Review: Unwind and unplug (literally) in the Renaissance Hotel Pittsburgh

It’s had an extensive history in only 100 years; from office building to WWII VA hospital to a nightclub, but now the Fulton Building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is home to a hotel that not only allows guests to recharge in contemporary luxury but also detox and unplug from the digital world.

Renaissance Hotel is located in central downtown’s Cultural District on the edge of the Allegheny River and within walking distance of PNC Park, Heinz Field and Rivers Casino. The Cultural District is a 14-square block area with over 90 retail shops, seven theatres, eight public parks, a dozen art galleries and 50 eateries. When it comes to location, Renaissance Hotel wins with its close proximity to well, almost everything Pittsburgh has to offer. Over the past year guest rooms across the hotels 14 floors and 291 rooms were renovated to include new décor, beds, wall coverings and more.

The Renaissance Pittsburgh offers two unique options for staying with them. Firstly, the hotel is pet-friendly and for a US$50 fee, you will be able to stay with the family member that hotels typically won’t accommodate. The other unique offering is the hotels Digital Detox package that will undoubtedly help you focus on relaxing and enjoying Pittsburgh more than usual.

Available year-round, this package will see guests surrender their laptops, phones and other devices when checking in as well as the removal of the TV and iPod dock station from the room. This is done in exchange for a kayaking or biking voucher and the addition of books, playing cards and board games to their room. Best yet, the hotel will also provide an instant camera and limited film so the guests can still capture unique shots whilst out seeing Pittsburgh on their device-free travels.

As an attendant opens the door for you and you walk into the reception, you are met with an expansive and towering lobby with floor to ceiling marble and clean balustrades. The marble, open space and glass dome create an aura of distinctiveness that you associate with famous buildings, banks or even filming locations, yet successfully infused with a sense of comfort and welcoming you expect in the highest class of hotels.

A small Starbucks is tucked away next to the elevators and whilst it doesn’t immediately scream “high-class”, it does continue Renaissance’s aim to make things convenient, smooth and easy that is immediately set-out in your check-in process.

A strong accent of purple reptile skin lines the wall of the elevator between metal as it took us to the 7th floor and our ‘2 Queen with City View’ room.

The two beds are not cramped in their 312 square foot space and adding to the sense of sprawling space are the towering 12 foot ceilings that made our modest room feel like a suite that are common in every room type. Three windows stretched almost that entire height and supplied not only a great deal of natural light, but a broad view over the Cultural District and surrounding you.

Our view: The Allegheny River and Heinz Field on the right

For 3 nights we enjoyed energizing and comfortable sleeps on the soft and supportive mattresses of the beds beneath the lush and high-quality feeling quilt and bedding.

When it comes to technology, the rooms are completely up to date. Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered throughout the hotel as well as each room and suite offering a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a Sony alarm clock, iPod dock, coffee maker and electrical adaptors.

The room is able to accommodate an extra rollaway bed/crib to sleep a maximum of 5 people and even with suitcases lying open on the floor at the end of the beds, we were not remotely close to struggling for walking-room.

Compared to the clean and modern design of the carpet and headboards behind the bed, the bathroom does unfortunately feel dated compared to the rest of the hotel with its cream and beige wallpaper and tile combination. It does, of course, do the job and the tub/shower combination would be a handy addition for travelling families with young kids, or those who prefer to unwind in a bath.

Renaissance Hotel Pittsburgh also offers 10 meeting rooms that total 10,000 square feet of event space, a business centre and a 24-hour fitness centre for their guests.

Even without venturing to the outer suburbs like the Strip District or Squirrel Hill, guests of the Renaissance Hotel Pittsburgh will have a hard time deciding their Pittsburgh adventure with the multitude of galleries, theatres and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. A 30 second walk from the front door will take you to the Roberto Clemente Bridge and from here you get a full view of the Pittsburgh experience – world-class sports stadiums meeting bridge-loaded rivers that meet a thriving and evolving bar and food scene.

The writer stayed as a guest of Renaissance Hotel Pittsburgh and Visit Pittsburgh.

You can Lachlan’s full feature on Pittsburgh by heading HERE.


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