The Lokal Hotel is my new favorite.
Do you guys love hotels as much as I do? To me, a good hotel is a rare and difficult find, the perfect balance between idiosyncratic newness and predictable service, surprising design with snuggly comfort...a place that makes you feel the novelty of a new place, but still finds a way to be restful and comforting at the end of a day of travel. It's a real challenge to get it right. Difficulty level is somewhere between brain surgery and decorating a wedding cake, IMHO.
The Lokal Hotel in Philadelphia is one of my favorite hotel finds in a long while. The interior design is by Jersey Ice Cream Co., a very cool duo that travel from place to place, designing new homes and spaces as they go, living in each space to really get a feel for it before making selections. Their attention to detail really shows at the Lokal, where the lovingly selected items make you feel like you're staying at your coolest friend's apartment, instead of at a hotel.
The Lokal is an example of an 'invisible service' hotel, which is a trend I've been watching for a few years. The idea is basically that travelers today don't really need a concierge or a front desk--you can check in and open your door with your phone, order food from Caviar instead of room service, etc. Kind of like Airbnb, but with a higher level of amenity and design than you usually get in someone's apartment, even if it's professionally managed. There's a few other examples of invisible service hotels out there, but the Lokal is the most gorgeous one I've seen.
So with that...the photos!
The building is a beautiful old rowhouse, with lovely vintage signage. And I don't have any neighborhood pictures because we were rushing a bit, but there are cute shops and galleries all around.
The front entry is small, but definitely sets the tone, design-wise. Cute 1" tile in a border pattern feels crisp and modern but still appropriate for the old building. Also appropriate for an old building (and all other buildings: brocade boots. But I digress. The only change I would have made to this space personally would be to do dark grout throughout, because in a high-traffic space like this grout gets dirty fast (see how it's light on the right side of the image but dark where my feet are?). But still adorable. Only designers notice annoying little details like grout. Are you annoyed? No? Yes? Either way, let's move on.
Okay, we're still in the lobby. Well, lobby is kind of a formal word for what this space is--it's really just the common area by the townhouse front door. But they make use of the space, providing loaner bike helmets to make exploring safer, and magazines you can borrow, all mounted in brass on textured reclaimed wood panels. A nice welcome! Bike safety for all! Helmets are important! Wear them! That means you, Tyler and Domenic, if you're reading this, which you better be.
Okay finally! The room! We had to walk up a BUNCH of stairs to get here, but it was worth it eventually. You'll see. It's gorgeous.
Okay, first, the kitchen. Kitchen, you say? In a hotel? Yes ma'am, every room at the Lokal has a kitchen, so you can stay in and cook (or order in) like a local (or Lokal--get it?!) instead of going out on the town. It's well stocked with equipment, gorgeous local stoneware, and spices. But the best feature is the art--one lone, sort of stern, glorious pastel vintage portrait, making conversation with a colander. Genius.
And here she is, the rest of the room, in all her lovely glory. There's a snuggly bed with Parachute Linens (of course), lovely custom waffle robes, fun reading material cute vintage furniture, and again, that art, holding court, stately, asymmetrical, whimsical, and all in all just a delight to look at. The rooms have living areas, so you can Netflix on the couch with your takeout food (which we did). It's not terrible.
The bathrooms are similarly adorable, but I didn't get a good picture since the lighting didn't play well with my iPhone, unfortunately. But I snapped my favorite details: locally produced beer shampoo and conditioner with black pepper shower gel, and makeup washcloths. Makeup washcloths!! Hallelujah!!
Tyler and I only stayed there one night, and it was a fun and snuggly one: watched Netflix on the big tv, ordered crab rangoon spring rolls and pimiento mac'n'cheese with hot Cheeto pork rind crumbs on top (yes, those are both real food items), and had edible cookie dough delivered by GoPuff. So basically we lived our best lives. There were a couple of issues with the invisible service model--our food got delivered to another guest, and we couldn't figure out the Apple TV password in time to watch a movie. But overall it was an insanely good experience. We'll be back next time we're in Philly.