for spring break. His two younger brothers were home this week, so if my blog visits are light, blame being busy and not wanting to work when I could be visiting.
~We booked our beach cottage for summer. Let the countdown begin!

Congratulations to Cathrina Constantine on her latest book! It's on sale now for .99 cents. I got my copy, you better grab yours!

Buy now for .99 cents!
Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties. A musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.


  1. At least the place wasn't full of bed bugs. Sad it's lost so much of its original style.
    I book our hotels because once or twice, my wife has picked someplace questionable. I like clean and safe.

  2. Too bad the owners / investors don't appreciate the history of so many of the old buildings. Looks full of character.

    Marilyn @

  3. The old hotels are always so elegant. They make me want to wear gowns. Congrats again to Cathrina!

  4. I've been waiting for this post. I hoped it would still be a glamorous place. At least it was clean. The worst hotel we ever stayed in had hosted a hockey team the night before. I'm not sure if the hotel ever recovered.


  5. Mr. Right was a fun one indeed. lol hmm do you think the cleanliness impressed you more because you've stayed in so many shady spots already? Just saying haha But clean and no bed bugs is sure a win.

  6. Interesting. I do hope the owners take it back to a time lost. What did hubby think. I know, he was just glad to not have the duty in the first place. I swear my husband could live in a cave if it had a TV and the sports channel. He'd not even need a bed. A worn couch and TV remote. He's in heaven! :)

  7. I love the 20s Art Deco style too! So chic. It's too bad there wasn't much left, but at least the place was big and clean. Have a great weekend!

  8. Glad your stay turned out OK Liz. Re bed bugs, a lot of places have them these days, but some hotels are better at keeping them under control. (Bed bug expert me!!) Pity if they pull the place down.

  9. I'm so happy you shared about this hotel...I'm making notes for our upcoming visit to NY.

  10. Thanks for having me on your blog Elizabeth!!!! :) We booked a cottage by the lake this year!! Looking forward to a new adventure.

  11. I do hope they restore it and yes, yay for bleach! Congrats to Catharine Constantine. I love the cover.

  12. You know, that actually sounds like you didn't do too bad. When we lived in NYC, our living room became a makeshift hotel. Unless you're cool with spending upwards of $300 a night, you just can't expect a really nice stay in the city. And renovations... Do you have any idea how many million dollars it costs to renovate something in the city? It's beyond ridiculous.

  13. Bedbugs are back. I keep hearing horror stories about hotels. Did I tell you that camp experienced an infestation last year??? OMGoodness. I'd never been bit by a bedbug before last summer, but they are truly horrible. The worst bites ever. It makes me very leery of all travel. I've heard horror stories of people bringing them home after a trip and their entire house becoming infested. Just a nightmare. Note to all: if you are ever bitten by anything in a hotel (or other place) and think it even could be bedbugs, don't bring your stuff home. Take it to a laundromat. The heat of those dryers will kill them. Our dryers at home don't get hot enough.

    Anyway, glad your experience was good. Cool hotel!

  14. Sounds like a cool experience, even if it did lose some of its character over the years. And I can sympathize with your husband. I've been known to book cheap accommodations, and more than once I've ended up booking a hotel that turned out to be a motel. Ouch.

  15. Older hotels have such charm, but yeah, often they end up not being quite what they once were! True story: the hotel on American Horror Story was based on the Cecil Hotel in Hollywood, where Elisa Lam ended up dead in the water tank. They only found her body after people started complaining about the water... She chose the hotel because it also operates as a hostel, so you can share rooms with others and save $$$.

  16. I think I stayed in that hotel once with my mother. It had a different name way back then. It was a nice place. Very convenient location.

  17. I'm glad you found a clean place to stay! My dad worked for an airline as a kid so that meant less expensive travel. It also meant that all of the airline deals on hotels were for hotels under renovation. I didn't know you could stay at a hotel without the smell of fresh paint and sounds of construction going on until I became an adult.

  18. This sounds very interesting. I hope they put things back at its roots.

  19. I love old, charming hotels. We stayed in one on Palm Beach. It was such fun.

  20. I'm more into trendy hotels that historical, but cleanliness is paramount. Sounds like you chose well :) Congrats to Cathrina!

  21. The lobby looks amazing, and hotels with history are lovely. I had to laugh at the bad hotel experience list - I cringe at the thought of some places we stayed at. One was SO bad we even left (and our tolerance level is super low). But clean is good! Hope you enjoyed your son's visit!

  22. I have also been fired from making reservations. I am the tight wad. :( And yes, I have put us in some real poopy places.

  23. What an adventure! lol There's story fodder in that. :D

  24. Hi, Elizabeth, Thanks for stopping by my blog and following it. Have a great day.

  25. Just read your post about Hotel Pennsylvania. Really gave me a chuckle. That place sounds like it still has plenty of atmosphere. I hope the owners stay with it, too.

  26. I got so confused. Hotel Pennsylvia is in NYC, and looks like what's pictured here. Hotel Penn is owned by the Marriot now, I believe, and is in Lancaster, PA.

    Anyway. Have fun traveling. It's the most amazing city.


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