From once being the largest dome in the Western Hemisphere to the story behind the warped staircases
PHILADELPHIA, PA. (December 20, 2017) – The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia is a storied hotel on the Avenue of the Arts, and last year unveiled a multi-million dollar renewal including all new guest rooms and meeting spaces, a refreshed lobby experience and public spaces along with a new restaurant, bar and lounge by Richard Sandoval. While the property-wide enhancements showcase modern interiors, the history of the building is seen throughout.
The historic hotel was originally built as a reproduction of the Pantheon when it opened in 1908 as The Girard Trust Company, and changed hands multiple times, until the turn of the century when the iconic building was converted into a hotel and opened as The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia in 2000.
There are many secrets hidden at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia – here are 6 things you didn’t know about the emblematic hotel:
The rotunda, which is now home to the hotel lobby and Aqimero, is a reproduction of the Pantheon in Rome and built of 9,000 tons of Georgia marble, the original marble still stands today.
The dome spans over 101 feet, and at its time, it was the largest dome in the Western Hemisphere.
The oculus in the dome is approximately 140 feet from the floor, The Girard Trust bank tellers and vault were originally housed in this building and the tellers would pull the money up from the vault where now the hotel’s iconic chandelier hangs.
The stairs leading to what today is The Grand Ballroom (formerly the vault of Girard Bank) are warped on one side. The stairs were built for the ladies to make their “grand entrance” into the vault to retrieve their jewels on Friday for their weekend social event, and their subsequent return on Monday. The warping on that one side is from the traffic up and down—the skirts were long at the time, and there is a banister only on that side. The stairs were left “as is.”
Since the building was originally designed to be a bank, almost all of the rooms are unique from each other, unlike most hotels where there are only a few room categories.
What today is The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge was formerly the Executive Board Room of Girard Trust. The brass clock and original lighting fixtures still remain, as does the original carved wood paneling. This paneling is made out of French walnut, a wood that is now extinct.