Set in the heart of downtown Portland, Maine, the Press Hotel has a story to tell. It’s not a well-kept mystery; in fact, all you have to do is look around—at the typewriters on the lobby wall or the newsprint that lines the hallways—and you might guess that the Gannet Building which houses the Press Hotel is the former office of the state’s largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald. Built in 1923 it was the home of the newspaper until 2010.
In 2012, the hotel was purchased by a Portland real estate developer and after a renovation that took care to retain many of the building’s architectural details and artifacts it reopened as Portland’s first boutique hotel in May 2015.
Though the building has been reborn as a hotel, it still nods to its past in many ways. When you enter the spacious lobby, you’ll immediately notice the typewriters mounted on the wall and the letters emblazoned on lobby couch pillows. The lobby bar is named the Inkwell, and serves its bar bites such on newsprint-lined plates. As you head to your room, you’ll notice headlines printed throughout the hallway with breaking news like XXXX and XXXXX. And once in your room, you’ll see how the rooms were designed with inspiration from the former occupants’ offices.
Each of the hotel’s 110 guest rooms evoke their former use as 1920s writer’s offices with details like vintage-style desks and leather chairs emblazoned with the most popular phrase used to train typists (“the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” which was used often because it contains every letter of the alphabet).
Rooms range from Superior King/Double rooms to the sprawling Penthouse Suite. I was in a Superior King, which featured oversized windows, the Press Hotel signature bed with pillow-top mattress, oversized flat-screen HD television with premium cable stations, and a marble tiled bathroom with a rainshower and Bigelow amenities.
Each room also has a flat-screen HD television, work desk, mini fridge, safe, plenty of charging stations and USB ports (a touch I greatly appreciated as I was traveling on business), a Keurig machine with complimentary coffee and tea, Frette bed linens and bath towels, and oh-so-cozy Cuddledown comforters and bed throws. There’s free wifi, room service, turndown service, and complimentary bottled water.
Outside of the rooms, perks abound. There’s an onsite gym with Peloton bikes, spa, outdoor bike rentals, shuttle service to the airport, and an onsite restaurant, Union, from which staff may even offer to deliver drinks up to your room (as happened during my stay when my husband and I wanted one more drink but the bar was full). With exemplary service, a rich history, and impeccable attention to detail, it’s a stylish and out-of-the-ordinary place to call home in Portland’s Old Port.
If you go: Room rates start at around $200 per night. The hotel is a category 8 Marriott hotel. Valet parking is available. Make your reservations online with a booking site such as Priceline or Travelocity.