After D decided he’d like to spend his birthday in Pittsburgh attending a Pirates baseball game instead of traveling somewhere overnight, I started to look around at area hotels in the city’s downtown to see about spending the night. Because let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun to be able to head back to your hotel room after a sporting or musical event instead of getting into your car and driving home. And so I found it rather fortuitous that the same week this was going on, there happened to be a Jetsetter deal for the city’s newest downtown hotel, the Monaco, which is part of the Kimpton Hotels family.
While I’d certainly been familiar with the Hotel Monaco name for some years now, I’d never stayed at one. This can be attributed to the fact that being a boutique hotel, they’re typically a lot more expensive than your average one and when we spend more on hotels, it’s often at Marriotts so that we can accrue even more points. But the Jetsetter deal was too enticing to pass up and I booked.
The Hotel Monaco is located in the James Reed Building, a nine-story edifice that dates from the turn of the last century and is constructed in Beaux-Arts architecture style. Its 248 guest rooms feature everything from “sweet suites” to eight different types of rooms.
We were booked for a Friday night stay and even arriving mid-afternoon, the hotel’s ground floor already seemed abuzz. One of the ways in which the Monaco is different from other hotels is that its design “dares to be different.” It doesn’t go for boring, neutral colors and style aesthetics-no it employs a style and look that screams in your face.
Our room was located on the fourth and featured a king size bed (what I had selected). It was quite spacious although my favorite things about it were definitely the lamp with the beautifully designed lampshade and another lamp that featured a birdcage over it. It was just a beacon of color which I loved since my house is also painted in a variety of colors, the complete opposite of apartment living’s institutional look. The room did have one quirk which I know the could have been easily remedied if we had called-there was no toilet paper holder.
I did adore the very personal service-in the bathroom there was a note basically detailing every item they would be happy to get you if you had forgotten it. And while of course standard things like toothbrush, toothpaste, and razor were listed on it, there was also articles like a flat iron, cell phone chargers, and even fashion tape!
Two of the reasons that many people love the Kimpton Hotels are that one, they’re pet friendly, so if you want your dog to experience a hotel stay, he can; all it requires is filling out a pet registration form. The second is that every day from 5-6 PM they host a complimentary wine happy hour inside the living room. There were two wine selections you could choose from as well as a type of beer from a local brewery. Needless to say, the wine happy hour was booming while we were there.
An added bonus-while making the reservation I had noted that it was D’s birthday on the off-chance they might provide some extra “touch.” Well, they did. Upon checking into our room, there was a handwritten birthday wishes note, along with a conical birthday cap, trail mix, and two Yuengling beers. I know that this isn’t something a generic Marriott would have provided.
There is a restaurant on-site (the Commoner) and as everything new in Pittsburgh is uber popular, if you would like to dine there, make sure you make reservations weeks in advance, especially if it’s for a weekend. We did end up having breakfast there the next morning, although I was somewhat disappointed we weren’t able to try items from the breakfast menu (we were given the brunch menu instead which is fine, but at 10 in the morning the number of breakfast items was heavily outweighed by savory brunch items).
Two things I didn’t care for:
We had attended the Pirates game and didn’t get back to our room until almost 10:30 PM. We had wanted to get some sort of dessert and thought it would be special to order room service. We discovered that the dessert section of the room service menu ceased at 10 PM and that from 10 PM until breakfast the next morning, there was only the “overnight menu” to choose from, which had no sweet selections. I found this extremely odd/tacky since 10 PM is not at all late (I could see midnight on as being a better cutoff) not to mention, the hotel was extremely hopping when we got back. I’d hope that they revise this for the benefits of their guests since they may be off doing things before 10.
Pittsburgh has an extremely small downtown. However, most of the downtown hotels are in an area called the Cultural District where the theaters and many restaurants are located. While it doesn’t take long to walk anywhere in Pittsburgh’s downtown, once you leave the immediate area of the Cultural District, after hours (i.e. when all of the office workers have gone home), it’s somewhat sketchy as it’s extremely deserted and also isolated. If you were like us and coming from the stadium area, just have your wits about you, walk quickly and with purpose. I’m not saying it’s dangerous but all it takes is one random and isolated moment.
While I fully enjoyed my stay, I’m more thankful that I was able to take advantage of booking with Jetsetter for a reduced rate. It’s a beautiful hotel though and its uniqueness is second to none. Having now stayed at my first Kimpton hotel I would definitely be interested in staying at another one on my future travels.
Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh
620 William Penn Place | Pittsburgh, PA | 15219