• Monday , 16 September 2019

Visit Philly’s Overnight Hotel Packages Offer Sizzlin’ Stay & Play Deals


The iconic and stately Bellevue Hotel is a must-stay destination when visiting Philly.

Story, photos by Sharon Kozden

You’ve got to check out Visit Philly‘s packages! Seriously. Unless you enjoy doing your own travel planning and research, let Visit Philly do the legwork for you.

Visit Philly’s Overnight Hotel Packages have you covered with overnight accommodations at the city’s top-notch participating hotels, meals at its finest restaurants and a list of recreational, entertainment and educational perks to complement and enhance your stay. Concerned about hotel parking? Don’t be: it’s covered as well. On arrival, check your ride and let participating hotels pick up the parking tab. Talk about value-added … that’s saving a “Benjamin” for a two-night stay.

As the seasons change, the package perks’ iterations vary so you can keep coming back for more. There are a seemingly infinite number of things to see and do in the City of Brotherly Love. Pick a season, pick a package and get to packing! With summer firmly entrenched, the June 13th to September 2nd schedule includes accommodations and perks worth up to $286. Fully 44 participating hotels are yours for the picking and include one- or two-night stays. Check the details, as you may be able to wrangle extended visits at select hotels.

How does it all work? Simple. Do this:  “Enter your desired check-in and check-out dates below and our hotel search engine will find the best available rates at participating hotels. Then select the hotel you want to stay at and click to be taken to book the package directly on the hotel website. Perks are available while supplies last. Note: Rates subject to change based on hotel occupancy.”

My visit took place in the springtime; however and before I regale you with the specifics (deets and snaps!), herewith and courtesy of visitphilly.com/overnight are Summer, 2019’s packages’ extra treats …

FREE Tickets to The Franklin Institute and Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes

The region’s most popular science museum has 11 hands-on permanent exhibits, including the iconic Giant Heart. It’s also hosting the East Coast premiere of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, a special exhibition featuring costumes, props and artwork from Marvel films and comic books. The summer package includes two untimed tickets to the exhibition, which includes museum admission (a $70 value).

FREE Ping-Pong at SPiN Philadelphia

Challenge your friends or family to some exciting games of Ping-Pong at SPiN Philadelphia. The new spot in Center City features 13 Ping-Pong tables, shareable bites, fun cocktails and walls decked out in graffiti art. Folks who book the summer package get one hour of free play (a $39 value).

FREE Roller Skating & Ferris Wheel Ride at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest is home to Center City’s only outdoor roller rink as well as a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel, carnival games, mini-golf, and food and drink. Book the summer package and snag roller-skate rentals and a ride on the Ferris wheel for two (a $36 value) at the Delaware River waterfront hangout.

$25 Jose Garces Promotional Card

Jose Garces rose to prominence in the food world after he opened Amada in Old City in 2005. The summer package includes a $25 promotional card that’s good for any of the following Garces restaurants in Philadelphia: Amada, Distrito, JG Domestic, Olde Bar, Tinto, Village Whiskey and Volvér.

FREE All-Day Passes on the PHLASH

The popular, purple bus service is a quick and easy way to get to Philadelphia historic attractions and cultural institutions. The summer package comes with two free single-day, all-day-use passes (a $10 value).

FREE Carousel Ride at Franklin Square

One of William Penn’s original five squares, historic Franklin Square is now a fun family park. The summer package includes two free tickets to ride the Parx Liberty Carousel (a $6 value).


Super (heroes) family fun to be had during your summer stay!

As explained, each season offers a different twist on the included perks, so my springtime overnighter meant a value package of $202 that included two tickets to Eastern State Penitentiary, a $25 promo card for any Jose Garces’ restaurant, an hour’s worth of ping-pong at SPiN Philadelphia and a credit of $10 on a Lyft ride. Spring’s date schedule ran from March 4th through June 13th. My date of choice was Saturday, April 6th, where I would be ensconced overnight at the elegant and stately Bellevue Hotel along with dinner reservations at their renowned and popular XIX (Nineteen) Restaurant.

Undoubtedly, a memorable experience awaited me, and I couldn’t be more primed for it.  I did, however, manage to pack everything I needed … everything but my cocktail dress and the appropriate bling-like accessories. Why can’t I ever just forget a toothbrush rather than something essential? No matter: I had a workaround. Tulles of the trade? Over the years, I’ve learned to keep an LBD (little black dress) and some costume jewelry and such in my ride the way some folks carry more pragmatic items.

The Bellevue Hotel is not still known as the “Grand Dame of Broad Street” for no reason. It’s absolutely exquisite, iconic and unforgettable. The chandeliers alone are breathtaking, as is everything about the exterior architecture and interior grandeur. I don’t know if one exists; however, I’d love to own a coffee table-style book with both historical and current photos along with details of what surely must be a fascinating history.

Throughout my stay, I wanted for nothing and was treated exceptionally by staff and management alike at both the hotel itself as well as at their glorious in-hotel restaurant, the singular XIX. Since a picture really is worth the proverbial thousand words, be sure to check the photographs below, through which you can vicariously become my dining companion. XIX more than lived up to its stellar reputation. I was on a culinary cloud nine, if you will, and it’s all visually documented … as stated … below.

Visit Philly’s Overnight Hotel Packages are the best way I’ve discovered to entice visitors to this spectacular city. It doesn’t matter if you’re local, from some far-off land or somewhere in the midlin’ … that’s the beauty of the package deals and its single-site visit to place into action your travel plans. One site delivers all. In a city that has so very much to offer and with said packages specifically designed to highlight Philadelphia at its finest, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep from returning.

Now that the trees’ leaves are begin to show hints of burnishing color, and just maybe visions of pumpkin-spiced lattes are entering your head space, maybe it’s time to either fit in a summer visit or get a jump on autumnal planning and leaf peeping. Seasonal beauty in Philadelphia awaits you year round!


All this and Starbucks, too. Grande, Bellevue!


The iconic Starbuck’s siren backlit by crystal lures alluringly.


This crystal chandelier is lit!


This shot of the Bellevue’s majestic staircase and architecture is one reason “she” is still known as the “Grand Dame of Broad Street.”


Signature notecard features hotel drawing rendered with incredible detail. Quelle charmante!


The Conservatory at the Bellevue has a magnificent fountain (captured here in a moment of serene stillness) as its focal point.


Exit the elevator doors on floor 19 (hence the name “XIX”) and take in this gorgeous scene. Loving the purple.


Purple is synonymous with royalty. Just another taster of XIX’s elegance and unique style.


Towering pussy willows pokers are the perfect size for this eye-catching floral centerpiece.


Bartenders at XIX pour with the best of them.


Cocktail time with a classic margarita.


A formation of fine reds occupies the raw bar area.


Wine cellar? Try wine wall.


Strands of pearls (of wisdom) cascade in an elegant ceiling chandelier.


XIX’s balcony showcases some of Philly’s finest views.


A raw bar is this room’s centerpiece.


My table was This Close to the exit onto the city view-saturated balcony, a top-draw feature at XIX.


Bread matters, and XIX gets it spot-on with creamery butter and that perfect blend of chewy crust to soft interior.


Oh, my starts … that is, starter. So meaty, so tender, so jumbo-licious!


A glass of white placed before a candle creates a liquor-liquid sunset effect.


This refreshing white paired perfectly with my starter pairing of shrimp cocktail and jumbo lump crab cake.


An incredible edible purple pansy tops these greens.


A leaf from the edible nasturtium flower perches like a fascinator on a sumptuous lump crab cake.


Perfection marks this culinary palette’s presentation.


At times the vegan lifestyle beckons, then a spot-on medium rare serving of beef is set before me, and all said vegan bets are off.


The skilled chefs at XIX create consistent masterpieces. Don’t miss this winner, beef eaters!


Brussels sprouts are my always go-to favorite veggie. These were exceptional and plentiful.


Not your average-looking carrot cake. Just admire this glazed dense slice and go for it.


Someone must’ve twisted my arm to order a second dessert. I just couldn’t say no to myself.


The Palm at the Bellevue is yet another in-hotel fine-dining establishment.


The imposing, historic City Hall should be on everyone’s Visit Philly itinerary.


Don’t miss the observation deck (floor 57th) of One Liberty Place skyscraper, another Philly landmark stunner.


Don’t miss this architectural wonder … The Union League of Philadelphia.


The Union League of Philadelphia is a private members-only club.


One of the included perks during the springtime’s Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package was a $25 certificate to any restaurant by renowned chef Jose Garces.


Good luck choosing just one Garces restaurant during your stay … all the more reason for frequent visits. We’ve worked with this amazing chef multiples times, you can check him out on Explore!


Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is the head church of Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese.


Here at the Cathedral Basilica, one can still light votive candles the old-fashioned way … with an actual flame.


Historical shot of Eastern State Penitentiary as seen on a brochure cover.


The spring version of Visit Philly’s Overnight Hotel Package featured two “get into jail free” tickets.


Don’t leave the City of Brotherly Love without a stop at Love Park, where locals and tourists alike pose beneath the landmark Robert Indiana-sculpted LOVE sign.


Sharon Kozden showcases Visit Philadelphia’s logo, which doesn’t get much clearer on showing the love!

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