The red brick seaside city of Portland, Maine, has long been a favorite getaway for Northeast travelers. Though small, the community is independent, creative, and incredibly scenic. In the past few months, there’s been a new reason to (re)visit: the opening of The Press Hotel, a beautiful design-conscious boutique that’s proven to be popular with both locals and Maine denizens. Here’s our report.
What’s New: In a word: everything, since The Press Hotel just opened at the end of May. This historic building is the former home of Portland’s Press Herald Newspaper. Thanks in part to clever local artists and input from former Press Herald staff, the site’s history permeates this hotel in impressive and fun ways.
Best Feature: It’s hard to choose a favorite part of the décor; the real beauty lies in the eagle-eye attention to detail as seen in repurposed items and one-of-a-kind installations. The hotel pays homage to its newsroom heritage in elegant ways that never feel kitschy. Art displays made out of vintage typewriters, alongside old typewriter cases, old-fashioned book presses, and tabletops displaying historic front pages welcome guests in the lobby. In the hallways, carefully painted Press Herald headlines cascade down the walls in a gradient, including gems like “Elderly lobster set free” and “Man yanks skunk from jar, runs.” Everything from the chocolates at turndown service to the Do Not Disturb signs involve clever literary quotes. The theme extends throughout the hotel, with special insider nods to the news business-like wallpaper made from recycled newsprint in the conference rooms and a functional paper scale in the fitness room.
The Rooms: All 110 rooms have a sleek, modern feel with clean lines and soft color schemes. The 1920s-style writing desks go perfectly with their round leather desk chairs embroidered with that old typing classic, The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Next to the pen cups (made by a local Portland potter to look like wrapped up paper), an elegant and thick reporter’s notebook sits on the bedside table, putting the anemic hotel stationary ubiquitous in other properties to shame. Each room has plenty of modern-day amenities, too, including a flat-screen television, Bluetooth stereo, and marble bathroom with Bigelow products. The penthouse suite has a private roof deck outfitted with lounge furniture, where guests can enjoy views of Portland that sweep out into the Atlantic.
The Food: The upscale-yet-inviting Union Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While Portland has always practiced a farm-to-table food ethos, Union’s Chef Josh Berry took that to the next level and focused on creating an “enhanced local cuisine” with a few unexpected twists, like alternative preparation methods or unexpected ingredient combinations. The Inkwell Bar, right off the hotel lobby, was once the newspaper’s city room. Now, it serves up excellent vintage cocktails in a cozy nook looking out onto Congress Street.
Who Will Love It: The Press Hotel has an undeniable mass appeal. There’s a little something for just about everyone everyone, from art lovers to history buffs to those who just enjoy a fabulous place to stay.
Who Might Not: The hotel isn’t pet-friendly, so Fido can’t join you on your stay.
Deals and Special Offers: Summer and early fall rates start from $269 per night, but as the temperatures drop, so do the prices. Rooms can get as low as $150 to $179 per night during the colder off-season months.
Nearby: Portland’s best restaurants and bars are an easy walk from the hotel, which sits on the corner of Congress Street and Exchange Street. In terms of neighborhood, the Press Hotel is right between the Old Port and the Arts District.
Getting There: The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from Portland International Jetport (PWM).