We recently did a coastal Maine road trip where we spent time in Portland and Camden. We loved both of our hotels so much that I wanted to share them with you for the next time you’re looking for a great long weekend away.
The Press Hotel (Portland, Maine)
The boutique-feeling, Autograph Collection hotel is in the former Gannett Building in the center of the Old Port and Arts District neighborhoods, a great location for exploring Portland.
In its previous life, the building housed the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press Herald, the state’s largest newspaper.
The hotel, opened in 2015, pays homage to its rich history in every detail. It retains the original building’s architectural beauty, keeping not only its vintage exterior lettering, but also repurposing the newspaper’s “City Room” as the hotel’s Inkwell Bar.
The hallway rugs were designed to feature images of scattered typewriter keys. In the lobby was a wall display of old typewriters. Even the front desk computers featured old-fashioned keyboards like these (yes, I did an online search for them, imagining myself click-clacking away on the great American novel).
From the Press Hotel website, “[t]aking inspiration from 1920s writer’s offices, each of the hotel’s exquisite 110 guest rooms and suites feature a vintage-styled journalist desk, wood floors with herringbone area rug, and 100% local artwork.” Filling out its vintage feel, the room featured quotes scattered throughout in plain view, as well those that popped up in the most unexpected places.
Whether attached to a water bottle, underneath a pen and pad, on the back of a chair, or even in the closet, each quote we discovered was a neat little surprise for these two English major bibliophiles. I could imagine spending an inspiring week there writing, but unfortunately we were just there for one night.
The staff was warm and offered several dinner suggestions. Unfortunately we were so tired from our long day that despite our best intentions, we settled in to our room and both fell asleep almost immediately, snoozing straight through dinner until the next morning!
Next time, we plan to sample the hotel’s restaurant, Union, a sustainable and locally sourced Portland hotspot helmed by Maine Restaurant Association 2017 Chef of The Year, Josh Berry.
Our only regret about the Press Hotel was that we couldn’t stay longer. We will definitely be back.
Camden Harbor Inn (Camden, Maine)
Given that Camden is known as one of Maine’s prettiest towns, the Camden Harbour Inn fits in perfectly. A Relais and Chateaux property, it was such a treat – there’s a reason Vogue named the hotel one of “7 Cozy Inns To Visit This Fall.” When you make a reservation online, you pick out the exact room where you will stay – but the pictures don’t really give you much of an idea about what you’re going to get, and they definitely don’t do justice to the rooms. (I really worried we were going to arrive to a jazzed up youth hostel. It wasn’t even close!)
The inn has been operating since the late 1800s and walking up its steps felt almost like entering someone’s quaint home. The staff were immediately welcoming and the lobby and reception area, with its contemporary furnishings blending with the rustic fireplace, was more like lounging in a cozy (but upscale) living room.
We stayed in the Delagoa Bay Room, situated on the second floor just off a steep staircase. It featured a private deck overlooking the harbor, as well as a wood-burning fireplace. The carpet was very slightly worn, but the room itself was smartly appointed and featured a renovated bath and modern decor that somehow balanced with the charm and age of the building.
When we arrived in the room, we discovered a handwritten welcome inviting us to contact staff with any needs. It was a lovely and personal touch to a hotel that already felt like a home.
For dinner we headed to Rockland (apparently known as Camden’s hipster neighbor), where we had made a reservation at Suzuki’s Sushi Bar. Unfortunately, by the time of our reservation (7:45 p.m.) they had run out of tuna, which limited our options (I’m not a particularly adventurous sushi eater, so tuna is generally my sushi “foundation”).
We tried a couple of rolls and decided we would retreat back to the hotel and visit Natalie’s for a second course.
Natalie’s is an AAA Four Diamond restaurant that overlooks the Camden Harbor. It “combines impeccable European style with the welcoming spirit of New England for an ambiance that offers a modern take on New England cuisine.”
We loved it. With dim lighting and comfortable bar chairs, we sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender for almost an hour. We snacked on a cheese plate and split a dessert – a local spin on apple pie. The portions were small, but it was a melt-in-your-mouth taste of fall.
After dinner, Craig made a fire in our room. Cozy and full, we drifted to sleep enjoying its crackling warmth.
The stay included complimentary full breakfast back at Natalie’s, with the charming touch of personalized menus (Craig totally made fun of me taking pictures of them!).
I ordered the seasonal pumpkin pancakes with spiced chantilly and pumpkin seed brittle. Definitely not the gargantuan portions you see at many breakfast diners, they were delicious all the same, and breakfast overlooking the harbor was a lovely way to start the day.
The Camden Harbor Inn was truly perfect blend of antique charm and modern amenities. We can’t wait to come back!