Look inside New Hampshire’s historic Hotel Portsmouth

New England Travel

“We’re thrilled to unveil this new take on a quintessentially New England hotel.”

A room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

A historic Portsmouth, N.H., hotel steps from bustling Market Square just reopened after a complete redesign.


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The Hotel Portsmouth is a 32-room hotel originally built in 1881 by wealthy ship merchant and businessman John E. Sise. The Queen Anne Victorian, formerly the Sise Inn, served as one of the city’s first independent lodging establishments and was acquired by Lark Hotels in 2014. Its recent redesign was led by boutique design firm Elder & Ash.

The getaway’s new look “combines modern sophistication with the warmth of traditional New England charm,” according to the design team.

“From original crown moldings and working fireplaces to meticulous woodwork around its central staircase, we have always been in awe of The Hotel Portsmouth’s architectural charm,” Rob Blood, founder and president of Lark Hotels and principal of Elder & Ash, said in a statement. “This new look honors the building’s innate beauty and celebrates the rich culture of the city and region in an unexpected way. We’re thrilled to unveil this new take on a quintessentially New England hotel.”

A guest room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

The hotel offers a variety of room types, from a petite king to a dual-loft suite and sprawling penthouse suite. There are also ADA-accessible and pet-friendly rooms.

Designers took inspiration from the surrounding city.

“We find the arts and culture scene of Portsmouth to be unique,” Megan Kennedy, creative director for Lark Hotels and principal of Elder & Ash, said in a statement. “Historic landmarks like the Strawbery Banke Museum are
met with more contemporary counterparts, like 3S Art Space. Venues like Jimmy’s Jazz Club, the Seacoast Repertory Theater and The Music Hall, just to name a few, give our guests an unparalleled opportunity for a cultural experience in this small city. We wanted The Hotel Portsmouth to emulate and
add to this experience. Instead of just a place to stay, we aimed for it to tell a visual story of its deeply New England roots, both past and present.”

A guest room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

The getaway’s interior is dominated by reds and blues with Americana patterns, geometrics, and touches of maritime history. The work of American photographer Slim Aarons is featured on the walls alongside contemporary street art, historic original landscapes, and portrait paintings.

A guest room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

“The bold and layered approach to the design is how we’re expressing Americana as a technique more so than as a visual picture,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Modern Americana design for this project was much more than stars, stripes and patchwork quilts (while there are still many of those), it was about noticing how multiple patterns and textures and colors come to feel like ‘Americana’. Tribal mud cloths work harmoniously with greek key motifs, and while some would argue about heritage — we saw it as an opportunity to emulate the melting pot.”

A guest room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

The bathrooms offer tubs and walk-in showers and guests use Lather bath products.

A bathroom at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

The common spaces “blend small town American charm with one of a kind furnishings,” according to the team.

A common room at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

Lucy & John’s is a bar area with a billiards table and group seating. The hotel now has a full liquor license, so travelers can enjoy batched cocktails and canned beer and wine along with light bites.

A common space at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

Guests can shop at the gift boutique located behind the reception desk, which offers designer vintage clothing, modern Americana home decor, and locally made items.

The gift boutique at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

Travelers enjoy curated small bites for breakfast, a 24-hour concierge service, and several indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.

An outdoor space at The Hotel Portsmouth. Read McKendree

Families traveling with kids can ask for a kids welcome basket, complete with toys and snacks. Other types of baskets guests can order include breakfast baskets and a New England beer-tasting basket.

Room rates start at at $200 per night, depending on the room type and dates of stay.


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