The Ritz is the gold standard of hotels in Philadelphia. The lobby is housed in the rotunda building that was completed in 1908 as a model of Rome’s Pantheon, using 9,000 tons of Georgia marble—by the same architectural firm behind the first MSG and Washington Square Arch in NYC, as well as the Boston Symphony Hall. (The interior marble was largely sourced from the same Italian quarry as Michelangelo’s David.) First the company home of the Girard Trust Company president E.B. Morris, the rotunda building went on to house the Girard Trust Corn Exchange, and later two different banks, before being converted into a hotel in 2000. The Ritz rooms are in the partner tower, which was designed by the same firm in 1923, and grew from eight to thirty stories in 1931. In 2016, the Ritz underwent a major redesign but you’ll still see pieces of the past, from the tower’s original brass clock to the warping on one side of the former vault (now ballroom) stairs—an imprint of the women who once walked them, hugging the sole banister, on the way into the vault to pick up their weekend jewels.

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