Built in 1889 by architect Willis Hale and first occupied by a prominent doctor and his family, this ornate mansion and three-story brownstone is a wonderful place for a B&B. The ground-floor parlor and entryway feature natural cherry and chestnut wood, and the guest rooms have oak floors with elaborate inlays of mahogany, ash, and cherry. In the dining room, guests are served a hot breakfast; the menu changes daily, and there's always muffins, cereal, coffee, and tea. An idyllic wraparound porch is perfect for reading a morning paper. One room has a glass-enclosed sitting porch, and five have working fireplaces (each common room has its own fireplace.). The owners—who live in the building—are avid collectors of Victoriana, so just about every knickknack or piece of furniture is more than a century old. The property has free, on-premises parking.
Each room has antique quilts, down comforters, cotton high thread count sheets with embroidery and lace and a thick terry cloth bathrobe. A television with cable is available in each room along with a self-controlled heating and cooling system. Five of the rooms offer working fireplaces, either gas or electric. For those guests who need it, a DVD player is available along with several rollaway beds. All ten rooms are furnished with Victorian furniture. Eight of the rooms have queen sized beds with six pillows (mix of down and memory foam), while the Regent rooms have two twin beds.
Ask for the master bedroom if it is available. With its canopy four poster bed, bathtub, and separate solarium, it is easily the most luxurious room available.
Bathrooms all vary from a clawfoot tub to a shared bathroom for two of the rooms with shower only. Some WC's have 1920's ceramic or granite sinks others are walk-in surround curtained showers. Locally handmade natural face and body soap in various scents (eucalyptus, lavender) are provided and all your essential toiletries (Royal Leaf) are available in the room or call down for forgotten items. Eight rooms have either a shower/tub combo or just a shower or just a tub.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Choose carefully if you are particular about your bathroom, especially if you don't want to share a hallway bathroom shower.
When you enter the Gables from the side entrance, you’ll come to a large reception room. A stained glass window greets you on the left while to the right there are two Victorian parlors, in period proper theme: one for males, the other for females, but guests can choose their own parlor. The "male" parlor room has a vintage pump organ which is in working order along with a grandfather clock. The female parlor room contains a Baby Grand piano and an actual Victorian wood aviary. All of the furniture is period Victorian and peacock wallpaper and oriental rugs carry off the motif authentically.
A wrap around porch around the brownstone provides covered seating for at least 10-15 people comfortably. There is also a yard with a merticulously maintained garden with more seating along with a hammock and a fountain.
A made to order breakfast with B&B classics like eggs benedict and quiche) is served each day by the owners from 8-9:30 AM downstairs in the dining area where seating is available for 12 people. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated. For 24 hours cravings, a pantry off the main reception area has a refrigerator that contains various snacks (cookies, crackers) along with carafes of filtered water and unlimited bottles red and white wine. Coffee via Keurig and tea by the bag is also available in the dining room 24/7. Bottles of water available upon request. There’s a grill outside for those who like that option.
Request kindly for breakfast in bed. The Gables will offer you an entire bottle of wine to take gratis for the BYOB restaurants nearby.
There are the generous bottles of red, and white wine in the pantry available 24/7 but hosts would accommodate guests if they have other choices. A lot of guests like to hang out on the patio and garden and have an impromptu happy hour in the afternoons, or if the weather doesn’t call for it they use the two parlors.
They also have room for up to 100 outside in the manicured garden and have held a few weddings.
West Philadelphia and University City, in particular, is walkable but the trolleys rule as mode of transport. The #13 trolley is a 1-minute walk out the front door. The #11 trolley is a 2-minute walk away. Once downtown the Broad Street or Market Frankford subway line can get you to South Philly stadiums or up to Northern Liberties. You can walk to Center City but it's a good 47-minute walk.
Dining options abound on Baltimore Avenue up 46th street: Aksum (10-minute walk) is a BYOB serving Mediterranean fare with an emphasis on fish, lamb, and chicken. Marigold Kitchen (10-minute walk) is a highly regarded local favorite BYOB that serves a seasonal tasting menu of “new American cuisine” for approximately $90 per person. Reservations are definitely recommended. The corned beef special sandwiches at Koch’s Deli (15-minute walk) are the best in Philly, and at $12 are a real steal compared to New York prices.
Recommended nightlife options are Dock Street Brewing Company (15-minute walk) with its in-house craft beers, wood oven fired pizza, and fish and chips, and Local 44 (10-minute walk), a lively American bar near the University of Pennsylvania campus with an emphasis on pub food and local craft beers on draft.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The meticulousness spent to make this Bed and Breakfast of its era is impressive. You feel as if you’re staying in a museum, only that you’re allowed to play the vintage instruments (pump organ, baby grand piano) and sleep overnight. Service is everything and Rick and Cesar go above and beyond in their flexibility and generosity. Coupled with the warm welcome you’ll get from innkeepers/owners Rick and Cesar's cute dogs Pepper and Sugar you’ll see why they receive many repeat customers. Your own pets can also come on a case by case basis.