The Press Hotel Portland, Maine

View of the Portland, Oregon skyline across the river at night time
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The Penthouse Suite’s 450-square-foot rooftop deck offers views of the Old Port, the harbor, surrounding islands and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The Penthouse Suite’s 450-square-foot rooftop deck offers views of the Old Port, the harbor, surrounding islands and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Portland is having a moment. Maine has long been a favorite summer vacation destination, and autumn hot spot for leaf peeping at technicolor fall foliage. But in recent years, Portland has lured legions of year-round visitors for its happening art scene and superb farm-to-table restaurants. There’s a centuries-old tradition of small farms in Maine, and this number is on the rise. New eateries source directly from these farms and markets. This vibrant food scene has put Portland on the country’s culinary map.

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There’s no better symbol of Portland’s cool factor than the new Press Hotel, which opened last May as a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. This portfolio of hotels is on trend with their “local” approach to hospitality: grounded in their settings, celebrating individuality and unique travel experiences. The Press Hotel occupies what was once the Portland Press Herald building on the corner of Exchange and Congress Streets. The location puts you in the thick of things in the Old Port district, within walking distance of great shops and a fabulous farmers market on Monument Square.

A Deluxe KING/Double room at The Press Hotel. The 110 rooms are modeled to look like a writer’s office straight out of the 1920s.

A Deluxe KING/Double room at The Press Hotel. The 110 rooms are modeled to look like a writer’s office straight out of the 1920s.

On a recent stay, Luxury Travel Advisor found cool design, friendly service and food so good you’d write home about it. In preserving an important piece of Maine heritage, The Press Hotel creates a distinctive sense of place, thereby providing guests with a richer hotel experience.

Sleek and contemporary with retro touches, the hotel design is beautifully Instagrammable. In the lobby, you’ll find an art installation made out of vintage typewriter cases, coffee tables imprinted with old newspapers and antique typewriters galore. Behind the reception desk, the wall is decorated with letterpress wood block letters. This typography is everywhere in the hotel. The corridors are covered in custom wallpaper that depicts actual newspaper headlines from the Portland Press Herald’s archives. Our favorite detail: The desk chairs in the guest rooms are inscribed with the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” — the classic typing sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet.

There are 110 guest rooms, each modeled to look like a writer’s office straight out of the 1920s. Think herringbone area rug and a desk that would be the envy of all working professionals. Nice Touches: Frette linens, Keurig coffee-makers and marble-clad bathrooms equipped with rainshowers. The room categories start with the Superior King. Tip: Our room (No. 315) had an especially spacious configuration. The four Executive King rooms measure 440 square feet and come with a sleeper sofa, built-in wet bar and a soaking tub.

Room Report: Two oversized Junior Suites on the sixth floor are popular because of their high ceilings and balconies overlooking downtown Portland. Two one-bedroom suites are located on the second and sixth floors. The crème de la crème is the Penthouse Suite on the seventh floor, a sprawling open-plan space boasting a 450-square-foot rooftop deck with impressive views over downtown and all the way out to the islands of Casco Bay. For assistance with bookings, luxury travel advisors can reach out to Rooms Coordinator Joseph Kijewski ([email protected]).

There’s no concierge per se, as the reception staff is a wealth of insider knowledge and can arrange restaurant reservations and excursions like a tour of the local Allagash Brewery. Note that there’s a complimentary hotel shuttle to/from the airport.

Even on a Tuesday night, The Inkwell bar — once the newspaper’s City Room — was thronged with a happy crowd of guests and locals. (The lower-level meeting rooms were also booked solid for business events.) At the bar, order the Percy & Small Old Fashioned, named in homage of the historic Percy & Small shipyard, which is America’s last remaining shipyard of its type.

Union Restaurant is helmed by Chef Josh Berry, who’s done a knock-out job sourcing local ingredients and giving them pride of place on his menu. Meals aren’t just tasty; it’s also a treat to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen.

The next morning, kickstart your day with a homemade croissant and an omelet studded with vegetables picked up from the farmers’ market. The perfect start to your morning in Maine!

Portland’s food and art scene lures legions of visitors.Portland: What’s On

Pictured: Portland’s food and art scene lures legions of visitors.

Lobster rolls, craft beer and excellent farm-to-table dining… In recent years, Portland has established itself as a serious destination for foodies. Abutting the ocean waterfront, the cobblestoned Old Port district is dotted with interesting eateries, boutiques and watering holes, like The Bar of Chocolate, which has been serving up drinks and dessert (like flourless dark chocolate bourbon torte) for over a decade on the lively, pedestrianized Wharf Street. Portland is also a mecca for art lovers, with a plethora of galleries and the Portland Museum of Art, which boasts a very good collection. Just 12 miles away, Winslow Homer’s Studio is open for tours in the summer and autumn months.

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