The Dean Hotel
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Winner: Best Style Steal
- Vintage decor from such places as France, Belgium and the Netherlands
- The Dean’s design by ASH NYC is full of carefully considered details
- An overall clean and contemporary look that retains original touches from when the building was constructed, in 1912
- Free WiFi
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Block Island, RI
What To Know
- The hotel’s karaoke lounge, Boombox, is open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday (and it can be noisy)
- Rooms with bunkbeds are a tight squeeze
- Valet parking is $23 per night
- The hotel opened in April 2014
- No gym, but discounts to nearby Boston Sports Club are available
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Fronting Fountain Street in downtown Providence, the Dean (the name pays homage to the city’s collegiate roots) was built as a “church house” in 1912. Fast-forward to 2014, and the four-story property has been lovingly restored and transformed into a boutique hotel by ASH NYC, but original elements (floors and an old-school crosshatch elevator) remain. The ambience is hip yet laid-back; the intimate lobby lounge features a library curated by a local bookstore and benches made from repurposed pommel horses, while upstairs the dim hallways have neon signs by artist Oliver Clegg with kitschy slogans such as “last chances.”
Bed and Bath
The hotel’s 52 guestrooms have a masculine tone (each has a different portrait dubbed “the Dean”), with salvaged dark hardwood floors, slatted blinds, wall-mounted antique Edison lightbulbs and elephant nightstands; some have separate sitting areas with buttery leather chairs. Low-slung beds with crisp white down comforters, pillows and Brahms Mount throw blankets sit atop metal frames from Providence metal artist Nate Nadeau. The bathrooms have doorless rainfall showers, vintage tarnished gold faucets, and black hexagonal tiling and wainscoting, as well as custom toiletries that are a blend of oils including Canadian fir, cedar atlas, bay laurel, bergamot, lavender and white grapefruit.
Start your morning with a cup of java from Bolt Coffee Company while flipping through one of the lobby’s art books. Faust is the Dean’s German beer hall, featuring murals by local artists Amanda Albanese and Kyla Coburn, and serves hearty eats such as pork schnitzel with malt vinegar–braised onions, peas and potato puree. In the rear of the space is a trendy cocktail den with an impressive custom woodwork ceiling. Perhaps the hotel’s best asset is the aptly named karaoke lounge, Boombox. Reserve a room with friends for an evening (it’s open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday) and belt out your favorite tunes.
In the Area
The Dean is within walking distance of Providence’s best attractions. Spend an afternoon browsing the galleries at the RISD Museum before embarking on a sunset cruise with Providence River Boat Company. Borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles and explore the city on two wheels, and make a stop at New Harvest Coffee Roasters in the Arcade (America’s oldest indoor shopping mall) and order a whiskey latte. Or take in a show at the Providence Performing Arts Center.
How to Get There
The Dean was very cute however it fell short. I was traveling for work and would have loved to get coffee in the lobby, however they did not open the coffee shop until 7, which is too late for the work day, there was also no coffee in the room. My room was small, no closet (or iron), could not walk around the bed, could hardly get to the sink in the bathroom without tripping over the shower trim. The shower was, again, nice in appearance but lacked in function. The rain head was nice, but the shower was too small to ever get out of the spray and the only place to set anything was the window ledge -yes, there was a window in the shower without tinted glass. I also struggled with the climate control of the room, the A/C could not keep up with the humidity. It was so humid in the room that my bed felt sticky and the pillow seemed damp. Finally, there was no sound proofing around the hall door, you could not play music, watch TV, or talk on the phone without other rooms knowing it. There were also dogs in a room nearby who barked and it sounded like they were in my room-the front desk did help to get the owner to calm the dog down.
Great hotel, Hallway can be a little loud, next to the ice machine, rooms could be darker for sleeping. But excellent staff and very, very clean and cozy rooms.
Thanks so much, Dean Hotel. 12 characters to go.
The Dean was clean, safe, had comfortable beds (even if they were bunk beds) and they are very reasonably priced. Great rain shower! Very minimalistic room decor, very cool but would have liked a few more surfaces to put items, especially in the bathrooms. There are no closets just hooks and hangers. Also, great location. Friendly staff.