I get a lot of travel and food magazines, and for whatever reason, when they talk about where to stay in Providence, The Dean Hotel seems to be everybody's favorite. When they talk about where to get a great cocktail, The Dean is listed again. I decided it was time for me to check it out for myself.
Those of us that have been in Rhode Island for some time might remember what was previously at The Dean's address back in the day: the legendary Sportsman's Inn, a roach-infested whorehouse, to put it plainly. As as one reviewer put it: "Don't go there without antibiotics!"
So The Dean is a serious improvement! I was told that to keep its historical value, The Dean had to leave the tiny hotel rooms exactly the same size as they were before. The result is a very cozy room that is clean and modern...just really small...as is the bathroom. But it's got everything you would need to spend the night here, no complaints.
The Dean has many of the amenities you're looking for in a nice city hotel: valet parking, a coffee shop (Bolt Coffee) for your morning wake-up, an excellent cocktail lounge (The Magdalenae Room), a restaurant (Faust) and Boombox, a karaoke bar. Okay...in all honesty, I was glad to hear that the German food of Faust is being replaced this fall with the truly creative food of one of Providence's best: north. (www.foodbynorth.com) And as long as I don't have to hear the karaoke bar when I'm trying to sleep, I can deal with that.
I had dinner elsewhere in town the night I stayed at The Dean. (Faust was already closed.) But I did stop by to have a creative cocktail--or three--at The Magdalenae Room. The spirits selection is very limited, but the essentials are there. A nice chat with the bartender who knew his drinks and knew his way around Providence. Even someone like me that has lived here for almost 30 years learned a few things!
All in all, my experience at The Dean was a good one. I don't know if it deserves all the attention it's been getting in those magazine articles I've been reading, however. But it's clean, it's not expensive, and when north opens up, it can very much be an ideal one-stop in Providence. I'll never need to leave the building!