The Hotel Salem is, as of this writing, the newest offer to the Salem Massachusetts hotel landscape. It was constructed in 2018 and enjoyed its first big influx of visitors during October of that year. Not coincidentally, that’s when I decided to stay in the brand spanking new hotel and boy oh boy do I have some opinions.
Perhaps the biggest draw of this new hotel is its central location. It’s literally right on Essex Street in the middle of downtown Salem. This is a HUGE draw as no other hotel in Salem can claim the same. The two nearest ones by my estimation are The Hawthorne Hotel and The Salem Inn. But, these two are on the east and west side of the main stretch in Essex respectively.
Another draw is the rooftop bar. Full discretion here, I didn’t go on my visit. It was cold, windy, and I thought to myself, “I’d much rather be indoors.” There’s also a bar on the first floor and a soon-to-open one in the cellar as well. I didn’t drink at the first floor bar during my stay, nor did I sample the food. But, you can check out the menu here.
The Price and Amenities
The Hotel Salem fancies itself an tad on the upscale side and nightly rates definitely reflect that. They’re on average about $150 – $250 per night. For this you get the central location, interesting rooms, priority seating at the bars/restaurants, wifi, access to a complimentary beverage station (that includes coffee, tea, and water).
My Review of The Hotel Salem
Now for my experience with the hotel. The Hotel Salem was rushed in its execution and that’s super clear. In my room alone, there were unpainted swaths of the ceiling, broken hanging hooks, and a toilet paper dowel/mount that was perhaps broken or perhaps totally ineffective – I’m not really sure. The lack of a shower door (which I think was intentional) actually makes the showers much chillier than normal which, in already chilly Salem, is annoying.
The location is very nice, but the layout of the lobby forces you to constantly pass the bar/restaurant to go to your room or exit the hotel. The result is that your entrance and exit don’t feel very Salem-like. In fact, I think that’s pretty valid descriptor of the hotel in general. I know in a place as varied as Salem, that’s a bit of a strange criticism. Still, there’s nothing spooky, homely, witchy, New Englandy, Halloweeny, Oceanic, Historical, Nautical, etc. about this place. The staff is also inexplicably interested in everything you do. Every time you enter the hotel, you’re asked by at least one person if you’re going to your room. This is due to the fact that they need to sort the bar/restaurant patrons from hotel guests, but being asked constantly seems a cumbersome, inhospitable way to do that.
Having stayed in both of The Hotel Salem’s nearest geographical competitors, I can definitely say that on my next trip to the witch city, I have no intention of returning to this place. The management seems to be at least partially aware of this as I was given, without explanation, a $30 gift certificate upon checkout toward a potential stay at any of The Hotel Salem’s sister-hotels. Kind? Sure. A little desperate? Also sure. If you’re coming to Salem, I’d recommend The Hawthorne Hotel or The Salem Inn before I’d go here. And that’s just if you want to stay downtown. If you can get a little bit further from Essex, the Salem Waterfront Hotel or any of the end and breakfasts are better bets as well.