It’s rare to find a hotel that makes you feel truly at home from check-in to check-out. In my travels, I’ve found the hotels that are intentionally cool feel like they’re trying too hard, and the hotels that aren’t trying at all are less than blasé. I was lucky to find a piece of paradise tucked into Providence, RI: the toddling three-year-old Dean Hotel that feels like it’s been in business since 1901.
The first thing I learned about the Dean is that the fully-functional elevator is the original lift that was built for the building, manual gates and all. It’s just one of the visual elements that adds an enormous amount of personality and weighted history to a building with such a past. Originally built to house the clergy in 1901, the building became a shelter for the poor during the Great Depression. Its most recent occupation? A brothel and a strip club, before building owner Ari Heckman saved it from what would have surely been a miserable fate.
Hip without being pretentious and beautiful without being stuffy, the Dean has an easy lounge area where guests and residents alike can come hang out. Trendy signage and wall art, a plethora of magazines, and ace coffee seem elementary but the Dean presents them in a way that makes these standard hotel lobby fixtures feel infinitely cool. What clinched it for me was Michael From The Front Desk’s midnight dedication to making my stay as pleasurable as possible, offering to run out and buy me contact lens solution after I’d left mine in a Boston bathroom.
Not to be missed: the Magdalenae Bar downstairs behind the hotel’s eatery, Faust. It makes most sense to end the night there since the hotel locks its front doors around eleven o’clock (side door accessible with your key). Stay in the third floor Mates room on the east side of the building for a pleasant morning city view, starting at $129.
Thank you to The Dean Hotel for hosting me.