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Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 in Bargains | 0 comments

An Artful Getaway

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Just in time for the current art scene, the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, a stylish upscale boutique hotel in the renovated Architects Building, in the historic Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, opened last fall. It’s not only Kimpton’s first in the city, it’s also the first hotel designed to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

You need not go further than the lobby to know it has style and wit: unique art on the walls, interesting lighting, a semicircular plush sofa embracing a white fireplace, dark wood floors leading into an airy front room with metal chairs surrounding a glass-topped table. Flanking the sleek white reception desk are three identical busts of Ben Franklin—blue, white, red–no mistaking whose town this is.

The Palomar’s 230 rooms, including 19 Spa Rooms and 17 suites, are swathed in soft neutral earth tones; Art Deco details reflect the building’s origins while custom furnishings, Frette linens and the most splendid bathroom I have ever seen are among its luxe amenities. You walk into an enormous open shower, perhaps 6 or more feet square, that seems like the patio of the generous soaking tub at its far end. Did I mention a big city-view window? All of which makes the Palomar an excellent base for an art-filled Philly.

At the moment, these are the stars of the city:
“Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris,” is Philadelphia Museum of Art’s look at Picasso during his most inventive years, from 1905 to 1945: his early abstract experiments, the development of Cubism, Surrealism. There’s also the intimate picture of Paris, and Picasso’s colleagues who formed an avant-garde group, the School of Paris: Léger, Juan Gris, Chagall, Dal , and most of all George Braque, with whom Picasso had a special, immensely productive friendship. One spectacular room evokes the famous Cubist Salon d’Automne of 1912. Virtually all of the show’s 212 works—collages, photographs, drawings, and sculptures as well as paintings—come from the museum’s own holdings, a stunning tribute to an underappreciated museum.

When Picasso decamps on April 25, next to arrive at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a blockbuster, “Late Renoir,” following the last decades of the great master’s career. (Philadelphia Museum of Art, (215) 763-8100, www.philamuseum.org.)

The Barnes Foundation, with its collection of Impressionists, Post Impressionists and early Modern paintings, is in its last full year in the Philadelphia suburbs before it moves to a new home in the center city. Don’t miss the chance to see this extraordinary collection in its original, magical estate. Walls crammed with breathtaking art: Picasso (46), Matisse (59), Cézanne( 69), Renoir (181), and that’s just the tip of the 900-plus paintings and thousands of pieces of furniture, metal work, and other artifacts. (The Barnes Foundation, 300 N. Latch’s Lane, Merion, PA, (610) 667-0290, www.barnesfoundation.org, reserve@barnesfoundation.org.)

And if you get to town before April 11, you’ll be hard pressed to miss Philagrafika 2010, an exuberant international print festival that showcases over 300 artists in a hundred city sites. A few key locations: Moore College of Art and Design, Penn Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Print Center, with populist games and playful settings (note the yurt, and the wittily engraved bathroom seat). A free map identifies all venues and exhibitions. (Philagrafika 2010, (215) 557-8433, www.philagrafika2010.org.)

Need refreshing after a day of artful delights? The Palomar offers that most sybaritic pleasure: in-room spa services.

Kerstin Florian Organic Massage Treatments
All massage oils use organic sunflower oil and 100% natural essential oils.

Signature Massage
Choose from a range of massage therapy techniques including Swedish, deep tissue, sports or reflexology or ask your therapist to customize your massage treatment with a stress-busting combination of any or all of these techniques.
50/80 Minutes • $135/$190

Aroma Journey Massage
A sensory balancing massage experience with your choice of four Aromatherapy blends infused with essential oils—harmony, lavender, soothing, or revitalizing. Reawaken your senses. Reconnect with nature. And restore your health.
50/80 Minutes • $145/$200

Calm Mind Massage
Temples and scalp are massaged with Calm Mind Oil, a restorative blend of peppermint and lavender created to help relieve headache tension and stress. Lavender Body Oil is used to achieve an overall feeling of bliss as we customize your massage with a combination of techniques.
50/80 Minutes • $145/$200

Mother-to-Be Harmony Massage
Designed to address the special needs of the mother-to-be, we combine tried and tested safe pregnancy massage techniques with a Chinese geranium-infused oil that promotes feminine energy and has a harmonizing effect on women. Helps to relieve tension in your lower and upper back and alleviate swelling in the hands and feet. Mother to Be Massages are not recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy
50/80 Minutes • $145/$200

Revitalizing Hot Stone Massage
Smooth, polished river rocks are heated and used to massage the body. Stones are left in patterns on the body to balance the energy centers. Revitalizing Body Oil adds a wonderful aromatic element to the experience with essences of rosemary, juniper and grapefruit to reduce stress, stimulate circulation, as well as balance and invigorate the body.
50/80 Minutes • $170/$255

Kerstin Florian Body Treatments
All treatments with pure essential oils, natural botanicals and wild-crafted ingredients.

Lavender Dreams
Inhale the calming and balancing benefits of wild lavender in this completely balancing and rejuvenating spa experience. To begin, earthly minerals are combined with lavender’s healing properties in an invigorating full body exfoliation. Next, nourish and relax inside a warm cocoon, after Lavender Body Spray is massaged into the body.
50/80 Minutes • $145/$200

Soothing Body Wrap
The healing moisturizing properties of aloe vera are combined with the remineralizing and nourishing properties of algae and soothing properties of lavender in this deluxe hydrating body wrap. Includes a luxurious scalp and neck massage as well as a foot massage with an alpine foot balm.
50 Minutes • $145

Spirulina Body Wrap
Spirulina, rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes is harvested from pure salt lakes. This treatment helps to nourish, stimulate and revitalize. Your body is wrapped for 25 minutes to soak up essential elements from the Spirulina Masque. Then Marine Firming Body Creme mixed with Lavender Body Oil is massaged into the skin to finish this purifying and firming treatment.
80 Minutes • $200

This is Philadelphia, rejuvenating mind and body.
Hotel Palomar, 117 South 17th Street, 215-563-5006, hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com, Ask about the Philagrafika package at $179.

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