Ring, ring. Ring, ring. That’s the sound of freedom jingling through the hallways and rooms of the Independent Hotel, a new breed of lodging in downtown Philadelphia that is, frankly, liberating.
The 24-room hotel in a particularly gay-friendly section of Center City does not fit squarely inside a well-defined box. Simply put, it’s a mutt of a place. Open for three years, the hotel serves comestibles such as cheese, fruit and muffins, but it does not have a kitchen, thereby disqualifying it from carrying the full-service label. (If you need to cook a mini-mart meal, the rooms come with microwaves and fridges.) It also lacks a fitness center but provides free passes to a multi-level facility around the corner. Parking is also nearby, and the staff point you to the cheapest lot. Listen to them.
Standing at only four floors tall, plus the ground level where you catch the elevator, the Independent offers the homeyness of a bed-and-breakfast without treading on its guests’ personal space. Breakfast, for example, is a behind-closed-doors affair: Upon arrival, I received a card with a list of a la carte items (cereal, fruit, yogurt, juice, etc.) and a check-here box beside each one. Come morning, I heard a quiet thud outside my door; breakfast was served. Yet unlike B&Bs, with their preset chow times, I could eat my meal inside at my leisure. And, best of all, I could choose my own a.m. company — myself and HBO.