For kids growing up in Center City in the 1980s, there were a couple of hotels that were too busy with celebrities and high-class service to pay attention to eighth-graders who slipped in the door, climbed spiral stairways, flopped on ornate sofas, used fancy towels in bathrooms, chased each other down hallways, snuck into rooms and otherwise treated the hotels as after-school playgrounds. One of these was the Bellevue; the other was the Warwick.
In the ’70 and ’80s, the Warwick always drew celebs who were staying in town—particularly second-rate rock stars. It was never a surprise to see John Cougar Mellencamp tuning his guitar in a marble hallway near the coffee shop, or to run into Phil Lesh, hopped up on coke, trying to stay seated in the lobby till his Grateful Dead confederates arrived. It was a ritual trek after each rock concert: from the venue to the Warwick, camping out in the driveway to get a glimpse as someone—anyone—got off of the bus.
The hotel had its quirks, to be sure, one of which was its private, Mafia-affiliated disco elan, which later turned into Polo Bay, and then morphed into a never-ending series of failing coffee shops that can't stay in business despite a built-in constituency of hotel guests. Then Radisson came in and bought the hotel, and all of its idiosyncratic charms—more fit for a large B&B than a fancy hotel—simply disappeared. The Warwick's best moments now are the inebriated victory parties thrown by Democratic mayors (is there any other kind?).
Yet for those who fantasize about living, Eloise-like, in a hotel, with maid service and a 24-hour concierge, the Warwick offers condos on its top eight floors. Allan Domb currently has a listing for a three-bedroom 2,421 square-foot apartment with a den and ensuite baths. There are city skyline views in each bedroom, and the kitchen has the now-standard subzero this, granite that and stainless steel yadda yadda. Condo fees are $1,146. Priced at $1,195,000.
· Listing: 1701 Locust St. [Allan Domb Real Estate]