A True Resort Hotel: The Omni William Penn


When you think of the word ‘resort’, it is likely several things come to mind.  Palm trees.  White linen curtains swaying in the ocean breeze.  Barefoot waiters carrying trays of umbrella drinks.

DSC_5727When you think of the word ‘resort’, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh.  Yet that’s exactly where I found an honest-to-goodness old-fashioned resort hotel–right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh.

When I think of the word ‘resort’, I imagine something more than a hotel.  To me, a resort is a destination unto itself.  Most Las Vegas hotels fall into this category.  Many Walt Disney World properties do, too (though not all of them, as Disney would have you believe).  When you visit a resort you may (and should) leave the property to explore the world beyond–but you wouldn’t have to if you didn’t want to.  A resort offers more than just a room and wifi; it offers dining and, often, entertainment options as well.  In addition to that, a resort provides a high level of service and attention to each guest.  In all of these ways, The Omni William Penn is a true resort hotel.

Don’t get me wrong–I spent a good deal of time out and about in Pittsburgh, exploring and enjoying all that the city had to offer.  But I also spent more time than usual back at the hotel.  This may have been, in part, due to the snow that blanketed the city the weekend I visited.  But I could not think of a better place to be snowed in than the Omni William Penn.  I had my choice of two different restaurants–or, rather, three, if you count the bagel shop off the rear of the lobby (and as I ate there two mornings in a row, I suppose I do).  I visited three different bars including the ultra-hip Speakeasy.  If I wanted to shop–which I did not–I could have done that, too.  Or I could have just enjoyed the relaxing music playing in the grand old lobby every night, curled up in a velvet chaise, admiring the holiday decorations and intricate gingerbread sculptures.

Many resort properties–particularly those in Vegas or Walt Disney World–have a theme.  I’ve stayed in a Paris-themed hotel, a hotel designed to look like an Italian fishing village, and even at the super over-the-top Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can spend a DSC_6038week living in a little bit of Africa relocated to central Florida.

The Omni William Penn had a sort of theme as well, and that theme is grand-old-hotel.  It’s the kind of hotel that you see in old movies.  From the doorman in his hat and jacket to the lobby in its marble-and-gilt glory, to step foot in The Omni William Penn is to step back into a different time.  Some might say ‘a better time’.  I know I definitely would.

The Omni William Penn is located at 530 William Penn Plaza, Pittsburgh.  And I highly recommend visiting Pittsburgh!  While you can pay for valet parking, there is also a perfectly acceptable public parking garage directly across the street; my traveling companion and I used it for the duration of our stay and had zero issues.  Just remember to take your parking card with you when you leave your vehicle, as you pay at a machine before you return to your car (it is kind of an odd system, but it works.  And I’ve since seen the same set-up in a garage in South Beach, so maybe it isn’t even that odd).  

Disclosure:  I was hosted by the Omni William Penn for part of my stay and offered a media rate for the other part.  However, as always, all opinions are my own.  Please see my Disclosure page for more on how I assure that all experiences, hosted or otherwise, are fair and balanced.  Thanks, and thanks for visiting The Suitcase Scholar!  Come again soon!



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