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Cambria Hotel, Center City - An Upscale Attempt from a Lowly Hotel Group, Perfectly Located in Center City

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WebsiteLocation and Rates

"Cambria Hotel" may not be a name you normally think of when searching for a hotel - mainly because it's a member of Choice Hotels: better known for Comfort Inn, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn, Quality Inn, etc. 

However, Cambria (and Ascend) are their two attempts at more-upscale hotels, and the Cambria Hotel in Philadelphia could not have a better location: On the Avenue of the Arts, just a few blocks south of City Hall, it's probably the best value in the immediate area. Always check AAA (and AARP) rates when you use this hotel group: An AAA rate (plus $5 given to the front-desk clerk - *always* do this before your room is assigned, trust me! Just say, "And that's for your trouble" - I've never been turned down yet, and have gotten some sort of upgrade, or free drink, or whatever, probably 25-50% of the time; the other times, the tip has been genuinely appreciated - five dollars to a hotel clerk is one of the best travel investments you can make (just don't expect anything in return, and be pleasantly surprised if something does happen)) anyway, this gave me some crazy price like $109 on a Sunday night, and there were extras such as "Buy one drink, get one free." The one drawback here is parking, and there's very little you can do about it - on Sundays, you may get lucky on the street, but you're essentially going to pay $20-30 a night to park anywhere around here.

This is an oddly situated hotel: You come in on the ground floor, take an elevator up to the lobby, and then up again to your room. My room was unlike any I've ever seen: Here's the view you get upon entering:

IMG_5053.JPG <--- I know, right?

But once you're in the room, it's fine, and even pleasant in a quirky way:


Not bad for the price and location, and if you're on any type of budget at all, I'd suggest at least looking at Cambria Hotel, which I'm rating 3 stars out of 5 (our star-rating system is explained here, and everyone here is encouraged to use it), and it's at the high-end of the 3-star range (i.e., I'm not giving it 4 stars, but I wouldn't cringe if someone did - it's new, well-situated, and the staff is very pleasant). I'd say it's about on a par with a typical Kimpton Hotel, except that I've stayed in some fairly grungy (i.e., "not well-maintained") Kimpton Hotels recently (that would be you, Baltimore). If anything tugged this up to 4 stars, it would be the location, and the perfectly good beds and linens.

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