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
The Dean Hotel — A Pleasant Surprise!
I travel to Providence often and historically have stayed at one of the usual suspect hotels. I decided to try something new this time.
Centrally located downtown and yet tucked away on Fountain Street, it is an intimate lovely hotel. The cafe just up the stairs from the lobby created a cozy place to work or sit and read. The bed was comfortable, the room clean and despite a small and cozy bathroom, the shower was great!
If you’re looking for a boutique hotel experience in Providence, The Dean Hotel is it!
We have been trying a different hotel each time we stay in Providence as our son is attending school there. That said, don’t think “ok, grandma, I’ll get off your lawn”, we are urban 40 somethings who know a thing or two about traveling and hotels. I’ll admit I was curious about this hotel when a friend told me about it. It’s not the easiest hotel to get reservations at, though after my stay I’m not really sure why. We pulled up to the valet station and were met by a very nice man, went in and checked in with a lovely young lady, but that’s where the fun ends. We had to dodge an assembly of people in the very cramped lobby, (why do they have benches lining a narrow walkway?) to get to the “Lift”. The lift is a 3 x 3 closet, that on its own is frightening, add in the very heavy doors and sliding gate while maneuvering one small carryon, and it becomes dangerous. We stepped onto the fourth floor to find the hallway lit with an eerie shade of red. I half expected the wave of blood to come rushing down the hallway as in The Shining. Being from New York, I am accustomed to tiny rooms, but this? This was a whole new experience. There are no drawers, there is no closet, there are two hooks and a chair on which to hang whatever items you have with you. I am not a fan of living out of a suitcase. We had a very tiny air conditioning unit installed in the window. The only thing between us and the terrible traffic noise outside was a thin piece of plastic. Our other window view was of a brick wall. The revelers outside of the bars downstairs at 2 o’clock in the morning made for sleepless night. The bathroom is sark, small, and not well appointed. There is no vanity to store or place any personal items on, and the lighting is poor. The shower is an overhead rain shower so you cannot escape the water coming out of it. Lean a little too far the wrong way to lather your hair and the shower curtain sucks to your body, EW! Shampoo etc. are shared, in big containers. Kind of gross. Had I known, I’d have brought my own. As others have commented, the floor flooded with each shower, no surprise there. The shower curtain barely stretches the width of the shower opening. Our blow dryer was “vintage”, weak, cracked, and useless. The tiny, dorm sized ironing board and iron, and the “ice bag” are kept in a plastic bin under the bed, what a waste of space. The hotel could’ve very easily chosen platform beds with drawer units. The ice bag, what a novel concept, except it fails completely. Give me a good, old fashioned ice bucket any day over this nonsense. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel. I say that bare bones is a good descriptor for this hotel. Don’t be fooled by the cool website. Leave this one to the hipsters.
My wife and son and I stayed here while visiting a local college. We brought our ten year old labrador retriever. The staff was incredibly accommodating, and our dog was welcomed and adored by everyone passing through the lobby.
The rooms are simple and very clean, well maintained, and thoughtfully decorated. The lobby coffee bar is epic, as are the pastries they serve. Sit at the big table, charge your phone, and grab one of the newspapers on the rack.
Right in the heart of downtown. Great hotel.
I look forward to participating as a brewer in Beervana every year. The Dean is our hotel of choice for this event. Every year you make us happy we stayed there. Love the cafe and the North restaurant next door. Great people too!
I was excited to have been able to book a room at The Dean this past weekend, having tried on several prior occasions, only to find it full. I prefer small, funky, boutique hotels to the large chains, and the website made it seem very promising. Upon arrival I was pleased to encounter a friendly valet, and a group of young women running the front desk who quickly told me that my room wasn't ready yet (it was 2:45 and check in is at 3). I was told I could wait in the lobby area and they'd come and get me when the room was ready, or if I left the premises, they would call me. I let them know that I would wait in the lobby and have a coffee, since it was only about 10 of 3 at that point. I had to meet a friend at 5:30, so I was anxious to get into the room as close to 3 as possible to make some phone calls and get settled before heading out again. At 3:30, having watched several other people who arrived after me get their room keys, I went back to the front desk to ask about my room. I wasn't rude or aggressive, simply asked if the room was ready yet and mentioned I'd been waiting over a half an hour. I was curtly reminded that the Dean doesn't guarantee check in until 3, to which I said I realized that, but it was 3:30 and I had been told someone would come and get me once my room was ready. There was definitely a lack of concern for what I was saying, as well as a clear dismissiveness and absolutely no attempt to apologize for the delay or even be polite. The attitude was that they simply couldn't be bothered. The only person who offered an attempt at polite customer service was the young man who was helping people with their bags and explaining the elevator operation - he mentioned that he thought they'd JUST finished cleaning my room. As I walked away and started up the stairs to the lobby, I heard the two "girls" at the desk start laughing and when I looked back at them they were rolling their eyes and smirking at me. I have no idea what the joke was, but could only assume it was me. The incredibly cute dog in the lobby was given far more attention and treated far more kindly by the staff than any person I saw them interact with. I travel frequently for work and for pleasure - the room was small but perfectly fine and an average size if you're used to New York hotels, typical industrial chic decor, including several paintings of creepy old men... all good. I was only there for one night, so the lack of a closet didn't bother me. It was very loud at night - I was on the front side by the street... though after reading other reviews, I'm thankful I wasn't near the karaoke bar. Overall, the room was adequate, but the rude behavior of the young women at the front desk and the lack of customer service was incredibly disappointing. I highly doubt I will stay at The Dean again.