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
- 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
There was VERY heavy construction going on at the hotel that I had no warning of. Construction started fairly early and once it began there was no hope of sleeping. I couldn’t even hold a conversation on the phone. The memo in the room said construction would be “nearby” but it literally sounded underneath the bed. It is a shame to give them 1 star because it seemed like a neat place, but I had to base my review on my own experience. Be aware!
This is the type of hotel where you can expect everything you really wants or needs in a hotel. Great staff, comfortable rooms, food and drink options and a central location. After staying here in the past I was welcomed back and that's a nice feeling.
Great hotel close to convention center. Friendly Staff and amazing showers. Close to a few restaurants. We found everything that we needed. They also had valet parking which made our stay better. I would recommend this hotel to a couple getting away for the weekend.
I got a text at 7am saying that the hotel was conducting a pest inspection and required a brief walk through of my room. I sent a text back saying that I would be leaving in the next hour if it could be pushed back. The inspector (with a dog!) along with someone from the hotel showed up 15 min later to inspect. I again asked if it could be moved which they said it could not. If this would have been mentioned the night before when I checked in, it would have been a whole other story.
I stayed at this hotel last year but forgot to leave a review. Only now as I am looking for another hotel in the Providence area am I recalling what an awful stay I had at The Dean. The rooms are utilitarian and sparse ( in a 1940's sanitarium sort of a away) which I actually found a little bit depressing; after-hours, the halls were dark and deserted. It was just plain creepy. The vintage lift is initially pretty cool, but then after coming and going a bit, it just becomes too much work, especially if you have luggage. The shower was literally the smallest shower that I have ever used.. think airplane bathroom sized, divided by 2. I also wasn't impressed that there was no actual number to call after hours if I had a question or problem with my room. I was told to "text" the front desk. Not a deal breaker, though of course when I did text with a simple question, I never got a response. Maybe I'm just not cool enough or I'm too old, but my initial impression after a few hours was that this place was ok but it just didn't "work for me".. and then the music started. ..apparently there's a karaoke bar on the lower floor that plays mind numbing music turned up to its highest volume until well after 2am????! Not even a pillow over my head could dampen the sounds. It reminded me of my days back in college, but back then, I was the one playing the music. Now it makes since why the rooms are so inexpensive for a boutique hotel. It's basically a mixture of a youth hostel and a college dorm, hyped up on acid. I will never stay here again