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Updated: May 3, 2024

From smart alarm clocks to seaweed wraps: 48-room luxury spa hotel set to open in Portland

building site exterior Photo / Renee Cordes Work is wrapping up on the Longfellow Hotel as it prepares to open Friday, May 17.
interior of a hotel lobby bar Rendering /Courtesy of Longfellow Hotel Five of Clubs inside the Longfellow Hotel was designed as a European-style lobby bar.

Even before the Longfellow Hotel opens its doors in Portland's' West End on May 17, the 48-room luxury spa hotel is getting bookings from as far away as Texas, Alaska and Europe.

“We expect to ease into the summer with occupancy and capacity,” for Maine’s traditional high season in July through September, Bethany Wade, the hotel’s general manager, told Mainebiz in a Thursday telephone interview.

Bookings are "definitely strong for where we are in the process right now," she added, "but we still have availability for anyone who wants to stay with us."

A quick check on the hotel's booking platform shows nightly rates of $611 for a two-person standard room over the July 4th weekend, and close to $250 for mid-week in February 2025.

Promising to "enhance wellness and elicit joy," the rooms feature amenities such as Loftie-brand smart alarm clocks, which enable "calming meditation, sound baths and breathwork."

Built on the site of a former gas station at 754 Congress St., the Longfellow claims to be the first independently owned full-service hotel to open in the city since the Portland Harbour Hotel in 2002.

Woman standing
Photo / Carley Rudd Photography
Bethany Wade

“Portland doesn’t have a hotel similar to us,” in terms of full-service boutique luxury, she said. “We have a great opportunity to fill that niche that hasn’t been found in the Portland area.”

The hotel was developed by Uncommon Hospitality, a Portland-based hotel management and development company owned by brothers Tony and Nate DeLois, who grew up in Yarmouth. 

They teamed on the project with Archetype Architects, of Portland; civil engineers at Terradyn Consultants LLC, of New Gloucester; Scarborough-based Allied-Cook Construction; and Post Company, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based design firm.

The five-story Longfellow Hotel will include the Astraea Spa, featuring a hot-cold infrared sauna and treatments such as a $200 herbal sleep cocoon and a $235 seaweed wrap. The hotel's Twinflower Café will serve small plates, while the Five of Clubs lobby bar will open after sundown. On the fifth floor, Henry's Study will also be available for small meetings and private dining.

'Sense of place'

The hotel's wellness theme extends to the absence of single-use plastic anywhere on the property, seven electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage, complimentary bicycles and an electric luxury car service to take guests anywhere within 3 miles.

The aim was "to really look at wellness not just for our own selves, but for our world around us," Wade said.

Lynn Tillotson, president and CEO of Visit Portland, said the hotel will fill a niche in Portland, which currently boasts 3,324 hotel rooms at properties with 40 or more rooms.

Some 1,247 of those rooms were added in the last 10 years alone, while smaller inns and B&Bs account for 140 rooms of the total.

"Visitors are actively searching for local businesses that positively impact a community,” Tillotson told Mainebiz. "A story, sustainable practices and a sense of place drive their decision to travel and where they want to spend their money.

"The Uncommon Hospitality team carefully considered Portland's rich history within the property's story, and their commitment to sustainability and community contributions also reflects their intentional investment in the city. I'm confident they will positively impact Portland's reputation as a great place to visit.”

Staffing up 

With 32 employees already hired, Wade said the hotel expects to open with 40 staffers and probably be up to 50 by mid-July. There's also a 10-person management team.

The staff includes Executive Chef Wilson Suliveras, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who has worked at restaurants around the country, most recently at Elda in Biddeford as executive sous chef. Kyle Miller is the general manager of food and beverage.

Wade said that while chiefs have to have very specific skills and experience, “hiring with heart” has been the guiding principle for other roles.

“A lot of what we do we can teach,” she said, “but we can’t teach heart and empathy.”

This will be the sixth hotel opening for Wade, who recently served as director of rooms at Auberge Resort Collection’s White Barn Inn in Kennebunk and on the company’s global task force. The Shapleigh resident has also worked as spa manager at White Barn Inn, as well as various roles within the operations and front desk teams at the Kennebunk establishment.

While she worked in a host of other industries before returning to Maine more than a decade ago, Wade said she enjoys the variety of hospitality.

“I find it stimulates different parts of my brain,” from guest-facing work managing finances, and accounting, she said. 

There’s always a degree of nervous energy ahead of every new hotel opening, she admitted. But, she added, “I feel a bit more relaxed each time.”

More from the Friday Food Insider

Read more about Twinflower Café and Five of Clubs bar in the May 17 Friday Food Insider, by Mainebiz Staff Writer Alexis Wells.

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