Location: How could the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh not be a grand hotel in the old sense of the word? After all, it is set in a Beaux Arts style building, completed in 1903. It was, for quite some time, the headquarters of Pittsburgh power company, Duquesne, and then, in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it became the home of the Reed Smith law firm. Set on William Penn Place, near Mellon Square Park, the hotel’s neighbors across the street span the architectural spectrum: there’s the aluminum built Alcoa building, which has been converted into residential and retail, and then, right next door to the space age Alcoa, is the deep pink Colonial era Allegheny Harvard Yale Princeton Club, next to a quaint alley called Strawberry Way. A short walk away, Market Place Square is very much a local haunt for sitting and people watching, or eating from or at one of the many food joints surrounding the square. Most entertainment is within walking distance, but in the hotel lobby a couple of bikes await guests, all ready for them to explore the city on. Don’t forget to smile: Pittsburgh is one of the friendliest cities you’ll find.
The Hotel: Being a Kimpton hotel, a company that put the stamp on whimsical pack-rat boutique style, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh fits today’s re-use, recycle adaptive style. Just done with a huge dash of fabulousness. Guests are greeted by a giant Great Dane cast in white porcelain, which sits by the entranceway. Great Danes are the Pennsylvania state dog, and the noble hounds pop up throughout the hotel, either on cushion covers or wallpaper print. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, so its no idle idol. The marble clad lobby is softened by a spectacular chandelier of cascading silk flowers that many might miss unless they look up. However, from the second floor Living Room, this pretty fixture all but blossoms before your eyes.
The Living Room is filled with couches and ad-hoc furnishings. Two large, body decorated armoires, from which morning coffee and the early evening wine hour (5 p.m. – 6 p.m.) are dispensed, stand on one wall, behind a dining table and chairs.
The art work and fixtures here, as throughout the hotel, echo local icons and the individual theme for this particular hotel, which is birds. There are old ornate birdcages dipped in turquoise paint; brass bird claw table legs; and bespoke chandeliers crafted from talons–thankfully not real, but of metal.
One bird in particular is highlighted in the yellow table lamps, which is shaped like a penguin. These are dotted throughout the hotel and honor the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course, one of the oldest hockey teams in the US.
The hotel’s quirky, peeping eye artwork stares mysteriously from some walls, too. And for the fitness freaks, there’s a fully fitted exercise room.
View of a Room: 721 Despite being chock full of colors and patterns and fun furniture, this room is spacious–plenty of room to stow your stuff without feeling like you’re tripping over things. The decor continues the birdcage theme this Monaco adopted with an ornate bedside light shade.
Honestly, there are comfortable beds and then there was this one. There’s no one thing pinpointing just why this high, plush bed was so comfy–and the pillows so convivial, too. It just is — appreciate it!
The bathroom has a step-in marble tile lined shower, excellent lighting and a magnifying mirror, and toiletries by C. O. Bigelow. And, the bedroom closet houses a pair of grey pinstripe robes. The bespoke wallpaper lining the closet is a riot of color and city scenes, and there’s that trusty hound again.
Restaurants and Bars: The Commoner is a relaxing bar and restaurant with down to earth dishes, artfully reimagined. It is open morning till late at night, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late night bar menu.
620 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219