Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;
Hotel History: Portland Regency Hotel & Spa (1895), Portland, Maine*
By Stanley Turkel, CMHS
Built in 1895 as the armory for the Maine National Guard, the U.S. Navy took control and used it as a recreation center during World War II. At the end of the war, the building served multiple purposes: National Guard headquarters, civic auditorium, public bath house, and warehouse for the State Paper Company.
In 1984, the armory building was converted into a hotel and opened in 1987 as a luxurious 95-room facility. The exterior of the armory was preserved intact with the exception of the skylight windows on the upper floors. Many of the original interior elements such as highly-detailed fireplaces, turreted corners, and windows of many shapes and sizes add singular character to the guest rooms.
Marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, the hotel underwent a unique five-month renovation to guest rooms on the third and fourth floors. On the fourth floor, the skylights were replaced with outdoor decks which offer breathtaking views of the city and harbor.
The hotel's day spa, the only one in downtown Portland, features the latest in healing massage therapy, body treatments, and therapy. It also includes a Jacuzzi, saunas, steam baths, and a state- of-the- art fitness center.
Frommer's Review in The New York Times (October 11, 2012) reports:
Centrally located on a cobblestone courtyard in the middle of the trendy Old Port, the Regency boasts one of the city's premier hotel locations. But it's got more than location—this is also one of the most architecturally striking and better-managed hotels in southern Maine.
*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)
About Stanley Turkel, CMHS
Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.
Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."
Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting bookstore.authorhouse.com.