A Newspaper-Themed Hotel Is Opening in Portland, Maine
New England’s newspapers keep on reinventing themselves, but not always in the most expected of ways. Boston now has a Whole Foods at the former Herald site, and now, Portland, Maine, will get its first lifestyle boutique hotel that’s taking up residence in the former Portland Press Herald building. Set to open in April, The Press Hotel salutes the newspaper business with its inky-themed decor.
Through the vision of developer Jim Brady, the hotel nods to the glory days of the printing press with elements like an art gallery, featuring an installation of antique typewriters, a vintage cocktail bar aptly named “The Inkwell,” rooms inspired by 1920s writers’ offices, and a letterpress art sculpture hanging on the wall behind the front desk.
“The history of the building was hard to ignore and I wanted to create a custom, non-branded boutique hotel which reflected back to the important history of the building itself and all that the media and press stand for,” Brady said in an interview.
Interior design firm Stonehill & Taylor, which is designing the hotel portion of Trinity Place in Back Bay, worked to hearken back to a more glamorous era for print in both its large- and small-scale design elements. The 110 guest rooms each house a writer’s desk and an accompanying leather office chair embroidered with the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” the classic typist’s exercise containing every letter of the alphabet.
Rooms also include a newspaper rack with current periodicals, prints by Portland-area artists, and a large herringbone area rug to cover the wooden floors. Each bathroom contains a reeded glass door, channeling the historical newspaper office feel. The presidential suite offers rooftop access to the building.
“One of the many ways we are weaving the paper and printing history back is through the corridor wall covering, which is a custom digital print made up of past Portland Press Herald headlines dating back decades,” said Brady.
Stonehill & Taylor worked with Press Herald editors to pick important stories from the city’s history, as well as more whimsical headlines like “Warden Says the Doe Had Antlers.”
Guests can rest their “Hot off the Press” French-pressed coffees onto typewriter key styled coasters and watch timelapse videos of popular spots in Portland. Author quotes will be incorporated into many of the wall designs, from meeting spaces to the lobby.
The Press Hotel will celebrate Portland’s local authors and arts community by commissioning all artwork in the building from local painters, sculptors, textile makers, and woodworkers.
Award-winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier are opening M.C. Union within the hotel, a 65-seat restaurant serving Americana dishes with creative twists.
Rooms start at $299 per night, thepresshotel.com.