The Hotel Warner is finally open, adding an extra touch of historical charm to downtown West Chester. The revival of the old time 1930s Warner Theater has created a buzz in the area. As the first and only hotel in the borough, the Hotel Warner radiates class and sophistication, something that guests can sense even before walking through the doors. The hotel is in a prime location, surrounded by West Chester’s high-quality restaurants, trendy boutiques, upscale salons, affluent businesses, and historical landmarks. The hotel is located at 120 North High St., right around the corner from Iron Hill Brewery.
The hotel is named after the Warner Theater, which was built in 1930. A large black and white photograph covers the entire left wall of the lobby, displaying what The Warner Theater looked like in its prime. The hotel’s general manager, Lisa Stephens, explains that this photograph was taken in 1949 and is something that truly captures the essence of the history behind this establishment.
“The hotel is a major tourist attraction,” said Stephens.
Many West Chester residents who remember the Warner Theater frequently visit the hotel to reflect on the memories they have of the theater.
“One couple wanted to come in and see the hotel because they became engaged in the theater. Other people come in explaining how they remember exactly where the popcorn machines were and tell stories from when they used to work at the theater,” Stephens said.
The history of the hotel is something that is truly valued by the community, especially for a small, historically rich town like West Chester.
The Hotel Warner’s grand opening was on Aug. 17. Brian and Ellen McFadden, who are a part of the McFadden Hotel Group, own the hotel. The hotel is a part of the Centerstone brand of hotels, which is a brand-new franchise. This hotel is only the fourth property built under the Centerstone Hotel franchise.
Stephens explained that a wide variety of guests stay at the hotel, ranging from business people, West Chester University alumni, wedding parties, and families.
Guests are drawn to this area because of all of the major attractions that are closely surrounding the town. Longwood Gardens, QVC Studios, King of Prussia Mall, Brandywine River Battlefield, Valley Forge National Park, and of course the city of Philadelphia are all in close proximity to the hotel, among others.
As far as rates are concerned, Stephens explains, “The rooms range from around $139 to $169 per night.” Many families took advantage of these rates during Family Weekend a number of weekends ago.
“Rooms for graduation are already booking fast, so families should start making arrangements for May as soon as possible,” Stephens said.
The hotel has four floors, with a small parking garage underneath. There are only 25 parking spots available to guests on the hotel’s premises, which are priced at $15 a night. However, the hotel also validates parking for guests at the major parking garage located on Walnut and Chestnut streets, which is only about a block away from the hotel.
With all of the perks and attractions that West Chester has to offer, it is amazing that it has taken this long for the town to have its own hotel established.
The picturesque seating area located behind the hotel is complimented by umbrella tables, which gives guests the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the trendy, small-town atmosphere.
Guests and residents alike can also appreciate the authentic staircase in the main lobby, which dates back to the old days of the Warner Theater. The building’s Art Deco architecture is also the authentic style from decades ago.
The restoration process from theater to hotel is something that both history buffs and the everyday traveler can appreciate.
“All of the artwork in the hotel displays images of different buildings and landmarks in the town and were all created by local West Chester artists,” Stephens said. The owners pay homage to the historical aspects of the building, yet also add a touch of contemporary charm.
The Hotel Warner is the perfect place for families of students to stay for a weekend visit. Guests can experience the beautiful town and take advantage of the easy 10-minute walk to campus. This hotel is a true historical gem and gives guests the opportunity to take a peek into West Chester’s rich, thriving past.
Eryn Aiello is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at EA694104@wcupa.edu.