The Hotel Providence – Gay and Lesbian Friendly Rhode Island!
HOTEL PROVIDENCE – 139 Matthewson Street, Providence, RI 02903 / 401-861-8000
At first glance one may drive past Hotel Providence and not realize the grand dame she is. Located on Matthewson Street, in the heart of Providence’s arts & entertainment district, the area surrounding the hotel isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other streets in the area. One such street, Westminster, is a block away from the hotel’s main entrance and loaded with urban, chic boutiques, cafes, antique stores, art galleries and live music venues.
Don’t let the outside appearance of Hotel Providence fool you! The second you walk into the lobby, housed in a restored building from 1897, you know you are in a classy, stylish, boutique hotel.
My partner, Melanie, and I arrived on a Friday evening to a very friendly valet attendant who informed us that overnight parking would be $26 – ouch! However, compared to a city such as New York, where parking can exceed $50 a night, this can be considered a bargain. Plus, since The Hotel Providence was kind enough to host us, I can’t really complain about the cost of parking! 😉
Walking into the lobby I was amazed by the fine art and one-of-a-kind objects adorning each corner. The hotel describes its lobby as having an “Opulent Belle Epoch Salon style” with some truly gorgeous oil paintings. You know it’s good when Melanie veers off and starts observing!
Check-in was quick and smooth and before we knew it we were on the elevator heading to our room on the 5th floor, # 524. I don’t know about you, but I always feel like a kid on Christmas morning right before I open the door to my hotel room. You never know what you are going to get! Melanie and I were not disappointed when we stepped inside.
The first thing that struck me was the view. We had a truly spectacular view of Grace Church, which opened its doors in 1846. For a second I felt like I was in London, taking photos of the church tower, and watching the sky turn from a misty, gray to soft shades of pink and purple.
Room /Hotel highlights:
- Our standard, king bed, room was a nice size compared to other city hotels I have stayed at.
- The bed was extremely comfortable and had beautiful burgundy & gold linens.
- The antique furnishings were delightful.
- The bathroom had marble flooring, subway tile, a beautiful pedestal sink and toiletries by Natura.
- The view of Grace Church and Aspire’s courtyard (the hotel’s restaurant) were beautiful, not to mention the peaceful, chiming of church bells every hour until 9pm. Well, I at least thought they were peaceful. Melanie’s head spun at one point.
- The local artwork in room.
- Keruig Coffee Maker.
- iPod docking station (Melanie pointed out is called iHome).
- The hotel is pet friendly!
- Fast and (somewhat) reasonable room service ($7 for a triple-decker grilled cheese with fries; $10 for burger with fries; $8 for a personal Margarita pizza; $8 for a baby arugula salad; $25 for steak frites; $19 for wild mushroom ravioli etc., There is a $2.50 delivery charge & 20% gratuity added.)
- Location! The hotel is steps away from eclectic Westminster Street and a short walk to Providence Performing Arts Center, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Province Convention Center and Providence Place Mall. You may also want to venture a bit further to check out the art galleries found on Empire, Peck and Weybosset Street.
- Aspire Restaurant & A-Bar. According to the hotel’s web site, Aspire is an acclaimed new restaurant that serves contemporary Rhode Island cuisine featuring the freshest New England ingredients. A-Bar is Providence’s latest hot spot with cozy booths, lively bar and outside seating. A-bar is laid back with sexy cool decor.
- Special function rooms including The Brown University Room, Rhode Island School of Design Room and Johnson & Wales Room.
- Roof top terrace.
- Another feature that sets Hotel Providence apart is their ‘Discover your Passion’ series that offers weekend courses to fuel your creativity. Everything from learning how to write a novel, to taking photos, cooking and painting.
My only complaints, which are extremely small, are that we did not have a flat screen TV and that there was a scale in the bathroom (an absolute no, no when traveling in my opinion…especially when you make a late night decision to order a triple-decker grilled cheese…just sayin…lol). Also, I didn’t see any sort of vending machine or mini mart downstairs for late night snacks or drinks, however, I did read that their was an ice machine.
Let me elaborate a bit more on, and one of Hotel Providence’s finest features is – location! Having the benefit of being steps away from one of Providence’s hippest streets, Westminster, is a major bonus!
As a local, I am always taken aback by the beauty of Providence. Melanie and I were lucky that we caught a relatively mild winter day, mid 50’s, and had the pleasure of exploring downtown as the late afternoon, stormy sky cleared to cast a glow that illuminated the city streets like spotlights in an art gallery.
Providence IS a work of art.
I developed a stiff neck from constantly looking up at the beautiful architecture and taking photos. I’ve driven by these buildings thousands of times and I never grow tired of their intricate details and beauty.
Providence, known as the Renaissance city, is home to 7 Universities, including RISD, Brown & Johnson & Wales. It is modern, hip, chic, sleek, sexy, eclectic and extremely gay friendly (over 7 gay & lesbian nightclubs in the city and consistently voted one of the top 10 places for lesbians to live). I have no doubt that the gay marriage bill will pass this year. When that happens this city will attract even more LGBT visitors.
Gay & Lesbians are pretty much intercepted everywhere. It is not uncommon to see same-sex couples strolling down streets holding hands. This is most evident on the East Side, such as Thayer Street and Wickendon Street, which has become known as our “Castro district.”
Walking down Westminster Street you can’t help but feel how all the shops compliment each other in almost a poetic way. I love that there is a bookstore near a cafe or a wine shop near a cheese shop. Westminster street is black v-neck sweaters, expensive jeans, thrift store sneakers, dark rimmed eye glasses, coffee, wine, art, music and antiques. There is truly a heartbeat here. It is a mix of intellectuals, musicians and artists. It, like most of downtown Providence, has a distinct vibe. And did I mention how CLEAN this city is? I have traveled to 42 states and Providence is among the most clean cities – anywhere. Bravo, Providence!
There is much more to say about Providence, but I will save that for my next review.
I will end by saying that I highly recommend The Hotel Providence. I can see why it received the AAA 4-diamond rating and is constantly voted the highest rated hotel in the city.
Any gay & lesbian would feel right at home here.
I am hereby “OUTING” Hotel Providence as gay & lesbian friendly and worthy of our business! 🙂