It could only happen at the Bellevue. . .
The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel
When George married Louise, wealthy members of the Philadelphia Club, where George Boldt worked, assisted them in establishing a small hotel in Philadelphia, called the Bellevue.
The Boldts’ Bellevue, a small boutique hotel mostly a restaurant, quickly became famous for its food. The Boldts shipped their Philadelphia Terrapin to Queen Victoria. Astors and Vanderbilts visited from New York City, which led to selection of George Boldt to be proprietor of a new hotel William Waldorf Astor was to build in New York City, which would be the finest in America.
Connection with the Philadelphia elite assured a social cachet, but more importantly Louise Boldt sensed that wives of wealthy husbands wanted to escape from the domestic confinement prevalent at the time. She introduced novel features, such as cut flowers and candles on tables, affording a glamorous, feminine quality. Louise was George’s constant companion and hostess at their Bellevue Hotel.
The Bellevue-Stratford opened its doors in 1904 and became known worldwide as Philadelphia’s pre-eminent hotel, nicknamed “The Grande Dame of Broad Street.” Famed hotelier George C. Boldt (he also managed the Waldorf-Astoria in New York) wanted to build the best hotel of its time—and he did.
Designed in the French Renaissance style, The Bellevue features Gilded Age architectural flourishes including a magnificent two-tiered ballroom with delicate light fixtures designed by Thomas Alva Edison, stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany, chandeliers by Lalique and a celebrated cast-iron circular staircase. Many of these flourishes remain and make it the marvel that it is.
Famous guests include Jacob Astor, J.P. Morgan, William Jennings Bryan, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, and the Vanderbilt family in addition to countless socialites, luminaries and heads of state.
Every US President since Theodore Roosevelt has visited The Bellevue. The hotel has been the location for several of America’s premiere society galas, including The Academy Ball, The Charity Ball, and The Assemblies.
Historical events including the US Republican Convention (1936 and 1948) and The US Democratic Convention (1948) took place at The Bellevue, which was also the headquarters for the US Navy each year during the Army-Navy football game, and host to the pre-game dinner gala.
In 1976, the property was put up for sale and advertised around the world. Real estate developer Ronald Rubin, and his company, Richard I. Rubin Associates, saw great potential in saving the historic landmark building from demolition and revitalizing the property, in support of Broad Street, Philadelphia’s premiere arts and cultural destination, now referred to as the “Avenue of the Arts.” In June of 1978, Richard I. Rubin Associates purchased the former Bellevue Stratford, paying $8,250,000.00 — a sum nearly equivalent to the original cost of construction in 1904.
Amenities: 172 guest rooms, including 26 suites, each with