Metallic ceramic tiles reflect rays of sunlight from the windows. Eggplant purple throw pillows on curved couches beckon me.  I start to wonder – Am I in a spa? Or maybe my best friend’s house? Or have I finally found the exact look for my dream home?

Walking through the glass the Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia, my mind empties. I can no longer remember my to-do list or the hours of sitting in the car along the highway. I take a deep breath and soak it all in – as if the zen feeling of wellness might be fleeting.

Find zen at hotel palomar philadelphia | LiveDoGrow

Except of course that the deeper I go into the Hotel Palomar, the more wellness there is to discover.

Allow me to backtrack.

I love visiting Philadelphia. It has been one of my favorite cities since I ran what was the Philadelphia Distance Half Marathon in 2001. Since then – I have run several destination races, explore the historical heritage of Philly for a mother-daughter weekend and walked the streets noticing the many murals on display around the city during a girls’ getaway. What I appreciate most about the city is the “walkability factor.” Each unique neighborhood offers a distinct feel – from charming to eclectic. And the choice of where to savor a delicious meal seems to grow exponentially from visit to visit. So when my husband and I decided to run the Rock’n’Roll half marathon in Philadelphia – I could not wait to create the ultimate couples’ wellness getaway full of city zen.

Out of all of the hotels in Philadelphia – why pick the Hotel Palomar?

Stay at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia | LiveDoGrow

The perfect location, luxury and fun!

First off, the Hotel Palomar is a Kimpton hotel. And although yes  – Kimpton Hotels are a chain – they are the most “un-chain-like” properties I have ever stayed in. I love that every Kimpton hotel has its own personality and feel. The Hotel Palomar represents “art in motion” and in Philadelphia – the sculptures, design and art engulf you in a lobby that feels more like a living room than a 230 room hotel lobby. I felt a bit like a child – wanting to touch every piece of fabric and art from the lobby to the elevator.  Even the elevator inspired me – with panels of art that add depth to the closed space – making it feel three times as big as it really was.

Secondly, the location of the Hotel Palomar is perfect for almost anything that you might want to experience in Philadelphia. From Rittenhouse Square to the museum district or the shopping and cafes of 13th Street – everything is within walking distance. For us, the location was situated within walking distance to the race start and finish – as well as being in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. (Clearly I was not the only one who thought the location was perfect in relation to the race since there were many runners enjoying morning snacks like bananas, granola bars, peanut butter and coffee in the lobby on race day).

If those reasons are not enough, the kid and pet friendly ambiance make the hotel perfect for families, business travelers and everyone in between. The kindness and generosity of hotel staff – like Rocky at the bell desk who greets guests with a genuine smile (and a fabulous fedora) – put the cherry on top when it comes to making the Hotel Palomar my favorite hotel in Philadelphia.

Five Ways to Find wellness at the Hotel Palomar

Splurge for a Spa King Room 

Spa King room at Hotel Palomar | LiveDoGrow

Luxury at Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia | LiveDoGrow

Philadelphia view from hotel palomar | LiveDoGrow

The view from the tub…

The Hotel Palomar has 23 guest floors with 230 rooms. While all of the rooms contain the luxurious Kimpton Hotel amenities that frequent travelers have come to know and love (can you say leopard print bath robes??) – the Spa King Room (there are only 19 total) are worth the additional splurge. The soothing purple and gray hues that line made me want to stretch out and stay a while. Although I am not a design aficionado, there was something soothing about the round pillows – offset by angular lampshades and furniture with rounded edges. It was as if someone had envisioned me walking around wanting to touch everything – my finger trailing from piece to piece.

Perhaps the best best part of the Spa King Room though – sits decadently in the bathroom – just waiting to be filled with water. I cannot remember the last time I looked forward to soaking in a tub – but the Fuji soak tub – with a view of the Philadelphia skyline out the window was too much to resist (plus…can I just say – soaking in a tub after running 13.1 miles??? Talk about perfection!)

Fuji Tub at hotel palomar | LiveDoGrow

Yes, I got in the tub (without water) to see how deep it really was. I did not think a picture of me soaking in the tub after the half marathon would be appropriate.

Take a belly breath with Kimpton Roll Out Service

Yoga at Hotel Palomar | LiveDoGrow

I set my shoes on my yoga mat the night before the race so that I would not forget to get in a few belly breaths and downward dog stretches.

We have all heard of room-service…but what about “roll out service”? All Kimpton Hotel rooms come with a yoga mat to help yogis and yoginis find their “om”. But more than just a yoga mat, the Roll Out Service provides in room peace with an assortment of fruit, flavor-infused water, a rolled out yoga mat, extra towels and yoga programming. Taking out the yoga mat before heading out to run the half marathon was ideal – but somehow I think I would do a lot more yoga if I could just dial up roll out service after a long day.

Order fresh juice at from Square 1682

Fresh juice at Square 1682 | LiveDoGrow

I admit that I have not always been a fan of eating in hotel lobby restaurants. Somehow I always felt like I wanted to get out to explore local hot spots. But at Square 1682 – locals and travelers come together for delicious breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks. As much as I enjoyed the organic whole wheat cocoa waffle – I loved that a juicer and a basket of fresh items to be juiced takes up a corner of the bar. My “Being Green” juice with spinach, kale, apple, cucumber, celery and lemon was an ideal way to fill up on “good for me” nutrients.

Pedal for Perks around Philadelphia

Although I am not sure that I would ride a bike through Philadelphia at rush hour – a leisurely ride to Penn’s Landing or past the Philadelphia Museum of along Kelly Drive bordering the Schuylkill River sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  To help guests move more – the Hotel Palomar has four public bicycles that are free to use. As an extra incentive – you can “pedal for perks” as you spin around Philadelphia racking up miles for rewards like freshly squeezed juice, an in-room movie or late checkout. (All you have to do is download or open the free Map My Ride app to track your miles around town and then check-in with the concierge for rewards based on how far you pedaled.)

Sip and relax during Wine Hour

wine hour at Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

Experience Wine Hour at Kimpton Hotels | LiveDoGrow


Wine Hour is a tradition across Kimpton hotels – but something about wine hour at the Hotel Palomar made me want to find a spot on the cozy couch in the lobby from 5-6 pm every evening, even though I was not drinking wine (it was the night before a half marathon after all!). Although wine dominates the hour, the aroma of salt and truffle oil popcorn wafts through the air – making its way to each guest. (Which – once you taste it – is impossible to resist!) The buzz of voices of guests – like a couple reflecting on their day at the art museum and their favorite statues – to the owners of a sleuthing blond labrador – looking for stray bits of popcorn dropped accidentally on the rug. The whole vibe oozes relaxation – and makes even the most introverted of guests want to chat with strangers. I admit to being captivated by a guest and his caramel colored cocker spaniel –as they posed for a wine hour selfie from one of the leather armchairs.

Leaving Philadelphia after our wellness weekend, my husband and I were excited to have run a great half marathon and enjoyed our time away….but I was distracted. My thoughts raced trying to think of reasons (or excuses) to plan a return trip to the Hotel Palomar– sooner rather than later. (It was either that or dream of household renovations to recreate the feel of the lobby or Spa King Room!)


Wellness travel quotient: The Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia oozes wellness inspiration from start to finish. Even the fitness center – equipped with all of the equipment you would expect – goes above and beyond with hula hoops for fitness fun. They are serious about wellness – and held a recent contest – #OmAroundTownContest  – where local yogis were encouraged to take their mats on the road, strike their favorite yoga pose in front of a local spot and upload to Instagram,  @KimptoninPHL. Although the contest is over, stay tuned to @KimptonPHL on Instagram and Twitter for more wellness travel inspiration.


*I received a media rate during my stay at the Hotel Palomar.  We would have stayed at the Hotel Palomar without the discounted rate – and look forward to making it our hotel of choice when going back to Philadelphia. As always, all opinions are my own.


Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Life coach, wellness and travel writer, yogini, former teacher, adventure seeker, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.


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