America’s highest hotel

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Jen Su at the Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center
Jen Su at the Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center
Jen Su

Philadelphia – birthplace of the United States – has just become home to the highest hotel in America – the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

Having lived in many corners of Asia and Africa, I spent the last couple of years in America, where I had the opportunity to re-discover my hometown of Philly, City of Brotherly Love.

The Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center. Photo: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

For me, one of the best aspects of coming back, has been the incredible growth and development of the city’s hotel, restaurant, sports, and cultural scene in recent years.

Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia.
Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia.

And the numbers are there to prove it – with 45 million visitors to the Philadelphia region in 2018, according to Visit Philadelphia and an even bigger year to come, as we head into 2020.

Philadelphia has seen a major resurgence in its hotel, restaurant, sports, and cultural landmarks in recent years. The Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Parade in February 2018, drew crowds of over 700,000 to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Image: TFI/Darryl Moran Photography

The Four Seasons, designed by Lord Norman Foster, is located inside the Comcast Center, the tallest building in the city.  The 180-room luxury hotel is found on floors 48-60, with offices underneath.  The concept is quite avant-garde for Philly – although it reminds me of some of the gorgeous skyscraper hotels I frequented in Shanghai, China, when I lived there.

The Four Seasons Hotel is located inside the Comcast Center, the tallest building in the city. Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

It took around 20 seconds to get from the street level lift at 19th and Arch, to the hotel’s lobby on level 60. Wow! Sweeping, panoramic floor-to-ceiling views of the city, with glamour, light, and stunning floral masterpieces created by celebrity designer Jeff Leatham, greeted me.  And, yes, he was the floral designer for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding!

Floral designer Jeff Leatham. Image: Comcast Center Campus

Having booked six weeks in advance (get yourself onto OpenTable if you need to reserve), I brought my boys to experience brunch at the hotel’s signature restaurant Jean-Georges Philadelphia, by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

With my boys at Jean-Georges Philadelphia.

The restaurant, and JG SkyHigh Cocktail Bar, feature 12 metre-high windows and mirrored ceilings.

Four Seasons
JG SkyHigh Cocktail Bar during the grand opening. Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

The menu featured appetizers such as wild shrimp a la plancha, lime yogurt and radish explosion – as well as entrées such as corn nut crusted Faroe Island salmon, with fragrant corn nage basil and chili oil.

Vernick Fish during the hotel’s grand opening.  The seafood restaurant is the creation of James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick.  Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

At the grand opening, I enjoyed a drink with Fox 29 news presenters Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley, at Vernick Fish, a contemporary seafood restaurant and oyster bar, created by James Beard Award-winner Greg Vernick.

At Vernick Fish during the grand opening with (from left:) Fox 29 Philly presenters Alex Holley, Mike Jerrick, and Visit Philadelphia’s Cara Schneider.

Our tour included a visit to the hotel’s 57th floor infinity pool, state-of-the-art fitness center with curved birchwood wall panels (I especially loved the Peloton bikes!) and amazing views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation on Ben Franklin Parkway.

The hotel’s infinity pool. Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Of course, being a “spa gal” I had to check out the Four Seasons spa sanctuary, with its healing power of crystals in a bespoke anti-pollution line free from parabens, artificial colours or perfumes, curated by Dr. Pauline Burgener of Switzerland.

Curved birchwood wall panels at The Spa, Four Seasons Philadelphia at Comcast Center. Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

If you love touchscreens and automation, the Four Seasons guest rooms offer the X1 Video Experience, with 300 channel options and a complimentary library of 50,000 movies and shows on demand. There are also plenty of charging stations and USB ports in the room, which is a must these days!

Guest rooms with clean, modern lines and unobstructed panoramic views. Image: Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The best part of the entire experience, is that in discovering this gorgeous new gem in the city, I’ve forgotten all about my fear of heights!