Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia review: My first (free!) Kimpton hotel stay was a $500 value

Before this week, I’d never stayed at a Kimpton hotel. I realized I had two IHG free award nights (thanks to my Chase IHG card) that were expiring soon. So I combined them with my four Hyatt award night certificates and put together a fun week in Philadelphia!

I’ve always heard good things about Kimpton and how much it sucked when IHG bought them out. As luck would have it, there was an IHG hotel and a Hyatt hotel within a few blocks of each other.

The Chase free nights are good for hotels up to 40,000 points per night, and the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia was exactly 40,000 points. Cash rates were ~$250 per night, so my two award nights got me a $500 stay for completely free.

Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia review

Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia hotel entrance on 17th Street

I was stoked to have the Kimpton experience for the first time.

Kimpton is a fun, social brand that features funky artwork and decorations, and fit in with local city and neighborhood vibes. In this case, there was a lot of Benjamin Franklin imagery in a nod to Philadelphia’s presidential history. Note that Kimpton hotels are mostly in larger cities.

I hadn’t been to Philly since May 2016. It was good to get back for a visit and enjoy a new hotel brand.

Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia review

Link: Chase IHG card

Chase IHG Premier150,000 IHG points
• Free award night worth up to 40,000 points each account anniversary
• 4th night free on award stays with points
Platinum elite status with IHG
Earn up to 25 points per $1 on IHG hotel stays
Earn 2 points per $1 at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants

• $89 annual fee• $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
• Compare it here

The Chase IHG card is worth keeping for the annual free night alone. If you often stay at IHG hotels, you can earn up to 25 points per $1 spent plus get the 4th night free on your award stays.

I am not a huge IHG fan, but keep the card because I always make good use of the annual free night and get way more in value than the cost of the annual fee. As noted, it’s possible to time it *just right* and redeem 2 free nights at the same time. I also did this at the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York back in 2017.

Since then, I’ve gotten by with one-night stays here and there. Plus, Chase has occasional bonus offers that make the card worth keeping.

Of course, there are better Chase cards – but this one’s great to keep long-term, especially if you like the card’s benefits.

Parking near the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

First of all, valet parking is $58 per night. Uh, no way I’m paying that. So I hopped onto SpotHero and found a two-night valet parking spot in a covered garage for $48, TYVM.

But I was able to pull up, check in, and unload in about 15 minutes. Then I parked literally two blocks away and walked back, knowing I saved over 50% on their ridiculous parking fees. 💥

Arriving at the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

The desk agents were very welcoming and friendly even with several people in line. Now I know damn well IHG doesn’t offer breakfast to elites but I asked anyway. They had “free coffee in the morning but you could order an entree from the restaurant and charge it to your room but the selection was limited or” blah blah… I trailed off once she talked about paying for it.

a room with a few statues on display

Check-in area at the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

But because I’m Platinum elite with IHG, I was upgraded to a Junior Suite Spa room with a big jetted bathtub. Yessss!

And I knew the Kimpton Secret Password for summer.

So I said, “It’s been really cool wearing normal pants this summer! No more sweatpants (wink) after the year we’ve had!” The desk agent smiled and pulled out a set of drawers (I meant to get a photo but didn’t). There were nine small drawers in a 3×3 configuration. I selected the middle bottom drawer and got a free bottle of wine!

Plus, because I checked in between 5 and 6pm, I also got a free glass of wine to take up to my room.

So yeah… it was an amazing check-in experience. One of the best I’ve ever had at a hotel.

a elevator with a painting on the wall

Cool artwork in the elevator

a hallway with doors and a carpet

Hallways of the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

My room at the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

I was in room 602, which was kind of a low floor for a hotel that has 23 floors. I was hoping for higher, but an upgraded room on a lower floor is a good compromise. Plus, shorter rides to take the dog out to potty.

a dog lying on a bed in a hotel room

View upon walking in

a man holding a bottle of wine

With my free bottle of red wine for knowing the secret password

a room with a couch and a laptop on a desk

Desk and couch

a couch with a laptop and a lamp in a room

Closer view

a bathroom with a glass shower door


a bathroom with a bathtub and a mirror

Spa tub and steps leading up to it

Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia review

View of the room and bed

The room was on the smaller side, but big for a major city like Philadelphia – which was great. It was just far enough away from the elevator to be convenient (around a corner) and quiet, and the AC was nice and cool on a hot summer day.

Plus – did you check out that awesome tub? I immediately ran a bath, grabbed my wine, and went for a soak after I got back from parking the car.

The bed was big and comfy, and there were ample outlets for my computers and devices. The wifi was fast and free, and I had everything I needed to stay for a couple of nights.

I also *loved* the location. There are restaurants in every direction you walk, and it’s only a few quick blocks to the Gayhorhood. I went shopping at Uniqlo, got drinks down the street at Black Sheep Irish pub, and had a yummy lunch special at Su Xing House around the corner.

You can also walk to nearby neighborhoods or take a quick Uber/Lyft ride to pretty much anywhere you’d want to go. And Fenwick (my dog) loved being in Rittenhouse Square on his walks.

a statue in a park

Rittenhouse Square was a quick jaunt away

Raid the bar

I also learned that IHG elite members can get a $10 “Raid the bar” credit at Kimpton hotels. That means you can get $10 in drinks or snacks and charge them to your room. Upon checkout, you’ll get a $10 credit to your account.

a dog on a bed with a bottle of alcohol and a man in the background

I raided Kimpton’s bar

I got an old fashioned cocktail ($6) and a Luna bar ($4). At checkout, my folio was $0 between the free award nights and bar credit (I had already paid the pet fee when I checked in). They also gave me an extra hour on my checkout just for asking and I was able to close the gap between checking out here and checking in at the Hyatt Bellevue, which was awesome.

Bottom line

This was my first Kimpton stay, and I was curious how the brand would stand out. Between the spa room upgrade, free treat with the secret password, late checkout, bar credit, and excellent city center location, this was a wonderful stay from beginning to end.

Staying here for absolutely free with my Chase IHG card annual award nights (except for the pet fee which is what it is) was such a nice treat – and 100% made the card worth keeping for another year. The only thing I’d say is to skip the expensive valet parking and make arrangements elsewhere (I use SpotHero).

a dog lying on a bed

Fenwick at the Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia

This experience made me want to try other Kimpton hotels. I can see why Kimpton fans were disappointed when IHG bought them out. IHG doesn’t have a robust loyalty program (especially for elites) and Kimpton obviously tries to set themselves apart. I’m glad they kept the fun vibe despite the acquisition and grateful to use my free nights here.

So that’s my Kimpton Palomar Philadelphia hotel review slash Chase IHG card mini-review. This stay definitely made me want to keep the card for another year, if only to try another Kimpton hotel in the future. (Thank you for using my links when you apply for new cards! ✨)

Have you stayed here before? Are you a fan of the Kimpton brand? And have you gotten to use your IHG award nights for any fun trips lately?

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. You have to check out ….Reading Terminal Market ……it’s amazing place ….Tommy Ninicks pull pork sandwich was voted best sandwich in the USA in 2014 I f I remember right but it’s so good …..if you don’t like pork there is 100 other food vendors there

    • Both fun places! IHG has some good brands in their portfolio. I with their loyalty program were better. Oh well – free nights are fun thanks to the Chase IHG card. Hope you’re doing well! <3

  2. Just want to say Fenwick is living his best life! He looks very well behaved! Took my ShihTzu to The Westin Chicago once during the holidays and was not fun, with every noise he heard he had to bark.

    • Hey Boonie! Fenwick is the best and sweetest pup, I swear. SO well-behaved and never barks and loves everyone he meets. He usually charms the hotel staff starting right at check-in. I really do think he’s having a better time than me lol. He’s so good in the car and loves exploring new places. I am so blessed to have him!

  3. We stayed there 2 weeks ago as platinum elite also, did not get upgrade, we asked for no pet floor since one kid has allergies and they said they can only offer a room on the 4th floor as that time, sound like we could’ve gotten a room on a higher floor otherwise. Also did the Kimpton password, they let us choose from a list of 3 items, no drawers..
    We got free parking across the street since it was July 4th weekend

    • Hi Pan! You were there right before me – that’s so cool! Free parking would’ve been awesome, but all good – the garage was only two blocks away on Chancellor St. Glad to hear you got a free treat with the secret password. Bummer about the upgrade but sounds like you had a good reason for the room you got. Thank so much for reading and sharing your experience!

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