Wm. Mulherin’s Sons Hotel
What We Love
- Living plants in all guest rooms
- Wood-fired Italian plates at the eponymous restaurant onsite
- The fireplace-clad bar—perfect for those Philly winters
- Aesop toiletries in the bathrooms
What To Know
- Each of the four rooms here contains a king size bed and blackout shades
- The property is 100% smoke free
- Expect occasional noise from the Market-Frankford trains nearby
- Although there’s no room service, your fully equipped kitchen more than delivers
- Free WiFi
Derelict distillery turned industrial-chic bolthole in up-and-coming Fishtown, with a standout trattoria
The success of Wm. Mulherin’s Sons’ upscale Italian restaurant, which dishes out hearty plates like short rib agnolotti and hot coppa–topped pies to in-the-know locals, was such a hit, they decided to open rooms upstairs. Immediately, it became Philadelphia’s most sought-after staycation spot. The former whiskey blending and bottling facility turned four-room sleep manages to retain endearing century-old elements (terra-cotta signs, arched windows, exposed ducts and pipes) while adding updates for extended stays (in-room washer-dryers, kitchens with Mauviel cookware, Apple TVs). In addition to vintage Persian rugs, we love the custom woodwork and playful wallpaper designed by area artisans (look out for the handmade audio consoles—thoughtful nods to the property’s musical Fishtown backdrop). And though the common areas are few and precious across the shabby-chic retreat, wood, concrete and leather accents infuse a warm, tavern-inspired charm.
In the Area
Fishtown is one of Philadelphia’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and a hub for the city’s creative set thanks to its many cafés, live music joints, and vintage boutiques. The hotel is within walking distance of Penn Treaty Park, a waterfront green space that hosts a popular food and music festival each fall. Sample the area’s indie rock scene at Johnny Brenda’s, a gastro-pub with a serious craft beer collection. Also close is Philadelphia’s largest beer garden, Frankford Hall, which is lined with picnic tables and three distinct bars.
How to Get There
Yes, the rooms of this hotel are beautiful. The room I was in (room 1) was spacious, very cool design, and comfy. But there were far too many negatives to make a stay here worth it, especially at such high prices.
As the other reviews have said, there's no parking provided. There is a lot across the street, but it's an outdoor lot with no attendant. Evening hours start at 4 (when you can first check-in to the hotel), so when I tried to pay at the machine I had to choose to pay to park until 5 am or pay twice as much for 48 hours. I ended up having to book through park whiz, but the lot requires you to actually print out the pass to display which only worked because I was meeting a friend with a printer. The check-in is at the restaurant below the hotel, which felt a little awkward to walk into a nice and busy place with all my bags and try to flag someone down to get my key. I had booked with a third party that was supposed to include a drink at the restaurant as an amenity. This wasn't acknowledged when I checked in, but when I asked they were friendly about it.
The door to the hotel is directly next door; it's a bit of a pain to lug your stuff up the stairs but I was only one flight up so not too bad. I had been worried about the train because of the other reviews, but room 1 was removed enough from it that it wasn't too bothersome. You could hear noise from outside and the room above, but again not so bad that it couldn't be covered up with white noise while sleeping. The coffee provided in the room looked like it would be good, but the directions for making it were extremely complicated and there was no cream or sugar. The products provided in the bathroom were a shampoo and two body lotions, but no conditioner or body wash which was a little strange.
But honestly the room was cool and nice enough that I would have gotten over all of those inconveniences. Unfortunately at 4 am that morning I was woken up by some kind of work being done right below my room, and an extremely loud machine going off for long periods at a time. I could see cones set up on the street below, but it sounded like whatever was happening was attached to the building, and because of the thin windows and walls it sounded like banging all around and felt like the room was vibrating. This lasted for several hours. There is no one at the hotel after 12 am, and I had not been provided the emergency contact number for help after hours either before my stay or when I checked in, so I had no idea what to do or who to reach out to (under emergency contact on the hotel website it says call 911). I finally gave up on sleeping and just emailed the third party booking site to let them know what was going on and ask for their help in getting some kind of refund.
I had luckily asked for checkout at 12 instead of 11 so I could sleep in a little once the noise finally stopped, but at exactly 10:59 someone started banging on the door and yelling guest services. I actually thought for a second that it was someone coming to help with the noise issue, but when I opened the door in my pajamas the woman standing there just stared at me. I explained that I had gotten a late checkout, and she pretty rudely replied that no one had told her that as if somehow it was my fault that management had not conveyed this to her.
When I spoke to the third party site that day, I was told that the hotel management had tried to say the noise was just the train. I then called the regular hotel number and spoke to the manager directly, explaining what had happened and that it was definitely not the train. The response I got was not at all an apology but just a lot of excuses- that they cannot control city noise, that it couldn't have been construction at that hour and they had no knowledge of work being done, it was the third party's fault for not giving me the emergency number, of course he would have answered the phone at 5 am and driven over to the hotel to investigate etc. etc. I get that a hotel can't control city noise. But besides the fact that this was not just "regular city noise" and definitely sounded like it was connected to the building, a hotel is responsible for making sure guests have a relaxing and enjoyable stay, that they're provided with critical information like after-hours contact info when no one is stationed at the hotel, and that there is not such a huge disconnect between guests and the actual hotel management.
The manager told me he would continue to be in contact with the third party site, and to give him 24 hours to deal with it. After 36 hours and having heard nothing, I reached back out to the third party only to receive an email saying the hotel was taking no responsibility and refused to give any kind of refund or discount. The manager never reached back out to me. The true mark of a good hotel is how well they handle any issues that arise, and how much they actually care about guests having a good stay. It's clear this place does not care about that once they have your payment.
Now if as a guest all you actually care about is the design and space of your room, and not as much about good customer service, amenities, ease, or noise, then you'll still probably enjoy this place. Otherwise there are plenty of other options, like the Lokal right down the street.
First off I should give full disclosure here. I live down the street from Mulherins and visit the restaurant frequently. It’s one of my favorites in the city. As a result, I had high expectations for my stay at the hotel on my wedding night.
What I found instead of a nice relaxing stay was a very beautiful room (#1) with some major deficiencies that needed to be addressed for comfort, functionality and customer service.
When booking the room I emailed with the manager to make sure the stay was as smooth as possible. The goal was to check-in the room by 12:00 so the photog could start pre wedding pictures of my wife getting ready. Understandably, they couldn’t guarantee a checkin that early so I had to get the room for the night before as well. No biggie, they sucked an extra night out of me.
However, they never gave us notification, as promised, for when the room was ready to check in or instructions as to where to pickup the keys. Luckily we figured out the keys were available for pickup at the host stand in the restaurant.
Most annoying though was:
- after night #1, the day of the wedding, there were at least 3 different occasions when the cleaning crew knocked on the door to access the cleaning closet (for some reason located in our room) so they could clean the other rooms. I mean who does that? Why is the closet located in our room and why would you need to keep coming in? Especially when you see a bride getting dressed for her wedding.
- the shower door literally didn’t shut. It was like it was hung too low and scraping the floor. As a result water would go all over the floor. For a $400 a night room I expect to be able to take a shower without flooding the bathroom.
- there was nowhere to hang clothes or a full length mirror to look at. Even the Best Western has that (I’m assuming)
All of that said, the room is quite stunning and gorgeous. The vinal records player (with Snoop I might add) was ah-mazing. Further the location is fantastic. If you do decide to go, checkout the restaurant downstairs!!
I struggled with how to rate this hotel experience. I wanted to rate it a 3.5, but that’s not an option, so I’m going with a 3, given the mix of pros and cons. First the pros. We stayed overnight in two units here—3 and 4. Both are beautifully designed, gorgeous spaces. We left our stay with so much design inspiration for our own homes. Also, the rooms are spacious, clean, and have every amenity you could need (fridge, stove, washer/dryer, etc). Both the bed and couches were super comfy, and the big windows and sky lights let in plenty of natural light. Plus, the hotel is in the Fishtown area, so it’s a close walk to plenty of bars, shops, and restaurants. Still, there were a number of cons to staying here.
No elevator. Rooms 3 and 4 were up two very steep sets of stairs. And with no hotel staff to help with luggage, it was a bit of a hassle to get our things up to our room. I can imagine this would be an issue for older travelers or those with mobility issues.
No overnight parking on site. There’s a free lot beside the hotel but it’s only available until 2 am. You must move your car to street parking or to a pay lot (nearby). A tad annoying, but I’ve stayed at other Philly hotels that require the same thing, and admittedly we did find parking relatively easily.
Noise. I live in the Washington, DC area near a metro station, so I’m pretty used to train noise. But this hotel sits directly beside train tracks (literally yards away), and the train is VERY loud and runs into the early morning hours. Also, because the hotel is near bars and such, there were a lot of street noises (people yelling or talking very loudly, engines revving, etc) into the early morning hours. We all slept pretty poorly, given the range of noises all night. This hotel would definitely not be a good spot for light sleepers. I didn’t see a white noise machine in the room to combat the array of noises; that would have been a helpful addition.
We really liked many aspects of this truly beautiful hotel, but would choose a quieter spot for a return visit to Philly.
We loved our stay in Fishtown, made a weekend jaunt to Philly for a wedding so much more interesting. We wanted to love everything about Wm. Mulherin's Sons Hotel but it not live up to the standard of a hotel - if you think about it like an AirBnB alternative, it's great - great for the room but just ok for the service.
Excellent central location, amazing restaurant below. Amazingly large loft-like room, event the walk up is charming as the steps get steep to the third floor. (We stayed in Room 3). Minimal design but comfortable nonetheless.
That said, the comforts of even an AirBnB lacked - incredibly small bathroom with a sliding door that you had to fight to close or open; lacking in supplies like tissues and basics in the kitchen (nothing to wash dishes); and a coffee maker that is impossibly complicated and no cream in the fridge. (The restaurant below did accommodate us on the second day.) And a washer/dryer that could not have been less intuitive to use (no instructions) and took hours to dry your towels.
I'd still recommend a stay here, though not more then 2 nights. It's a great idea, wish I loved it even more.
Style-wise, our room was outstanding. Nice materials, very comfortable, appliances (even a washing machine!), Bonavita coffee maker (just like ours at home), good toiletries, very roomy, etc., etc.
BUT, we had room #4 which is not a great room for sleeping in if you're sensitive at all to noise and or light:
- Enormous skylight, which is gorgeous but relatively bright at night (this is the city, after all) and really bright in the morning; there should be a blind that you can cover it with;
- Right next to the elevated train which runs all night long, which is cool for ambiance but loud at night; there should be triple-paned windows with that much regular noise;
- The air conditioner was loud, so loud that when ours wasn't running, we could still hear the one next door;
- The bed pad crunched when you or your bedmate made the slightest move (I admit this was probably more noticeable because of the other sleep deprivation factors).
We've stayed in hotels where noise and light can be factors and they usually provide earplugs and/or eyeshades as a courtesy. For the price of the room, these small courtesies would help.
These comments may not apply to all the rooms, although I think room #2 also faces the train (though lower).
There is complimentary wifi.
Note that the way the hotel works is that you check in at the host desk for the restaurant. There is no staff available early morning until the restaurant opens, so just be aware in case you're expecting a typical hotel. The staff are very friendly and accommodating. We were able to book a brunch reservation when we checked in and they were able to switch it to an indoor table (it was getting hot outside). And the restaurant is very good.