What We Love
- Fascinating history spans building’s previous incarnations as a home, a rare books shop and a tavern
- Smart, whimsical design blends historical elements with a contemporary aesthetic and modern conveniences
- Salem historical attractions and restaurants are just a short walk away
What To Know
- On-site parking is not available; free parking passes are available for a nearby lot
- Rooms are designed for two occupants; suites can accommodate more people, with a fee of $50 per person, per night
- There’s no restaurant on the property, but the rate includes pastries at a local cafe
- Free WiFi
Salem’s fascinating history comes to life in this gorgeously designed boutique hotel, which at various times has served as a private home, a tavern and a rare book store and is set to open in late November 2015 as its newest incarnation. Style-savvy travelers will swoon over Boston-based interior designer Rachel Reider’s nautical-leaning historic yet contemporary aesthetic, which is complemented by an eye-popping palette of rich, bright colors and Asian accents. All 11 guestrooms feature unique design and modern-day amenities like gas fireplaces, Apple TV and heated bathroom floors. The hotel’s interiors are full of other timeless gems. The original paneling, stunning “floating” staircases and restored wainscoting, for example, are the work of renowned 18th-century architect Samuel McIntire.
In the Area
Salem may be one of America’s most history-rich cities, but its modern-day dining scene has been exploding. The hotel is located in the historic McIntire District, so when you’ve had your fill of museums and historical tours (no visit to Salem is complete without a stop at the Salem Witch House, where the infamous trials took place, and the Salem Witch Museum), hit one of the many excellent nearby restaurants. Bambolina is known for mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas, the newly opened Opus serves excellent sushi and a creative menu of locally inspired small plates, and Finz is a locals’ favorite, with a waterfront setting and consistently tasty seafood.
How to Get There
This was the best hotel I think I have ever stayed in, and there have been MANY. I felt welcomed in immediately upon ringing the doorbell. Tamara showed me around the hotel, carried my bag to my room and showed me how to work everything in my room. The room even had a hand written note with yummy sweets. The decor of the hotel is absolutely stunning, it's incredibly clean and very quiet. It instills a sense of community since it's a boutique hotel and other quests were so friendly. I would HIGHLY recommend this hotel, to others. I cannot wait to visit again, and hope to enjoy other Lark hotels too! (I will be reviewing the hotel and Salem on my blog - SarahInStyle.com. Check it out for more!)
The Merchant is probably the most charming hotel in all of Salem, and luckily, they had availability in the George Washington room for our stay in mid-October.
The hotel is beautiful, flawless in its design and décor, and immaculately clean and well kept. We didn't know that The Merchant Hotel is also known as The Joshua Ward / George Corwin house and that it has a famously "haunted" past. During our stay, multiple tour groups stood outside the hotel day and night as tour guides boasted of the "phantasms" and "tortured apparitions" that roam the halls of this historic hotel. A salty trolley guide pointed out that what is even scarier than the weary souls that haunt the Merchant hotel is the $450 per night cost to stay there… that was funny.
All in all, our stay was great, but could have been outstanding if some more details would have been shared prior to our arrival. I hope you read this before your visit, or even better, The Merchant Hotel reads this and includes this information for future guests so they can avoid the minor frustrations we experienced.
Parking – You NEED to Read this:
Tamara, who booked our reservation, was accommodating in pointing out that October in Salem is all-out mayhem and streets, and parking is a big challenge. She suggested we park on sight for an addition $35 a day to avoid any headaches. SOLD. What Tamara didn't explain is that onsite parking is found up and behind a hidden pathway adjacent to the hotel, and if you blink, you will miss it. We were not familiar with Salem, B&B's, or anything about The Merchant's onsite parking set up prior to arrival. As a result, had to pass the hotel as we had no clue what we were supposed to do. We assumed there was a valet, but no one was in sight, so I jumped out in the middle of traffic as my husband circled the block. Because of traffic, it took 20 minutes for him to make it back to The Merchant. I was so frantic when I got inside The Merchant, I was trying to direct my husband on what to do over the phone, and Tamara exclaimed, "Ma'am – CALM DOWN!" not a great start. Tamara explained this happens all the time, there is no Valet and my husband could catch the turn in back alley after he circled the gridlocked block. I commented, "If you know this is a problem, maybe you could let arriving guests (who'd reserved parking) how to get to the parking before they pass it (especially since they know traffic is a nightmare)! Another couple we met at the hotel said they did the same thing, and circling the block on a Saturday took them 45 minutes! CRAZY, but that's how jam-packed the streets are this time of year!
So, if you are driving to this hotel, please look for a basic sign that reads "Private Road for Residents and Guests ONLY" – that is your signal to turn into that alleyway adjacent to the hotel and find your reserved parking spot in the back, for The Merchant hotel.
Front Door Lock:
I don't want to give away too much here, but ask the staff to write the code down for you in each step by step sequence. Even then, it only worked 30% of the time. All the employees acknowledged the lock sticks and has issues, so you may want to use the back door instead.
No Booze; Bring your own fun:
This is a dry hotel. In the evenings, they set up a nice selection of bar mixers for spirits, but you need to bring your own. Again, would have been great to know in advance.
Leftovers Are Allowed:
No one mentioned it, but we saw that there were labels and markers in the shared kitchen so guests could store their restaurant leftovers and reheat as desired. We didn't discover this until checkout day, would have been great as we left behind lots of chowders and desserts at restaurants during our stay.
Tamara strongly suggested dinner reservations, and we booked every place she named and all were fantastic. However, I will tell you that you should skip Turner's seafood as it was one of the most disappointing dining experiences we've had in 10 years. The food is just simply not good in our opinion. Go for a drink or a cup of Lobster bisque but don't count on this place to deliver on taste or quality. I've had better seafood at the cafeteria in my grandpa's retirement home.
All in all, The Merchant is a great place, and the staff is kind. We loved spending time on the balcony and were grateful for no ghostly encounters.
after leaving their sister property in Portsmouth we arrived here 3 hours before check in.
Parking is not easy to figure out until you check in and then it's easy but never fear Dunkin Donuts is next door, we parked there till we figured it out.
Check in was easy, Very friendly and accommodating. We were able to get early check in with no issues!
We stayed in the George Washington suite witch was very charming and spacious as well as a very modern washroom with top notch fixtures.
We loved the small bite breakfast, the spacious sitting area,The balcony patio to sit and watch the world go by, the dry bar with all the mixers you could want as well as the delicious snacks that were available all day!!
This is my perfect idea of a boutique hotel!