The Press Hotel - Inspired By Writing
Letters pour off the hallway walls as you walk to the elevator. Typewriters hang on the wall and hold menus for you.
You are not in some hipster gin infused dream, but find yourself at The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine.
I awoke there recently and noticed that the desk chair had the familiar "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." quote on the back of it. In the dark of night I had not noticed it. The first of the morning sun shined on it and the writer in me smiled.
Traveling the globe, a lot of my time is spent in hotels. Most don't leave an impression beyond an overly friendly staff member checking me in and a luke warm buffet as I rush to speak or catch my next airplane.
In town to speak at the final Social Media Breakfast Maine of 2016, the organizer offered to find me a hotel room so I didn't have to drive up first thing in the morning.
She gave me a wink as she coyly told me, "I think you are going to love where you are staying."
Built in the building that housed the local newspaper for years, from the outside it looks like another cement box that can be found in any New England city. But, as soon as you valet check your car and enter, the words and hospitality hit you.
Throughout the hotel, the theme is writing and journalism. Everything from the decor to the do not disturb hangers include quotes about writing.
This could be seen as kitschy, but it isn't. You can tell when they put this hotel together, they wanted it to be high class without the snobbery. Inspiring without being giggle worthy.
When you travel as much as I do, you develop your own set of travel rules. One of my most important ones is to "never eat your first meal in the hotel." (inspired of course by the great Anthony Bourdain)
There would be two meals for me in Portland and I knew lunch after I spoke would be at Silly's because it was suggested by two trusted friends who know what I like.
After reading about the in house, local first restaurant Union I decided to break my rule and give it a try.
As I waited for the hostess to appear, I noticed the Chef and asked him which of his dishes I needed to order.
He laughed and reminded me that I was asking him to pick from all of his children. But, he encouraged me to try the pasta dish because the rabbit in it was fresh and was the perfect comfort food for a cold night in Maine.
Pasta is rarely my first choice, but I'm not going to argue with Chef Josh Berry and the dish lived up to his hype.
The star of my meal was the homemade venison sausage that had a kick I wasn't ready for. A special shoutout to the waitstaff who were attentive, but not hovering. True New Englanders throughout and I appreciated them all.
If you enjoy a great cocktail like I do, order a Katahdin (or two). The mix of walnut bourbon and scotch made for a delicious few moments.
Housing an art gallery in the basement, ample meeting spaces and a lobby that invites you to sit for a bit, I loved everything about The Press Hotel.
I hope they don't mind, but I had to steal one of their coffee mugs because I don't remember the last time I woke up in a hotel that had actual hotel mugs in it. Most are lucky to give you a paper cup to wake up with.
While I didn't have the luxury of time to fully enjoy the hotel, the few hours I was there were well spent.
I hope to return. Maybe I should see if they have a special "book writing rate" so I could hole up there and work on my next book?
Next time you are in Portland and want to stay someplace within walking distance of the ocean, the shops and all the fun of Portland, give The Press Hotel a look.
Disclosure: The Press Hotel was a sponsor of the event I was speaking at and paid for my accommodations. They didn't ask for a review, but I had such a great time there I decided to do one. Thoughts and photos are my own.